by: Mark Wood
Entering the second half of the year, the North Shore Mountain Bike Association’s Trail Adoption Plan has hit full stride. Already this year, a tremendous amount of work has been completed with TAP collectively accounting for a total of 40 trail days to date. An army of community driven volunteers have taken up the charge with shovels, pulaskis, Macleods and mattocks, led by 15 TAP Builders. Never before have the trails on the North Shore seen such a concentrated amount of work in such a short period. There’s never been a better time to come visit the Shore…
Now into its second season, TAP has doubled in strength from 2011, the year of inception, to a total of 22 Adopters. Community groups, bike shops, bankers, lawyers and accountants, riders and runners, all passionate about our mountains, have been busy revitalizing 18 trails to their former glory. While erosion has outpaced maintenance for the past two decades, many degraded sections of trail have been brought back to life or rerouted to improve sustainability. The work also lessens our footprint by decommissioning braids, narrowing the trail bed and minimizing tread creep, thus tightening the trail and improving the user experience. Using modern building techniques, water dispersion has been implemented on the trails to counter its erosive properties, one of our greatest challenges in our temperate rain forest. Taking the environmental high road every step of the way, TAP work avoids tree root degradation and corrects alignment issues to minimize impact with the final step being beautification of the trail with planting of ferns, salal, huckleberry and moss. The ultimate goal is aimed at creating a positive rider experience while being harmonious with the above principles.
Dave Richardson from Telus is stoked, â€œEvery time I ride a trail, thereâ€™s been new work done! Itâ€™s awesome!â€ The amount of positive support in the community has spread like wildfire. It makes sense, after all, itâ€™s the community itself that is leading the efforts, closing the loop and ensuring a broad based perspective that benefits the greater community at large. Itâ€™s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. TAP is supported by a multitude of local businesses and community groups, but also joined by some national and international operations like newcomers Deloitte and second season returnees Bank of Montreal. The amount of volunteers involved in TAP number in the hundreds. â€œAs a rider, I feel itâ€™s my duty to give back,â€ says Eric Hung from BMO. TAP is helping to rebalance the equation.
A TAP Builder leads the effort of each Adopter. Each being an experienced local builder and passionate rider who ensures the work is completed to agreed to standards with the Land Managers. The quality of work is impressing the likes of Metro Vancouver, ensuring we are part of the unfolding future. â€œThe TAP program has allowed the LSCR to access tremendous assistance in maintaining our extensive trail network. The passion these individuals have for a great riding experience manifests as high quality and sustainable trail building practices.â€ Jesse Montgomery, LSCR Operations Foreman.
While last yearsâ€™ TAP efforts focussed on Seymour Mountain, this year sees expansion of operations to Mount Fromme, a different beast altogether. The challenges have been many. Steep fall line trails combined with voluminous water flow for the past twenty years has left many trails in an advanced state of erosion. Adding another layer of complexity when rerouting irreconcilable lines is the deep duff left behind from a legacy of repeated clear cutting. At times, the biomass can be several feet thick. To complicate matters even more so, an unusually wet spring has saturated the mountainside, raising the water table with many unforeseen springs rearing their heads while digging reroutes. Rarely a day without rain, June has been 40% wetter than normal. â€œIâ€™ve never seen anything like it,â€ says Irish Pete, one of the TAP builders who has built trails around the world, â€œyouâ€™ll be digging and suddenly water is gushing out!â€ The silver lining of a sodden springtime has left no doubt when identifying drainage issues on the trails. Despite these challenges, the community has pulled together and overcome the many uphill battles, one shovel full at a time. As Mark Twain says, its not the size of the dog in the fight, itâ€™s the size of the fight in the dog.
The vast amount of work completed thus far in 2012 has been broken down into â€˜regionsâ€™ below for ease of reference. Some adopters have only just begun, while over achievers like Arcâ€™teryx have already completed their six trail days this season, being the first Adopter to do so. Work will continue to progress throughout the remainder of the season, including frequent meetings with the Land Managers to create collaborative solutions to our shared challenges. Working together is growing opportunities for the sport.
The NSMBA would like to thank the TAP Adopters, the TAP Builders, BC Parks, the District of North Vancouver and Metro Vancouver LSCR for their support and shared vision. We would also like to thank the community at large for your patience and understanding as we continue the work to make things better for everyone. Working together we can accomplish great things. The NSMBA would also like to thank TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for their financial support of TAP. TD Friends of the Environment Foundation is proud to provide much-needed funding to help sustain local environmental projects.
Todd â€œDiggerâ€ Fiander
Upper Fromme Mountain:
Crinkum/Kirkford – Deloitte are creating two bypasses on Crinkum/Kirkford that improve sustainability and offer a more accessible rider experience on two trails that could use the help.
Executioner – With the amalgamation of lines on Executioner by the DNV crew and the ensuing press, the usership on the trail has spiked significantly through two seasons and the unsustainable loam trail bed has suffered the consequences. After TAPping Corkscrew last year, Bank of Montreal BMO has been working hard this year filling in bomb holes with gold and removing pools of mud to create a trail bed that can withstand the masses.
