By Andrew Mitchell
Mountain bikers looking for lower valley trails that have been cleared of snow may have gotten a few surprises this spring, with the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project now working on a patch of forest that was the first two sections of Train Wreck, and a new cut through the start of Trash. Far from isolated incidents, this is only the latest in a string of development projects taking place throughout the community.
Both the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association are looking to turn trail losses into gains for mountain biking, as both organizers are backing an unprecedented number of singletrack projects throughout the valley.
“The way I look at it is that (development) is going to happen, and we have to deal with it,” said Jerome David, WORCA’s director of trails. “As long as everyone is aware of mountain biking, and supports us, then we can rebuild trails and have some new ones as well.”
The list of trails impacted by — or slated for — development is long:
Comfortably Numb — Rogers Wireless has applied to the province to build a cell tower to service Emerald Estates, reactivating a logging road that is now part of Comfortably Numb. Comfortably Numb was recently designated as an Epic Ride by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The RMOW has asked Rogers Wireless to consider co-locating their tower with a new tower that Telus wants to build over the Green Lake Loop trail.
Green Lake Loop — Part of the trail could be lost as the construction one or possibly two cell towers in the area.
Kill Me Thrill Me — Developers have applied to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District to build a subdivision at the entrance to the Soo Valley that would overlap a section of the trail.
Shit Happens — More than a kilometre of trail was lost as a result of the Rainbow development. The developers have provided WORCA with $10,000 to rebuild that section of trail, and work will begin this spring.
Rolo Coaster — This short descent on Blackcomb was lost entirely due to the construction of the Whistler Sliding Centre. WORCA is in talks with Whistler-Blackcomb to replace this trail.
Roam In the Loam — Short trail lost to the construction of the First Nations Cultural Centre. WORCA has been compensated with money to build a new trail.