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WORCA preserves River landmarks


Massive trail work project expected to take eight weeks

With more than 14,000 riders recorded over a three-month period last summer, it’s safe to say that A River Runs Through It is one of Whistler’s most ridden bike trails outside of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

Time and popularity have definitely caught up to the trail. At the beginning of this season, the old log crossing of 21-Mile Creek finally buckled, and WORCA constructed a new log crossing a little further along.

The old water tower, which was located just past the log bridge, also met its end this year. Strong winds from a storm a few weeks ago knocked down three large poplar trees, which damaged the tower as they fell.

WORCA was in the middle of a municipally approved Trail and Habitat Rehabilitation Project at the time and discovered the effects of the storm on July 14. As part of their rehabilitation project in the area, they decided to commemorate the tower by building a trail feature from the usable wood. WORCA also provided the Whistler Museum and Archives with a picture of the old water tower, taken in 1995. The picture was taken from Environmental Review: Rainbow Wetlands Park, Green Lakes Conservation Area, Wedge Park, prepared by Cascade Environmental Resource Group and Brent Harley and Associations Inc.

According to Ted Battiston, WORCA’s director of trails, the entire trail is getting a major makeover this year.

"The long and short of it is that this area is going to be part of the Protected Area Network Strategy, and the ideal situation for the area is that it shouldn’t have a mountain bike trail running through it," he said.

"That said, there was an opportunity to grandfather the trail because it has been around for a long time, and I don’t think you could ever stop people from riding it. WORCA has taken care of this trail for a long time and we’ve put a lot of groundwork in there to minimalize the environmental impact of so many riders. We went even further by submitting a proposal, and getting a sizeable chunk of funding to really work on the trail."

WORCA made the proposal for River to the Community Foundation of Whistler’s Environmental Legacies Fund, and received a grant of $7,000. The Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation matched that grant with another $7,000, and WORCA and the RMOW both contributed over a thousand dollars each to bring the budget for the trail over $16,000 this summer. That pays for approximately eight weeks of trail work for Sean Dixon, who was hired to do the work.