There are not many places in the world where you can go sledding, quadding and jet boating in the same month, let alone the same day. But a small community in central B.C. has the climate and geography to make it possible. Surrounded by mountains, forests, lakes and rivers, Mackenzie is literally on nature’s doorstep.
Snowmobile season extends well into May, offering sledders the opportunity to check out areas that weren’t accessible in the winter months.
“It’s the time when we can explore the big areas,” said Ryan Lucas, an avid rider and backcountry enthusiast from Mackenzie. “We wait until the risk has subsided and the mountains aren’t as loaded with snow and go into the steep, sketchy places. Basically we go from mountain to mountain.”
Best places for ATVing, fishing and camping
At the same time, the snow is melting and ground thawing at the lower elevations, enabling ATVs to get back on the trails and in the woods, and Mackenzie has a plethora of areas to choose from.
“There’s an endless number of logging roads and hundreds of kilometres of bush,” said Lucas. “You can pretty much go ATVing anywhere but the big draw is Williston Lake. Once the water level drops, there are kilometres of shoreline and the best mud you can find.”
The largest man-made lake in B.C., Williston Lake is located minutes from Mackenzie and has a boat launch at Mackenzie Landing Recreational Area. It’s not uncommon to see people out enjoying the water on jetboats as early as March.
Enjoying the great outdoors in and around Mackenzie is easy, with its large number of campgrounds and parks. Williston Lake, Morfee Lake, Gaitaga Lake, Azouzetta Lake, Tudyah Lake Provincial Park, Heather Lake and Dina Lake Provincial Park all offer camping and fishing as well as boat launches and/or lake access for small boats.
“There are camping spots everywhere around here,” Lucas said. “Forest recreation sites are another option; I access those all the time. And you can drop a line in a lake or river anywhere and catch a fish.
"I am lucky to live here because I have everything I need right here in my backyard.”