A few weeks ago some concerns were brought up online about some mining exploration work that took place near the Mt. Macpherson biking trails.
The work in question overlapped with a small section of the Quarry Trail, which descends from the Nordic Lodge parking lot on Mt. Macpherson to the Mt. Begbie Forest Service Road near the Columbia River.
It’s not the first time concerns of this type have been raised. Last fall a meeting was held to look at establishing protection for the rock climbing areas in the Begbie Bluffs area nearby. And, most visibly, logging on Boulder Mountain heavily damaged several rogue trails and one legal trail. The action spurred the local cycling community into action to get legal protection for the downhill trails that have sprung up in the area.
One question that came up in all this was: what kind of protection do recreation trails have in the Revelstoke area? For the answer, we contacted Ken Gibson, the recreation officer for the area.
He explained that there were two pieces of legislation that a trail could be designated under: Section 56 and Section 57.
Under Section 57 a person or organization would have the right to build and maintain a trail and that trail would be entered into a corporate database. However, if another stakeholder such a forestry or mining company decided to do work in that area, they would not be required to consult with the trail builders.
“Someone who builds and maintains a trail is not in the eyes of the law a stakeholder,” Gibson said. “You hope people will work together.”
Under Section 56, the trail gets more protection and in that case the recreation group would be considered a stakeholder and would have to be consulted before any work is done, Gibson said.
“What I have to stress is we really have a great bunch of licensees we’ve been working with in the recreation program that have been pretty supportive of recreation around Revelstoke.” he said. “They’re really quite co-operative and have helped.”
For example, if a forestry company wanted to do some logging on Mt. Macpherson they would be expected to consult with the Revelstoke Cycling Association if any of their trails were to be impacted. Likewise with the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club.
He pointed out the Buff Enuff trail, which runs through a cut block. After the logging was done, the forestry company helped re-build the trail.
Other examples he gave were Downie leaving a buffer along the Martha Creek trail on Sale Mountain, the Revelstoke Forestry Corporation improving the road to the Keystone-Standard Basin trail and Stella-Jones working with the RCA to re-build the trails on Boulder Mountain.
“I think all the licensees contributed to the Nordic Club cabin,” Gibson said. “They’re really a good bunch of guys.”
In the case of the Quarry Trail work, he was informed by the exploration company that work would be done, that the impact would be minimal and the trail would be re-built afterwards.
“I didn’t even feel it was worth my while to have a look at things to ensure that was the case,” said Gibson. “I’ve since seen it and he’s done a great job.”
His biggest concern is that there might be clashes with recreators unfamiliar with how things work and resource companies. He said in other communities he works in – from the Alberta border to Chase – there have been clashes and there hasn’t been nearly the same level of cooperation as in Revelstoke.
“If people can tolerate each others’ needs and work together and be understanding and accepting, it opens up so many more doors and we can have so much more,” he said.