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Annual Report: 2011 in Review Plus: Get ready for the 2012 IMBA World Summit in Santa Fe!
Sweet singletrack above Santa Fe, NM. Image by Leslie Kehmeier.
IMBA creates, preserves and enhances great mountain biking experiences
Summer 2012, Volume 2, Number 1
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IMBA Trail News | Canadian Edition
Tiffanie Beal, Chapter and Membership Services, email@example.com Jason Bertolacci, Marketing/Database Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Bernhardt, Director of Consulting Services, email@example.com Tony Boone, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Terry Breheny, Events Manager, email@example.com James Brown, B.C. Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org Marty Caivano, TCC and NMBP Coordinator, email@example.com Richard Cook, Development Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Jenn Dice, Government Affairs Director, email@example.com Tammy Donahugh, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Rich Edwards, Trail Solutions Manager, email@example.com Mark Eller, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Fancher, Attorney, email@example.com Katherine Fuller, Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Igor Hoogendoorn, Ontario Coordinator, email@example.com Sallie Hoefer, Member and Constituent Rep, firstname.lastname@example.org Dan Hudson, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Hansi Johnson, Midwest Regional Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Rod Judd, Membership Manager, email@example.com Chris Kehmeier, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Specialist, email@example.com Patrick Kell, Southwest Regional Director, Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org Wendy Kerr, Development Manager, email@example.com Kristy Kibler, Government Affairs Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org Joey Klein, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Ashley Korenblat, PLI Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Anna Laxague, Pacific Regional Director, email@example.com Deanne Lazaruk, Canada TCC Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Leman, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Eric Leonard, Quebec Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org Frank Maguire, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, email@example.com David Mills, Alberta Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen Mullins, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Tim Peck, Finance Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Rachael Raven, Canada Communications, email@example.com Kerri Salazar, Operations Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Sauret, Southeast/SORBARegional Director, email@example.com Daniel Scott, Canada Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Jesse Seavers, Member Services Rep, email@example.com Ryan Schutz, Affiliate Programs/Rocky Mountain Region, firstname.lastname@example.org Randy Spangler, Trail Specialist, email@example.com Mike Van Abel, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Ward, IMBA CA Policy Advisor, email@example.com Jason Wells, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Andy Williamson, Great Lakes Regional Director, email@example.com Shane Wilson, Trail Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Lora Woolner, Canada Director, email@example.com
Join Us in Santa Fe o you know the way to Santa Fe? If not, now is the time to figure it out! The IMBA World Summit (Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oct. 10-13) will feature great speakers, interactive meetings, valuable success stories and plenty of opportunities to enjoy premium southwestern singletrack trails. IMBA is intent on making this a world summit to remember. IMBA’s World Summit gatherings bring hundreds of delegates from multiple countries together. From IMBA chapter and club leaders to trail builders, land managers, recreation planners, tourism operators and industry professionals, the social and professional networking will be outstanding. “We’re expecting a strong international contingent this year and are already seeing several speaker proposals coming in from Canada, in particular,” said IMBA’s events manager, Terry Breheny. Topics are still being decided, but if it can be done on a mountain bike it will probably be discussed at the summit. Highlights include: · Discounted registration for IMBA members · Early-bird pricing specials · Multiple guided and non-guided rides each day · Evening events and parties · Giveaways, raffles and door prizes If you want to be a part of shaping the future of mountain biking in your region (and have fun doing it), do not miss this event. Visit imba. com/world-summit for news and updates.
Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crews
AJ Strawson and Rachael Raven, firstname.lastname@example.org Jake Carsten and Jenny Abraham, email@example.com Morgan and Steve Lommele, firstname.lastname@example.org Designed by Sugar Design Inc. Images and stories available for re-use by permission only.
Canada PO Box 23034 Kitchener, ON N2B 3V1 Canada 1-855-255-4095 email@example.com
New IMBA Mapping Program Underway
IMBA is proud to launch its long-anticipated mapping project and the IMBA International Trails Database (IITD). The database will offer a GIS-based online resource that documents natural surface, bike-friendly trails. It will also display information related to IMBA programs from the local to the federal level. The mapping work has only just begun — the ultimate goals include providing dynamic trail maps, trail descriptions, reviews and information about IMBA’s work in map form. The IITD resource will answer questions about where to ride and what trails might be affected by access threats and travel management plans. It will showcase and describe the work being done in the U.S., Canada, and around the world by IMBA and its partners, chapters, affiliated clubs and individual supporters. “Since almost everything we do is location-
based, IMBA has a great opportunity to connect people to the world of mountain bike advocacy in a way that’s both graphically informative and visually exciting,” says Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA’s full-time mapping specialist. “From the regions we cover to the members we serve, right down to the trails we ride, the mapping program will further IMBA’s mission to protect, create, and enhance great trails experiences for mountain bikers worldwide.” Pilot projects will include a map of Santa Fe (NM) mountain biking trails prior to the IMBA World Summit there, and maps for each IMBA Epic ride. European Union Recognizes IMBA as an Official NonGovernmental Organization
IMBA’s work outside of North America continues to grow. Last month, IMBA was formally recognized in the European Union as a nongovernmental organization eligible for funds and permitted to administer trail projects across the EU. Attendees to the May gathering and planning session in Zurich, Switzerland, included representatives from 16 European countries, several bike and component manufacturers, and trail builders based in the EU.
Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew Program Turns 15
In 1997, IMBA launched a daring and innovative program, designed to teach
volunteers how to build sustainable trails and foster relationships among trail users, land managers, and city officials. The two crews crisscrossing the United States today would hardly recognize the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program of 15 years ago, but the effects on communities remain the same. The “Johnny Appleseed” approach empowers volunteers with the knowledge and relationships they need to create great riding experiences where they live. Trails we take for granted today, many years removed from their inceptions, were influenced heavily by crew visits. The famous Kokopelli trails in Fruita, CO, received a crew visit in 1999, which helped forge a working relationship between the Bureau of Land Management
and the local mountain bike club. That partnership flourished, ultimately providing for dozens of innovative new trails for mountain bikers in the region.
The Fruita/Grand Junction area, once struggling to get by economically on peach orchards, is now considered one of the best places to ride in North America. Fruita boasts a thriving tourism economy based on mountain biking, hiking and rafting. With three Crews on the road in North America (two in the United States and one in Canada) the legacy continues in 2012 – the crews visit almost 90 groups each year, planting seeds wherever they go. Find an IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew visit near you at www.imbacanada. com/tcc
IMBA’s Tammy Donahugh
Join us at the IMBA Ontario Trailblazing Festival
This August, IMBA Canada will be celebrating the second annual Trailblazing festival at Hardwood Ski and Bike (Oro, ON, Aug. 18-19). The two-day event will include group rides, skills clinics, IMBA Trail Building School, Epic ride, camping, and more, all with the goal of celebrating mountain biking in Ontario. Join us, and make history! Earlybird tickets on sale at imbacanada.com.
IMBA Chapter Program Continues Strong Growth
Thirty mountain bike organizations joined IMBA USA’s Chapter Program in the winter and spring 2012 classes, bringing the total number of American chapters to 91. The new members include several mountain biking groups formed to specifically take advantage of chapter benefits, such as accounting support, membership management, and print/ online communication tools. The growth of the program has been precipitous, leading to the hiring of two new IMBA Region Directors at the start of the year. “IMBA’s Chapter Program is creating success stories and expanding our reach,” says IMBA Executive
Director, Mike Van Abel. “The Chapter Program is better aligning resources at national and local levels to achieve our mutual goals.” IMBA is hoping to launch the Chapter program in Canada soon, with a pilot in Ontario kicking off this year. Youth-Oriented Publication Available Soon, Take a Kid Celebration Slated for Oct. 6
With major support from Shimano, IMBA is publishing two special editions of IMBA Trail News in 2012. Copies of ITN Youth Edition will be available on IMBA Canada’s online store, free of cost except for shipping fees. These full-color, print magazines will focus on providing resources for
adult leaders of youthoriented mountain bike programs, plus stories, photos, and tips that young riders aged 12 to 18 will enjoy reading. This October, IMBA has pledged to get 30,000 children participating in 300 cycling events for the annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day celebration. We could use your help in reaching this goal on Oct. 6. Broadcast Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day to your club networks, host a ride, or simply mark your calendars!
Connect with Us
Twitter @imbacanada and show your #trailLove
2011 Annual Report Converting your donations into singletrack
o say it plainly, IMBA turns your donations into singletrack trails. We do it in a variety of ways — by supporting our grassroots network of dedicated volunteers, by putting forth inspiring educational materials, by reaching out to land managers and by working in the policy realm. Our staff does not shy away from big challenges, and though we may stumble, we move forward day after day. One thing that IMBA does not do is collect donations from its supporters only to sit on a big reserve of cash. We have made a considered decision to live close to the bone, converting every dollar into programs that support IMBA’s core mission. The financial charts on this page display our dedication to this principle. In 2011, IMBA Canada spent 81 percent of its income on programs, leaving a very slim sliver of the pie for fundraising, overhead and other organizational needs. Speaking as IMBA Canada’s executive director I can tell you that it can be stressful to direct so much of our finances straight back to building, maintaining and protecting trails. But it’s a very fitting choice for a mountain biking organization. The culture of our sport is to accept a challenge, even when that entails a high degree of risk. I offer my sincere thanks to all of the individuals, companies, foundations and others who support IMBA Canada’s work. As you read through these annual report pages, consider that every name you see listed is helping us create better resources for everyone to enjoy. We are all on the ride together, moving relentlessly forward. See You on the Trails!
— Lora Woolner, IMBA Canada Executive Director
* Financial data for 2011 has yet to be independently audited as of press time.
CORPORATE MEMBERs These supporters provide essential funding to fuel IMBA’s work
IMBA Canada is thankful to receive support from a broad range of organizations, foundations, and companies. For information about how you or your organization can support IMBA Canada please contact Lora Woolner: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-855-255-4095.
