Trail Solutions: A year in review - 2011

Greetings IMBA members. Hope everyone had a safe, fun-filled holidays and is settling into their respective winter activities while preparing for the snow to melt and trails to open once more. While waiting I thought I’d take some time to get you up to speed on all the work that IMBA Canada’s Trail Solutions program has had the privileged of being involved in through the seasons of 2011. Most of the projects identified in this article have more detailed articles linked to them so please click on any of the project titles to learn more.

The winter saw the wrapping up of design documents for 2010 projects like the trails masterplan for Crowsnest Pass, AB, while early spring saw involvement in two different academic institutions: the Mountain Bike Operations Program at Capilano University and the Sustainable Trails Certificate at Sir Sandford Fleming. Both programs promote responsible trail design and construction practices with graduates going on to work within the world of mountain bike trails. On top of teaching I headed down south to the biannual Professional Trail Builders Association Conference for some serious learning. With so many other professionals in one space for a week, the wealth of experience and information was amazing.

Once the snow was all but gone the late spring and summer seasons of fieldwork began. May’s big tasks were the initial work for the Georgina Bike Park and completing the design for Canada’s first off-road handcycle optimized trail system located just outside of Regina. The latter project was definitely a highlight of 2011 for me personally and one I am keen to continue leading into 2012. June, July and August were months of masterplanning with trail plans beginning development for Corner Brook, NL, Fundy National Park, NB, and the Wascana Provincial Recreation Site in Saskatchewan while construction of the handcycle trails commenced in early August.

The fall saw me bounce around all over the country as projects reached various stages of development and other projects came ready for commencement. I was as far west as Vancouver Island working with the Capital Regional District and as far east as Gros Morne National Park conducting the fieldwork for designs, assessment and masterplans. Throw a healthy dose of Toronto trails workshops, handcycle construction inspections and Calgary trail assessment into the mix and you’ve got the makings of one frantic fall.

Come November I was thoroughly exhausted both mentally and physically from all the travel, time zone switches and long hours in the field. But even after all that, I could not help but wonder, as I am right now, about the next opportunity to assist in some trail project somewhere in this big ol’ country of ours and while I am appreciating this downtime I look forward to 2012. I hope you have enjoyed following my travels and appreciate the efforts that myself, the Trail Solutions Program and IMBA Canada have put and will continue to put towards protecting and enhancing trail experiences across the country.

Play safe this winter and come spring may the trails dry quickly.