Bridle Path Renewal Project Final Report
The NSMBA is happy to report that the Bridle Path Renewal project has been completed. The project has been a resounding success and has directly addressed the interests of outdoor enthusiasts from across the Metro Vancouver region. The Bridle Path was originally used by horses to traverse the lower slope of Mt. Seymour and later on logging companies used parts of the trail. It is one of the most popular trails on the North Shore for dog walkers, hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. The original trail was built without regard for long-term sustainability or the management of large numbers of trail users from diverse user groups. As such the trail has suffered from erosion and devegetation caused by the combination of heavy traffic and unsustainable trail alignment.
The Bridle Path Renewal project sought to address the issues of trail sustainability and trail accessibility. Last year when the NSMBA asked its members what they wanted to see happen on the North Shore with regards to trails, a great number expressed their desire to see more cross-country style trails. It was decided to focus the project on the development of an alternate route that would appeal to trail users and provide a long-term solution to the inherent problems of the old route.
The new route was laid out in an area that provided a suitable slope for the utilization of a full bench cut trail. This method of trail construction is considered the gold standard in sustainable trail design.
The trail also makes use of natural features such as large boulders, fallen trees and stumps to provide points of interest and to anchor the trail by directing the flow of traffic on the trail. To reduce the damage caused by bikes skidding on steep sections the grade of the trail was minimized and grade changes were incorporated to reduce the amount of braking force applied to the trail tread. The result is a trail that immerses the user in the natural environment of the North Shore as it winds its way through diverse forests and around giant boulders.
The original project plan was to spend grant monies to buy cedar beams and other supplies to build box structures over the old trail. However, building the alternate line only required paying for labour and hand tools. Tools costs were around five hundred dollars and the remaining monies were paid to the builders who undertook the project. Many volunteer hours were also spent working on the trail after the grant monies were exhausted.
The project has generated an extremely positive response with trail users. Upon completion of the trail a full write up of the project was posted on the NSMBA website. To further promote the trail the NSMBA asked Dave Norona to shoot a helmet cam video of the trail and post it on www.nsmb.com. Dave did a fantastic job and the video has generated over 3200 views already on YouTube. Signage has not been finalized yet for the new line.
The NSMBA would like to thank TD Friends of the Environment for giving us the opportunity to make this project a resounding success.