By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Oct. 13, 2012
The district funding of local trails group enabled them to hire five people this summer to upgrade local trails.
Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA), Squamish Dirt Bike Association, and Squamish Trails society had received $40,000 from the district and another $5,000 from the federal government this summer.
Five people worked full time on a variety of mountain biking and walking trails this summer, said long-time SORCA member Cliff Miller.
The funding enabled the trails groups to hire one trail supervisor with expertise in trail building and maintenance and four student laborers.
Together they put in over 2500 manhours into our trails.
The five people hired by three groups worked on Ray Peters Trail, on Cat Lake trails, and on scores of trails that stretch from Valleycliffe to Cat Lake.
They improved the trail beds, built bridges, and ensured the overall integrity of the trail.
“They gave love back to trails,” Miller said.
SORCA has 500 volunteers, but they can’t keep up with all the trails maintenance work, he added.
“Having people work on the trails full-time has made a huge difference.”
The $40,000 funding from the district was the first time the local government had invested in the trails financially.
Miller said the trail funding from the local government is still disproportionate to the number of people who use the trail infrastructure in Squamish.
As an Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada, trail infrastructure should be foremost on the district agenda.
“I think $40,000 is a great start, but we need to bring it up to par with the pool and the ice rink,” he said.
Besides the district, the local trails have been supported by Blackcomb, Save on, Nesters, and Husky gas station.
The district funding, along with a federal funding of $5,000, will go a long way in making trails more attractive to locals and tourists.
Squamish Trails Society president Bob Brant called the district funding and the joint working of three groups, ‘groundbreaking.’
“It’s an extremely important and a meaningful evolution to happen,” he said.
He also the hopes the district will continue the funding in the next fiscal year.
Thanking the district for their support for trails, Jeff Cooke, the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) vice-president, said cycling is a growing industry in Squamish.
Cooke said a 2006 study indicated that 49 per cent of mountain bikers on local trails were visitors.
A detailed report on the program will be presented to the council in the coming few weeks.