To anyone who values the trails on Sumas Mountain, and everywhere in the Fraser Valley:
In 2004, the Fraser Valley Mountain Bikers Association (FVMBA) was formed by volunteer trail builders concerned about the future of the area’s trails. The Club has since grown, and is now overseeing trail networks from Maple Ridge to Chilliwack. FVMBA has spent the last 13 plus years working to improve trail networks and advocacy in the region.
At the time of FVMBA’s inception, the Sumas Mountain trail network was under threat from increasing pressure for resource extraction on the mountain. Despite this, the area’s trails have managed to survive, and Sumas currently offers one of the most diverse trail networks in the Fraser Valley for biking, hiking and trail running. However, Sumas’ incredible trail network is again under threat. An unnamed, numbered company (266531 BC Ltd.) has put in an application with the Province to develop a gravel quarry, which would destroy a good portion of the mountain’s network of trails. This is why we are reaching out to you today.
For most of 2017, the FVMBA has been working diligently on resolving outstanding legal agreements with land managers for most of the trail networks in the Fraser Valley. This is a massive initiative which affects trails in the following riding areas: The Woodlot in Maple Ridge, Bear and Red Mountain in Mission, Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford and Vedder Mountain in Chilliwack. The trails in these areas are at various stages in the process towards establishment (legalization). The final step in this process is signing a partnership agreement with the Province for the agreed upon trails in an area. The FVMBA currently has an active partnership agreement for a large portion of the trail network on Sumas Mountain. The Club is in the process of working through the administrative steps required to uphold and maintain that agreement.
As part of this process, the FVMBA is working to gather data on the value and importance of these trails to users, both local and visiting. While these trails were originally built and cared for by mountain bikers, they are now used extensively by hikers, trail runners and other outdoor enthusiasts.
The FVMBA is at a crossroads in many respects. The Club was formed by builders to create one voice for local trails and the sport of mountain biking. However, in order to maintain and expanding our local trail networks, we are now faced with an increasing volume of paperwork, permitting, and other administrative tasks, all of which must be completed before any tools can go into the ground. When the original founders of FVMBA conceived our organization, today’s requirements for environmental assessments and annual operating plans didn’t exist, but this is not the reality today, and without them, the trails will cease to be. It used to be “No Dig, No Ride”; it is now “No Paperwork, No Dig, No Ride”. As an example, even a simple trail day now requires the creation of a safety plan, and to ensure volunteers have the necessary training to perform specific tasks; on top of this, we are only allowed to work on trails that are in good legal standing.
This currently reality puts the FVMBA, as a volunteer organization, in a position of being underfunded and under-resourced in administrative capacity. Currently, there is no FVMBA Director for the Abbotsford area, where Sumas Mountain resides. Therefore this letter is being penned by the Director for Mission, with the hopes of formally vocalizing opposition to this quarry project, and encouraging other trail users to speak out against this application. The community of trail users in Abbotsford is large and continues to grow. FVMBA is reaching out and asking for this community’s help, because we all lose if this quarry development application on Sumas is approved.
If you are now wondering, “how can I help?” regarding the proposed gravel quarry, below are an immediate set of steps you can take to help:
Looking to the future of FVMBA, the current executive has identified that the organization is facing a shortage in both volunteer and administrative capacity. To address this, in 2017 we undertook a strategic planning process and are creating a roadmap for a future with thriving trail networks in each community in the Fraser Valley. This plan will be rolled out at our AGM in February 2018, and we invite you to come and learn about it. In addition, there will be opportunities to join our ranks, with a list of new roles to fill and support within the organization, both volunteer and staff.
Support starts with your membership – please renew/join today. It is more important than ever that we have a strong, well-resourced and unified voice for the trails in our region, especially if we want them to remain well into the future.
At the FVMBA we believe in trails and our community. Please join us in supporting healthy and protected trail networks in the Fraser Valley.
Director – Mission @ FVMBA