IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew leaders AJ Strawson and Rachael Raven wrap up their time on the road and say goodbye!
For the past year and a half, AJ and I have travelled all across the country - visiting all of Canada's beautiful and unique provinces (plus the Yukon!), riding our bikes, building trails, and spreading the word about how mountain biking and singletrack make our communities better places to live.
Our visit to the Kolapore Wilderness Trails Association was a monumental one, not only is it the last visit as IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew of our careers, but also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the KWTA. We are happy to report that, thanks to the great professionalism of the club and hard work from volunteers, the visit was a success. Indeed, they were able to draw visitors from a wide area around the GTA, a testament to the high level of organization the club enjoys.
Located near Peterborough's east end, Harold Town Conservation Area is a property which has seen many users, and many trails over the years. The area has a unique history - like many Conservation Areas in Ontario - where you can find much evidence of past uses, including farmsteads, an old ski hill, ATV and dirt bike trails, and orchards.
It's no surprise that frontcountry trails get more attention than backcountry. It is tough to get out and monitor or assess backcountry routes, let alone get materials or people out to maintain them. So this week we took to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site's 60km Liberty Loop to assess the condition of the trails and get the full park experience.
With a week off in the schedule before we are due to work back on the mainland, AJ and I found ourselves with time to explore Newfoundland's spectacularly beautiful Gros Morne National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Park features amazing terrain and geology, including the second highest peak on the island.
Great trails take us to amazing locations. Away from civilization, roads, and the monotony of everyday life, our trails seek out vistas and lookouts, rivers and lakes, and rugged terrain deep in the wild.
But this can put us at odds with the power of mother nature, and the environment around us. By having minimal impact on our surroundings - exposing the terrain, rather than changing it - our trails are often vulnerable to storms, flooding, slides, or other changes to the ecosystem.
The energy and enthusiasm that we felt from the folks with the Avalon Mountain Bike Association was infectious. A relatively new organization, the club is currently beginning the process of managing the trail network in Pippy Park, a popular urban multi use within the city. The park contains a number of forest types, ponds, viewpoints, and fantastic rock, making for an excellent canvas to craft beginner friendly multi-use trail.
Our visit to Cornerbrook, NL, happened during a time of great excitement and activity as the West Coast Cycling Association was nearly finished building their first trail, the Ginger Route. The trail is part of a 50km masterplan (that IMBA Canada's Trail Solutions had a hand in designing) which will draw in mountain bikers from near and far with progressive and sustainable trails.
Though we haven't lived in Ottawa for a few years, rumours about the great trails at Mont Ste Marie have travelled far and wide. So, when we heard that we'd be paying a visit to Velo MSM, Rachael and I were excited to finally see what was going on!
Our first day began with a group ride to check out the work they had been doing. With a few paid trailbuilders (thanks to multiple grants) they have put considerable effort into a blue level climbing trail to get to the top of the hill.