Frisby Ridge trail closed this summer

Revelstoke’s iconic Frisby Ridge mountain bike trail will be closed this summer as damage to the trail is repaired.

A before and after picture of a section of the Frisby Ridge trail. At left is the trail in late August 2015. At right

Revelstoke’s iconic Frisby Ridge mountain bike trail will be closed this summer as work moves forward to repair the damage done to the trail last September.

The Revelstoke Cycling Association and Rec Sites & Trails BC put a voluntary closure in effect until August 15, when a mandatory closure will go into effect until next summer while crews go in to do major repair work to the trail.

The RCA launched an online fundraiser to raise money for the work.

Frisby Ridge is one of Revelstoke’s signature trails, climbing almost 13 kilometres through sub-alpine forests and into alpine meadows, providing spectacular views, a gentle climb and fast descent along the way.

Last September, a combination of torrential rain and heavy traffic resulted in the trail becoming one big mud pit. Cyclists (including, regrettably, this writer), trying to avoid the mud, rode around the trail, expanding the problem.

The Revelstoke Cycling Association received $173,000 in funding from the Columbia Basin Trust to repair and extend the trail. The major trail repairs are scheduled to take place this summer.

“The trail isn’t in the condition to be used until the upgrades are done,” said Daryl Ross, the head of the RCA’s cross-country committee, adding they want to ensure no one is on the trail because machinery will be used to make the repairs.

The RCA press release follows:

The Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA) with support from Recreation Sites and Trails British Columbia (RSTBC), has issued a Voluntary Closure of the Frisby Ridge XC Trail.

Lengthy sections of the trail – some of which are located in fragile alpine zones –have deteriorated or been damaged to a point that significant upgrades and remediation work is required. Several additional sections of trail could face similar issues unless they receive substantial interventions. The current condition of the trail has resulted from:

— Limitations of the original trail tread to withstand significant increase in traffic.

— Weather event coupled with fresh trail work and over-eager bikers through September 2015.

The first two weeks of September 2015 were especially damaging to the trail. The long-weekend that year was preceded by very heavy rain and unseasonably cool temperatures. Just weeks prior to this, the RCA trail maintenance crew undertook extensive dirt work to address drainage issues on some of the wettest areas of the trail. Unfortunately, long-weekend crowds and those that followed through the cold, wet September did not chose to find other trails to ride. The cold temperatures meant that the trail tread could not dry out and recover between rain events. The fresh maintenance work was still very soft and many hard-worked areas simply turned into quagmires under the heavy rain and biker traffic. Faced with mud holes and standing water, bikers began riding and walking off trail to link dryer sections together, resulting in significant trail creep and damage to the sensitive surrounding areas.

The Revelstoke Cycling Association is undertaking an extensive upgrade and remediation project that will take place over the remainder of the 2016 biking season. This project will address drainage and erosion issues throughout the length of the trail and will utilize a combination of machine work and hand crews.

The RCA and RSTBC have issued this voluntary closure due to the current condition of the trail, the sensitive nature of the alpine environment and the nature of the upgrade and remediation work required. The risk of further damage to the trail and surrounding area is real as detours around work areas in fragile alpine zones would inevitably lead to more habitat damage in these areas.

For reasons of public safety, this Voluntary Closure will become a mandatory, Official Closure once the trail work begins in early August 2016. This closure will remain in effect until the rehabilitated trail re-opens for riding in July 2017.

Due to the annual July 15 mountain caribou closure and seasonal snowpack, The RCA was only very recently able to ground-truth the extent of the damage and disrepair to the trail. The RCA shares in the disappointment about the trail being closed for the remainder of this season, but we are confident and optimistic that the sacrifice and work of this year will create a better trail that we can all enjoy and be proud of for years to come. For a great alpine XC experience, we encourage riders to use the more technically challenging and advanced Keystone Standard Basin Trail. For a flow-trail descent similar to Frisby Ridge, try Flowdown at Mount Macpherson.

The RCA strongly encourages the riding community to embrace this opportunity to strengthen their commitment to ongoing trail stewardship not only in Revelstoke, but for all trails everywhere.

For more information, please contact:

Daryl Ross – XC Director – Revelstoke Cycling Association – revybiker@gmail.com

Click here to learn how to make donations to this important project

 

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