Canadian Corporate members, A to Z
Outdoor Gear Canada* Renegade Cycle Solutions* Rocky Mountain Bicycles Ryders Eyewear* Ryeka Sport Sentiers Boréals Inc. Sir Sam’s Ski and Bike Smith Optics Specialized Canada Subaru Canada Sustainable Trails Ltd. Thule Canada Township of Georgian Bay Township Of King TrailFlow Outdoor Adventures TransRockies Inc. Trek Bicycle Corporation Canada* The North Face Canada* Valhalla Trails Ltd. Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association Whistler Mountain Bike Park Zeptechniques Mountain Bike Camps and Instructor Training
24 Hours of Adrenalin / Twenty4 Sports Inc.* Alpine Bike Parks Axis Gear Company Ltd. Boreale Mountain Biking Bruce County Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park Capilano University: Mountain Bike Operations Program Chico Racing* Chromag Bikes Cobequid Trail Consultants Community Futures Crowsnest Pass Conservation Halton: Kelso/Hilton Falls/Mountsberg Creative Wheel/La Rocca XC MTB School Cycle Ontario Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camps Ltd. Geomatics Data Management Inc. Hardwood Ski And Bike Hoots Inc. Horseshoe Resort Inter-Mtn Enterprises Inc. Joyride150 Mont-Sainte-Anne Mountain Equipment Co-op* Norco* Oasis Insurance Ontario Trails Council Origin Design + Communications Ltd
NATIONAL PARTNERS Parks Canada Trans Canada Trail National Capital Commission Sprockids
Above and beyond supporters Companies in this group went beyond their annual membership dues with additional support for IMBA programs and initiatives in 2011 (indicated in bold).
IMBA Canada Retailer Members These bike shops and outdoor stores support your trails Big Sky Cycles Bikeface Cycling Body Driven Sports Boutique De Plein Air Le Yeti Inc. Brant’s Cycle Calgary Cycle Cranky’s Bike Shop Ltd. Cycle & Sports Paul Inc. Cycle Solutions Inc. Cycle Solutions Recycle Cycle Demers Bicyclettes et Skis
Ecclestone Cycle Endo Cycle Fou Du Velo Freewheel Cycle Freewheel Cycle Inc. Full Cycle Grand River Cycle Hammer City Cycle Hornby Outdoors Ltd. Incline Sports Kincardine Home Hardware
Le Foyer Du Sport Lunenburg Bike Barn Martin’s Bicycle Shop Northern Cycle Ollie’s Cycle And Ski Limited Passion Velos Secret Cycles Sport Olympe Ste-Julie Cycles Suncoast Cycles Swicked Cycles Ltd.
The Black Tooth Grin Bike Shop The Guides Hut The Hub Bicycle Shop Totally Spoke’dn Trail Bicycles Velo Shermont West Point Cycles Woodcock Cycle Works Inc.
Retail members dropped off significantly in 2011 due to a disruption in our renewal processes. If you’d like to add your name back to the list, join/renew at imbacanada.com/membership
Individual donors Many thanks to our top-level donors in 2011 $1000+ Ken Davies $500 to $999 Barry McKinnon
$250 to $499 David Forsyth David Palmer David Petrik & Kinga Gortel Doug MacDonald Graham Hill
Jerry Hagen Johnny Shaw Paul Martin Rick Landry Stephen Prime Yannick Bisson
Trail Heroes The power of progressive land managers
e often acknowledge the hard work of volunteers who help gain access to land, and create the singletrack we love. But what about the people who manage or own the land we ride on? Here are the accounts of three visionary land managers who have helped shape the sport across Canada.
