Gillard

By now many of you have heard the unfortunate news that there have been trespass and Forest and Range Practices Act contravention notices posted on various trail works within the Gillard trail network. These notices were posted by individuals from the local compliance and enforcement office of the ministry of forests, land and natural resource operations. It is their job to police the wilderness and ensure that activities undertaken on crown land don’t contravene the various pieces of legislature that govern the use of our natural resources whether the use be industrial or recreational in purpose.

It has always been a goal of MTBco to work toward the legalization of the various illegal trail networks that exist within the Central Okanagan. Over time we as an organization and the riding community in general have faltered on accomplishing this goal and that has led us to where we stand today. We now have a well used and popular trail network that is in jeopardy of being lost.

Three years ago the board of directors of MTBco began the process of steering the organization down a path that would allow us to renew the fight to legalize our beloved trail networks.

There were a couple key things we needed to do to prepare the club and that we have since accomplished:

1. We began conversations with various other organizations and levels of local and regional government to help build support and alliances.

2. We got the club turned around financially so that we now have some capital reserves and a steady cash flow.

3. We increased our profile both within the riding community and with other trail users, as well as with the general public.

4. We began to strengthen our relationships with the local bike shops and their employees so we have a better line of communication with the riding community.

The final piece to the trail legalization puzzle was the opening up of a direct line of communication to the trail building community and to get them completely on board with the trail legalization process. This was the final step that we were working on this spring before the contravention and trespass notices were posted in Gillard. As they say timing is everything, our notice of intent for reapplication for the legalization of Gillard was to be sent out the same week that the first trespass and contravention notices were posted. The unfortunate reality of these circumstances is that now we reacting when we were trying to be proactive.

What does this all mean for the future of Gillard and the future of legal mountain biking in the Central Okanagan? As it stands our notice for reapplication to have Gillard sanctioned as a legal network has been given support by our local recreation sites and trails official. This means we can move forward with applying for trail legalization under Section 57 of the Forest and Ranges Practices Act with his support. This is a restart of a process that the first board of directors of MTBco began when the club was initially formed. The application will take time and what will happen in the near future while it is processed is unknown. But rest assured we will take every step necessary to secure as many of the local trails as we can.

More than ever we now need your support. We will be soliciting your help in many forms and for many purposes in the days to come. When we do our callouts for support please respond accordingly! If you usually buy a yearly membership then please do so sooner than later so our membership numbers are as significant as they can be. If you don’t usually buy a membership then perhaps this is the year you should think about it. Much of our membership fees go towards funding our future endeavours as most of our events are run break even and the bike shops are generous in providing us with yearly sponsorship funding. We can proudly say that every local shop provides MTBco with the same level of support and we owe them greatly for it. So please give them your business, without them we wouldn’t still be here as a club.

Finally, We ask that everyone remain positive and rational in reacting to this situation. We all want to save the trails and MTBco is the tool we have to do the job we just need your help to make sure we have the community behind us to undertake this grand endeavour.

If anyone has any questions or concerns or words of wisdom please feel free to email is – [email protected] is our q&a email address.

Sincerely,

Jay Darby
President
MTBco

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