Parks Canada preparing new Mount Revelstoke attractions for Canada’s 150th

Parks Canada building kids bike skills park, new viewing platform at top of Nels Nelsen ski jump in Mount Revelstoke National Park.

Rob Buchanan poses in Nels Knicker's at the top of the Nels Nelsen ski jump in Mount Revelstoke National Park.

Two new attractions in Mount Revelstoke National Park are set to be completed in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary next year.

Parks Canada is putting the finishing touches on a new bike skills park and a new interpretive site at the Nels Nelsen ski jump.

Local media were given a tour of the site last Friday. While parts of both projects are completed, they are officially closed until work is finished this year.

Our tour started at the kids bike skills park at the bottom of the Nels Nelsen ski jump.

“It’s a bike skills park, but it has an environmental component,” said Rob Buchanan, Parks’ resident artist.

The bike park features a winding track with various “creature features” designed to re-create the flora and fauna of Mount Revelstoke National Park. There’s the banana slug berm, another curve shaped like a Coeur d’Alene salamander, a twisting trail where riders will have to navigate around piles of animal scat, a tunnel that will eventually look like a grizzly den and a teeter-totter in the shape of a dragon fly.

At the centre of it all is a set of spiral tracks leading to a high point called snail hill.

The features are being created by Zsusanna Driediger.

“Everything is designed to teach biking skills for kids, and to teach them about the environment of the area,” said Buchanan.

The work is being done by mostly local contractors, including Little Big Works, who established the trail bed; and Steep & Deep, who did the rock work.

While the skills park isn’t finished, the track is mostly complete and will be open for Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on Saturday, June 4.

Our next stop was the top of the Nels Nelsen ski jump. We drove to a switchback on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway where a road that was used to access the old judges tower had been re-established.

A few hundred metres away, we arrived at the top of the ski jump, where a new interactive sculpture, Nels’ Knickers, was in place at the top of a grassy knoll.

Ski jumping in Mount Revelstoke National Park was given national historic significance earlier this year, giving the site greater importance.

Several viewing platforms were in place lower down on the steep ski jump slope, with Nels’ Knickers at the top. Each platform features a fake newspaper with names such as the Telemark Tribune, Sitzmark Sentinel, Face Plant Daily and In-Run Outlook. The texts tell the story of the area, including biographies of the jump’s major figures like Isabel Coursier, Bob Lymburne and Nels Nelsen.

Visitors will be able to access the area either by hiking up from the bottom, or by walking in from the top via a yet-to-be-built parking area up the parkway.

The site remains closed to the public while Parks Canada completes some major rock work on the site. A grand opening will take place next year.

“It’s great to celebrate that at the 150th,” said Buchanan.