Halifax Northwest Trails Update

mbh

#1

I get a periodic email update from the Halifax Northwest Trails Association. Their latest newsletter can be found at their website here:

http://www.halifaxnorthwesttrails.ca/

Some other documents of interest linked on their front page are:

“A Shared Strategy for Trails in Nova Scotia”

“PROPOSED TRAIL PLAN FOR BLUE MOUNTAIN - BIRCH COVE LAKES WILDERNESS AREA” (This trail plan seems to be primarily for the Kearney Lake/Maskwa Canoe Club side of the wilderness area)


#2

No mention of bicycle or bike in any of the three documents. The charts do show it as a top 3 activity:

Have you engaged in any of the following activities within the Blue
Mountain-Birch Cove Wilderness area? Check all that apply : Mountain Biking 28%.

http://www.halifaxnorthwesttrails.ca/images/pdf/BMBCL%20WA%20Trail%20Plan%20Final.pdf

I think they are ignoring this kind of usage because of the “bikes are vehicles” rule.


#3

They are ignoring it because conveniently they have a legal roadblock to keep mountain bikers off their trails.

Mountain biking, which occurs (without authorization) in the wilderness area in some areas,requires NS Environment (NSE) approval and a separate planning process (which was beyond the scope of this project).
p. 8 (Trail Development Constraints)


#4

When talking to Bob and Wendy, who are the ones running HNWTA and are extremely active in it’s ongoing business, they always ask me, “where are all the mountain bikers?”. They refer to meetings and such. I believe the MTBer’s are not there because they generally are working on trails and walking paths that MTBers are not interested in. I talk to them fairly often. They are not against us.

Having said that, the hiking trails should not be there and were built illegally by a nut who had no clue as to the legal routes to go about such activity. I also don’t think that we need MTB trails there too. Some places should be allowed to exist without us. They are called Wilderness Areas covered under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act.

However I’m not sure what NSE was thinking having a Wilderness Area so close to the city. Obviously somebody is going to be in there building something. They should have made it a park of some sort to facilitate recreation while also maintaining some amount of protection.


#5

They were at the Norawarren trail opening. I chatted with them for a few minutes. I also think they are supportive.

@landandwater, what do you think they meant when they said, “where are all the mountain bikers”?


#6

Thanks for this, @landandwater. Good perspective. Also good to see they do not have a hate on for MTBers. Maybe there is hope for positive collaboration.

I would be happy to just keep whopper trails. Maybe add a bit more. The side they are working on I’m not to concerned with except maybe evil birch.

I’m not looking forward to the inevitable day when someone tells me to get out of whopper and start wrecking the trails by making them un-bikable.


#7

Maybe Mountain Bike Halifax should get on going to these meetings then. @Gentile? Whopper is fine but more trails to ride is even better.

At this point I find it foolish to build/refurbish trails in an urban area with and not allow all non-motorized modes of enjoyment, regardless of who shows up to the meetings.


#8

They justaren’t seeing them at meetings and events for trails. I think it’s because they have not done much with trails we ride.


#9

Evil Birch is outside the WA I think. It’s on the developers land.


#10

I attended a few meeting back in 2001/2002 or something like that. It wasn’t very mtb supportive environment so I never went back, I also had a few other things on my plate and wasn’t going to make room for this.

Glad to hear things have changed,


#11

Reaching out to HNWTA and (other organization within HRM) has been discussed within MBH meetings. The group is more focused on establishing a relationship with HRM at the moment though.


#12

As Jeff said, a number of locations are being looked at by MBH. We currently have a few initiatives underway and are investigating all current/future areas to identify those which require more focus.

We hope to share some info at the AGM in the spring, and welcome anyone that would like to become involved at that time.


#13

I wish I had more time to be involved in the mountain bike community, particularly trail advocasy but I am at my limit with my commitment with MRWA. I’ll quickly give some info on this topic but I may not be able to elaborate or answer further questions. I attended the initial public consultation for this trail project as VP Trails for BNS and it was very well attended by the mountain bike community. It was made clear at that meeting that mountain bikes would not be included in the project. However, at the same meeting a representative from DOE alluded privately that a proposals to develop a mountain bike trail systems in Wilderness Areas would be welcome and a subsequent meeting was held at the DOE office with several staff and myself and another BNS Trail Committee member. Keep in mind that a bicycle is a vehicle and requires written permission from the Minister of the Environment for each specific trail. Since that meeting permission was given on trails in the Five Bridges Wilderness Area setting a precedent in Nova Scotia. DOE would welcome a proposal from the mountain bike community for a system in the BMBCLWA. If you are able to help, contact BNS.


#14

Thanks for the info, @coaster2.

Might be worth looking into sometime, @Gentile.


#15

I noticed the HNWTA website has Whopper Drop listed as one of their “future trails”. I assume they mean Lake Loop, Suzie Q, etc since most of the other original whopper trails have been obliterated.

We may want to stake our claim, before it’s too late.