I know firsthand what goes into the creation of a bike trail, the walks in the woods looking for appropriate terrain, the vision for a new line and of course the hundreds of hours spent digging, capping, armoring and building while being eaten alive by various bloodthirsty insects of the coastal forest. Every bike trail is a work of art, some more sophisticated than others but all worthy of the time to appreciate the effort that went into its creation. Whistler Valley’s historic legacy of trails were largely built by volunteer labour and though we do not want to quell that enthusiasm, Whistler Blackcomb has an obligation to the Provincial Government to ensure we responsibly manage the development and use of all trails on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, including those that are built without our knowledge or permission.
A recent increase in unauthorized trails built within our boundaries has brought this issue to the forefront, forcing us to close some works of art and decommission some trails with insufficient environmental forethought. Whistler Blackcomb, the RMOW and WORCA are working together with the Province to satisfy our duty as land managers and, at the same time, provide access to enjoyable and sustainable mountain biking experiences. As part of this process, we have taken on the responsibility for bringing several unauthorized trails up to WORCA standards. Working directly with WORCA builders, we have created new connections and climbing routes to ensure the riding experiences at the base of Blackcomb and in the Creekside/Function Junction area are sustainable for the long term.
Weekly we hear of new trails being built on Whistler or Blackcomb and have to investigate the reports, taking time away from our trail building duties in the Park. Decommissioning trails requires use of our precious trail building resources and none of us like to spend time wrecking trails when we could be building new ones and adding versus taking away. We are respectfully asking trail builders to discontinue the practice of building on WB and for all riders to only ride authorized trails on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Any unauthorized trails on either mountain will be deactivated regardless of their quality going forward, as they jeopardize our potential to expand the network of trails we have proposed with the Province.
We still see room for more pedal trails on both mountains but need to ensure the development happens with a focused strategy while maintaining appropriate levels of safety and high environmental standards. We will continue to work with WORCA and the RMOW to develop a community vision while also creating an application process for builders interested in building trails on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. More information on the application process will be communicated once it’s available, and we encourage trail builders to join WORCA and stay up to date on all trail access issues.
See you on the trail.