Vancouver’s mountain bike community is in shock as 30 trails have been made off limits by a landowner.
25 “No Trespassing” signs appeared on an area of Mount Seymour managed by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The move has taken the mountain bike community on the Shore totally by surprise as CMHC has historically taken a hands-off approach to the trail building. This has allowed volunteers and advocacy groups (such as the NSMBA) to create a legendary network.
The NSMBA has posted a map of the trails affected and has urged its members to respect the signage until the issue has been resolved. As it stands roughly a dozen complete trails are off limits, with a number of other trail sections also affected. It is estimated this equates to around 75 per cent of the existing trail network.
CHMC said: “As part of the continued management of the property, existing signage was reviewed and it was determined that they required updating. As such, approximately 25 signs were posted throughout the property.
“While there are no immediate plans for the property, CMHC is reviewing all options for future use of the site. We are currently working with stakeholders, including neighbouring parks to develop a co-ordinated approach to managing and monitoring the use of Blair Rifle Range.” A more substantial statement is expected in the next few days.
Wade Simmons spoke to CBC News. He said: “They were a bit of an absent landowner, and I’ve never heard any issues in the 20, 25 years I’ve ridden on the Shore, it’s really surprising.
“The bottom line is, mountain bikers aren’t the under-the-radar, rogue group anymore. You know, they’re doctors, lawyers, teachers, they come from all aspects of life — they’re tax payers and tax payers want to use their land and mountain biking is a legitimate recreation now.”
It’s worth noting that the land is in fact off limits to all users, not just mountain bikers. It seems that the NSMBA, the local council and Terry Beech, the MP for Burnaby North, are fighting to help mountain bikers keep their access so let’s hope it’s a situation that can be resolved as soon as possible with no damage to the trails.