Cypress Blues

Words Sharon Bader
Date Feb 29, 2012

Cherry Bomb, S & M Connector and 5th Horseman. The Cypress trails and features have a reputation for being steeper, rockier and more challenging than anywhere else on the North Shore. With the Draft Parks Master Plan Report, the District of West Vancouver is moving towards having sanctioned, sustainable trails on Cypress, however the recommendations fall short of protecting the current riding experience. The double diamond and black trails we know and love could become easier blue trails.

On Tuesday, March 6th mountain bikers can let the District know what they think of the recommendations at the Parks Master Plan Open House at the Community Centre on 21st Street.

Date: March 6
Time: 5 – 8 p.m.
Place: West Vancouver Community Centre, 2121 Marine Drive

Cypress Blues Advocacy
  STIL is an understatement on Cypress. Here’s Tippie showing how Cherry Bomb rolls. Photo ~ Layne Marett

The Working Group has heard what mountain bikers want thanks to presentations from the NSMBA as well as through Alan Bardsley, who has worked closely with West Van Parks for several years. As a result, there’s a lot that’s good in the draft report:

  • Recognition of the value of mountain bike trails
  • Working with the NSMBA on trails
  • Adopting the best practices of DNV

Despite the positive aspects, the draft report falls short in two areas. First, it fails to support the current level of difficulty of the Cypress trails. These trails are among the steepest, most technical trails on the Shore. While the Working Group has been told this, they need to hear directly from the mountain bike community that riders want challenging trails on Cypress. The trend on the Shore has been less gnar and more flow, and the Working Group knows this. If they don’t hear otherwise, the double diamond trails on Cypress could be replaced with easier blue trails.

Cypress Blues Advocacy
  Like the steep lines on 5th? Better tell West Van or they’ll be gone! Photo ~ Derek Dix

Second, and more unsettling, is that the recommendations for identifying an area for mountain bike trails on Cypress have been watered down. The initial draft report recommended that the Upper Lands Study “find permanent locations for mountain bike trails”. The current draft recommends finding permanent locations for “some existing trails”. Alan is disappointed by the vague wording. “While I understand the desire to use more neutral wording, there are lots of hiking trails in West Vancouver, but practically no sanctioned mountain bike trails. A specific need deserves a specific recommendation.”

The Upper Lands Study is crucial to the future of trails on Cypress. It will set the land use for the entire mountainside, how much will be developed and how much will remain for conservation and recreation. There is talk of allowing development well above the 1,200′ contour in exchange for protecting valuable park land further west in an area not suitable for mountain biking. Allowing development above 1,200′ will impact several popular trails off the 3rd switchback. Nothing has been officially proposed yet, but clearly mountain bikers need to be involved. We need to work closely with the District on the Upper Lands Study. A large turnout at the Parks Master Plan Open House is the best opportunity to get the District’s attention before decisions are made.

Cypress Blues Advocacy
  Cypress has always been about rocks and roots like this pitch on Pre-Reaper. Photo ~ Morgan Taylor

The Open House is Tuesday March 6th from 5 PM to 8 PM at the West Vancouver Community Centre, 2121 Marine Drive. If you’re busy Tuesdays, there’s another Open House on Wednesday, February 29 at Gleneagles Community Centre, 6262 Marine Drive. There’s no set schedule, no speeches or talking heads. We need as many riders as possible to show up, look at the displays and talk calmly but passionately to DWV staff or a Working Group member.

Tell them:

  • How much you appreciate the move to sanctioned trails on Cypress
  • What type of trails you want to see on Cypress
  • That the Upper Lands Study needs to find a permanent home for bike trails
  • How beat up the trails on Cypress are compared to Seymour and Fromme

Cypress Blues Advocacy
  As awesome and green as Cypress is, the trails could all end up blue. Photo ~ Sterling Lorence

It’s been 4 years since mountain bikers have turned out en masse to support the Cypress trails. Let’s show West Vancouver that we’re still passionate about them. 

If you can’t make it out to the open houses, please fill out a comment form and email it to West Van Parks at The deadline for the comment form is March 16.

Even if you don’t ride the Cypress trails very often, your support would be much appreciated. The main open house is Tuesday, March 6, and the optional open house is Wednesday, February 29. Get out there and help maintain the current trail experience on Cypress!

Update: The mountain bike community responded to the call and was a visible presence at the March 6th meeting. Click here for our recap of the open house.

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