The Revelstoke Cycling Association’s future trail network plan includes adding another trail to its Mount Macpherson network, plus stretching further afield to Mount Cartier.
Mount Cartier has the advantage of being south facing, meaning snow melts earlier in the season, giving mountain bikers early access to terrain.
“In spring when, people are super keen to get on their bikes,” RCA president Keith McNab said. “They want to go skiing in the morning and bike riding in the afternoon, and the Cartier trail fits that bill very well.”
The trail gets regular use in March and early April before other trails open up, and then traffic slows.
The RCA has made an application to the province to create a brand new, seven-kilometre trail at Mount Cartier, that will appeal to the intermediate bike rider. It will stretch north of the current 2.5 kilometre trail, climbing at an easier gradient to eventually join the other trail near the Mount Cartier lookout and create a loop.
“The loop would be ridable or hikeable in either direction and the existing hiking trail to summit would keep on going,” McNab said.
RCA currently has no responsibility tied to the Mount Cartier trail and this trail will not be built this year, or even anytime in the future. McNab explained that the RCA operates on a funding basis and needs to have an inventory of shovel-ready plans for when opportunities come up.
“We have all sorts of plans, but they can never really gel until we know how much money we have,” he said. “That’s why it’s really important to have longer term plans, with lots of approvals in place.”
If the Mount Cartier loop trail is built, it will open up future potential to join the southern Big Easy trail at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
“It would be a fairly big project,” McNab said. “But it wouldn’t be that difficult to connect over to the resort, but that’s very much in the future.”
As part of the loop trail build, the RCA has also proposed to decommission and upgrade parts of the current hiking trail, “which is currently poorly located in wet areas and has unsustainable gradients.”
The City of Revelstoke’s Environmental Advisory Committee has added a few recommendations to the province as part of their consideration of the proposed new trail at Mount Cartier, including addressing the issue of car parking. Currently trail users park on Airport Way.
The other proposed RCA trail in the application to the province is around the Griffith Creek parking area at the existing Mount Macpherson recreation site. The RCA want to add a trail with a difficulty level of easy to intermediate, with potential to connect with existing trails for an easy beginner trail loop.
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Logging at Mount Macpherson
After an uproar and an online petition in 2015, the plans for logging later this year at Macpherson have continued.
Currently the RAC’s major trail networks are on Macpherson and Boulder, which are both prone to logging.
“Logging isn’t unusual,” McNab said. “They’re both [Macpherson and Boulder Mountains] shared use areas.”
RCA is looking to grow its trail network options into Mount Cartier and diversifying the number of options for local bike riders helps in times of logging and in spreading out the rider load.
Logging is planned at Macpherson later this year after August but McNab noted the impacts this will have on the local mountain bike trails there.
“We have very few areas, especially in Macpherson, that have nice views,” he said. “The only areas really that have nice views are where there is cut blocks. Initially where there is a cut block it may be unattractive, but in the the longer term, it opens up views, and can even enhance the riding experience.
“The trick is for us is, we don’t want the whole area to be a cut block.”
Revelstoke trail growth for 2016
RCA’s long-term plans include more hiking and mountain biking trails for locals and tourists.
“I think that Revelstoke has turned into a bit of a mountain biking and cycling mecca and I think its partly because we have an excellent trail network around,” McNab said.
“It’s a significant part of the tourist attractions in the summer now. Revelstoke has a reputation as being a destination for mountain biking and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for town, and a good thing for me because I like to go mountain biking.”
The RCA this year plans to do some additional work on its Boulder Mountain trails, continuing on from last year. They also want to add a couple of short connector trails at the Macpherson network to spread the rider load.
They have also applied for funding to, over time, extend the Frisby Ridge trail further along the ridge.
But first, rehabilitation. The RCA recently had a windfall of $10,000 to update the popular 12.9 kilometre Frisby Ridge trail, after they successfully received enough votes to come out on top in Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Dirt Search.
“The trail is getting a lot of use,” McNab said. “It got really wet in the fall, so there’s a lot of damage. Once the snow goes we want to get upgrading.”
The RCA also has a membership sign up night on April 12.