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Ed Mah named Dawson Creek's 2021 Citizen of the Year

“I don’t do what I do for recognition or accolades or attention, I do it because I love what I do. But it’s nice to be honoured for this."
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Ed Mah during a North by Northeast Hiking outing in Tumbler Ridge this past summer. (photo courtesy North by Northeast group)

When Ed Mah started the North by Northeast Hiking group this June - he was not expecting to win Citizen of the Year.

He was surprised to get the call from the City of Dawson Creek for the award. The group launched after Mah took to social media looking for other people to hike with in Mile Zero.

“It’s honestly very flattering, very humbling. And I feel very honoured. It was a surprise that when city hall called me to let me know I was nominated, I said to the secretary – ‘Do I have to accept the nomination?' I think they were a little bit dumbfounded that anyone would refuse,” says Mah.

He asked his kids whether he should accept it. They advised him to accept the nomination and carry on with his hiking adventures.

Mah's nomination speaks for itself. "Ed Mah decided to throw an idea out there...."anyone want to go hiking?".....people who have never hiked, people who were nervous about hiking alone, people who didn't know what you needed to hike safely and successfully....and most important, people who have been affected socially during COVID and needed to get outside and be safely social.....WHAT a response!!! HUNDREDS of people have responded and participated! Thanks, Ed for spearheading something for this community."

“I don’t do what I do for recognition or accolades or attention, I do it because I love what I do. But it’s nice to be honoured for this."

Mah has also hosted the local farmers’ market and is involved in two car clubs. What started with only a handful of people has grown to a hiking group of just over 900 members strong in a matter of months, he added.

"Basically, it exploded. People just embraced the fact we can go hiking - we can go on easy hikes, difficult hikes, we go to area where we drive out for a couple hours, or just evening hikes around town," says Mah.

The group has since expanded their activities beyond just hiking to enjoy the local wilderness, inviting members out to take part in survival training, bear aware courses, gun safety, and more.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca