Mosaic Forest Management and the Alberni Motocross Association have signed a new land use agreement that will see continued racing in Cherry Creek.
“We are pleased to renew the access agreement with the Alberni Motocross Association given its responsible approach and focus on safety,” said Mosaic president and CEO Jeff Zweig. “Providing recreational access to our lands is one of the gratifying ways we give back to the community.”
This is one of several Recreational Access Agreements Mosaic has signed with user groups on Vancouver Island. The agreements are a mechanism for organized groups and clubs to gain access to Mosaic private forest lands, he said.
The Alberni Motocross track has been on the same piece of property for nearly 40 years, said Geoff Brown, president of the Alberni Motocross Association. The club moved operations to its present location in Cherry Creek in 1982 when then-owners MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. donated the land to the club. The property changed ownership to Island Timberlands, which is now managed by Mosaic.
“Alberni Valley Motocross has been at that location since 1982. (The club) has been active since 1967.”
When Mosaic took over management of the land, they began looking at previous recreational use agreements and the AV Motocross’s lease was not renewed pending review. Mosaic asked for a zoning change and an environmental inspection of the four-hectare (eight-acre) site.
The timing wasn’t great for this season as the previous 10-year lease expired in March, just as the novel coronavirus pandemic was declared. “It was very poor timing just the way it unfolded,” Brown said.
The motocross season typically kicks off in April and wraps up around Thanksgiving. This year the track was closed until Sept. 5; a new lease was signed and COVID-19 protocols put into place so club members could access the site again.
“This renewed access agreement with Mosaic is a key part of our club’s success,” Brown said. “We value our partnership with Mosaic. It provides an excellent opportunity for motocross riders in Port Alberni to stay active, get outside, and enjoy this dynamic sport in a safe environment.”
The property is secured with a locked gate, and users need to be members to receive a key to the gate.
Brown and his son, Asher, started motocross together four years ago. “I was 41 and he was seven,” Brown said. “He’s now a top contender in the province. I’m a proud father, and it’s fun. It’s something we do as a family together.”
“There’s more to motocross than just racing,” said club member Nancy Gibson. “It’s about the friendships that are made along the way; beginner riders, teen riders and adult riders share the same passion. We all come together no matter what the age and talk about our favourite sport.”
Although Port Alberni’s club only has 35 members compared to Nanaimo’s 300-member motocross club, Brown said they are making changes that will attract new members. Enduro cross is popular among riders, so AV Motocross is putting in an enduro track.
The competitive season sees eight to 10 races between tracks in Port Alberni, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port McNeill and Victoria.