Well, it’s almost another year done and this year was certainly not without its challenges for everyone. I am always grateful to live in this bike crazy village, with amazing and diverse bike trails and range of riders we have here. Small village, great trails, better riders.
The year got off to a rough start in late January with a massive rain and wind storm that knocked down a lot of trees and caused significant water damage. As it always seems to be in Pemberton, what initially seemed like an insurmountable amount of tree clearing and trail work quickly became manageable with so many heading out with saws, rakes and just generally helping out. The spring raking program worked well, by leaving rakes at the bottom of all of the climbing trails and letting riders rake up the tracks a bit at a time.
Digging and dirt work got started in March with a refresh of the berms and dealing with persistent drainage issues on Lower Hawaii. A massive thanks to Luke De Jager for taking on and fixing the excessive water damage on Bob Gnarly. What looked like a trail that would not be ridable for a very long time was fixed up better than ever.
March also brought the COVID-19 shutdown of the ski area and as a result the onslaught of riders on our trails. Many more people had time on their hands and we were all grateful to be able to socially distance and get our exercise in the woods around home. We saw far more traffic on the trails during the spring lockdown than we normally would.
We were appreciative in April for Zander Stratham and Dan Raymond taking the time to do some trail work here in Pemby. Dan as usual, did amazing work on Radio Tower and Moose Jah, while Zander worked his magic on Overnight Sensation and brought his bridge building skills to local favorite Fat Tug and Wild Potato. Finally, in April, Live like Lisa was given a top to bottom refresh, such a remarkable track.
May opened with an example of how with open communication we can find ways to share our forests and trails across all user groups. There’s a First Nation’s archeological site near Cream Puff with an approved reroute providing space for both users. The weather during May was perfect for riding, sunny, with just the right amount of rain to keep the trails firm. As a result, we were able to do a bit of work on Middle Earth and a full refresh of Rudy’s.
The summer months meant time for work clearing back brush on the Valley Loop, the climbing routes and the various horse trails throughout the valley. Huge thanks to the Forest Fires crew for their help clearing back brush at several access points. A surprising amount of rain in early July allowed for some re-benching and fixing of several blown-out sections on Blood Sweat and Fear, a much-loved rip to the valley floor.
The rains of October allowed for a couple of projects. We have many fearsome trails here in Pemberton, but a lack of accessible intermediate trails to allow for progression. With that in mind, a rework of Lower Mac and Cross-Town Traffic was done, with a goal of maintaining both as valid “blue” trails, while still having fun flow and side hits to keep the riding exciting for all.
As the snow started to accumulate in November, we got over 60 sign posts in the ground. The goal, to improve signage and make navigation easier, especially for riders less acquainted with our trail system. This month Dan Raymond was also able to squeeze in some late season digging and re-worked the top of Bob Gnarly to alleviate the constant drainage issues we’ve had and help make it a more sustainable path.
I haven’t mentioned the trails of One Mile, which have had a real renaissance over the last 5 years or so. The One Mile crew (you know who you are and thank you) did an exceptional job of keeping that area mint all year long. A big shout out and many thanks to all that cleared downed trees throughout the year, especially Arley and his dog for getting out there with his ebike and chainsaw regularly.
On a personal note, I want to thank the community for the privilege of being the trail manager. I am very appreciative to spend so much time out and about in our gorgeous woods and am doing my best to maintain our resources. Thank you to everyone who purchased their PVTA&PORCA trail memberships this year we appreciate your support. If you’re from out of town and come to ride Pemberton, consider purchasing a trail membership (they’re only $10!), or donating a few dollars towards our trails through Trail Karma on TrailForks. A little, goes a long way and we will put the money directly back into the trails. We have mostly unpaid volunteers who spend countless hours making sure we can continue to enjoy the trails we all love. Take the time and thank these volunteers and recognize the personal sacrifices they make for all of us.
See you on the trails in 2021, Darren Nicoll