By Andrew Mitchell
A map eight feet wide gave Whistler cyclists their first glimpse of what the future might look like, from additional Valley Trail sections to new singletrack rides for all levels of ability.
The Whistler Cycling Committee, which put together the plans after extensive meetings with stakeholders, held an open house on Thursday, Oct. 5 at Spruce Grove fieldhouse to showcase their plans and get consensus on both the general direction of the draft plans and the specifics within the plans themselves.
Over 80 people participated, filling out forms and identifying priorities on a wide range of topics. As well, the draft cycling plans, posters and feedback forms will be posted through the month of October on the RMOW website at www.whistler.ca/Community/Biking/Cycling_Plans.php for people who were unable to attend the meeting.
According to cycling committee chair Frank Savage, the meeting was a success.
“Every once in a while I looked around and saw someone who had been there for two hours,” said Savage. “We actually had to ask people to leave at 9 o’clock.”
Savage says the committee has not yet had time to sift through comments made by the public, but they will be reviewed and included in the draft transportation and recreation cycling master plans they hope to present to the public in November. Elements of the plans, which include an overall trails master plan, could start to be implemented by next spring.
While members of the public were asked to comment on a variety of different components of the plans, the most popular exhibit at the open house was the map that showed dozens of potential new Valley Trail links and mountain bike trails for the valley.
“The people who showed up were keen bikers for the most part, although we had others there as well, and so the mapping was definitely the most engaging part,” said Savage. “That’s where we’re really going to see something happen on the ground.”
New proposed trails include:
• New Valley Trail sections connecting Alpha Lake Park to Function Junction; Blueberry to Tapley’s; Lost Lake Park to Nicklaus North, Nesters to Alpine Meadows; around the west side of Nita Lake.
• A new singletrack trail connecting Emerald, the proposed Rainbow subdivision and Alpine Meadows, in the style of the Zappa trails through Lost Lake Park.
• A new section of River Runs Through It to Rainbow Park.
• A new section of Singletrack from the lower part of Green Lake Loop to Lost Lake.
• A new trail through the clearcut under Khybers, connecting the new See Colours and Puke trail to an area above Kadenwood, with a junction connecting to a trail to Spring Creek.
• A new trail from the Riverside Trails above Logger’s Lake to the Jane Lakes area, making a loop with new sections of the Sea to Sky Trail.
• New sections of Train Wreck to compensate for sections lost to highway upgrades, possibly with a bridge connecting to Trash over the Cheakamus River.
• New singletrack from mid-station on Blackcomb to the descent on Comfortably Numb.
• New sections of Comfortably Numb to allow people to cut out middle loop or descend to the Green Lake Loop if they’re in trouble. Trail builder Chris Markle opposed those changes, preferring to keep the trail a single epic ride instead of breaking it up into smaller sections.
• New trail off the Flank Trail to West Side trail network.
The trails proposed ranged from paved trails to black diamond singletrack.
The committee also asked the public how to improve signage on the trails, as well as their ideas for new trails.
The Whistler Cycling Committee was formed in 2000 by RMOW council to guide the future development of cycling in the community. The committee includes representatives from the RMOW, as well as stakeholders such as WORCA, Tourism Whistler, bike shops, and cycling tour companies.