March 8th, 2019

Over the years, the North Shore Mountain Bike Association has advocated for the Lower Griffen Switchbacks, at the base of Fromme Mountain, to be rehabilitated and proposed a 3-year work program to mitigate water and sediment management issues on the trail designed to minimize the trails current environmental impact and increase its value to all trail users. As per a statement released by the District of North Vancouver (DNV) on March 1, 2019, this trail has now been permanently closed for the following reasons:

– erosion and drainage issues
– habitat and wetland protection
– loose rocks and slope stability
– broken features and hazard trees

The NSMBA was provided with additional information on this closure. In 2018, the DNV Parks Department requested a document review by the Environmental Department in order to provide an opinion on whether the trail โ€˜Lower Griffen Switchbacksโ€™ should be either repaired or closed permanently. The 2007 Fromme Mountain Sustainable Trail Use and Classification Plan recommended permanently closing this trail in order to facilitate habitat restoration and to mitigate any future impacts to the surrounding environment associated with the trail repair works, should the trail remain open. Two additional independent assessments were completed in 2018, these were reviewed and a trail assessment was completed by DNV Environment staff; this combined evidence led to a final decision to close the trail.

 

We are disappointed in the outcome, but support the goals of environmental protection and stewardship and respect the DNVโ€™s process utilizing evidence-based decision making. As an organization focused on sustainable trails, we believe the environmental impact of this existing trail could have been minimized; however, we understand there were significant concerns contained within the independent environmental studies used by the DNV to make this closure. We support the need to protect sensitive areas of the North Shore for future generations and support our partners in the DNV.

 

The NSMBA prides itself on the stewardship of the natural environment – this is a goal we share with the DNV under the Fromme Mountain Trail Maintenance Service Agreement. This agreement provides shared objectives that include the promotion of cycling and hiking as healthy family oriented activities that benefit the local economy and the North Vancouver community generally; the improvement of trail quality and maintenance on Fromme Mountain to reflect the increasing volume and types of trail use on Fromme Mountain; the improvement of the quality, safety and sustainability of Fromme Mountain trails for all trail users; and the reduction of adverse environmental impacts resulting from the recreational use of trails on Fromme Mountain.

 

The Griffin Switchbacks were a high-value asset for riding progression, as well as connectivity with the trail network for all trail users, however, this was outweighed by the ongoing environmental impacts. We will continue to work collaboratively with the DNV, advocating for the trails we all enjoy as a community and for new trails to sustainably fill the needs of the growing number of trail users.

 

The NSMBA requests that trail users respect decommissioning and restoration efforts by staying off the trail, and out of the surrounding area. The DNV has advised alternate routes along Baden Powell, Imonator, Griffen Ascent, and Lower Griffen will remain open. The NSMBA will share additional details about rehabilitation efforts if they become available.

 

If you have any further questions or comments to the NSMBA please email us info@nsmba.ca, or cooper@nsmba.ca

 

If you have any further specific questions about the closure from the District please email parks@dnv.org