New Life for an Old Log: Year End Project

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New Life for an Old Log: Year End Project

2020 was the inaugural year of the FVMBA Seasonal Trail Crew and what better way to finish the year than with a project that combined all of the new skills learned. Owen and Siobhan started in June under the mentorship of lead Ryan McIsaac (long time builder and advocate for trails at Thornhill). Mason joined in September.

The challenge: breath new life into a classic line on Bigguns at Bear Mountain, the former signature log ride that leads riders through a stump. It’s been unrideable for several years with slimy, broken, and missing slats, the wood of the old log too rotten to hold nails anymore, and the tree’s core long rotted away. Both the log and the ride-around go through a flat low lying area that fills with water in the rainy season and there’s limited ability to drain the rain away.

The original log ride.

Could we saw off the top of the log to find a solid base to nail fresh slat to, or would it be too rotten? If it was too rotten, what could we create that would be fun to ride but still preserve the feel of the log ride and line up to go through stump? Would we need to abandon our dreams of a line through the stump again?

Rocky, past FVMBA president, helps the crew out, checking to see if the log could be saved.

Unfortunately, test cuts into the log did not find solid wood which we could use to re-slat the surface. On to Plan B. With the water issues on the ground next to the log, connecting to the stump would require a ladder bridge. Should we cut out the stump entirely and replace with an elevated ladder bridge? It would be a shame to lose such an iconic trail feature, plus it would be a ton of work to clear it all away. Owen came up with a creative solution that was unanimously supported by all of the rest of the crew… build a ladder up and over the log with a banked corner curving it back to line up perfectly with the stump. We set to work prepping all of the materials. We would need a lot of cedar for all of the supports and the bridge decking. We were fortunate that a major wind storm several years ago provided everything we needed.

This is the crew that made it all happen…

Left to right: Mason, Siobhan, Owen, Penny (FVMBA Operations Manager)

Your yearly membership to the FVMBA is essential to support the work of trail crew and all FVMBA builders, enabling the FVMBA to pay staff, buy tools and materials, and support other operational expenses (click here to buy your membership). Wages for the youth trail crew this fall were funded by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement via a Community Workforce Response Grant, Youth Community Partnership stream. Work during the summer was supported by a Canada Summer Jobs grant, funding from the District of Mission, funding from the FVRD, funding from the City of Chilliwack, and donations from the Sumas Mountain Film Fest. Tools for the crew were provided by Independent Cycles in Mission.

The year end project complete. You might need to do a little wiggle to fit your handle bars through the stump! Thank you to Owen, Siobhan, and Mason for their enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work no matter the weather conditions.

2 Comments

  1. Kevin Boese says:

    That looks awesome!! Guess I’m riding Bigguns next time I’m there!

  2. merv says:

    really appreciate what Ryan Penny and crew have accomplished. every time i’m out there I’m reminded how “much nicer” things are. I really hope this program funding is annual,so these kinds of improvements continue.

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