FILE - David Lord captured the misty, snowy view from Mount Woodside looking southwest over the Fraser River in January 2018. (David Lord/Submitted photo)

District of Kent committee makes Mount Woodside bike trails a top priority

Committee will recommend that Kent council approve the proposed mountain biking site in the new year

The District of Kent Parks, Recreation and Trails Committee is looking for residents to help establish mountain biking trails on Mount Woodside.

According to Councillor Susan Spaeti, who chairs the committee, they plan to recommend that Kent council approve a budget of $50,000 to set up a trailhead for the proposed mountain biking site at a council meeting in the new year.

The decision to make the recommendation follows an April 2019 Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association (FVMBA) presentation to council, during which the association explained that getting approvals for trails tends to take less time when a government agency submits the application.

Spaeti said council had concerns about liability and cost after the presentation, but the FVMBA responded that volunteers would build the trails on Crown lands, pursuant to Section 57 of the Forests and Range Practices Act.

“It’s not going to happen if there aren’t the volunteers to do it,” Spaeti told the Observer. “That’s the main thing. [Council] needs to know that they have support or they’re not going to take it on.”

To drum up support, committee member Daniel Huesken created a Facebook post on Nov. 28 in the Harrison-Kent Mountain Bike Trails Facebook group, suggesting they start an offline Mount Woodside Bike Trail Committee.

The post garnered over 20 comments from some of the group’s more than 100 members, expressing excitement at the news and interest in getting involved.

RELATED: Top riders compete in Vedder Mountain Classic bike race

Spaeti said Huesken, a GIS consultant, has already been making trips to Mount Woodside with the FVMBA to scout areas for multi-use trails.

“It’s quite exciting,” she said. “They’ve already gone and done some GPS mapping.”

Huesken will then lead efforts to map the proposed routes for the trails, which will go to the Fraser Valley Regional District, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and First Nations for review.

FVMBA director Wes Macaulay said they chose Mount Woodside because, like Vedder Mountain near Chilliwack, it has concurrent active logging and recreational uses, including off-road vehicles, hiking, and paragliding.

“We looked for areas close to Highway 7 so that people would not have to drive far off the highway to get to a trailhead,” Macaulay added in an email.

“Given that the area on Mount Woodside they’re looking at was logged and is now in a reforested area, it should make the review process straightforward. I would estimate that we could start building trails sometime in 2020, but it might take longer than that.”

SEE ALSO: Agassiz’s Centennial Park to get $90K upgrade



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

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