It’s easy to take for granted the amazing network of trails we have on the North Shore. Mountain bikers come from all over the world to ride here. We’ve got it good…a variety of trails serving beginner to advanced riders and multiple flavours to choose from: fast and flowy, slow and skinny, or steep, rooty, and rocky. We have established permitting processes and trail maintenance agreements as a result of good working relationships with the local land managers. For the past few years, the NSMBA has received funding from some land managers to support both regular trail maintenance as well as new trail construction projects.

But there are still very real risks to trail access for mountain bikers as well as risks to the variety of trail experiences that we enjoy. Recently the District of North Vancouver issued a closure notice of the Griffen switchbacks on Fromme due to environmental concerns. Metro Vancouver’s LSCR Trails Strategic Plan for trails on Seymour within their jurisdiction potentially threatens the character of some of the trails they manage. If these recommendations are followed there is the possibility these trails may lose their original technical challenges.

Photo by D. Clendenan

Your voice matters. Many land managers hold public consultations, including user surveys at trailheads and online, open house events, and stake-holder meetings. Many trail organizations also compile annual surveys. Participating in these formal feedback sessions is important, but they are not the only opportunities to speak for the trails. Email is a powerful tool. Do not underestimate the strength of your single voice and don’t wait until it’s too late. There’s no time like the present to be a keyboard hero and send a quick note. There doesn’t need to be a crisis facing the trails to show your appreciation for the current trail work that is being done or to share your ideas for the future of the trails and the network.

Impressed at how well a trail held up over winter despite the heavy rainfall? Stoked to see an old wooden stunt rebuilt? That’s thanks to the trail work done by your local builders. If you like the work you see on the trails, let the Land Managers know. Tell them you appreciate the work of the NSMBA and the hard working volunteers. Often land managers only hear about complaints, it’s important that the squeaky wheels are not the only voice they hear. If you’d like guidance on what to say, just reach out, we’ll be happy to help.

Looking forward to progressing your skills on a trail that’s a little steeper and a little rougher? Enjoy the wood features and want to help ensure they are replaced rather than removed? Excited about taking your child out on the upgraded Empress Bypass and being able to ride together as a family? Again, let the Land Managers know that you value each of those trail experiences and want to preserve the character of those trails. The variety is what makes our network so great.

Trails always need your support, don’t take it for granted that we’ll always have access to our present variety of trail experiences, it’s up to all of us to speak for the trails.

We’ve compiled all the contact information for our local land managers for you here.

Author: Penny Deck, NSMBA Trail Academy Lead

Cross-posted from with permission.