Trees grow through radiators. Oil drums lie in a heap.
This is Yellowknife’s old stock car track, almost 30 years after it last saw action.
The track is a 15-kilometre drive north of the city on the Ingraham Trail, near the top of Hay Lake.
Until the mid-1980s, the NWT’s amateur stock car racers used the circuit for Sunday demolition derbies – and the evidence is still there, in the form of abandoned cars.
Now, Yellowknife resident Jeff Corradetti wants to bring the track back to life as a motocross facility.
“I’ve been over at the track, and it’s quite swampy,” said Corradetti. “What we’re looking at doing is surveying it and cleaning it up.
“The track that was left in about 1986 was left as-is, which means there are old cars there still, tires, and a lot of oil barrels. To keep the dust down, they would spray a bit of oil. All of those barrels are still at the site.”
Corradetti is trying to persuade the territorial government to let his newly formed Yellowknife Motocross Association take out a lease on the old track – but has had no joy so far, primarily because the government has halted all recreational leases in the area while it reviews its rules. It could be late 2016 before Corradetti can apply.
For the time being, Corradetti’s association will look at building an enduro trail – enduro being a separate form of off-road motorcycle sport.
“If we build an enduro trail, it doesn’t trigger a land use permit,” he told Moose FM. “We’re making an application, which is essentially a cutting permit. In that respect, we are moving forward still.”
Corradetti says the sandpits just outside Yellowknife aren’t suitable because residents use them for so many different activities.
“Because it’s a growing sport, people want to take it to a more appropriate level at a dedicated track, free of distractions, drugs, and drinking, in a controlled, safe environment,” he said.
This is not the first attempt to reclaim the old track for motorcycle sport. In the late 1990s, a Yellowknife Dirt Riders’ Association tried, and failed, to lease the land.
Many longtime residents will remember the now-overgrown track in its original incarnation as a stock car venue.
Karen-Maria Tratt uploaded photos of stock car racing on the Ingraham Trail to the Facebook group YK Memories earlier this year.