Kira Bateman’s Story: what Albertans are doing for outdoor recreation and why it’s important
CPAWS Southern and Northern Alberta commissioned the first-ever survey to capture what Albertans are doing for outdoor recreation and their values about wilderness, public lands and recreation. Here is the personal story of what Kira Bateman loves to do for recreation in Alberta.
Kira Bateman's Story
Where: Medicine Hat & Cypress Hills Provincial Park
What: Mountain biking
One of my favourite places to mountain bike near Medicine Hat would be in the small outlying community of Redcliff. The trails string along the South Saskatchewan River within the coulees of the scenic Badlands. Redcliff offers more technically advanced trails featuring several rocky, steep descents as well as short, punchy climbs.
I also enjoy riding in Elkwater (the Alberta side of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park), just 40 minutes southeast of Medicine Hat for a completely different montane experience. Trails range from green to black diamond, highlighting rocky and rooty sections that keep me on my toes. With over 57 kilometers of trails in the area, it is possible to explore different terrain all day without riding the same trail twice. Elkwater features long, meandering climbs through forests of lodge pole pine, rewarding riders at the top with impressive views of the surrounding prairies. Our local 670 Collective mountain bike club does an amazing job with its trail building initiatives, working hard to design a diverse network of trails that offer riders a variety of flow, technicality and endurance challenges. The 670 Collective was an encouraging platform to connect with other riders of all skill levels through organized group rides - meeting others who just want to get out there and enjoy the trails. Mountain biking quickly became a newfound passion of mine last summer not only for the physical challenge, but also for the social aspect.
Mountain biking in the Medicine Hat community can be a quick, intense ride through Redcliff in a time crunch or an all day Elkwater adventure during the weekend. The Redcliff Skills Park was also recently completed to offer riders a place to practice and improve their riding technique, featuring a cross-country skills tracks, advanced dirt jumps, progressive table-top jumps, etc. I look forward to tackling the trails again next season, improving my confidence as a rider and proudly repping the Medicine Hat mountain bike community.
Learn more about the first survey to measure Albertans' outdoor recreation activities and their values toward wilderness. See what you can do to protect our wilderness.