Provincial honours have been awarded to the volunteers and staff who maintain a recreational treasure in the Greater Vernon area.
Sovereign Lake Nordic Club (SLNC) has been named the 2020 Community Partner of the Year by BC Parks, an award given once every two years to groups that help build on the legacy of the province’s 1,036 parks and protected areas.
“We are so deeply honoured to receive this recognition for our volunteerism efforts, community involvement, and sustainable tourism model in creating a world-class cross-country ski destination,” the club said in a Facebook announcement Tuesday, June 1.
The non-profit club has been an active partner with BC Parks for more than 30 years, operating the Sovereign Lake Nordic facilities within Silver Star Provincial Park.
“With genuine pride and passion, you have dedicated 14,000-plus volunteer hours a year in benefit of the park and your community which shows your remarkable commitment to BC Parks. We applaud your contributions,” Environment Minister George Heyman said in a Tuesday (June 1) announcement.
Volunteers and staff have transformed the club’s modest beginnings into one of the largest cross-country ski clubs in Canada and one of the top Nordic facilities in North America, the ministry said.
Today the club has more than 500 volunteers, and its current goals include a commitment to sustainability, hosting major races, constructing a new day lodge and providing living wages for all of its employees.
More than 50,000 people flock to the facilities during the winter, and there’s plenty to enjoy at other times of the year as well.
“It is a place to enjoy nature, be with family and friends, and improve our overall physical and mental health,” said SLNC board chair Jeff Ward. “Sovereign Lake was particularly important to people’s overall health during the last 15 months of the COVID pandemic.
“We look forward to many more years working in collaboration with BC Parks to provide outstanding opportunities for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.”
June 1 is also the day Sovereign Lake looks ahead to the 2021-22 season, with early bird sales on season passes and programs now available.
“We look forward to welcoming you this coming season with new exciting events and a return to more normal operations,” SLNC said.
For more information or to purchase season passes, visit sovereignlake.com.