Hey everyone. Got an email from Halifax North West Trails Association. There’s a draft trails strategy for NS that’s open for feedback. I haven’t read the strategy yet, but I have done a quick scan. Mountain biking is at least mentioned, so we’re not forgotten about.
Feedback open until March 14 here:
Should be called “Shared Strategy for Gravel Sidewalks and/or Narrow Motorways in the woods of Nova Scotia”
I believe the consultations went something like this:
Mountain Bikers - “We want to go mountain biking on trails!”
NSTF - “Mountain biking!? Oh, you need specially built, dedicated trails to do that! Organized mountain biking is a relatively young activity in NS but there are lots of great rail trails with amazing views or you to ride on”
Mountain bikers - “Rail trails are fine but what we really want to ride is technical singletrack trails”
NSTF - “Technical?, singletrack!? Do you mean hiking trails? Oh no, you can’t bike on those it’s much too dangerous for beginners they might fall and get hurt and run someone over.”
I’m not going to continue to support something with my time that has set out to exclude mountain biking from its inception. Let the blue hairs have their private playground, I hope it gets loaded with dog shit.
What are the unbiased nuts and bolts here?
The bias didn’t start out that way and the second and third chances/tries at being included were given. My first introduction to this group as at least 15 years ago, and MTB was a non-starter from the get go.
There’s a couple of factors here, I doubt I can be unbiased but here’s how I see it. They’re aiming for a trail plan on a Provincial level, with a goal to increase tourism dollars. Obviously there are other health and wellness benefits but the economic factor is the selling point at this level. A secondary goal is to provide support (insurance, funding opportunities) to organizations who want to build trails that fit with their ideals.
The NSTF is hiking-centric, but the ATV(and snowmoblie) lobby is loud enough and spends lots of dollars so they support building a network of multi-use trails for this group, MTB gets lumped in in this multi-use aspect a lot because wheels are involved.
So the plan wants to appeal to the broadest spectrum of people possible. That means you can’t make anything too difficult, gravel sidewalks with noting to trip over so absolutely anyone can enjoy the outdoors. It’s just the reality of planning at this level to benefit the broadest spectrum of the population.
There’s also the continuing agenda of long distance wilderness hiking trails like the IAT or longer loops like Crowbar Lake, Bluff Wilderness Trail, BMBC. To a large degree this means trails on Provincially owned land, in many cases in Wilderness Protected Areas which is legislated to exclude mountain bikes citing environmental damage.
MTB is a fringe activity (really absolutely anyone can walk in the woods without much practice) and the NSTF has a strong belief that mountain bikes have to go on special segregated trails built in a special way to be safe and appease the environmental concerns. At a Provincial level they have to be made for the widest spectrum of users to maximize use. So it’s gravel paths or sanitized trails that beginners can ride that work nicely with Risk Management Plans and insurance policies.
or something like that, maybe @tossedsalad summed it up better
I’m definitely playing catch up as a recent transplant to the province, so thanks for this overview @bent6543.
What, in contrast, has led to the success of having single track access for MTBs at the McIntosh Run project (which I was just reading up on)?
Is there a danger of this provincial strategy getting in the way of future of other MTB friendly projects?
There’s lots of nuances that I skipped and stuff I don’t know @yanner. But this plan thing won’t have any effect on what a mtb friendly organization wants to do if they have land use agreements in place with the landowners.
It’s mostly a lot of nice sounding stuff on paper, something for a Politician or Municipal staff to mull over, the reality in the woods is another story, if there’s no one there to see you biking, no one cares!
I’m not involved with McIntosh Run, but maybe @Pepperjester or @elleDEE have some insight. It’s all about the group involved in the development that influences the mtb friendliness.
I’m actually running two issues into one. My main beef is with the Mainland Commons (Blue Mountain etc) assholes.