| Ryan Leech
||I have always liked the idea of trail maintenance. It appeals to my sense of community. I did attend an EMP sponsored event, on a rainy Sunday at Belcarra, but that must be 6 years ago. I have been carrying this burden of guilt around, meaning to get out to trail maintenance days but always going riding instead. So I finally bit the bullet and you know, it wasn’t half bad.
I arrived at the top of Mountain Highway a little late but was offered hot coffee, cold pancakes and sausages nonetheless. Lee Lau, former president of the North Shore Mountain Bike Assoc. led me down the trail from the water tower to where everyone was working. There was a bunch of people there who I had spoken to over the phone or exchanged e-mails with and I spent some time talking to them and taking photos of those already at work.
|Finally I was ready to get busy and I was lucky enough to be party to some executive decisions. We were working in a low lying, muddy area and a ladder bridge was suggested as the best way to circumvent the dampness. Off we went in search of poles for the ladder and I was initiated into the value of cedar. The trail builders holy grail, cedar lasts forever, splits true, retains some grip when wet and smells festive when cut. Despite many years working in the bush I couldn’t tell a hunk of cedar from a Douglas fir if Regis was offering me the mill. Fortunately Jeremy Power (current president of the NSMBA) was there to show us the light. After some tramping about we found 2 appropriate 30 foot poles and, with some inspiring teamwork lugged them into place.||
Collin Janssen, Jeremy Power & Norman Tan
|The next task was to find a large fallen cedar to split for the rungs. John Leask, an NSMBA board member and trail building veteran took me along on a fruitless search all the while describing the bounty of shakes to be found on Cypress. Eventually a perfect piece was located and the artful splitting began.
Todd Fiander, aka The Digger, was there to share his hard earned trail knowledge. He showed us how to rehab an area after a pit has been dug for mineral soil and how to leave things as green and natural as possible. It was great to have The Guru of local trails there for advice.
|I would have been happier working on one of the trails I ride frequently and building stunts that would appeal to me (the ladder bridges were a little wide) but this was as much a PR exercise as anything. The trails at the bottom of the mountain are subjected to the most public scrutiny – if we can show the powers that be that these can be kept in good condition without causing excessive erosion, advocacy for riding on the shore will have a much stronger foundation.
|So get off your butts folks. Almost everyone who was there working got a prize (I got some socks) and it was actually quite enjoyable. Everybody was cheerful and accommodating and you will be able to use the Karma Kredit the next time you drop your favourite stunt. There was enough work for droves more folks and you can always drag your bike along and ride later.
| If we want to avoid the catastrophe of Cypress taking care of what we’ve got is an excellent first step.
The next scheduled trail day is August 27th and we’ll be working on Mount Seymour on Neds! Hope to see you there.
Check out http://www.nsmba.bc.ca for more details as the day gets closer.
Article by Cam McRae