Henning Schipper is the new president of the Revelstoke Cycling Association. (RCA) RCA is currently looking at developing a new mountain biking trail on the lower part of Mt. Mackenzie. It’s just one part of their five year plan. (Alex Cooper)

Revelstoke Cycling Association looking at the Sunnyside

RCA is building a climbing trail that will ascend 3.5 km — it’s just one part of their five year plan

By Alex Cooper, Special to the Review

The Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA) is looking at developing a new mountain biking trail network centred on the lower flanks of Mount Mackenzie.

RELATED: Five Revelstoke recreation groups receive $331K from Columbia Basin Trust

Dubbed Sunnyside, the club is building a climbing trail that starts at the Cartier trailhead and will ascend for 3.5 kilometres to a viewpoint overlooking the Columbia River. The full plan calls for several downhill trails leading off it, with the network eventually climbing to 1,400 metres elevation at full build-out.

“We looked at areas to develop trails that are not affected by logging, so the area attractive for that is lower Cartier and Mackenzie Bench,” said Henning Schipper, the new president of the RCA, at last Wednesday’s membership night at the River City Pub. “There’s no cut blocks there, there’s never been logging, it’s close to town, the snow melts out earlier and it stays open so much longer, so for the keen ridership, we could have areas and trails that are attractive to ride.”

Sunnyside is just one part of RCA’s five-year plan, which seeks to increase the number of trails in Revelstoke.

The network is in its early phases, but part of the climbing trail was already built last year by BC Wildfire crews, and RCA hopes to have it completed this year. The downhill trails still haven’t been approved by Recreation Sites & Trails BC, but Schipper hopes they can be built in 2019.

“The climbing trail will be completed by the end of this year hopefully, and then we can start building descents next year,” he said, adding they also plan to connect Sunnyside to the trails at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

The other big news from membership night is the plan for a skills park at Mt. MacPherson that is being developed with funding from the Revelstoke Rotary Club. The skills park will be built at the Griffith Creek parking lot and will include jumps and drops suitable for beginners and intermediates. Money raised at the Rotary Casino Night at the Regent on Apr. 21 will go to the park.

On MacPherson, a beginner loop that connects Griffth Creek to the Dusty Beaver trail will be open this year, and the club is also hoping to build more connector trails on the MacPherson network. One will go from Berm Donor to Flowdown, and another will allow intermediate riders to bypass one of the more challenging sections of Tantrum.

The club will be working with BC Timber Sales to re-establish Berm Donor and Super Happy Fun, the two trails that were impacted by logging on Mount MacPherson over the winter. The logging took place to prevent the spread of Douglas fir beetle in the area.

“BCTS will pay to re-establish them,” said Schipper. “We will wait for the snow to melt and go out with BCTS to reassess what’s there, what can be salvaged, what can be completely rerouted.”

On Boulder Mountain, home of the RCA’s downhill trails, there are plans to improve the jumps on Rooster, and add smaller jumps and drops to the bottom of the network. Schipper said more logging is expected on Boulder to combat the spread of Douglas fir beetle, and no new trail building is planned until they have a better idea of what is being harvested.

“We don’t want to build trails in areas that will be harvested shortly after they get built,” he said.

The RCA is planning on holding an open house for the public on Monday, Apr. 23, at a location to be determined.

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