Old rogue trails may be the bedrock of modern mountain biking, but today unsanctioned trails and stunts will be reduced to rubble, a B.C. mountain group is warning.
In a blog post, the Fraser Valley Mountain Bikers Association wrote that rogue or unsanctioned trail building is a long-standing challenge that has become a big problem.
“Some small number of our passionate community have taken it upon themselves to lay down some new lines and build some new stunts,” the post said.
“And while we respect your passion and enthusiasm, rogue trail building has an enormous negative impact on the process of bringing land managers to the table in an effort to fully legitimize our trail systems.”
Board member Darren Durupt told Black Press Media an Instagram photo prompted the blog post.
“Someone posted a picture of some newly-built features to Instagram and was pretty proud of it, so it was pretty hard to miss,” Durupt said.
He said it was “absolutely clear” the association had not been involved in building the feature, which included a large jump, since it was not on a sanctioned trail.
“It was pretty dangerous,” he said. “We all looked at it and said we wouldn’t [ride] it.”
Since being informed of the rogue feature by land use officials, Durupt said the group helped tear down and decommission it.
In another recent case, he said, a person had cut down trees to make a new trail.
“If you cut down trees illegally, the province is coming after you.”
Of the will to go rogue, Durupt said it has to do with a long-standing culture of “going off and doing your own thing.”
“Some people still want to go and build something different, something new, something bigger,” he said.
The blog post acknowledged the process to negotiate land use can be slow and “opaque,” adding that they are working to make it easier at the provincial level.
In the meantime, the association is asking rogue builders to apply the brakes.
“If rogue builders continue to operate against the direction of the FVMBA, Indigenous groups, land managers or compliance directives, they will be held accountable to the penalties associated with rogue trail construction under the Forest and Range Practices Act,” the blog said.
Durupt added the group doesn’t want to get anyone in trouble.
“We understand that people get passionate about their trails … But we want them to come and do it with us.”