This week's Hidden Hero: Dave Sutton

Claire Dibble
By Claire Dibble
April 28th, 2019

The Hidden Hero Project is a portrait series celebrating the everyday heroes who live and give in Castlegar. Community members were asked to nominate people as heroes back in the summer of 2018 and the exhibition celebrating a selection of the good folks of Castlegar will open at Kootenay Gallery on June 20.

Partway through the project it became clear that ‘hero’ is perhaps too strong a word. Some nominees flinched at the suggestion that someone would call them a hero. And indeed, hero conjures images of a firefighter, an ER nurse, a superhuman in a cape. These are undoubtedly worthy of our appreciation. But so are the everyday folks who do more good than harm, and hopefully that’s most of us. The idea behind this project is to celebrate the goodness that resides in most people. There are thousands of ‘hidden heroes’ in Castlegar, quietly offering kindnesses to others without ever considering their actions to be worthy of recognition. Yet we all know that a well-timed act of kindness can mean a world of difference. We know that it is the efforts of many people over time that builds a strong community.

The same goes for building a strong network of bike trails. It doesn’t happen over night, and it’s only possible with considerable contributions of time from many committed volunteers. It takes folks that have a vision, a passion for creating as well as riding. Folks like Dave Sutton. Here’s what was said about Dave, one of the few people who received multiple nominations:

“Our favourite trail builder, Dave Sutton, spends much of his time devising and bringing to life unique trails that are making Castlegar stand out as a mountain biking destination. He was born and raised in Castlegar and started biking at a young age. Dave started building trails as a hobby many years ago (we guess about 20 years) and most of the trails he envisioned are now the pride and joy of Castlegar’s mountain biking community. His brilliant leadership and contagious passion for what he does have enabled him to recruit dozens or more volunteers every week to help make his trail projects a reality. His unique style of building and signature woodwork leave people amazed and wanting to ride his trails over and over again! These trails are now being operated and managed by the Castlegar Parks and Trails Society (CPTS) and enjoyed by bikers, hikers and trail runners of all ages and abilities. The Merry Creek Trail System (Hail Merry, Crazy Merry, Merry-Go-Round, Mr. Green Jeans), the Awakener and Grandiflorum are well-known in the Kootenays for providing some of the best dirt experiences and we have no doubts that there will be more to come soon!

“This nomination comes from a group of local riders who really and truly appreciate what Dave’s vision and hard work has done to bring the mountain biking community together! The trails really showcase and make accessible beautiful parts of Castlegar. Dave was featured in a recent issue of Kootenay Mountain Culture; the word is out! Castlegar is the place to ride!”

You probably know a hidden hero or two. With this in mind, the nomination form is still available online. All nominations made before June 1, 2019 will be included as part of the exhibition.

Nominees were asked four questions, and you’re welcome to send in your reflections on any or all of the following as well (click here).

1. What does ‘community’ mean to you?

2. What does being a contributing member of society look like to you?

3. What advice would you give to someone who is not currently engaging with their community but would like to be?

4. What are some of the personal benefits (expected or unanticipated) you receive by giving, by contributing, by helping others?   


This project was conceived of by the curator at Kootenay Gallery of Art and is supported by the Province of BC Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture Grant.

Categories: Good News Sunday


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