Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area

“Open House: Sunday, November 2 at St Peter’s Anglican Church, 3 Dakin Drive (corner of Kearney Lake Rd and Bedford Highway). Drop in from 2-6 pm to discuss and share your ideas for the future of Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area. Bring your stories, maps or images to share.”

From the sounds of the plan thus far it seems they’re planning to exclude/eliminate mountain biking from this area. They only mention mountain biking briefly and from a negative sounding perspective, (trail damage, user conflicts) anyone who rides the trails around there (Evil Birch…) should add their voice to the discussion, apparently they will have an online survey sometime soon as well. If no one mentions bikes they are sure to be excluded.

Rumour has it that a trail building company was excluded from the rfp process due to the fact that they mentioned that the trails they build are suitable for mountain biking.
We need to show up in large numbers with educated arguments and documents/research to back them up!

I’m interested in seeing where their at and will be attending.

The online survey is up Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area Trails Project Public Survey
Everyone should fill it out, ask for mountain bike trails, even if you’ve never been there before

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Done. Thanks for the heads up, @bent6543!

@riderx, can you make sure this link makes it on our FB site!

I just logged in to post about this (saw add in Chronicle Herald) and plan on attending. I didn’t notice anything specifically negative towards Mountain Biking on the website except concerns about unauthorized guerrilla trail development potentially causing problems between users (which is true). I’m really excited that this could be a new spot for bicycling and backcountry hiking. From what I’ve seen hiking through there there is a lot of potential for great biking trails.

Btw, if there is anyone out there from Bicycles Nova Scotia or NSMTBTA out there who has been liasing with the city or BMBCL Trails group on getting mountain biking stakeholders and interests on the table I’d be really keen to hear their thought, successes, initiatives, challanges.

Thanks for posting.

Ryan Sutcliffe
cycling nerd.

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The way I see it, that is the only way they mention mountain biking at all, true or not, which is negative. They have made a choice to not include it as a positive way to enjoy the area in any of the literature, on the website or as an option in the survey. Pretty clear to me they aren’t considering it positive for the trails they’re planning to build.

They’ll probably make concessions for “front country trails” (i.e. crusher dust trails) in the Whopper area. I’d be shocked if they allowed bikes on the “back country trails” (i.e. singletrack) around Kearney Lake, Ash Lake and Blue Mountain, where there could be some awesome technical trails. Worth a shot though.

It is worth a shot and hopefully they are open minded enough to objectively look at the possibility. A lot of people are ignorant about mountain biking and simply assume that we’re a bunch of plant crushing Neanderthals who don’t give a flip about the environment. Which in my experience is actually the exact opposite of how most mountain bikers think.


They are dead set on ignoring MTB use of the area:

Indeed, almost half of all Nova Scotians live within a half hour drive of BMBCL and the wilderness is already extensively used for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sight-seeing, geocaching, camping, bird-watching, berry picking, etc.

From their Challenges section:

The unofficial trails have also recently linked up with mountain bike trails on the southern side of the wilderness area, which could lead to unnecessary trail conflicts between mountain bikers and hikers/walkers.

Yup…It’s a designated Wilderness Area and they have legislation that says no bikes, end of discussion for conservative types. Still worth a shot though!


That includes some Lake Loop, Suzie Q, Green Mile and Evil Birch.

“To help protect the environment and wilderness experience, vehicle and bicycle use is generally prohibited in wilderness areas.”

I didn’t realize bikes weren’t allowed in designated wilderness areas. What’s next, no canoes?

The key words there are ”generally prohibited”. In some cases mtb could be allowed on specific sections, but there would have to be a clear and large demand to get the exception.

Everyone who can make it should go to the public meeting and say the words mountain biking out loud.

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Thanks for the posts and links. I was looking at Terrence Bay Wilderness Area legislation just now and saw a note there saying that “while cycling and ATV use is prohibited there” and “legislation is unlikely to change”, in newer Wildlife Management Areas there are options to create a management plan which allows for these uses to be integrated.
Perhaps a hopeful sign (except for the fact that cycling and ATVing seem to be equated as the same…sigh)

A reminder that this meeting is today.

Unfortunately, I cannot make it so I’m hoping someone can report back with the skinny.

Just a heads up… @coaster2 was approached by the group because of all the survey participants requesting Mountain Biking trails. So kudos to those that jumped in to voice their interest.

" A representative from the group has been in contact with me by email because they had so many survey respondents mention mountain biking. Great work everyone! I’ll be popping in a little bit early to meet with them and get a rundown on the current situation. Now I just need a representative of the mountain bike community to be the go to person for this group. If it’s not you, please let me know who. See you there!" - Coaster2

Also, if you have not filled in the survey… it cannot hurt to fill it out even now.