Ed Jager, Director of Visitor Experience
Parks Canada Last fall, Gros Morne National Park popped up in a number of industry media outlets, including Dirt Rag and Canadian Cycling Magazine, after Mike Jones and Andreas Hestler published a feature on a 2010 riding trip to Newfoundland. The stunning photos by Jordan Manley captured the island’s incredible vistas and terrain, and suddenly put Eastern Canada on the radar of mountain bikers across North America. The article depicts the impressive landscape and cultural heritage of the island, and also describes a number of “smooth, flowing, buff” multi-use trails in Gros Morne. What the authors labeled a “progressive” test on sanctioned mountain biking in Canada’s National Parks, is due—in large part—to the work of Parks Canada’s Visitor Experience (VE) team. Back in early 2010, the VE Team—led by Ed Jager—conducted an activity assessment on mountain biking, which aimed to better define national guidelines on cross-country riding, as well as to understand other forms of the discipline (DH, free riding, etc.). That assessment, which included participation from IMBA Canada, led to the creation of new national guidelines for mountain biking in Parks Canada sites and replaced the dated 1987 Directive. Jager says that when the new guidelines were released, mountain biking went from simply being tolerated in Parks, to supported. “[Years ago] the default was ‘no, not interested,’ now it is ‘how can we provide opportunities?’” And those riding opportunities are now popping up in
National Parks like Gros Morne, Fundy (NB), and Riding Mountain (MB). Rather than simply relegating mountain bikers to fire roads, staff at Fundy National Park are now focusing on the experience of riding. With help from IMBA Canada’s Trail Solutions contracting services, the Park is planning out the construction of a number of familyfriendly singletrack trails in their cross-country ski loop. In Manitoba, staff in Riding Mountain National Park are working with IMBA-affiliate Manitoba Escarpment Trails Society to maintain, and build new trails. Many other National Parks, including Georgian Bay Islands and Mountain Parks like Kootenay and Waterton are also looking to expand their existing trail-offer. “To see these success stories repeating over and over across the country is really positive,” says Jager. What’s equally exciting is that some Parks which have never allowed mountain biking on natural surface trails are considering offering mountain biking, and are in the process of investigating their potential mountain bike offer. This list includes Forillon National Park (QC), Grasslands (SK), and Kluane (YT). Next month, IMBA Canada’s Trail Care Crew will be traveling to the Yukon to work with staff and stakeholders in Kluane National Park, and also with local mountain bikers in Whitehorse. This is an important first step, says Jager. “Every time Trail Care Crew visits happen, they leave people pumped up and excited [about trails]. Staff want to use what they’ve learned to make trail experiences better at their Park,” said Jager. Jager’s next goal is to launch a new national trail classification system, and to see continued expansion with trail partners such as IMBA and the Trans Canada Trail. Scott Laver, Natural Environment Specialist City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Canada’s largest metropolis, with over 2.7 million residents, might not be an area that comes to mind when you think about trails. But that’s what Scott Laver is trying to change. Laver has been working for the City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry department for six years, trying to find equilibrium between Toronto’s outdoor recreation need, and the protection of its extensive forest and ravine system. More than a decade ago that balance was off,
and in areas like the Don Valley, high trail use was having significant impact on the environment. That was when the City began working with IMBA Canada in 2004. “Historically we had done what many land managers had done in the past – tried to limit or exclude the use of mountain bikes. But with IMBA’s involvement, we started to understand the user and the need, and they were able to help us find that balance between use and protecting the natural environment,” said Laver. In 2007, Laver’s team began working on a trail management strategy for Crothers Woods; 53 hectares of environmentally significant land in the Don Valley. The award-winning strategy, which is on track to meet all objectives this year, is considered a huge success among a trail community that is 80 percent mountain bikers. To date, the Natural Environment Trail Program (NETP) has built more than 4 kilometers of singletrack in a stacked loop system in Crothers Woods, and closed down about the same number of old and degraded trails. As the Crothers Woods plan comes to an end this year, Laver says City staff are now looking forward and trying to decide where to focus efforts next. With over 300km of informal natural-surface trails in Toronto, they are trying to collect as much data as possible, including user surveys, trail counters, meetings with local stakeholders, and focus groups, to help them make high-level planning decisions. Ultimately, they are looking to create a citywide natural environment trails strategy, says Laver. But that’s not all, the NETP is also currently working on the development of two community bike parks within the City – with hopes that one will be open in the next 2 - 5 years. Long term, Laver hopes to see Toronto as a trails destination, offering both residents and tourists a “well planned” muti-use trail system that they don’t need to leave the city to enjoy. John Hawkings, Trails Manager BC’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations When you think about sweet singletrack in Canada, there’s a good chance that British Columbia comes to mind. Sure, BC trails show up in a lot of bike media – and maybe that’s because so many photo giants live on the Shore – but it’s also because BC has more trails open to mountain bikers than any other province. Thousands of kilometers of them. As provincial trails manager, John Hawkings sets the policy framework for the management of all trails
and recreation sites on BC’s Crown land outside of provincial parks. That’s 1300 rec sites, and about 850 trails which stretch over 10,000km. With a team of 25 field staff, their goal is to preserve, protect, enhance, and market recreational opportunities on BC Crown land. But how is that possible with a field staff of 25? Hawking’s department has over 200 formal partnership agreements with trail associations, mountain bike clubs, and community groups to manage and maintain the sites and trails it oversees. And increasingly, they are becoming more focused on trail agreements, which the mountain bike community is a large part of, Hawkings says. In exchange for maintaining trails, clubs get access to funding, signage, and various other means of support from the government. Prior to 2006, Hawkings says that provincial land managers took “a hands off, look the other way” approach to trails and mountain biking. Now, rather than using regulatory means – particularly where there are risks – the government is choosing to collaborate and engage communities. “We recognized that the best way to handle the problem was to bring user groups on board,” said Hawkings. In 2007 the province developed a mountain bike policy that officially recognized mountain biking as a legitimate activity on Crown land. “We recognized there was a place for [technical trail] features that make a trail inherently more interesting, and there was an opportunity to manage them,” he says. And five years later, the program is still evolving. Just as trail building techniques and the sport itself continues to change, so do their policies on managing trails. Back when they started the project, Hawkings says built wooden features were really common, but now the trend is faster, flowier trails, with more dirt and less wood. “We’ve had to refocus our efforts a little on how to manage those aspects of risk. We continue to work with mountain bike clubs and with other groups in government to make sure our policies stay relevant, that we’ve got our pulse on what’s happening in [the sport].” Hawkings’ ultimate goal is to see communities across BC excited about their trail networks, which are planned, developed and maintained in a truly sustainable manor. “I imagine a really viable mountain bike network across British Columbia that maintains its position as what I think is probably the best overall mountain bike network in the world.” 9
World Leader Trail Solutions covers the globe with great trails
rail Solutions ranks among IMBA’s largest and most successful programs, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood. “Nearly all of the work that Trail Solutions takes on comes in the form of fee-based contracts,” says Chris Bernhardt, who directs IMBA US’ 14-member staff of professional trail planners and builders. “Sometimes our model confuses people. Our teams are professionally contracted, with projects ranging between a few thousand dollars to jobs that are well into six-figure territory, but Trail Solutions still operates within IMBA’s non-profit tax status. Some jobs make money, others don’t. Any money we make ultimately fuels IMBA’s mission to create, enhance and preserve great trails.” The contract-based approach makes Trail Solutions a great fit for introducing IMBA around the globe. “Most of our membership is in North America, so we’ve long focused on developing trails and services for the core constituents that sustain our organization,” says IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. “But paid Trail Solutions contracts allow us to visit a wide range of countries without diminishing our domestic efforts. IMBA is committed to advancing sustainable mountain biking practices on an international scale.”
