Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium Asks Riders to Respect Closure of Legendary Freeride Spot Farwell Canyon

Apr 12, 2023 at 18:58
by Tom Schoen  
Farewell Canyon Area Closed For Biking

Words: Tom Schoen, Chair of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium and a director for the Williams Lake Cycling Club.

Farwell Canyon, a legendary free ride area west of Williams Lake has been a popular mountain bike destination for decades. Just search Pinkbike and you'll find countless articles and videos about BC's most spectacular and unique freeride zone.

The Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium is saddened to announce the closure of this area for a number of outdoor activities, including mountain biking. Leading up to the annual 420 weekend, marking the beginning of the riding season in BC's Interior, we ask all mountain bikers to respect the Tl'esqox First Nation's request to stay off the land. Chief & Council of the Toosey Indian Band designated the area around Farwell Canyon as Tl'esquox Caretaker Land.

The closure has been put in place in 2022 and we continue to see commercially produced content, despite a number of prominent closure signs around the area. As club members, riders and First Nation's allies, we kindly ask everyone to honour Toosey's request.

Farwell Canyon's closure highlights the importance of respecting Indigenous land rights and promoting responsible outdoor recreation. For years, the Tl'esqox First Nation has nurtured the land and sustained its delicate ecosystem. It is essential that mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts understand the cultural and environmental significance of these lands. The Tl'esqox First Nation has a deep spiritual and cultural connection to the land surrounding Farwell Canyon, with a history spanning thousands of years. Preserving the area's natural beauty and ensuring its ongoing health is not only vital for the Tl'esqox people but also for the long-term sustainability of the region's ecosystem.

Disregarding the closure can lead to increased erosion, habitat disruption, and damage to culturally significant sites, ultimately harming both the environment and the Tl'esqox community. Moreover, respecting the land closure is crucial to foster mutual understanding and cooperation between the mountain biking community and Indigenous peoples. As responsible mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts, it is our duty to respect Indigenous land closures and work together with the Tl'esqox First Nation and other Indigenous communities to safeguard our natural heritage. When recreating in areas that share history, culture, and the environment with Indigenous peoples, it is important to educate ourselves about the land, its traditional custodians, and any cultural protocols that may apply.

By honouring the Tl'esqox First Nation's request, we demonstrate our commitment to being good stewards of the land and building a stronger relationship with Indigenous communities. This collaboration paves the way for increased understanding, respect, and opportunities for sustainable recreation, benefiting all parties involved. Let us all come together to celebrate and protect the extraordinary landscapes that we are privileged to enjoy.

Author Info:
caribooyj avatar

Member since Apr 6, 2008
12 articles

  • 23 1
 I love how the 420 weekend is spoken of like a national holiday.
  • 1 0
 I hope the idiots that trash our parks when they get together for this "holiday" are less idiot-like this go around.
  • 16 1
 I heard the filming of this video has something to do with it:

In the article they say "Farwell Canyon is the kind of place where just a couple of laps is enough. After riding a couple more lines that day, we packed up, and headed straight home..." but the story is that there was an altercation. Nothing serious but I think it it was enough for the First Nations to go start trying to make this closure official and publicly known.
  • 8 1
 If something did happen it would be good for Transition bikes to acknowledge any responsibility they had and to put any rumours to rest. In the same context it's also unfair to spread rumours about someone or some entity without having any sort of substantial proof.
  • 2 0
 @synchro: Fair point. I'm not trying to lay blame on Transition or implicate anyone. This article does state "we continue to see commercially produced content, despite a number of prominent closure signs around the area" so they are not the only ones, that's for certain. I'm more saying it may have been "beginning of the end" of MTB's in Farwell and possibly the last shoot to go down there based on the story I was told.
  • 7 1
 A four hour drive from Kamloops to Farwell to do a couple of 20 second 'laps' is a bit weird. Props to the local First Nations for making a point on who's land it is though. Way too many commercial enterprises profiting off it. I'm sure if it was a few local dudes / dudettes largely respecting the land and dropping in a few times and clearing up after themselves it probably wouldn't have been a big deal. But it got plastered all over the internet with predictable results. "Don't Doom The Spot".
  • 6 0
 I remember commenting on a pinkbike article with Farwell in the title, which became a regular thing replacing "secret location" about the same time the "no mountain biking" signs popped up. Yet it'd be on pinkbike about weekly from then onwards, location and all.
I'm not saying pinkbike is all to blame, but I wish there was more consideration before it had to get all shut down.
I hate to be the one to say atodaso, but I f**** atodaso!
  • 14 2
 Well articulated Tom, I hope us bikers honour the Tl'esqox First Nation's request.
  • 6 2
 Well articulated Tom. Thanks for taking that on.

Not an easy ask, or for some to follow, but at the end of the day supporting the request/closure is the best for the overall health/public perception of our sport.
  • 3 0
 That's a bummer but not a surprise. Thank god there are tons of zones like this around BC if you're willing to put in the effort and not just follow the hype train.
  • 2 1
 Well 420 there was always sick ridding and BC doesnt have tons of spot like there.For me is magic place and uniqe.
  • 5 1
 Thank you Tom for your tireless efforts! Appreciate you spreading the word.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Appreciate it my friend!
  • 11 8
 who holds title to this land? Toosey or the Douglas Lake Cattle Co? Hopefully they don't start caretaking elsewhere
  • 1 0
 Douglas lake Cattle is south of Kamloops.
  • 6 0
 @drifter: Douglas Lake purchase the Gang Ranch in 2021. not sure if the Gang ranch operates in farewell or not.
  • 1 1
 Yeah well… definitely still gonna poach. I live in popular tourist destination and deal with a*sholes poaching zones they’re not supposed to be in on a regular occurrence, I’ve got enough a*shole reverse a*shole karma built up to justify this one.
  • 5 3
 but bro... gotta get my sick reels!
  • 2 0
 If asked would written consent be given?
  • 5 0
 I'm wondering about this myself. The Williams Lake Cycling Club will engage and try and find out, but again, at this point I have no additional info. Just relaying the message here. I'm saddened by the closure as anyone else, but the positive comments here are encouraging.
  • 2 1
 Send it boys! Ducking hell it’s just some land for god sake! Get over it you whiners
  • 2 2
 So the closure has been in place since 2022 but the local mtb club is only now asking people to stay off it?
  • 4 2
 420 Has in the past been a big deal for the Freeride bros to hit Farwell Canyon sort of a start of season sender.

I feel like the timing of Tom's note is supposed to highlight it those "crews"
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 I mean yes
  • 2 0
 Time to say Farwell
  • 1 0
 Farewell Farwell
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