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Mountain bike trail strategy moving ahead

RMOW, WORCA trail work underway for 2008



As Whistler’s reputation as a mountain bike paradise grows, so does the paradise.

Far from sitting on our laurels, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, with guidance from the Whistler Cycling Committee and Sea to Sky Trail committee, is taking steps to expand and upgrade the bike trails on municipal lands. At the same time the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association continues to increase its annual trail budget, focusing efforts on more popular trails, and trails that lie on Crown land. This year alone WORCA has also hosted three volunteer days, contributing hundreds of hours to maintain and rebuild trails.

While the trail network has always been a kind work in progress, the formal strategy has only been in place since late 2006 when the Whistler Cycling Committee released its Recreational Cycling Plan — a list of 90 action items to expand, upgrade, market, and protect Whistler’s mountain bike trails. The plan also included a map, with new sections of trail marked around the valley that would connect other trails and serve new neighbourhoods like Rainbow and Cheakamus Crossing.

Last year was the first year the plan was in place. During that summer, municipal crews expanded the trail network in Lost Lake Park, made an intermediate trail through Cut Yer Bars, and completed a new section of the Sea to Sky Trail to the south of the athletes’ village.

This year municipal crews are working on an extension of A River Runs Through It to bring one of Whistler’s most popular trails closer to Rainbow Park, as well as building another section of Sea to Sky Trail connecting the 2007 section to the Calcheak camping and recreation area. Maintenance will also be completed on several trails, including the popular Zappa trails in Lost Lake.

According to Frank Savage, chair of the Whistler Cycling Committee, trail counters are currently placed on the Zappa trails to log rider numbers and help determine how much maintenance a certain number of riders will require in the future.

“The (trail strategy) is progressing well, we’ve had a number of successful projects already,” said Savage. “Funds are always limited for new trail construction, but our visitor surveys and other indicators show that people are using them, and like what we have to offer, so we are pleased with the direction things are going.

“This is a long-term strategy. We still have a cycling committee and a trails planning group that meets twice a year to coordinate the work that’s been done by WORCA and the municipality, and we’re going to be doing some fine tuning as things go on. So far there have been no major changes to the strategy itself, our plans for the trails haven’t changed.”

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