Ingram River Off-Road Cycling Association

Ingram River Off-Road Cycling Association

There is an ongoing effort by the St. Margarets Bay Stewardship Association (SMBSA) to have the Ingram River Watershed portion of the Western Crown Lands designated as a Wilderness Area. You might know this area as the location of the Bowater trails. This is currently crown land and only a small portion is subject to any protections from logging or development.

The SMBSA has expressed interest in working with a cycling association to develop cycling routes in the area. Currently there is no local cycling association for them to partner with.

Luke Downing and I met on a ride on the Bowater trails over the holiday break. In conversation we discovered that we were both of the same mindset and felt that an association was needed to represent all of the bicycle (mtb and gravel) riders who like having fun on two wheels in the proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area, lest we lose access to the area in the future.

With this in mind we’ve had multiple discussions over the past month about the possibility of making a trail association work. Today we made a decision to form the Ingram River Off-Road Cycling Association. The association’s mission is to act as representatives of the local cycling community during the development of the Ingram River Wilderness Area and beyond.

We’ve identified five primary goals for the association:

  1. Promote the sport of cycling, and the development of cycling infrastructure within the Ingram River Wilderness Area.
  2. Provide cycling related guidance to the SMBSA.
  3. Develop and maintain a sanctioned single-track trail network in the Ingram River Area.
  4. Assist in the protection of local wilderness.
  5. Provide opportunities within the sport for area youth.

We are currently seeking some more volunteers to help develop the association. If you are interested in helping out please reach out to Luke or myself.


Also, if you out riding on the Bowater trails please check-in on Trailforks if you can. I have access to this data and it will come in handy in the future.


I record on strava and cross post to trailforks. Is that the same as a check-in?

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Yes, check-ins are auto-generated when you post a ride log, or in this case when the strava data syncs to trailforks.


How do I make strava data link with trailforks?

Googled it. Unfortunately I deleted trailforks some time ago.

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On your desktop your Trailforks login is the same as your Pinkbike login. You do not need to be using the Trailforks app to have Strava ridelogs sync to Traiforks. Here is a video that describes the process of linking your Strava rides to Trailforks:


I sent out an introductory email to those that contacted me. There’s also a link in the email to the Facebook group that we set up for co-ordination and planning.


Here is a link to the Facebook Planning Group for anyone who is interested.


Public consultation on the proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area starts the week of July 12. New Proposed Protected Area Near St. Margarets Bay Added to Consultation - Government of Nova Scotia, Canada


Thanks for posting this, @Alice!

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You can provide input into the proposed wilderness area at Ingram River here(ends Sept 27th): Consultation: Proposed Ingram River Conservation Lands


Here is our one year update:

Over the past year a small group of local mountain bikers has been working to form a trail association and develop a sanctioned singletrack trail network in the Upper Tantallon/Hammonds Plains/St. Margarets Bay area. There are currently no sanctioned singletrack trails in this part of Halifax, so like many Haligonians we must drive for 30-40 minutes in order to reach sanctioned public trails. In my opinion this is contradictory to the spirit of mountain biking and trail running being low emissions activities. Our plan was to alleviate this by building a sanctioned trail network in “our neck of the woods”.

Over the past year Luke and I have held a series of meetings and completed a fair bit of behind the scenes work to try to make this association a reality. Below is a timeline of what has transpired so far:

November 2020- Discussions on ECMTB regarding the proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area and trails on the western crown lands. This is where the seed was planted, and I started developing a plan, drawing on my experience in founding a cycling club and developing a sanctioned singletrack trail network in Ontario.

January 2021- Initial discussions with Luke about forming a trail association.

February 2021- We created a Facebook group to generate interest and started posting about the trail association on Facebook and other online platforms. Our group is currently at 34 members but has very limited member engagement.

April-October 2021- We conducted research into forming a trail association, legal incorporation, funding sources, bylaws and guidelines. As well as a survey of the existing trail networks in the area to accurately map them and determine land ownership. We also scouted several potential locations for a trail network.

October 2021-Luke and I had a virtual meeting with the Department of Environment Parks and Protected Places staff to discuss the process for building sanctioned trails in a wilderness area.

November 2021- Our first open virtual meeting. We had three attendees including Luke and myself. The third attendee, Curtis, also agreed to volunteer his time and join the board.

December 2021- Luke and I engaged with HRM parks and recreation staff to discuss city support for a sanctioned trail network.

December 2021- We held our second virtual meeting with seven attendees, including Luke and myself. One attendee at this meeting, Tim, agreed to join our board.

In order to build a sanctioned trail network, we first need to form a trail association. The legal framework for a trail association in Nova Scotia is a society, which requires five or more person to incorporate. Over the past year we have only been able to find four people that have expressed interest in doing this. At this point it appears that there is very little interest from local trail users in forming a trail association. Trailforks and Strava data shows that the local unsanctioned trails receive a substantial amount of traffic, which demonstrates demand, but the lack on engagement by those same trail users also indicates that many seem happy maintain the status quo of using unsanctioned trails on crown and private land. From my perspective efforts to form a trail association and build a sanctioned trail network in this area have not and will continue to not receive much support from local trail users. This has led me to my decision to step back from any further work on this project. Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far, and I wish you luck going forward.

At this point Luke and I have made the decision to cease any further efforts to form a trail association and to dissolve the Upper Tantallon Trail Association as a stand-alone entity. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.



I will be your 5th. Not sure how I missed all this

Thanks man, but we are done.