2021 Trail Work Year in Review
Well, another year has come and gone. It has been unique and difficult times for all of us the last couple times around the sun, but I am always grateful that we have the amazing escape here in Pemberton on our trails throughout the valley. We are so fortunate to have this resource literally in our backyard and I am constantly in awe of the monumental work of the legion of incredible trail builders that have made our network what it is. We are a small Village of dedicated trails users who help maintain this world class trail system. I hope we are all proud of and appreciate this! As always, I am humbled to be a steward of our trails and thank you for your support, feedback, and of course membership.
The year began even before the snow melted, when our chainsaw wielding, tree clearing champion Arley “Crandell” Crute notified me a very large cedar tree had fallen on Lake Trail beside Mosquito Lake. Of course, he wanted to clear it, but it was far too big for either him or I to safely clear it, so in stepped Russ McIntyre and his amazing arborist skills and we were able to harvest a significant amount of cedar that has turned into decking on many bridges and been stored for future projects.
As the snow melted out in late February, I was able to get started on some valley bottom projects in which some of that cedar was used in the making of the newest short bridge on the western end of Water World. Trimming and brushing the valley bottom trails after a winter is always needed and was completed. I was able to fill in some of the muddy sections on both Water World and Bathtub to allow for a drier experience for early and wet season riders, hikers, and runners while we access Happy Trail and beyond. As the snow melted higher up into the network I did a little erosion work on NIMBY, reworked the upper corners on the classic Blood, Sweat & Amp; Fear and a couple of blown out sections of Bob Gnarly between the FSR and NIMBY (special thanks to Zander Stratham from Howler Contracting for the wooden drop at the entrance).
During this time of year, we had a “pick-a-job” trail day that was well attended that got a significant amount of work done fixing some valley bottom trails, parts of One Mile, Fat Tug, and the clearing and raking of Live like Lisa. I cannot emphasis enough the importance of and appreciation I have for the amount of time and energy our trail users are willing to donate their time back to our trails. Thank you!
After a recovery from both COVID and a sprained pelvis (I received from falling butt first onto a stump) I was able to start on freshening up Gravitrout (the classic built by Johnny Foon). This has been a project that has been on my radar for some time and it was truly an honour and joy to be working on such an awesome trail, in a stunning location. Thank you for the trail, Johnny.
As we rolled into May and the ground was fully thawed, I was able to spend a significant amount of time driving, walking, digging and installing posts and signs at many trailheads and crossings in the McKenzie Basin and Mosquito Lake areas of our network. We ended up installing over 80 sign posts and well over 250 signs. A massive thanks needs to be given to Bill Styles who volunteered many hours as the president of our trail association (this was a special project to him that he spearheaded). The results speak for themselves! Not only does it make our trails far easier to navigate for everyone, it also shows that we are proud of and take care of our network. Our final late spring project was tree clearing, brushing trails(special thanks to the local forest fire crew as that helped out with this).
Summer is usually a bit of an off season as far as trail work goes here in Pemberton, as you know, it can get very dry and the dirt becomes nearly impossible to work with “Moon Dust” as we locals say. We were able to host a well-attended trail clearing and brushing day on the PhD trails and I spent time clearing out a lot of deadfall on the upper trails after a significant wind storm. As a result of it being the slower part of the season for trail work I was fortunate to have Dan Raymond and the WORCA crew willing to bring me on working the trails with them in Whistler. I was excited to be learning from Dan, one of the very best in the business, and work with the many talented builders that are part of the Whistler crew. I was also honoured that the legend Ken Melamed was willing to take some time to show me a little of his massive trail knowledge and rock working skills. I was able to take some of the rock armouring skills learned from Ken and apply them here in Pemberton on trails like, Fat Tug, Lumpy’s, Cross Town, Overnight, NIMBY, Live like Lisa, Mission Impossible and others. I learned far too much to put into words from Dan and the WORCA crew, but if I had to I would say I learned to be more subtle. Well…more subtle for me anyways ;) Thank you to PVTA for recognizing the opportunity for me to work and learn with others through the summer. I am hopeful you will see the results in the trails.
As I wrapped up my work with WORCA in early fall, I did some work on Hawaii 3, Piece of Cake, Lower Rusty, Let it Go, and Dark Forest. During this time we had several local riders donate their Saturday to help lift the “floating bridge” on Water World. A massive thanks to them, we will all benefit from drier crossings during the wet season. We also, had Sylvie Allen and a large contingent of the local women riders come out to spend a very productive afternoon doing a fantastic job of fixing the berms on the upper corners of Cross Town. The last of the big projects for this fall were trail work on Fat Tug (thanks Jeff Westlake), putting some extra love into Pacific (thanks Ed Witwiki it’s running better than ever), and a reworking of Live like Lisa(in collaboration with PVTA and PORCA) to try to achieve a more sustainable trail surface for this very popular trail. We also, had Liam Ripper from WORCA as well as Mark Taylor & amp; Will Cadham from the Free Radicals help out with the work on Live like Lisa. I am very excited about the results.
Just prior to the snow falling I was able to rework the corners on Back Pains and I’m super stoked to have been able to mostly finish reopening Old Bob Gnarly (off Overnight). With a few more days work this spring, I will have this old test piece ready to ride again. To finish off the season we got smashed with two massive rain storms that had most of the trails under a shocking amount of water. I cannot thank enough the many people I met on the trails during the storm who were opening drains, clearing blockages and rerouting water off the trails. There will be some trail work needed in the spring to repair water damage, but all in all our trails fared really well.
Moving forward into 2022 I am really excited to get back on the trails again both riding and digging. We have some really cool projects we are looking to complete this year and I hope you will all be happy with the results. We are looking to complete the signage project for the One Mile trails.
Lastly, I sure look forward to a time soon that we can collectively build some trails together as a community by having more regular trail work events. Most importantly I want to thank again all our members that support our trails!
Stay awesome everyone. See you on the trails,
Darren Nicoll, PVTA Trail Manager
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