At the Forefront of Trail Design & Construction

 Certified Trail Planner by the Province of British Columbia 

Though our primary field of expertise is the design and construction of mountain bike facilities, we offer a comprehensive list of recreational services. Satisfied clients include: municipalities, mountain bike clubs, Ministry of Recreation Sites & Trails, First Nations, and private landowners. Thomas Schoen has been building trails since 1998 in the Interior of BC.  In 2009 First Journey Consulting entered into a trailbuilding agreement with the District of Wells and carried out the construction of the areas’ new multi-use trail network.

Since 2009 First Journey Consulting has authored numerous trail-planing documents and trail-network masterplans including the masterplan for the Williams Lake Westsyde network, the Desous Mountain Masterplan, the Soda Creek and Deep Creek networks and the Williams Lake Indian Band trail networks.

We specialize in Trail Network Masterplans, community network development, stakeholder consultations, trail building workshops and First Nation's MTB development projects. FJT offers award winning tourism development and consultation background and non-profit management expertise. 


Trail Network Masterplans // Community Trail Plans // Trail-Crew Training and Workshops // Trail Construction // Crew Supervision // Project Management // Trail Inventory Studies and Evaluations // Environmental Trail Assessment Feasibility Studies // Business Plans // Marketing Plans // Government Liaison // Trail Maintenance Plans // Construction Budget Consultation // Mapping and Signage // Cycling Culture Development Plans //  Non Profit Management Services  





Past projects include the planning and construction of a number of community signature trails. Highly experienced master trailbuilders on crew. Recent projects include work for: 

  • Ministry of Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. 

  • District of Wells

  • Williams Lake Cycling Club

  • Prince George Cycling Club

  • Simpcw First Nation

  • Xat'sull First Nation

  • Skawahlook First Nation

  • City of Quesnel

  • City of Williams Lake

  • Village of Clinton

  • Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program


  • Likely Community Forest

  • Barkerville Historic Town

  • Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail


Bella Coola MTB Trail Masterplan (Project Example)

In 2016 FJT was contracted by MFLNRO to develop a comprehensive MTB Trail Masterplan for the Bella Coola Valley, including trail layout, trail mapping and recommendations for future trail development opportunities. The consultant met with a number of stakeholders, including local MTB riders, recreational trail users, the Central Coast Regional District, the Bella Coola Resource Society and the Regional School District. The first project meetings were held with the Nuxalk First Nation Chief & Council, the Nuxalk Development Corporation and other community leaders. Prior to engaging with the Nuxalk Nation, we invited a group of FN youth to a Williams Lake riding clinic and also hosted a MTB trailbuilding workshop at the local school. Community buy-in and project support was tremendous and helped move the project forward quickly. A major challenge was the size and difficult terrain of the proposed network area. Weeks of field work were required to complete trail layout and identify opportunities. Staff cost was much higher than anticipated. The initial project idea of developing one network to start with, was changed after the community consultation process and FJT delivered a more comprehensive plan, including 3 trail networks and 1 stand-alone trail. This unforeseen development resulted in approx. 8 extra work days to complete an inventory study of a non-sanctioned network.


Snakes & ladders - Signature Trail: Williams Lake

(Previous Work Example) 

“Snakes & Ladders” is Williams Lake’s signature trail. FJT was hired to rebuilt sections of the old, existing “Snakes & Ladders” and extend it to the River Valley, to create one top-to-bottom trail experience. Structures include the now legendary “Sky Berms” and a suspension-bridge. 120,000+ board feet of custom milled lumber has been heli-dropped and packed in by the FJT crew. Extremely steep and loose sections called for innovative construction methods. In partnership with MFLNR, we designed armored trail sections using concrete paving blocks and wooden TTF’s to minimize erosion. FJT needed to design a new style of range fence crossings along the trail, that is now the preferred fence crossing style in the Interior Region of BC. The budget did not allow for enough funds to pack in all the lumber. FJT purchased a new, high end DH bike (valued at $5,000). Volunteers packed in lumber for raffle tickets, each trip of approx. 30 minutes equaled 1 ticket. Over a time period of three weeks, we were able to deliver all the material needed to construct the legendary sky-berms and a happy FN youth volunteer won the bike.

