Banff, Canada's oldest and likely most iconic national park, has a special place in the heart of many Canadians. It has the reputation to inspire and instill a sense of awe in any who visit. Wether you climb one of its many mountain peaks or just view the scenery from the townsite, it's likely you will leave with a heightened appreciation for the rocky mountains.
Our well attended classroom presentation was held at the Brickworks in the middle of the Don. Quite a cool place with lots of history, the Brickworks was a great place to host a trail building presentation. The Wild Bettys also provided a great amount of coffee and goodies to keep all the attendees awake through the 3 hour seminar.
Martin Littlejohn of the Mountain Bike Tourism Association hosted our third conference call last night for the committee members. Discussions ranged from budget, program to speakers, and of course beer. There are lots of details to sort through but as a committee member I have a pretty easy job compared to what Martin is dealing with.
Expect a full range of tourism related breakout sessions, trail workshops, guided rides and lots of networking to help your communities economic potential.
The chance to travel and have one’s eyes opened to new ideas and information - no better way to bring in the New Year!
Why all the excitement? Well, I had the great fortune to travel down to IMBA HQ in Boulder, Colorado at the beginning of January. A weeks worth of meetings, knowledge sharing, team building and enjoying mountain air, were all part of IMBA’s Staff Training event.
We had a great day of building and teaching in Nanaimo; tons of great volunteers ready to tackle the challenging terrain we had, plus help from the previous Trail Care Crew to supervise other sections of trail. The project consisted of about 150 metres of trail construction and rehabilitating older trail to bring up to sustainable guidelines.
Trail design can sometimes be a pretty complicated endeavour. One must balance many considerations when adding new trail to an existing network. This includes the basics like user types, difficulty level, existing trails, and the ever present question of sustainability. Furthermore, different types of terrain provide additional challenges; a beginner trail in rooty and rocky terrain can require significant effort.
It can take quite a while for an organization or club representing a group of people to become an established part of the community. Especially when the club has to work with both local or regional governments, and at the same time establish a membership base which can support the activities and long term goals. Furthermore, when an organization is just starting out, the list of obstacles and challenges is often much larger than the lists of successes.
Last weekend, in my capacity as IMBA Canada's Quebec Coordinator, I attended a meeting in Sutton in the eastern townships. A group of bicyclists and trail users met in order to form a trail association. The goal is to organize and propose a network of trails in the area. Sutton has a great reputation amongst outdoor enthousiasts for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter but the bicyclists hope that they can put together a proposal to have trails designated for mountain biking as well as a few new trails in the area.