If you are interested in building new mountain biking trails – that’s awesome! We all know that trails don’t build themselves! However, there is a procedure to follow and both CMBC and the City of Whitehorse strongly discourage unauthorized trail development. CMBC has a Trail Steward agreement with the City of Whitehorse Parks & Community Development under the 2018 Trail Development Policy.
CMBC CAN POTENTIALLY ASSIST YOU BY:
Helping you to determine if your trail idea meets criteria and planning objectives;
Assisting with applications; and
Contributing volunteer support for building and maintenance.
Please contact CMBC’s Trail Director to discuss your idea before you start swinging a pulaski!
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City of Whitehorse Trail Development Policy
In summer 2018, the City of Whitehorse passed a new Trail Development Policy to help the City achieve its objectives regarding public safety, user conflict avoidance, and environmental stewardship, when it comes to building new trails (note: this policy does not apply to maintenance of existing trails).
This policy acknowledges that the City does not have the capacity to maintain and manage all trails that have been built or will be built within municipal boundaries. The City now requires all new trails to be authorized by Council, and for a Trail Use Agreement to be signed between the trail steward building the trail and the City of Whitehorse.
The policy outlines two situations where approval will only be granted when the proponent building the trail accepts the responsibility for ongoing trail inspection and maintenance:
If the trail inter-connects with existing City trails, but City management of the trail would not be possible; or
If the trail is not part of or integrated with the existing City trail network.
The new policy also outlines the full process of trail development approval, including an environmental review, when public engagement processes would be triggered, and trail building standards and guidelines.
What does this mean for CMBC?
Trail development and maintenance has entered a new paradigm in Whitehorse. As with most municipalities in Canada, the City of Whitehorse has followed the trend of great oversight and regulation guided by liability and interest in municipal lands being used and valued by residents. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and the opportunity for CMBC is to understand and work within this new framework in the interest of CMBC members with an eye to the common interests of all City residents.
Ultimately, if a Trail Use Agreement is required, the proponent has to demonstrate its capacity to take on inspection and maintenance responsibilities. In most cases, this means a trail steward such as CMBC needs to take on the responsibility of inspection and maintenance.
Recognizing that CMBC is entirely volunteer-run (including the building and maintaining of trails) and that:
All trails being built need a champion to see the project through from start to finish;
The volunteer base likely won’t support the development of all the potential new trails that members are suggesting/proposing; and
New trail builds will require a commitment from CMBC for inspection and maintenance (in most cases),
Therefore, CMBC wanted to undertake some priority-setting for trail development with our members so that allocation of finite resources was strategic.
CMBC Trail Development
In fall 2018, CMBC undertook an exercise to engage members in what they thought the club’s trail priorities should be. We had a great response, with 75 people responding to our survey and over 30 people attending our workshop.
CMBC asked the following overarching question:
In partnership with the City of Whitehorse (and other land-managers), how can CMBC best make transparent, strategic, and inclusive decisions that sustainably grow and maintain the trail network so that people continue to enjoy a diversity of trail-riding experiences?
We sought to produce some guiding principles to guide trail development decision-making, and maybe some trail priorities. Based on member input, we came up with the following:
CMBC Trail Development Guiding Principles
Progression – allowing for skill development while still building fun trails for advanced riders
Connections – enhancing connections to optimize the existing trail network
Sustainability – balancing the needs of today, and tomorrow, and ensuring our decisions today support trail and organizational longevity/sustainability
The CMBC Board is going to use these pillars to help us prioritize new trail projects, as ideas and requests come in, over the next year. We will revisit after a year of using these guiding principles to adjust as needed, and move forward with successes.
Some Trail Development FAQs
Can I see the full results from your trail planning survey and meeting?
Yes! Full unedited results from the 75 surveys are available and anonymous. Event flip-chart notes and participant-made stickies were transcribed and analysed by the facilitator and members of the executive, and made into a report. They are kind of long, but we are happy to share.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
So what if I want to build a trail?
CMBC supports our members to be trail builders by helping them with the paperwork, liaising with the City of Whitehorse, recruiting volunteers for trail nights, and providing tools. If you have a trail you really want to build, give us a shout at email@example.com or speak with Trail Directors Rob McConell and Eirik Sharpe.
We are particularly looking for members who are interested in building connector trails, which will enhance our existing network, and trails with opportunities for progression (for example, features with ride-arounds which are rideable for a variety of skill levels).
What if I just want to help with maintenance?
Buy a membership (so we can insure you!), click ‘yes’ to join our email list, and watch our Facebook Page and website for updates on when and where we are holding trail nights. It would be so great to have you out!