In the past few weeks, we’ve been made aware by the CRD that they are decommissioning an unsanctioned trail in Mount Work Regional Park, which was built outside the mountain biking area. We’ve been asked by the land manager not to identify the trail, but it is undoubtedly familiar to some members of our community.
In addition, the CRD is also removing four jumps that have been added to JP, a trail that links North West Passage and Seven. According to the CRD, the jumps were built with log rounds and covered with dirt, and they believe the features pose a safety concern.
We’re all aware of the need for more trails in the Victoria area, and we understand riders’ frustrations at the pace of improvements in the Regional Parks system. We all understand the work that goes into building trails, regardless of their location, and it’s never good to see people’s work go to waste.
While SIMBS does not condone unsanctioned trail building, we see the current situation (a cycle of unsanctioned building followed by CRD removal) as an inevitable symptom of a greater problem. We have proposed a plan to the land manager that we believe will address the current problem, and the root causes of unsanctioned trail building:
The following points are quoted from our response to the land manager:
1. A framework for formalizing appropriate, existing trails. We understand that Mt Work Management Planning and MTB Guidelines may address this, but we are hearing a great deal of frustration from the community at the slow pace.
2. Adoption of standards which allow new expert level trails. Many of our community members are persistently calling for more challenging features including jumps and rock rolls. We encourage you to consider ways to formally offer this user experience while mitigating risk, as we do in the Hartland License Area.
3. A larger inventory of trails across the Regional Parks System, including double black diamond rated trails.
If these issues can be visibly addressed, we are confident that unsanctioned trail activity will be greatly reduced. This would alleviate the strain on resources resulting from rogue building and associated enforcement measures, and ensure a sustainable, long-term future for mountain biking in the Victoria area.