MRWA Plan

MRWA posted this map and a description of status and future work:
https://www.facebook.com/McIntoshRunWatershedAssociation/photos/a.261725330590334.58595.259918254104375/1435251539904368/?type=3&theater

Connecting granite waves to seashore waves… That’s the singletrack system vision. The big picture sometimes is lost, especially since the public consultations were a few years ago. So, here it is: New trail under construction, or will be this year (red); the next steps as MRWA gathers funding (orange, alignments are approved by HRM and DNR landmanagers); later phases (grey). Blue is completed or existing trail – some will have upgrades to meet landowner agreements and trail standards. Thanks to MEC for funding for some of the upcoming work, HRM and DNR as land managers, and of course the super enthused volunteers who have already put in so many hours of work. For a full description of upcoming work, and what those letters on the map mean, see here! http://mcintoshrun.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/trail-update-1.pdf

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The except from pdf:

As many of you know, the McIntosh Run Watershed Association (MRWA) is a volunteer group
working to, among other things, expand singletrack trails in the McIntosh Run watershed. In the next
few months, MRWA will have volunteer crews and hired trailbuilders in action in the Attic area of the
currently-informal trail network called Fight Trail, working under a License Agreement with HRM, the
landowner. The public consultations that led to this work, which gathered incredible community
support, occurred back in 2012 and Nov, 2014. It took a few years for the landowner approvals to come
through, but we’re there now! The work described below is the first steps along a longer path to
making an incredible trail system that extends from Colpitt Lake to Herring Cove. The goal is to
provide the trails we all want, and to increase community appreciation of the watershed in it’s natural
state.

If you are new to Fight Trail and/or MRWA, and want more background to this, please check out the
MRWA website: http://mcintoshrun.ca/singletrack-trail-under-construction/
I’ve attached a map which shows the upcoming work, existing trails, landowner approvals etc. Zooming
in will also show the existing Fight trail routes as dotted blue lines (the base map is OpenCycleMap).

  • Red trails are, or will be, under construction this year. These are entirely or mostly new trail.
  • Blue is existing trail. This includes most parts of Fight Trail that are on public land, and new trail
    already built by MRWA.
  • Orange lines are trail alignments that landowners have already approved, but construction won’t start
    this year.
  • Grey lines are potential later-phase trails. This is conceptual. Some routes have been ground surveyed.
    Others are deskjockey visions based on map data, chosen to access good terrain but avoid wetlands,
    uncrossable slopes etc. Although these are concepts, I’ve included them to illustrate how amazing an
    entire trail network here could be.
  • Black lines are the public land boundaries. Some is Crown land (managed by DNR), and some
    Halifax land. For the purpose of this map I haven’t differentiated the two.
    The letters A-E on the map correspond to upcoming work discussed below.

A. A new entrance trail. This will start from a trailhead on the large grassy park parcel midway on
Mica Crescent, just up the street from the currently-used Fight Trail entrance, and connect to the Attic.
Difficulty ‘blue square’, length roughly 400m. This trail will be a legal entrance to the system, replacing
the currently used entrance that crosses a private lot. If you want to help with the build, please message
me or MRWA. MRWA’s agreement with HRM allows for other entrance trails too, but those will take
more time.

B. A new trail ‘stacked’ on the southwest side of the Attic. ~1.4km long, bidirectional, difficulty blue
square. This trail will add new loop options, and will add another trailhead where it passes by the culde-sac
at the end of Alabaster. MRWA has contracted with TrailFlow, a trailbuilding firm, to start this
autumn. Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) provided a grant to MRWA for this work (thank you!).
Although Trailflow will be leading the work, volunteer assistance will still be vital. The more volunteer
hours contributed, the more new trail that TrailFlow can help us build.

C. If B (above) goes to plan, a 1km long trail leading from Alabaster to the Attic will also be
started this Fall. This will incorporate some existing trail but much will be new.

D. There will be a few changes to the Attic. Over time, boardwalks and ladderbridges will be
replaced with structures that meet Whistler Trail Standards, and muddy areas will be armoured or
otherwise mitigated. Other minor alterations and line changes may occur so the whole of the Attic is
truly a bidirectional all-weather ‘blue square’ trail. Harder lines will be retained where possible (and in
some cases new ones may be added), providing A/B options to suit riders of varying abilities. Materials
and tools are funded by the grant to MRWA from MEC. Build days targeting specific Attic upgrades
will begin this Fall. We’ll need volunteers for this too!

E. Work will continue in the eastern end of the project, at Norawarren Drive, to extend the ridable
trail along West Pine Island Pond. This is incredible terrain - wooded, lush and bordering lakes – very
different from most of the western end of the project.

F. The ‘F’ marks the general area of Secret Singletrack, Gords Gold, and the upper part of the Lake
Loop. They cross 17 parcels of private land without, to the best of my knowledge, landowner approval.
MRWA doesn’t have the capacity to authorize these trails, nor will it close these trails. Hence these
trails will be ‘as is’, barring any unforeseen actions by landowners. Signs will be posted at intersections
with unauthorized trails, that will read “Trail not in McIntosh Run System”, making it clear to trail
users where the MRWA system ends.
Finally, there are several short connectors of ‘orange trail’ (ie approved but not yet built) around the
Attic that might be tackled this fall or early spring, time and volunteer power permitting. Some is
planned as blue square, some black diamond (expert).

SIGNS: Signage will be posted at intersections, as trails are completed and approved by HRM or DNR
(depending on location). Most signs will be posted on 4x4 posts supported by rock cairns.
MRWA needs more trained Builders to lead volunteer crews. Last year we put several lead Builders
through a ‘Trail Builder Academy’ taught by professional trail builders, co-funded by MRWA and BNS.
MRWA uses this approach in order to ensure trails meet the requirements of landowner agreements.
MRWA is at the stage where a few more Builders are needed to spearhead projects and lead crews.
Please reach out to us if you think this level of volunteer commitment might be a good fit for you.
Thank you.

The next big step will be to build the trail connecting Flat Lake to the Norawarren trails. This will
allow trail users to go from Spryfield to Herring Cove on singletrack. It will also open up new areas for
more trail development, including the granite barrens that extend NE toward Fergusons Cove.
Volunteer build days are posted on MRWA Facebook, and/or we can add you to the volunteer email list.

Thanks for reading.
Lawrence Plug
MRWA Trails Committee

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WOW!! This is incredible. This is an already awesome trail system that will be taken to the next level…or two.

We all owe you a ton of gratitude for your work here.

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I’ve been helping out at the trail builds a bit lately, and it’s been an amazing experience. I strongly encourage anyone with the time to go out and lend a hand.

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Absolutely incredible! Best thing since the bicycle wheel. The trail builds are super fun too, btw.

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We’ve been helping a bit with the build as well. I highly recommend volunteering as an education in trail building, and an investment in the future of mountain biking in our community. There’s a lot of satisfaction in pointing to a section of trail and saying, “I helped to build that.”

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