The IMBA Canada trail crew paid a recent visit to the North Shore.  On Nov 18th 2011 Chad & Deanne Lazaruk from IMBA shared the knowledge of sustainable trail building with the community.  Putting theory into practice, the half day of classroom theory was followed by a day and a half of building a new reroute on Dreamweaver.

Chad & Deanne have been on the road for the past 18 months travelling across Canada, teaching mountain bike associations how to work with Land Managers and create sustainable trails that are environmentally conscientious with a focus on long term, low maintenance building.  They’ve seen every kind of challenge in their travels and didn’t hesitate in identifying the issues we face.  Here on the Shore, water dispersion is one of our most significant challenges. Fall line trails erode easily, especially when compounded by such a wet climate.

22 people attended the course and learned how to incorporate flow into the trails while including a number of water shedding techniques.  The half rule is a key component to sustainable building in which the trail grade does not exceed half of the grade of the slope it’s built on.  There are exceptions to every IMBA rule, to a point, but these are some of the first considerations when creating the trail’s alignment.  Outslope, grade reversals and maximum sustainable grade are all primary factors and tools to create a sustainable trail.  The most important aspect of building a trail is doing it right from the start.  Stating the obvious, but you need to know the techniques first, and that’s what IMBA was here to teach us!

The ultimate trail alignment that incorporates a healthy dose of flow and long term sustainability is a rolling contour trail.

Different techniques of how to build turns, both insloped and flat were learned, as well as the different ways to armour, including stone pitching, flagstone and Appalachian.  New tools were introduced into our arsenal, including the fire rake which rips through organic.

The three days IMBA spent with us is invaluable as they have “taught a man how to fish for a lifetime.”

IMBA is there to help us in our goals of strengthening our relations with the Land Managers as well as rectifying long term issues we have with many of the trails that were built so long ago.  As we embark on our journey in rebuilding the Shore through TAP, this knowledge will be shared through the upcoming Builder’s Academy which will be launching in early 2012.


Deanne demonstrates how to use the tools and all their endearing nick names!

Digger’s on the right, Willows on the left.

A rock sling meant we could move some giant stones!

The NSMBA wishes to extend a sincere thanks to everyone who attended and to IMBA for their patience, care and dedication to help further the sport in our community through best practices and improved relations with Land Managers and the greater community.

A fire rake rips through the mat.

On Nov 28th, IMBA presented to DNV Council alongside the NSMBA.  Here’s what they had to say about the NSMBA:

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (Canada) is a non-profit trail advocacy organization whose mission is to create, enhance, and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers throughout Canada.

IMBA has been leading the global mountain bike movement since 1988. IMBA, which now has offices in 17 countries, brings out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low impact riding, volunteer trail work participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, and innovative trail management solutions.

Nationally, we are partnered with Parks Canada, the Trans Canada Trail and affiliated bike clubs to promote sustainability and best practices when developing trail networks. Parks Canada, especially, is embracing our methods for reducing environmental impact and user conflict while at the same time improving accessibility and user enjoyment. We’ve now worked with 18 national parks and taught workshops in all ten provinces and one territory.

Last week we were invited by the North Shore Mountain Bike Association to hold a trail building workshop  in North Vancouver. We were blown away by the years of combined experience as well as the level of expertise that this trail organization possesses. They are an innovative organization that demonstrates a great deal of respect for their environment, their community and each other.

IMBA Canada proudly supports the NSMBA in the work they are doing to improve the trails on the North Shore and we ask the city for their continued support of this organization.