Posted by: oldmanbuilder
I encourage everyone to provide input on the NSMBA's Strategic Plan. Looks like this will be thru Jan & Feb? https://nsmba.ca/strategic-plan-development/
The strategic plan itself seems well thought out, and likely to drive growth and sustainability in the NSMBA. My concern is more about the NSMBA's long-term priorities, and specifically what new trails are brought into life, and what trails are taken away from us.
Does anyone else have concerns about the gradual loss of the old-school character trails on Fromme? Since the heights of old-school we've lost: Pink Starfish, Upper & Lower Bitches Brew, Executioner, old-school Lower Digger, and old-school Expresso. We see flagging around Upper Digger and it's hard not to assume that's next, as there is a need for something easier to connect from the BP to new-school Lower Digger.
With the rotation of volunteer board members (I know, each making the best decisions they could at the time), my concern is that resources will continue to be directed essentially entirely into green and blue trails. This will only increase the divide between the legitimate and rogue networks. It just seems self-defeating to not be investing in challenging trails and keeping the ones we already have. What happens when all the new people who are brought into the sport by the vastly improved green/blue network want to seek out more challenging experiences?
If you agree, please tell the NSMBA that you think they should commit to keep ALL existing old school trails on Fromme and Seymour, including Upper Digger. No more trail loss.
Your post illicits many issues. I don't think this is one the old school trails are going to win, however. Excellent topic, however.
My observation is that there is a mandate to a policy of low(er) risk and liability management. The DNV allows riding so long as it falls within "acceptable risk". This means no double blacks. Notice that most trails that were once blue are now black? This ensures that the trail rating system is skewed to make truly hard trails either rare or easy to identify and remove. Oilcan has a black rating (when it was originally a blue), but so does Bookwus, Crippler and Grannies. I think I know which is harder.....they haven't even removed the sign for Lower Digger that shows it as a double black. But with the new mandates of riding as they are, the powers that be didn't stop to think what allowing almost anyone with a bike able to ride the Shore would entail. I like many lifelong bikers would like to see the sport grow. But there is a difference between growth and evolution, and as things are going now, with more smoothing out and loosing the "edge" that made the Shore what it was, we are seeing the result: riders with little skill, poor skill development, a loss in interest in the really technical trails and popularity of the trails that a novice would be into. It is no surprise, then, that you see little ridership on Upper Digger, Crippler, Grannies......the new trails don't build the skills needed for such terrain and thus are avoided. We are creating our own worst enemy.
It is also no coincidence that the prevalence of ebikes and the said smooth trails are hand in hand. Both correlation and causation. And the parking lot, with the many parents pulling their kids up to Bobsled...yes, it is a start, but I got mine in Princess Park. It all starts young they say. Since the smooth trails (Expresso, Crinkum, Kirkford, Seventh) offer little in resistance going down, the only barrier is going up, and ebikes remove this barrier. It is no surprise that on Fromme the most ridden trails: Seventh , Expresso, Lower Expresso, Bobsled, Lower Digger, Pennzoil, Kirkford,; all have one thing in common. I venture to bet that on a weekend 66% of the ridership on Fromme rides these trails. Boundary was ignored until it was given love. Growth, yes. Evolution, no. And of the harder trails, how many whom go down them have been doing so for a long time? How many use Expresso Original Entrance? Why is it even there when it is so out of character to the rest of the trail? Speaking of Expresso, I wouldn't of minded so much had the original trail been kept as an option. But it wasn't and there is no getting it back. There are so many good old lines that could of been kept....nope. Ditto for Crinkum and Kirkford. If it were really about providing for a wide variety of riders, the new school would be implemented with the preservation of the old. But the new school flow comes at the expense of the old. Dale's comes to mind, and is, to me, the most egregious example. It is so out of character to the rest of the trail......and offers nothing in terms of interest, challenge......preparation for the upcoming gnarfest....
And the fact we can't build anything above Seventh is asinine. If you could there would be a spreading out of the masses....just think if the Dump Trail were to be brought back to life....give the extra up a reason so. Goodbye Squeaky Elbow...an excellent warm up. Per Gynt was an excellent trail and warm up too...best to leave it to the hikers whom have been doing all kinds of trail maintenance over the years. Check out St. Georges for evidence of this.
I don't think the NSMBA is to blame; they are filling out the need of implementing what the DNV wants. After all, if we could lose CBC without much of fight, I can't see how any others are going to fair any better. The NSMBA can try to plead a case, but if the land manager wants to do things to their wishes, they will get it. Metro seems to be the worst.
Frankly, I am surprised that the harder gnar trails are still here. Bookwus especially. The loss of Pink Starfish was purely on liability grounds. And the number of riders I see with no armour, flat soled shoes on flat pedals, no gloves.... I suppose no one crashes anymore. And what I can't understand is that smooth flow trails are very labour intensive to make, maintain and keep in good shape. Soil doesn't work long term when it rains as much as it does here.
I had my concerns 10 years ago that things were going in a direction that was leading to our devolution and now.........the next five years will be interesting. No one thought the development on Cypress would be as invasive as it has been, but on private land you are not going to win. Mountain biking here in 10 years will make you wonder what part of mountain you don't understand.