Words by Morgan Taylor- (Post from NSMB.COM)
The message that came through loud and clear last night at the 2011 AGM is that the NSMBA is moving forward as a cohesive unit in 2012, with clear goals and a plan to execute them. The NSMBA is supported by three pillars: Trails, Advocacy, and Events. For 2012, each of these points has been considered and a plan put into place.
2011 was a successful year for the volunteer-run charity; with a new branding strategy and hard work both behind the scenes on the ground, the “Trails For All, Trails Forever” vision brought clarity to the NSMBA.
TAP Trail Adoption Plan
The single biggest piece of news at last year’s AGM was the implementation of the Trail Adoption Plan. With nine trails being taken in by a business in the community under the guidance of an experienced trail builder, TAP was a great success. While the NSMBA did still hold four trail days independent of the program, TAP saw 42 trail days and 4400 man-hours (whoa!) of work logged. Mt. Seymour’s trail network is looking great with all the work, but as always, trail maintenance is an ongoing issue.
Under Digger’s supervision, nsmb.com took on Dale’s trail on Mt. Seymour with the TAP program.
For 2012, the goal is to “Double TAP.” Hoping to expand the program to Mt. Fromme, the NSMBA is looking to build on the success of TAP’s first year. As the NSMBA held the permits for the TAP trails on Mt. Seymour in 2011, and they will need to arrange this with DNV for Fromme in 2012. Moving onward and upward sounds great, but how are they going to implement this?
NSMBA President Mathew Bond has, for the second year in a row, one of the creepiest manstaches on the circuit.
1. Hiring a Full-Time Program Coordinator
Mark Wood, who has already been putting in a ton of work on a very modest stipend, will be paid for 30 hours a week for the next six months. Under Mark’s more focused guidance, the NSMBA’s projects will be considered five days a week rather than at the monthly meetings of the Board of Directors.
Mark hopes to continue the positive direction in working with land managers and local government. While hiring a person in this position may be new to the North Shore, that is not the case in other trail associations across North America. This adds legitimacy to the NSMBA’s work and puts them on par with other successful trail associations.
Mark Wood has taken on more responsibility as the NSMBA’s full-time Program Coordinator.
2. The Watchmen Program
The NSMBA identified a need to regularly assess trails and report back to the Board, land managers, and trail builders. The Watchmen program will put a set of eyes on the trails, scrutinizing trail structures and ground conditions on an ongoing basis. This is good for everyone involved, but most importantly to the land owners, who like to see responsible stewardship of the trails. The Watchmen will help identify potential problems and perform spot maintenance before they become larger issues.
3. NSMBA Trail Crew
A paid trail crew dedicated to projects that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to the average builder. A good example of this is the work done recently on 7th Secret, where 170 feet of rotten woodwork was replaced. Having a dedicated trail crew to take care of such issues will allow the permitted trail builders and TAP trail builders to focus on their respective projects. This year’s project was funded by the proceeds of Wade’s Excellent Adventure, though the NSMBA will be seeking active funding sources moving forward.
Matt Preston and Mark Wood with the newly completed bridge work on 7th Secret.
4. Builders Academy
Only a handful of trail builders have the skills and experience necessary to lead a TAP team. NSMBA is looking to change that, by creating a mentorship program. Apprentice builders will be paired up with a master trail builder, with the intention of improving trail building skills in all areas. This project will work in conjunction with the Watchmen, as the apprentice builders will be assigned trails to regularly assess and perform spot maintenance on. The goal here is to cultivate the culture of trail building as an investment in future skills.
While the average trail user experiences the NSMBA’s work on a regular basis, the association’s events present a fun way to get more involved. If you’d like to help with any of the following events, email the NSMBA or fill out a comment form on their website.
Following in the wake of four successful Toonie Races in 2011, the NSMBA hopes to run 6 – 8 Toonies in 2012. After experimenting with after-work races, the conclusion is that Saturday mornings are the best time to get people out to race. The hope is to run a race on the first Saturday of each month, which would turn the base of Mt. Fromme into a social place supported by local shops where riders can get together.
Wade’s Excellent Adventure
As expected, everyone’s stoked to see a return of Wade Simmons’ event on Fromme. For 2012, Wade promises a change in program, in the interest of fun. Rather than an all-day epic, think one-day stage race with time bonuses for technical features. While the new concept is still in the planning stages, the ride will no doubt test your knowledge of Fromme, with all proceeds going back to the trails.
Wade’s Excellent Adventure is a whole lot of fun with a great cause. Check out our recap and video of the 2011 Adventure here.
Andreas Hestler did a huge amount of ground work to make an all day, three-mountain ride happen on the North Shore in 2011. Unfortunately, the permit process of running an event across three mountains prevented the Triple Crown from becoming a reality last year. With much of the routing finished and communication lines open, Andreas hopes to host the Triple Crown late in the season—likely September.
A mainstay of the NSMBA, 2011’s gear swap was the most successful to date. While Rachid Nayel is stepping down from his position on the Board, he assured us he would be involved with this year’s gear swap. The three-way benefit of buying, selling, and supporting the NSMBA makes this a great event that we’re happy to see continuing.
Look forward to another NSMBA Film Fest, following a successful first year in 2011. Word is people are already working on their submissions… get yours in there!
The NSMBA works with five main land managers to help keep our trails safely maintained, both in North Vancouver and West Vancouver. The NSMBA is working actively with the District of North Vancouver regarding trails on Fromme, but there is a strong need for the community to make its presence known in West Vancouver.
Alan Bardsley works hard on the advocacy side in West Vancouver, and asks for our help this year.
In 2007, the mountain bike community showed up in full force to let the District of West Vancouver and British Pacific Properties know the importance of the trail network. Now, in 2012, a threat looms again and we are being asked to show our support. The District is considering extending the 1200 foot elevation development limit on Cypress, which puts the large majority of the trails there in jeopardy.
West Van does support bikes, but we need to voice our support for the current level of trails on Cypress. There will be a public input session February or March 2012, where the NSMBA asks us to put forth the message: Maintain the current riding experience. Keep an eye on nsmb.com and nsmba.ca for more information approaching that date.
While most of the TAP trails on Mt. Seymour are under Metro Vancouver jurisdiction, Mt. Fromme lies in the District of North Vancouver. NSMBA President Mathew Bond and Program Coordinator Mark Wood have recently been presenting their work to DNV council. Public perception of mountain biking often ignores the work that goes into sustainable trail maintenance, and Mathew and Mark are looking to make it clear to DNV that the NSMBA is making big efforts to turn that perception around. The TAP program is an invaluable asset in showing land owners how the NSMBA approaches sustainable trail maintenance.
NSMBA is also looking to finalize the groundwork done in past years with respect to the DNV permit process for trail builders. Permits provide security for the trails and for trail builders, and plans are in place to make this process easier.
Andreas Hestler and Mark Wood enjoy a post-meeting brew. Thanks for all the hard work, ladies and gents of the NSMBA!
If you’d like to get involved, contact the NSMBA through their website here.