WHAT’S A FLOW TRAIL? As the sport of mountain bicycling has evolved over the past decades it has driven the development of a new style of trail, with new features and concepts being built as riders push the limits on traditional singletrack. The growth of the sport has reached a point where public land agencies, ski areas, and communities worldwide are recognizing the importance of mountain bicycling and are looking to provide trails built specifically for mountain bikes. Based on the idea that exciting trails will encourage more people to ride more often, world-class rider Hans Rey (GT), trail designer Diddie Schneider (Schneider Sportevent & Design), and IMBA’s Trail Solutions have partnered to present Flow Country trails. This new concept is designed to take people of any fitness, equipment or skill-level on a singletrack joyride.
Early Visits to Israel, Oz and the United Kingdom Back in 2002 (and again in 2003), IMBA Trail Specialist Joey Klein visited Australia under the Trail Solutions banner to share knowledge on mountain bike management, trail building, conflict resolution and volunteer group mobilization. Working in partnership with the newly formed Mountain Bike Australia, Klein met with local mountain bikers, connected with area land managers, and led discussions on trail access issues. Perhaps the most important international Trail Solutions visit in that era came in 2002, when Trail Solutions Manager Rich Edwards joined Klein in the United Kingdom. They assessed dozens of sites in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. “The trail centers in Britain are above and beyond anything we have ever seen in North America. This is some of best new trail in the world, with something for every rider,” wrote Klein. His experience helped shape the vision for Ride Centers, some of the most exciting projects that Trail Solutions pursues today. Trail Solutions in Canada North of the 49th parallel, the Trail Solutions program was launched shortly after the opening of IMBA’s Canadian office in 2004. Although it is a smaller operation, currently staffed by Trail Specialist Daniel Scott, the program still follows the American model with contracts generating revenue for IMBA Canada’s general programming. “Without a full construction crew like our U.S. counterparts, Trail Solutions often collaborates with other trail professionals in order to achieve our mission of putting more great trail on the ground,” said Scott. Recent projects include the assessment, design, and master planning for trail systems in Burns Lake, BC, Crowsnest Pass, AB, and Corner Brook, NL. Recent Work in Europe and Asia Trail Solutions has also done important work in Europe and Asia. Last year, Trail Specialist Tony Boone joined Singapore-based trail partner HM Lim
from Dirtraction in Hong Kong to present a comprehensive trail building workshop, including two full days of classroom lecture. In attendance were almost 70 staff leaders from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of Hong Kong and 60 other attendees, including riders from the IMBA-affiliated Hong Kong Mountain Biking Association (HKMBA). Armed with the knowledge of sustainable trail building techniques, the staff and riders combined forces in the field for a week, building a section of beginner trail at the popular Twisk trailhead, within Tai Lam Country Park. The short beginner loop allowed trail building techniques to be perfected by the various staff members and created new trail opportunities for riders to hone their skills in a safe environment. The 2011 visit was complimented by another Trail Solutions visit in 2012 to continue the trail building effort. Also in 2011, IMBA expanded its work in Europe by teaming with world-class rider Hans Rey and trail designer Diddie Schneider to introduce Flow Country Trails. The goal is to introduce a new template for building the trails that mountain bikers love, with trail development terms and guidelines that provide a common phrasebook for communication. Working with partner Allegra Tourismus, Trail Solutions designed a three-mile flow trail at Wildhaus, a village in Northeastern Switzerland. Appealingly located within a two-hour drive of over six million people, this area is slated to become a dream destination for Central European mountain bikers. A portion of the funding for this work was provided by SRAM, who supports IMBA’s efforts to improve the riding experience for European mountain bicyclists. A wide range of projects have already been planned for 2012, from municipal parks to alpine resorts. To achieve these, Trail Solutions will partner with land managers, trail builders, and IMBA’s extensive network of passionate advocates. “The trails that Trail Solutions puts on the ground are durable expressions of IMBA’s value,” says Bernhardt. “They showcase our knowledge of what riders want, our collaborative approach, and our ability to partner with land managers from around the planet.”
