Trail Academy

Learning how to care for the trails

The NSMBA Arc’teryx Trail Academy offers several courses on trail care and maintenance to share our knowledge of sustainable trail building with our membership. Each course combines classroom learning with practical on-trail experience. Trail Academy 100: Foundations of Trail Care provides an introduction to trail maintenance. This course serves as the pre-requisite for more advanced courses on trail design, rock work, wood structures, and more. All Trail Academy courses are free for current NSMBA members. Join us in caring for the trails we all love.

Many thanks to Arc’teryx for their generous support of this program and their continued commitment to our local trail network.

Logo for the NSMBA Arc'teryx Trail Academy which is a black crest with the Arc'teryx bird logo at the top and the the below states "Arc'teryx North Shore Trail Academy

 Trail Academy Philosophies

An adaptable approach.
Respect for the environment.
Long term care and development of our trails through sustainable practices.
The forest is a shared resource.
Cultivating a positive user experience. 

Learn more about the courses

Classes are limited to 20 participants and free to all NSMBA members. Each course consists of an evening theory session from 7 PM to 9:30 PM followed by a practical session on the trail. We’ll meet for the practical session at 8:45 AM and it will run until about 3 PM. Meeting location will be provided to attendees after registration. Youth under age 18 are welcome to participate but must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Not a member yet? Join here! Your membership supports our efforts and allows programs like this to continue.

Trail Academy 100: Foundations of Trail Care

An introduction to trail stewardship, covering the key principles of sustainable trail design and best practices for trail maintenance and repair. *This course is the original Trail Academy and is a required prerequisite for all other classes. Exemptions may be possible. Please contact penny@nsmba.ca to inquire about exemptions.
Graduates of Trail Academy 100: Foundations of Trail Care become members of the Race Face Shore Corps.

Theory Dates: Thursday, September 26; Tuesday, October 15; Wednesday, November 13
Practical Dates: Saturday, September 28; Saturday, October 19; Saturday, November 16; Sunday, November 24

Trail Academy 201: Introduction to Trail Design

Reviews fundamentals of environmental, social, and economic sustainability and explores how these are applied in the trail planning and design process. Emphasizes working with land managers and established trail standards to create an appropriate trail experience for various user groups. This course will typically be taught in conjunction with Trail Academy 211: Corners
Prerequisite: Trail Academy 100: Foundations of Trail Care

Theory Date: Monday, September 16 (held concurrently with Trail Academy 211)
Practical Dates: Tuesday, September 17; Thursday, September 19

Trail Academy 211: Corners

Corners are a key element of all trails. Participants will learn about design standards and appropriate usage of climbing corners, berms, and switchbacks. This course will typically be taught in conjunction with Trail Academy 201: Introduction to Trail Design
Prerequisite: Trail Academy 100: Foundations of Trail Care

Theory Date: Monday, September 16 (held concurrently with Trail Academy 201)
Practical Date: Sunday, September 22

Trail Academy 212: Rock Work

Properly constructed rock work can last for hundreds if not thousands of years. This course covers the construction of rock retaining walls, rock armouring, and other uses of rock in trail design.
Prerequisite: Trail Academy 100: Foundations of Trail Care

Theory Date: Wednesday, October 23
Practical Dates: Sunday, October 27; Sunday, November 3

Trail Academy 213: Wood Structures & Wood Structure Assessment

Vancouver’s North Shore is famous for its ladder bridges and other wood features, initially built out of necessity. This course covers design principles, trail standards for technical trail features, construction techniques, and assessment of wood structures.
Prerequisite: Trail Academy 100: Foundations of Trail Care

Theory Date: Monday, November 4
Practical Dates: Saturday, November 9; Sunday November 17

Wood Structure Assessment 

The NSMBA Trail Academy wouldn’t be possible without the partnership and support of Arc’teryx, an international company based here on the North Shore specializing in designing and producing performance outdoor apparel and equipment. Advanced Academies and the Shore Corps are supported by Race Face.

Practical Dates: Thursday, September 12