In a month or so, the snow will be melting in town and many of you will be chomping at the bit to ride your bikes again. Most of you will head out to Sunnyside to ride our new trail, Haulin’ Daze.
The Revelstoke Cycling Association’s Board of Directors is asking that you refrain from riding the trail until we have a chance to review it in the spring and address any outstanding maintenance issues, as well as those that arise from the spring melt. Haulin’ Daze is a brand-new trail and we don’t know yet how it will respond to the snow melt. While it did hold up well to a very rainy September, we want to be able to assess it and address maintenance issues before it sees mountain biker traffic this spring. Hiking is a non-issue.
This is extremely important because we are dealing with many concerns raised by neighbouring residents about the trail’s construction – concerns that are preventing any further development of Sunnyside.
The neighbours feel they were not adequately consulted prior to construction of this new trail network. While the RCA did hold an open house about Sunnyside in April 2017, we did not advertise it sufficiently and only a few neighbours were aware of our plans before construction began last May. This was not a requirement, but it was an oversight. Secondly, the application we filed in 2018 was mistakenly for a 1.5-metre wide trail. While we were always honest about our intentions to build a machine-built flow trail while discussing plans with Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC), our application did not say this and neighbours were caught off guard when a trail crew showed up with an excavator last May. We regret this mistake, which was not made from deceit or maliciousness, but was an unfortunate administrative error.
In mid-February, the RCA board met with the Concerned Citizens of Cartier (CCC) at the forestry office in Revelstoke. There, we were fully confronted with the anger that members of the CCC felt at this trail network being started without their knowledge and without their concerns being addressed. They raised concerns about the impact this network will have on their water, local wildlife, slope stability, and traffic.
Following the meeting, the CCC sent the RCA and RSTBC a letter asking these issues to be addressed before any more work goes forward on Sunnyside . Among them, they have asked us to hire an independent hydrologist, biologist, and geotechnical engineer to study some of these issues before any more work goes forward. At our Feb. 24 board meeting, the board of the RCA passed a series of motions to look into these demands.
Although we have already done everything that is legally required of us, we have decided to go above and beyond because we care and want to be good neighbours out there.
Recreation Sites and Trails BC will be supporting us through the process. In the year 2020 RSTBC has committed to:
- Hire an independent hydrologist.
- Work with the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure to create a parking plan and begin to implement it.
- Hire a trail professional to:
- Work with the youth crew and CCC to build a new sustainable hiking trail where the old trail was removed.
- Address trail concerns identified in the Draft Trail Assessment by RST Trail Specialist utilizing the Youth Crew work force.
- Establish ride arounds where the two steep sections of trail are found.
- Mitigate back slopes, alignments where drainage issues are, and manage adjacent coarse woody debris and fall zones, etc…
- Install a sealed culvert outhouse at the trailhead.
We have started a Sunnyside committee to address questions related to the new network and establish a better working relationship with the CCC. It will be led by current president Meghan Tabor and past-president Henning Schipper. This committee will be dealing with Sunnyside in order to help it move forward, while allowing the rest of the board to focus on other initiatives. The board will have the final say on all decisions.
The RCA membership has expressed widespread support for Sunnyside and we are extremely appreciated of the 8. The board still believes in the area’s potential and that the trail provides maximum benefit with minimum impact. The challenges have caused a lot of stress and sleepless nights for the board and taken up a lot of our time.
We are asking for your support by not riding Sunnyside in the spring until we have a chance to assess the trail. We will be organizing volunteer maintenance nights to work on wet areas on the lower trail and will work our way up the mountain as the snow melts so that we can open it as soon as possible.
We appreciate your cooperation. It is a bit of short-term pain for long-term gain and we hope by addressing the concerns of the CCC in a way that works for both us, them, and RSTBC, we can build new trails on Sunnyside in the future.
The Board of Directors of the Revelstoke Cycling Association