New Trails, Epic Bike Loop, Full Time Trail Crew: A Big Year Ahead for SORCA

By Sarah Norman
Published: Feb 28, 2017

2017 is a BIG year for Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association. We are celebrating our 25th Anniversary of trail advocacy, sustainability and fun events in Squamish. Over the past quarter century we’ve garnered quite a reputation for putting on some of epic (and fun) biking events in town. We’ve hosted hundreds upon hundreds of Toonie races, social rides and other special biking events.

SORCA also plays a really important role in our community. Squamish’s world-class trails increase the quality of life for people who live here, support our emerging rec-tech businesses, attract new residents to Squamish and grow a recreation-focused tourism industry. Squamish is now home to no less than fifteen different companies directly involved in the biking industry: ranging from PinkBike; the world’s largest mountain biking website, to bike component manufacturer OneUp Components. 

SORCA’s 2017 resolutions:

Resolution #1: Build Squamish’s epic 20km bike loop: The biggest project we’ve ever undertaken is the Diamond Head Trail Project. We launched a very successful crowdfunding campaign last year to raise the funds to complete SORCA’s most ambitious trail project yet. 2017 will see us wrapping up the project and opening it to the public. Once completed, you’ll see 9km of new trail that features old growth forests, killer views and will link up with existing trails to form a massive 20km singletrack loop. We made great building progress during the torrential rains this fall and will have it open by the summer.  

Resolution #2: Keep building new trails: On the new trail front, a few SORCA members have also embarked on a number of ambitious volunteer trail projects this year with new trails coming soon near Alice Lake, Alice Ridge and Debecks Hill. Stay tuned!

Resolution #3: A full time trail crew: Trail Maintenance is a big focus of what SORCA does, last year our trail crew was able to complete rebuilds of some of our more popular trails to make them sustainable and ride-able in wet conditions. The increased ridership of Squamish’s trail network over last few years has really taken its toll on the trails. SORCA volunteers manage a three-person trail maintenance crew that is funded through our trail pass and membership program and through a District of Squamish grant which is split between SDBA, STS and SORCA projects. Maintaining a nearly 200km trail network on the budget that we have is very difficult, and this year our goal is to work towards keeping the trail crew on full time.

Resolution #4: Protect our trails: Protection of trail network is also high on our priority list this year, especially given the numerous developments that have popped up around town. We have been approached by and are working with a handful of developers to ensure a number of Squamish trails are protected and maintained. It is our hope that we continue the dialogue with new developments that may have an effect on our trail network.

Resolution #5: Celebrate our 25th Anniversary by growing our membership: We’ll stick to our roots and ensure that there’s an awesome anniversary event planned this year to celebrate our 25 years. There is no better year to become a member and join in on the fun. We’ve got some awesome new events lined up this year, along with our usual bi-weekly Toonie Races and Social Rides. There really is something for every level of rider. Join us! Membership includes a trail pass and access to all of our fun events. Join now! http://www.sorca.ca/about/become-a-member/

Comments

  1. newport_observer says:

    How about resolution #6?: reduce SORCA’s burden on Squamish taxpayers to zero from the current ~$100,000 pa. No other outdoor rec group in Squamish gets this level of subsidy.

    • RJ says:

      What other outdoor rec group brings in this much economic activity?
      Total spending in Squamish attributable to mountain biking totaled
      nearly $2.1 million over the period June 4 to September 17, supporting
      an estimated $1.9 million in new economic activity (GDP).

      ref https://squamish.ca/assets/Economic-Development/FINAL-Squamish-EI-Study-Dec-15.pdf

    • Paul Terry says:

      I didn’t realize Monica had now moved to Squamish

    • Long time taxpayer says:

      Hahahahaha. I encourage you to read a municipal budget and pay close attention to the historical costs of building and maintaining fields and an ice rink :)

      We could triple the trail budget for decades and still not come close to historic recreation costs in this town.

      I’m not a posed to funding all recreation – I’m opposed to anti-trail advocates using the same tired bullshit

    • mtb says:

      The trails around Squamish are a big reason many people have moved here. They’re a recreation resource used by a huge percentage of the population, not just mountain bikers (trail runners, hikers, dog-walkers etc). A 2014 economic impact study concluded that mountain biking brings in around $8 million in tourist dollars per year. Can you name a better ROI on $65,000 per year which is spread between 3 different trail organizations and augmented by thousands of volunteer hours and fundraising?

    • Eric Goodwin says:

      Hi newport_observer,
      SORCA got $70,000 from council this year to run the trail crew. This money goes towards hiring local trail builders to maintain the trail network around Squamish. The crew works on mountain biking trails, running trails, dirt bike trails, hiking and walking trails around Squamish. It benefits everyone in town who uses trails. SORCA also raises a lot of money toward building new trails in town which end up benefiting the local economy by bring in a lot of adventure tourism. In the summer 70% of the riders you will find on the trails are from out of town. That’s a lot of people staying at hotels, eating food and buying other goods in town. This isn’t to say that other groups shouldn’t receive money as well. If you are part of a group that you believe does a lot of good in town and benefits the local economy I would recommend putting together a proposal and requesting funds from council if you need them. We’re all here to build a better Squamish and I would support any good proposal that would make Squamish even more amazing!

    • Mark Hudson says:

      Dear Newport Observer,
      I came and rode the sensational SORCA trails from Pemberton, Western Australia, staying for three days, staying in local accommodation, buying food and enjoying Squamish. I am one of the international crew who love your trails and really enjoy what the trail crews do to keep trails running for all types of users. I am very impressed by the whole community elements of SORCA encouraging a wide range of people to get out on the trails. You can sit at home or get outside and enjoy what Squamish trails has to offer, they are great and worth the investment from a local and international perspective. Pemberton trail Fairy Western Australia

  2. newport_observer says:

    Those economic impact stats come from SORCA themselves. No surprise that they sound good. Even so, $2million is peanuts … probably less than Home Depot turn over in a week or two. I am not against mountain bike trail building but people who think it is going to be the saviour of Squamish should remember that every other mountain town in BC is surrounded by forest too and could just as easily pursue the same strategy. (Arguably the only outdoor sports for which Squamish has genuinely unique characteristics are climbing and kite surfing.)