2018/19 PROJECTS

  • Soda Creek Trail Network Expansion

  • Desous Network Phase II Development

  • Tabor Mountain Trail Development Masterplan

  • Simpcw Trail Network Expansion

  • City of Quesnel MTB Trail Masterplanning

  • Williams Lake Trail Maintenance Projects

  • Skawahlook Adventure Park

  • Thompson Rivers University Field School: Trail Building

  • First Nations Community Outreach Projects

  • Esdilagh FN Trails

  • Atlin BC Stakeholder Engagement & Planning 


The People Who Make it Happen



CEO, Planner & Builder

Thomas is a Director for the Williams Lake Cycling Club, the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program and is the President of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium. He is a Provincial trail advocate and advisor and teaches trail design/building to First Nations trail crews in BC. Thomas has a 25+ year background as an award winning tourism consultant, business owner and is a skilled craftsman.

Trails Make Me Smile


Project Manager & Crew Leader

Mitch is a master trailbuilder and trail design specialist. After seeing picture after picture and movie after movie of the west coast riding scene he pulled the pin on Toronto and moved to North Vancouver.  Since then he logged 17 years in the bike industry, mainly as a wrench but the last couple years as a sales rep.  From the beginning he was building jumps out of what ever he could combine to catch air.  Dirt jumps lead to short downhill tracks which lead to scouting connectors between his favorite trails to building whole trails top to bottom.  Living in and riding in North Vancouver gave him a strong appreciation for the power of water and erosion.  He mainly did repairs on existing trails in NV which was a full-time job, time-wise, in the winter months sometimes seeing 100+mm of rain in a days and as many as 300 riders down a trail on a busy day. Since living in the Cariboo he has spent hundreds of volunteer hours each year maintaining our local trails and ensuring we have a safe and enjoyable trail system. Mitch joined FJT in March of 2017 as a full-time crew foreman.


Builder & Crew Boss

Sky joined the FJT crew in early 2017 and came from the Sun Peaks trail crew to work for us. He started as a full-time builder in 2016, but has years of experience building trails on the Simpcw FN lands near Barriere, BC.


Master Builder

Ian joined the company in April of 2018 and is now working full-time as a trail builder. He grew up in Williams Lake, where at a young age he took up mountain biking. Ian has a strong forestry background and is an experienced crew leader.



Patrick is an award-winning registered professional community planner with 12 years of experience. He started out working in remote areas of South East Asia for CUSO-VSO Canada and returned to Canada to help develop communities in BC and Alberta. 

Pat provides comprehensive community planning services focusing on economic development, stakeholder engagement and land use, recreation and tourism planning.


Trail Construction Crews

We have a long list of on-call builders for upcoming projects. Many First Nations trail builders, trained by FJT in the past 5 years for various projects across the Province.

 JAMES DOERFLING - Sub Contractor to FJT

Guest Builder/Advisors

 James is quite simply one of the best big mountain riders in the world. A Red Bull Rampage athlete, James is a legend and takes riding to a new level with his first descents. With over a decade of trailbuilding experience, James is now running his own company and regularly joins forces with Thomas. He feels privileged to be part of our great team and advancing mountain bike development in BC’s Interior and the North.