Dreamweaver â€“has also suffered significantly from the increased ridership brought on by Executioner. Arc’teryx has adopted the Gary Wright classic to address trail slumping, erosion and one massive drainage issue in particular. The recently opened 300 foot reroute, along with a 100 foot reroute just below the BP will greatly improve the ride.
Both Executioner & Dreamweaver will be multi year projects due to the distance of the trails and exhaustive degradation suffered. With thousands riding rain or shine in our year round climate, we need to create trails that can endure.
Expresso – The first of its kind, Expresso is being double tapped this year by returning adopters MEC and nsmb.com/Rock Shox. MEC revitalized TNT in 2011 while at the same time nsmb.com/Rock Shox TAPped Daleâ€™s Trail. With the non stop succession of work horse trail days between the two energetic adopters this season, work has been rapidly progressing at a hectic pace on the Shoreâ€™s first ever double TAP!
Lower Oilcan – Dizzy Cycles, a TAP newcomer this year, although owner Gord Moreside is no stranger to the Shore, having built Expresso in the early 90s, tackle Lower Oilcan, with the vision to create a â€˜purpleâ€™ trail â€œSomewhere between blue & black,â€ says Moreside. Theyâ€™ll be implementing much needed drainage and realigning corners to improve rider flow while lessening braking impact.. With much of the wood work expired or nearing its expiration, Dizzy is fully committed to the multi year project.
Lower Fromme Mountain:
Upper Griffen – The lower mountain is getting plenty of work done as well. Endless Biking has adopted Upper Griffen. A key trail for teaching and widely used as an exit by a broader base of riders, easy arounds have been implemented as well as dirt work to fill holes, muddy spots and exposed root fields. Ongoing maintenance will also continue on the new reroute created by the DNV crew last season.
Lower Griffen – Rocky Mountain Bicycles, after doing a tremendous job on the John Thompson trail last year, have taken on Lower Griffen. Wading through soupy pockets of organic, team pros like Gully, Simmons, Dr. Dre, Calhoun, Starkey and Vanderham are putting their shovels where their mouthâ€™s are and doing the lordâ€™s work on a section of trail that was rerouted last year by the DNV trail crew and the unfinished loam line, much like Executioner, was unable to handle the traffic.
Bobsled/ Floppy Bunny â€“ Although sights were first set for Pink Starfish, the DNV has required further planning be put in place before granting the re-opening of the old school classic. North Shore Bike Shop has shifted gears and is tackling much needed work on Bobsled, built by the DNV in 2010 and despite the massive rider ship topping out at 4000 riders/month, devoid of a maintenance plan. NSBS will also continue the good work being done on Floppy Bunny including a much-needed realignment at the trailâ€™s end, already begun.
Although most work has been moved to Fromme this year, work still continues on Seymour.
Pangor – Work on Pangor is near completion thanks to the efforts of the Mudbunnies & Ryders Eyewear, now in their second season. The new reroute through the fern grotto has added trail distance, improved sustainability and still retains the rock roll tech option, a win-win for the community that still keeps the original character of the trail.
Empress & the Bypass – Currently, the Bypass is getting a needed facelift thanks to Different Bikes and NSRide, creating a more dynamic trail experience, correcting drainage issues and addressing significant speed issues on what is a multi use utilitarian bypass-another win-win for all. Collaboration grows the pie. Keep in mind some of this work is less than glamorous, including the clearing of ditches and culverts; admirable work that serves the greater good.
Pingu – Dunbar Cycles have already rerouted the entrance to Pingu and are doubling up efforts on the traverse to Pangor to complete the project this season. Keep an eye out for a new happy ending that bypasses the massively eroded Incline exit. With the TAPping of Corkscrew last year, and the anticipated completion of Pangor this year, Pingu is the last gem to complete the triumvirate.
Boogieman – Steed Cycles & Giant Bicycles have entered their second year on Boogieman and are busy replacing rotted structures to revitalize the old school classic. The work is tedious and technical – Kim Steed and the crew are committed to revive the challenging double black trail, every core Shore riderâ€™s nemesis at one point or another.
CBC – Finally, the late addition to TAP for this year, Cove Bikes and Okanagan Springs Brewery will adopt CBC, the most highly shuttled trail on the mountain. The length and terrain of CBC make this adoption particularly challenging. A multi year plan is being implemented, the first year focussed on addressing expired structures, blown out armouring, drainage and dirt work, exacerbated by long forgotten years without a maintenance plan magnified by high usage. Coveâ€™s whistle is sure to be whetted while working on the tasty Blue Ribbon trail, thanks to Okanagan Springs Brewery.
Circuit 8 – BC Bike Race is happening as we speak and Andreas Hestler & Dean Payne have adopted Circuit 8 along with Adera. The only way to go is up to improve the deep mud track into a legitimate beginnerâ€™s trail with drainage and water shedding capacity for the broader based community, the trail being one of the few flat loops in our trail network.
Richard Juryn Trail – John Henry Bikes has adopted the trail that has great significance to the community, not only for what it is, but the realized vision it has become in honour of the well respected NSMBA President Richard Juryn whose dream it was to create a trail that would welcome the youth into the sport of biking. The dream continues. This is the power of community.