IMBA TRAIL SOLUTIONS’ CORE SERVICES Trail Solutions offers trail design, construction, assessment and education. Here’s a closer look at Trail Solutions core services and the ideas behind them. Learn more by visiting imbacanada.com/ts Trail Design The success of a trail is highly dependent on both environmental and social sustainability. A well-designed trail should cause minimal damage to the surrounding landscape and require minimal Sandshould y Ridgealso maintenance over time. That same trail provide trail users with the experience they seek. From shared-use trails that minimize potential user conflicts to low-impact downhill trails that test expert riders, Trail Solutions is up to the design challenge. Trail Assessment Most trails and trail systems have developed socially, without adequate attention to the potential environmental impacts or user experiences. Trail Solutions provides guidance on retrofitting haphazardly developed trail systems into networks that efficiently disperse trail users, provide the experiences they are seeking, and do so with minimal long-term impact to the natural world. Trail Education The foundation of a successful trail or system of trails is a high level of knowledge regarding sustainable trail design, construction and maintenance. Trail Solutions provides customdesigned trail training seminars covering topics ranging from economic/social development through trails, design and construction of advanced-level mountain biking trails, trail system design, volunteer management, crew leader training and mechanized trail building techniques. Trail Construction and Project Management The Trail Solutions staff takes great pride in staying on the cutting edge of innovative trail construction strategies. From turnkey construction achieved with mechanized techniques to training volunteer crews, we offer a range of building styles. Our Trail Specialists work cooperatively with other professional trail builders — our teams are flexible and team oriented.
Your neck of the woods Updates from IMBA Canada’s regional coordinators
Igor Hoogendoorn, Ontario Coordinator
We religiously scan the weather, check our calendars, email, text, and call our riding friends, all for the chance to get out on our favourite trails – but, what if we couldn’t find an open trail nearby? We see the topic of trail closures in magazines, movies, forums, and it’s often brought up amongst the “bigger picture” conversations, but what would you do if it happened in your backyard? First of all, if you’re part of a mountain bike club, you’ll probably know exactly why the trails have been closed, and why it could happen anywhere. Access to singletrack is often jeopardized due to ecological sensitivity, illegal trail building, or increased liability risk – the list goes on and on. In other words, the pressures are diverse and multi-faceted. So what can mountain bikers do to retain access? If you have not already, join your local mountain bike club. Most clubs will likely have had to go through years of meetings with their land manager(s) in order to establish what can and can’t be done as part of their existing agreements. This is a win-win for all of the stakeholders involved. But one issue that is becoming more prevalent as more riders look for new trails and/or greater challenges is that of illegal trail building. Individuals that are not part of any organized stakeholder group may do things on their own, and building new trails or features without prior authorization is one common avenue for their passion and creativity. But when a select few have a negative impact on trail access for all riders, everyone loses. The solution is to bring everyone to the table to discuss, listen, and finally, to educate each other. In many instances, lack of communication and misconceptions about the land manager or club have kept these individuals operating on their own. Collaboration and respect can only be developed over time and the mountain bike community needs to embrace this together, not only to retain access and build singletrack, but also to establish a legacy that future generations can be proud of. Mountain bike trails built legally by riders, for riders – sounds like a success we all can be proud of!
