Regional park far from a done deal

Wanna talk about red tape, Whopper should be lined with it…

“My frustration stems from the fact that years after we’ve designated it as a park, there’s not one sign and no marked trails,” Whalen says. “There are lots of trails if you’re a backwoodsman, but there are no groomed trails.” - Provincial Finance Minister, Diana Whalen

“Bush says the primary goal in developing trails is protect the biodiversity of area and he would rather have a “few trails that are well planned as opposed to lots of trails that are poorly planned.” He cites Spryfield’s Long Lake Provincial Park as an example of trail planning gone wrong. “We clearly don’t want that to happen in Blue Mountain Birch Cove,” Bush says.” - Peter Bush, Nova Scotia Environment Department

Mr Bushs idea of few trails that are well planned, does not line up well with what most would like to see with MTB trails. He cites the Bluff trails as the ideal. I’m hoping he is just talking about the front country portion.

It really does seem like he is not aware that the majority of use our there is MTB. I rarely see hikers as far down as Suzie Lake exit to power lines.

Luckily in this case, with the exception of the destruction of the front bit due to more big box stores for the BLIP, the red tape involved means it will be a loooong time before whopper becomes a sanitized POS ‘front country’ trail with a hiking only ‘back country’ stacked loop system.

No kidding. Days of riding Whopper are over when it becomes an official official park. Expect everyone from dog walkers to granola hikers to geocahidiots to be welcome while bikers are told to go somewhere else.

I think that he may be aware because of his comments about Long Lake, I assume he’s referring to Wrandees.

Why can’t we just;

a. Ride whatever we want in peace,
b. Not remove “backwoodsman” trails for those of us who like the backwoods being remotely close to home.

HRM is not a place I want to have children.

What’s so bad about Wrandee’s? A trail network harms biodiversity? People need to get over themselves. Critters cross roads, even live amongst us in cities. Pretty sure they won’t mind a wee bit of singletrack with very low traffic. What good is a planet you can’t even enjoy? Wait! You CAN enjoy it. Ten foot wide crusher dust highways for everyone. Wee!

I agree Rally, a piece of singletrack through the woods is probably the least destructive thing people do in the scheme of things. Going the legit route with trails and dealing with government is difficult at best, they are inherently conservative in thinking and will always give the squeakiest wheel the grease. In Nova Scotia it seems that most of the time that ‘wheel’ talks about crusher dust or trails where they can hike that won’t get ‘destroyed’ by riding bikes on it.

To boot, it seems as if the average person not involved in mountain biking (or doesn’t know someone who is) thinks we are mud bog loving, anti-authoritarian, 80’s neon spandex wearing, tattoo clad adrenalin junkies who find great enjoyment videotaping our debauchery on the trails by riding too fast, scaring their grandmother, kicking their dog and splashing mud in their kid’s eye as they skid up to the take off to an unmarked 40 foot road gap set on fire that someone is taking a poop off of just for giggles. Like if Ned Overend was acting like Shaun Plamer riding Gee Atherton’s bike, in a Jackass movie where they go to Red Bull Rampage.

Best. Ever.

Guerilla trails are what mountain biking is all about! :sunglasses:

[quote=“Rally_Kia”]Why can’t we just;
What’s so bad about Wrandee’s? A trail network harms biodiversity? People need to get over themselves. Critters cross roads, even live amongst us in cities. Pretty sure they won’t mind a wee bit of singletrack with very low traffic. What good is a planet you can’t even enjoy? Wait! You CAN enjoy it. Ten foot wide crusher dust highways for everyone. Wee![/quote]

I kinda laughed when I saw that. The city and province are permitting massive infrastructure and urban sprawl, destroying huge wooded areas, but oh no, too many trails in the woods is bad for the environment. Like WTF?

And yes, Wrandee’s is more fun, MTB or not than most of HRM’s “trails” like the frog pond.

What? I thought that was what mountain biking was all about. :stuck_out_tongue:

Received this as an email form Halifax North West Trails Association:

Update re Blue Mountain

In case you did not see today’s Chronicle Herald.

Herald Halifax 05/14/2014, Page W01

Halifax park in limbo


A group of 30 people gathered at Happy Turtle Yoga Studio in Halifax on May 6 to find out what was going on with the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lake Regional Park.

Turns out, things are stuck in a bureaucratic logjam.

The park, which would be one of the largest urban parks in Canada, is situated between Bayers Lake, Beechville and Clayton Park. It’s a large untouched landscape filled with lakes, rare species and rich biodiversity.

The largely untouched region replenishes the nearby water sources and the trees store thousands of tons of carbon dioxide.

However, some developers, primarily The Annapolis Group have bought large portions of the land and want to develop new suburbs, even though the province and municipality have already promised it would become a regional park.

The developers purchase of land have made the issue less cut-anddry and now much more complicated, with land deals, swaps, appropriation, and other mechanisms on the table.

It could be a park, it could be developed, and at this point the area’s fate is not certain. Halifax Regional Council will determine what happens in the end, with some councillors for protection, others not .

The city has b een waiting to hire an independent facilitator to figure the whole mess out, and after years of waiting, finally has one, however, it’s not yet known who that person is.

Raymond Plourde, Wilderness Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre was the keynote speaker at the Happy Frog event, which was sponsored by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

Plourde said if citizens want the land to remain as it is, they should increase pressure on council.

“There are many cities that would kill to have this tremendous park asset right next door," Plourde said. “Unfortunately in its current state, it’s very difficult to get to, there are no signs, places to park, so unless you know the sort of secret ways to get in, this place is largely a mystery to residents."

Plourde said the city has been trying to get the area protected since 1971, but has faced multiple speed bumps along the way.

“A group of well-heeled, deep pocketed developers banded together and said ‘no, we want to build a big community here,’" he said. “With every new development, comes the need for services, water, sewer, garbage, schools, all of the taxpayers pay for that."

“This park, you can get to it with a bus ride from downtown," he said. “We want kids to be able to appreciate nature, without having to go to summer camp."

Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Diana Whalen was part of a panel following the keynote, she said she’s hoping the park will remain a natural area.

“At the first public consultation the province did, they were so amazed that they received around 100 letters, each one was different, explaining why the area is important," Whalen said. “Government’s are used to seeing form letters, where you just add your name and mail it in , but to write your own story is really powerful."

The provincial government protected a portion of adjacent crown land in 2009 with the hope that the municipality wou ld follow suit .

Wendy McDonald, board member of the North West Trails Association , said she was excited to hear a broad range of views on the region.

“If we los e this we los e the opportunity for people like Truman Layton, who have been using the land for years or the young people who can exp erience the wilderness that so many of us have come to take for granted," McDonald said. “I think p eople will go home tonight re-energized getting their friends and family onboard to help." McDonald first hiked through the area in 2004 and said its beauty instantly ‘took her aback.’ The trail association, along with other groups host regular hikes into the Blue Mountain region. “It will be the beginning of the end for a lot of things in Halifax if they take control of this asset that we have," she said.

A panel of experts on the region, including (left to right) Deputy Premier Diana Whalen, Raymond Plourde, Truman Layton, and Ryan Van Horne spoke about the area and took questions from the audience.

Colin Chisholm

Powered by TECNAVIA Copyright ©2014 The Halifax Herald Limited 05/14/2014

Thanks for posting this Rockhopper!

Here’s the article link:

Can one of the admins please post the article link on FB so we can share it and get a large community impact? Thanks!