Trail boys map out niche

The Backroad Mapbook series has just released another book to help guide outdoor enthusiasts into the Kootenay back country without getting lost.

The Backroad Mapbook series has just released another book to help guide outdoor enthusiasts into the Kootenay back country without getting lost.

The Kootenay-Rockies fifth edition offers two new features that should appeal to avid hunters and wildlife watchers.

Trail natives Russell and Wesley Mussio are the originators of the series that now span the country and, with over a million sold, it is the best seller for a mapbook series in Canada.

“It is indeed amazing to see how popular these books remain after all these years,” said Russell Mussio from his home in Kelowna. “Despite our Italian upbringing we think the key to our success is listening to what our customers, employees and retailers had to say.”

Growing up in Warfield, the Mussios lived and breathed sports and the outdoors. Starting a mapbook business was a result of their own inability to find adequate maps to guide them through the forests and mountains of southern B.C. In an effort to provide some direction in the woods, they created their own maps.

The fifth edition includes topographical contour maps, stuffed with information on every feature, including hiking, camping, fishing, paddling, snowmobiling, skiing, horseback riding and also includes new information on hunting and wildlife viewing as well as expanding to include maps of Grand Forks and Lower Arrow Lake.

“New sections like hunting and wildlife viewing not only add fresh content but are also the result of listening to what people are looking for. The hunting section is a natural evolution of the books and is designed to help people get a general idea what game species are in each Wildlife Management Unit.”

And for those who don’t hunt, the guide is a handy source for photographers looking to track down native birds and wildlife at a given time of year.

Last year, the Mapbooks introduced GPS technology and expanded to social media to help connect and inform users. GPS users can get updates on their website or on Facebook, and even access  free tips and tutorials on Youtube.

“Embracing social media is a great way to stay active and even provide more valuable information and updates to outdoor enthusiasts.”

As for the future, Mussio will ride the wave of technology, with digital maps and mobile Apps with interactive features that combine recreation content with detailed backcountry maps are just around the corner. But more than anything they still rely on the many people, clubs, and organizations that use the books and keep them informed.

“The printed map will never become obsolete,” he says. “By far our best source for updates comes from our readers.”