 Jane has held contracts with FJT for the past 3 years. Jane Wellburn holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Victoria (2012) and has significant experience working with First Nations communities in the Cariboo Chilcotin – the same area where she was born and raised. In 2012, Jane worked with the Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council on a project to revitalize the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail (Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail). As part of a land use planning team that worked extensively with community members from six local First Nations, Jane was the lead author of an updated management plan for the heritage trail that reflects First Nations’ histories, current values, and potential economic development opportunities. Building on the foundation of the updated management plan, in 2013-2014 Jane worked with the Grease Trail Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from member communities, stakeholder organizations and the provincial government, to implement the plans recommendations. An avid mountain biker, Jane has spent several years assisting with the Williams Lake Boys and Girls Club youth mountain bike program and is ever grateful for the expansive mountain bike trail network that surrounds her home in Williams Lake, BC, where she lives with her partner Kurt Williams and her son Angus.


Industry Insiders

FJT Key Advisors & Friends/Partners

Too many to mention, our advisors, friends and partners include leading mountain bike industry experts. We call on these individuals for advice and up-to-date industry information. 


Trail Dog

No craft brewery or MTB trail construction company is complete without a four legged staff member.



May 2018


June 2018


May 2018


Summer 2017





First Journey Trails has been selected as a preferred contractor for both, trail planning and trail construction by the
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.


This is our largest project to date. Trails, pump track, skills park, viewing platforms and more. First Journey Trails is the prime contractor and responsible from the park's concept to construction. Project planning started in summer/fall of 2017.


In 2017 FJT built the largest wooden structure in BC's Interior. The Seperator stunt is part of the new 35km+ Soda Creek Trail Network, designed by FJT.


After a summer of wildfires in the Interior of BC, it took two crews to complete the 17 kilometre XC trail "Deep Blue Soda". The Xats'ull First Nations trail crew under the leadership of Mitch Forbes and Jeremy Stowards, finished the region's longest XC trail before winter.


First Journey's trailbuilders Chris Purdy and Allan Pine helped design and lay-out the new signature trail at ChuChua.


Other projects in 2017 included:

  • Bella Coola Valley Trail Masterplan

  • Bella Coola Trail Development Project Management

  • Desous Mountain Trail Construction Phase 1

  • Desous Mountain Trail Masterplan Phase 2

  • Thompson Rivers University Field School: Trail Design

  • Williams Lake Westsyde trail maintenance

  • Workshops, presentations, media trips, trail advocacy


Thomas (First Journey Trails) has repeatedly shown the benefits of working closely with Land Managers and fully understands the requirements to ensure all stakeholders are accounted for and has taken this message even further by educating user groups that it leads to a more efficient project if you identify and deal with the issues up front, instead of putting out fires as you go. This is made evident in the detailed plans that have been submitted to our program, which fully outlined exactly what was to be undertaken in the field setting.

Tom is an accomplished trail builder, project planner and expert craftsman.  The completion of the Williams Lake Cycling Club's recent project, the Snakes and Ladders rebuild, could not have been done without him.  With over 10 kilometres of flowy single track that features countless berms, multiple jumps and unique wood structures, Snakes and Ladders provides a testament to both his professionalism and creativity.  Thomas was the project coordinator,a planner and one of the primary builders on the project and his expertise was evident in all phases of the build.

Desi Cheverie, MFLNR District Rec Officer

Shawn Lewis, President WLCC

The PGCC believes that First Journey had a positive impact on the mountain bike community in Prince George, and wholeheartedly recommends the company, and Thomas, to any organizations seeking trail work.

Thomas has proven to have a sound ability in Trail planning by providing RSTBC with a comprehensive trail development plan.

Liam Baker, Prince George Cycling Club

Kurt Williams, Rec Sites and Trails BC

Thomas is an expert trail builder and project coordinator. He's able to accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently within budget, and his creativity allows him to create long-lasting, interesting trails.

Sundance Topham, CEO Village of Cumberland



Partners & Friends



First Journey Promo Video


Get in touch with First Journey Trails to learn more about our services. Think you've got what it takes to become a team member, we want to hear from you. Are you representing local government or a First Nations community, we would love to discuss the many benefits of trail development.


(250) 305-4464

©2019 by First Journey Trails.

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