District Gives $60,000 for Trails

SORCA-MAIN

District funding enabled SORCA to hire five people for trail maintenance and upkeep last year. Photo: Submitted.

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March. 23, 2013

The district seems to be slowly but finally realizing that trails, as much as any other tourist venue, bring visitors to Squamish.

This delayed but welcome nod to trails came recently when the council voted to grant $60,000 to Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA), in association with Squamish Dirt Bike Association and Squamish Trails Society.

Coun. Bryan Raiser says it’s a step forward.

“Last year the district got on board recognizing the dramatic economic impacts of trails,” he said.

Raiser said the grant will help SORCA seek matching funding from provincial and federal level.

He said 20 years of volunteer labour has built the most publicized trail network, but volunteers shouldn’t be the only one contributing.

“The world is riding and running our trails and we can’t rely on volunteers to keep it up any more than we ask them to fix the ice or the fields,” he added.

Last year, the council gave $40,000 to all three trail groups, which enabled them to hire five people to upgrade trails.

The five people worked full-time on a variety of mountain biking and walking trails last summer, improving trail beds, and ensuring the overall integrity of the trail.

The funding also enabled the hiring of a trail supervisor with expertise in trail building and maintenance.

Together, the paid staff contributed 2,500 man hours into trails that stretched from Valleycliffe to Cat Lake.

This year, SORCA plans to conduct trail maintenance in a more systematic manner.

The 2013 program will also concentrate more effort on trails signage as well as trail kiosk construction at key locations.

SORCA also plans to hire and train six students in the summer and perform train maintenance activities such as trail inspections, trails taking, erosion control, and signpost installation.

SORCA president Dwayne Kress said even though it’s taken the district a rather long time to realise the importance of trails, he’s hopeful their support will continue.

“I hope next year, this would be a line item in the budget,” he said.

Kress said in the 20 years of SORCA, trail users have been eager to support the local trail network. The success of SORCA Trail Pass, launched in 2011, bears testimony to that, he said.

 While 500 SORCA members pay for the $15 trail pass with membership, visitors are equally happy to buy one, Kress added.

 The trail passed are available from local bike shops, and by QR code at kiosks on trail heads.

 The funds generated through the trail pass go towards trail advocacy and trail maintenance, including hiking and walking trails.

 “It benefits the entire community,” he said.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Marnie Lett says:

    Great for the trails and all that this can contribute, but surely I would have loved to see funds go to way-finding and refinement of our town’s brand as we move towards the centennial celebration. Trails are important, but I disagree with moving the branding and way-finding to 2016 (?). MM

  2. dp says:

    This comment has been removed.

    Dialogue and conversation is welcome on the Reporter website, but comments that include abusive language, personal attacks, racist, sexist, homophobic, and other discriminatory speech will be deleted.

    Gagandeep Ghuman
    Editor, The Squamish Reporter

  3. JDT says:

    You should note that it was council that approved the trails program, and not an individual.

    Editor’s Note: This comment has been edited to remove objectionable words.

  4. Jason Bechard says:

    What a joke. Not once has any numbers been brought forward to the public or council to actually show the economic benefit these trails provide to the community. Apparently it brings in ‘hundreds of thousands’ to the local economy. OK so the bike shops, food stores and maybe the gas stations make that money. Most bikers are not here to shop.

    Same applies to the Gran Fondu that brings ‘thousands of dollars’ to the local area? Yet when asked where the money was going too…not a single number could be conjured up or found. How convenient.

    And don’t get me started on our so called ‘local’ farmers market that sucks money right out of the community.