Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump on the Organ Donor trail in the Hartland area of Mount Work regional park. The Capital Regional District parks committee approved new guidelines for mountain biking in CRD parks, but left room for adjustments. (Black Press Media file photo)

Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump on the Organ Donor trail in the Hartland area of Mount Work regional park. The Capital Regional District parks committee approved new guidelines for mountain biking in CRD parks, but left room for adjustments. (Black Press Media file photo)

CRD parks mountain biking guidelines a hot topic in Greater Victoria

Committee approves guidelines, short-term actions, wants more scrutiny during parks planning process

The war for the woods continues to throw off sparks, with environmentalists and mountain biking proponents squaring off over new guidelines that lay the groundwork for how the sport can take place in Capital Regional District parks.

The CRD regional parks mountain biking guidelines, along with a list of short-term actions designed to move the process ahead, were approved by the CRD parks committee on Wednesday (April 28), with the proviso that they be evaluated in the context of the broader parks strategic planning process this fall.

The committee meeting opened with presentations from upwards of 30 people, ranging from members of the mountain bike community itself to environmental advocates and local residents concerned with current and future use and stewardship of protected park lands.

RELATED STORY: Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

Director Ben Isitt, whose amended motion added the layer of further evaluation of the guidelines, spoke to the contrasting and passionate viewpoints on the issue, both spoken and in dozens of emails.

“This is a (solution) that won’t satisfy everyone,” he said, noting the issue had heavy political implications. “We could try to count emails or count votes, but this is an issue where compromise is needed.”

Mountain biking proponents’ complaints about the guidelines ran the gamut. Some said they drew little advice from the mountain biking advisory committee’s detailed 72-page report, and did more to limit opportunities than provide a sustainable way forward. Others said the region has too few trails to meet current demand, and demolishing existing trails that don’t meet the CRD’s standard is an inefficient use of resources.

Rose Stanton, a Highlands councillor who lives within walking distance of Mount Work Regional Park, home to the largest developed mountain biking network in the region, said she has noticed more illegal trails being built in recent months.

“The concept of ‘take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints’ seems to mean nothing to this community,” she said. “I see nothing in the plan that says having more authorized trails won’t lead to more unauthorized trails.”

RELATED STORY: CRD to consider plan for mountain biking trails at Mount Work

While Larisa Hutcheson, general manager of parks and environmental services, stated the guidelines are part of working to build a positive relationship with the mountain biking community, comments about the lack of trails in the region leading to illegal trail building in parks drew the ire of at least one director.

View Royal Mayor David Screech said he was “overwhelmed that somehow people could (use that argument to) justify unauthorized destruction in our parks.” Such attitudes put the mountain bikers’ negotiations with the CRD at a loss, he added.

Screech noted that the struggle between recreational use of CRD parks and environmental concerns has been going on for years and called the guidelines “a logical progression of something that was really dumped in staff’s lap.”

The South Island Mountain Biking Society (SIMBS) has an licence agreement with the CRD to maintain trails in the Hartland area of Mount Work Regional Park. The agreement also requires the group to include any proposed building in an annual trail plan for the CRD.

The guidelines, mountain biking advisory committee report and short-term actions list can be accessed online at bit.ly/3vHRmJZ in various appendices.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: don.descoteau@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

CRDHighlandsMountain bikingSaanich

Just Posted

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Treated sewage bound for dump until CRD upgrades processing to required standard

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Most Read