Mountain bike association close to final agreement

The Smithers Mountain Bike Association is working towards finalizing their agreement with the province, through Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., to maintain three separate networks of trails in the area. As part of that process, a draft Management Plan has been posted online for review by members of the SMBA and the public.

The Smithers Mountain Bike Association is working towards finalizing their agreement with the province, through Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., to maintain three separate networks of trails in the area. As part of that process, a draft Management Plan has been posted online for review by members of the SMBA and the public.

Over the past couple years, the association has been working hard with grant money from the provincial and federal governments, rerouting, upgrading and building from scratch a number of mountain bike trails in three distinct areas, known as the Bluff, the Ptarmigan trails, and the Piper Down trails; all three are now official Recreation Sites.

“The purpose of the plan is to describe how we as the SMBA are going to manage our trails under the partnership agreement we have with the province,” said A.J. Downie, Vice President of the SMBA. “We’re maturing a bit as an association, and we’re trying to shift in the direction of formalizing everything.”

Although most of their funding has been used up with trail building over the past two years, the SMBA has been working with funding from the Wetzin’Kwa Community Forest Corporation to put the finishing touches on the trails. Everything has been built up with drainage and reinforcement to prevent erosion and environmental damage.

“A big focus for us has just been on ensuring that everything we built last year was built well. It was a wet spring and a late spring, followed by a wet summer, so that was a real test for our trails, and we were able to see how they held up under the worst types of conditions,” said Downie.

He said the finishing touches, including some trailhead and safety signage, as well as maps at the information kiosks at the trailheads, should be up this fall.

He also pointed out that much of the work done this year wouldn’t have been possible without the Telkwa Rangers forest fire crew, who spent days working on the trails with the contractor hired by the SMBA.

He said the association is working on getting mountain bikers more involved. He’s hoping people will get in touch through the SMBA website.

“Our focus for the past two years has been mostly on building our network of trails. We’ve been able to capitalize on some great funding opportunities and build quite a lot of trail. Now the focus is shifting towards building the club and the community,” he said.

To view the draft version of the SMBA Trail Management Plan, visit the website at www.smithersmountainbike.ca.

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