Eric Leonard, Quebec Coordinator
Le 13 avril dernier, à Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard, au Québec, la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut, le CLD des Pays-d’en-Haut et Loisirs Laurentides tenaient un forum d’information sur le vélo de montagne. La journée avait pour but de réunir les gestionnaires des municipalités, des parcs et autres organismes de plein air et touristiques afin de les outiller et de les informer sur cette activité en plein essor dans la région. Au total, près d’une centaine de personnes se sont présentées pour cette journée! Francis Tétrault, de Vélo Québec, a donné le coup d’envoi de la rencontre en présentant les différentes facettes du vélo de montagne : ce que recherchent les cyclistes, les infrastructures, les divers types d’aménagement, les vélos, ainsi qu’un portrait rapide de la clientèle type selon les données les plus récentes recueillies par l’organisme. Par la suite, IMBA Canada a présenté un atelier sur le portrait des sites de pratique en Amérique du nord : qui sont les gestionnaires de terrain, quels organismes représentent les cyclistes, quels types de sentiers y sont aménagés. Au total, l’atelier a permis aux participants de faire connaissance avec huit sites de pratique gérés tant par le US Forest Service, le Bureau of Land Management (États-Unis), Parcs Canada, Conservation de la nature, ainsi que les municipalités. Ce portrait sommaire a permis de mettre en relief le travail de gestionnaires innovateurs qui reconnaissent la valeur de la pratique du vélo de montagne sur leur territoire et qui ont su répondre aux demandes des divers groupes de cyclistes. Francois Trudeau, coordonateur des Laurentides pour le Conseil québécois des sentiers (CQS), a ensuite parlé du statut de la pratique du vélo de montagne dans la région et proposé des pistes de solutions ainsi qu’une vision régionale basée sur ses expériences, acquises au cours de nombreux voyages partout en Amérique du nord. Au total, l’événement a permis à 11 conférenciers issus des différentes sphères entourant la pratique (le milieu municipal, le monde politique, les entrepreneurs, les commerçants, les planificateurs, les organismes de promotion, les clubs cyclistes et, bien entendu, les cyclistes eux-mêmes) d’évoquer des expériences
* Read Eric’s column in English at imbacanada.com/blog
positives en matière de développement de la pratique du vélo de montagne. L’expérience a été d’autant plus enrichissante qu’elle a permis à ces intervenants d’échanger entre eux et de faire du réseautage. Pour terminer, M. Réjean Gravel, maire de Saint-Adolphe d’Howard, a annoncé son projet de relier le réseau de sentiers en développement sur son territoire à ceux de Morin-Heights et de Wentworth-Nord. Il s’agit d’une excellente nouvelle qui illustre la synergie croissante entre ces municipalités et les possibilités qui existent lorsque des intervenants décident de travailler de concert et dans la même direction afin de développer leur région. IMBA Canada est heureuse d’avoir participé à cette journée et souhaite ardemment prendre une part active dans le développement des sentiers de la région aux côtés de ces partenaires. Merci aux organisateurs pour cette journée inspirante pour tous!*
James Brown, BC Coordinator
Back in 2007, I sat on an advisory panel on behalf of IMBA to assist in the creation of a provincial trails strategy for the province of British Columbia. Although the ‘Trails Strategy for British Columbia’ is still waiting to be formally adopted, the final draft of the document has been used to run a pilot project program where government recreation officers work closely with clubs who build and maintain trails. In return, the clubs receive authorization to expand their trail network, enhancing the local experience and attracting some well-needed tourism dollars to their economy. The pilot has been a great success, but up until now, the document has yet to be formalized by the provincial government. But good things do come to those who wait. The Trails Strategy was recently referenced in a document published by BC’s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation this spring, “Gaining The Edge, A Five-year Strategy for Tourism in British Columbia, 2012-2016.” Page 25 of the paper describes the implementation of “A Trails Strategy for British Columbia,” which is described as “an action plan for developing and maintaining a sustainable, worldrenowned network of recreation trails for hikers, cyclists, equestrians, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and summer motorized users.” It seems as though the government will finally adopt the Strategy, essentially intact as of the final draft in
** Check out James’ blog for a link to the report.
2009. As a member of the panel, and trail user in BC, I am very happy to see all the hard work done by some special people in the ministries, and all the user groups involved. This should now officially open the door for mountain cycling clubs to embark on partnerships with government throughout the province.**
David Mills, Alberta Coordinator
It feels like a lifetime ago that the Greater Bragg Creek Trail Association (GBCTA) was granted the rights by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD) to create almost 50km of multi-use trail in the West Bragg Creek area, a 40 minute drive SW of Calgary. Though it seemed like an impossible task, after a lot of calls, meetings, planning, fund-raising, and wishing, trail building commenced in early 2011. Over the summer and into the fall, around 30 km of singletrack was created. It’s good stuff – great climbing through pine forest, fantastic views and some truly fun descents. The West Bragg Creek trails lie in a forest that is a heavily-used, year-round recreation area serving a city of over one million people. As a working forest, trees can be logged and ground into pulp and wood chips (they are generally too small to mill into lumber). By the time you read this, a decision will likely have been made on the future of the West Bragg Creek trail system. The land manager, ASRD, will have made a decision about how logging will proceed in the area. The trail association, representing the interests of both summer and winter users, had requested buffers of uncut forest to line some of the summer and winter trails for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Unfortunately, the logging company and ASRD rebuffed most of those requests. There is a clause in the land use agreement for the area that requires the logger to effectively return the trails to the condition that they found them in after logging operations are complete, but no timeline for repair is specified. Neither is it required that a bond be set aside to pay for the repair work, nor do any penalties exist for failure to make necessary repairs. For everyone who has quickly come to love West Bragg’s trail system, it is an unfortunate situation, but one that reminds us the necessity of transparency and good communication. If the general public would have known more about the proposed logging plan earlier, more political pressure could have been brought to bear on ASRD’s senior leadership, potentially allowing a solution to be found that met the needs of trail users, the loggers and the government. IMBA Canada’s Regional Leadership Advisory Council program is made possible by generous funding from MEC.
IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew 10 steps for strutting your singletrack swagger
et’s throw modesty to the curb for a tick: In 2011 alone, IMBA’s network of chapters and clubs built roughly 1,320,000 feet of trail. That’s 402 kilometers of sweet, new singletrack. Unfortunately, not enough people know about it. Heck, even an IMBA member like you didn’t even know until about 10 seconds ago. As a community we don’t brag enough. This modesty isn’t doing our movement any favours, because bragging about successes is the best way to make the public aware of our value, demonstrate our commitment and effectiveness to land managers and political decision makers, and recruit new members who want to be part of something rad. The bottom line is that mountain bikers build oodles of safe, free and fun trails. We enhance public health and tie people to the land in ways few other organizations can. We also offer inexpensive, low-maintenance and long-term recreation facilities for entire communities to enjoy. But how the heck are we going to advance as a movement if no one knows about it? So, dust off that bullhorn and use it! First off, always record your successes. Keep a log of volunteer hours contributed by your organization, take lots of pictures and keep a written record of everything your club does. Second, seek out marketing and public relations professionals who are passionate about mountain biking and ask them to help get the word out about your organization’s successes. Third, commit to doing at least one new thing from this list in the next month: 1. Educate your members first so they can help spread the word. Send out a monthly email newsletter and be sure to call out your recent trail stats and top accomplishments. 2. Use social media — after every event, let your constituency know the results via Facebook, Twitter, and photos on your website. 3. Trailheads aren’t just for maps — the best place to reach trail users is through the filter they all pass through, so put up a flyer explaining you organization’s contributions. 4. Seek out opportunities to pen an op-ed or recreation column in your local paper — especially in smaller towns they are likely to be looking for content. 5. Schedule a quarterly local radio interview — they, too, comb for local news. 6. Contact other trail-user groups (like hikers, trail runners, equestrians, bird watchers, dog walkers, and motorized users) and offer to write a few sentences for their email or print newsletters. Try including an open invitation to collaborate on trail work, or simply socialize.
7. Communicate with non-traditional partner organizations like conservation corps, environmental organizations, health and wellness clubs, church groups, and knitting clubs — you’re making a difference in the community and they should know about it. 8. Present annually to your local chamber of commerce, tourism bureau, city council, or parks staff on recent accomplishments. Include next year’s plans; these folks like to be part of visible successes in the community so make it easy for them to join the cause. 9. Write thank-you emails to land managers, and offer to write a blurb for their agency newsletters. 10. Do the same with your local bike shops — a thank-you message is a great way to simultaneously brag and acknowledge. Finally, don’t forget to send your accomplishments to IMBA so we can help you spread the word. From print articles to online videos, we have a variety of avenues to showcase your good work. Contact us through your regional coordinator, or by sending a message to Canada@imba.com. SUBARU REWARDS IMBA MEMBERS WITH HASSLE-FREE VIP PURCHASES Subaru’s VIP Program allows IMBA Canada individual/ family members to purchase or lease any new Subaru, saving significantly off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, without haggling. Visit imbacanada.com/subaru for details.
IMBA CANADA TRAIL CARE CREW SPONSORS
IMBA Store and Member Benefits
COMING SOON automatic membership renewal option Tired of receiving membership renewal notices and emails? IMBA members will soon be able to choose automatic renewal for their membership. Once the program is live, you will be able to opt in at imbacanada.com. By choosing automatic renewal, you guarantee that your membership and benefits — including discounts on new Subarus for standing members — will not lapse. Your credit card will be charged for your membership dues once each year, and you will receive your new membership card by the time your old card expires. Automatic renewals also assist IMBA’s sustainability practices by saving paper and channeling more funds into great trail experiences.
IMBA Launches its Premier Riding Kit
Get your order in now and make sure you are ready to roll for summer. Choose from a short-sleeve jersey, downhill jersey, shorts and windvest, all featuring the black and orange “Dirt Tracks” design. Available on IMBA US’ online store, payment in USD.
Mountain Bikes + Dogs + Beer = Good Times
The IMBA dog collar is made from recycled bike tubes and features a bottle opener for a leash ring. Purchase one of these and you will support IMBA Canada’s mission, save some rubber from a landfill and make it that much easier to enjoy a cold one after a ride with your trail pup.
SMITH OPTICS REWARDS IMBA CANADA MEMBERS
New corporate member, Smith Optics is offering individual members 25% off retail pricing on their full Smith Optics line until the end of July. Simply log on to http://www. smithoptics.ca/thanks and enter your personalized PIN# (found on the back of this newsletter) to take advantage of your discount!
IMBA CANADA MEMBERS SAVE 10% ON IMBACANADA.COM
Canadian members of IMBA now save 10% of all store purchases and event registrations when logged in to our website, imbacanada.com. Take advantage of this deal to purchase clothing, books, and register for events such as the 2012 Trailblazing Festival.
CONTOUR SUPPORTS TRAILS IN CANADA!
Keep an eye out for footage from IMBA Canada’s trail building projects and other events, shot with ContourGPS cameras. Join the community and share your story at contour.com.
PO Box 23034 Kitchener, ON N2B 3V1 Canada
On behalf of mountain bikers everywhere ... Thank you 2011 donors! Give today and fuel IMBAâ€™s work in Canada. Visit imbacanada.com/support
Published on Jun 18, 2012