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Time to give’r on Revelstoke trails

Mountain biking season is here
There will be 47 km of lift-accessed mountain biking trails at Revelstoke Mountain Resort this summer. (Tom Poole photo)

The wheels are in motion for another successful mountain biking season.

Revelstoke Cycling Association executive director Alex Cooper and vice-president and secretary Steven Mulcahy, brought City of Revelstoke councillors up to date on the association and its activities at the May 28 council meeting.

Cooper explained that the mission of the association that was formed as a non-profit society in 1994 is to foster and develop the sport of mountain biking in Revelstoke by building and maintaining trails and facilitating events.

The association is governed by an 11-person board of directors and has grown to include a part-time executive director and a full-time, seasonal trail crew. While supportive of all forms of cycling in the community and trying to branch out, mountain biking is the organization’s main focus.

“We are a progressive, volunteer driven non-profit association that is a leader in developing sustainable and inclusive mountain biking opportunities,” noted Cooper in his report to council. “We are an inclusive, transparent community association that operates in a welcoming, professional manner; we are passionate stewards of the land we recreate on.”

The association boasts more than 4,000 followers on both Facebook and Instagram and Cooper said he is hopeful there will be more than 800 active memberships in 2024. He said the association is one of the biggest recreation clubs in the area and a great amenity for the community.

Popular events hosted by the Revelstoke Cycling Association include the Fiver Series, Dig Nights Revelstoke, Poker Ride, Re-Fest Bike Swap and the Women’s Enduro Race (already sold out for 2024).

As well, the organization organizes ShredHERS and ShredCOED Grade 6/7 group rides with the Stoke Youth Network.

At the May 28 meeting, Copper handed the microphone over to Steven Mulcahy, to update council on the more than 100 kilometres of trails the association manages in four networks – MacPherson, Boulder, Sunnyside and Frisby Ridge.

Mulcahy, pointed out that the budget for 2024 is $164,000, with $106,000 going to trail maintenance. Along with a fourth person for the full-time trail crew, the association acquired a new-to-it truck and added new tools to its maintenance arsenal.

Mulcahy provided a history on the construction of the Boulder Hill Climb that was first envisioned in 2015.

A $9,000 professional trail layout was approved in 2022 and Phase 2 was built in the summer of 2023 at a cost of $85,000. Another $60,000 is budgeted for a fall 2024 completion of Phase 2.

An application has been submitted for the construction of new trails on Sunnyside and planning is underway for the expansion of Boulder and MacPherson.

Cooper provided a financial update including the new trail adoption program in 2023 that brought in about $25,000. The program is part of the association’s goal to generate a revenue stream in order to reduce the reliance on funding grants.

He noted that the association is starting the season with a $77,000 operating deficit and while extremely grateful for supportive funding partners and granting organizations, running a deficit while hoping for grants is stressful.

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the organization as the hotter, drier trails are harder to maintain and wildfire smoke has a damaging effect on the health of workers and cyclists.

Also a challenge are the more complex land-use application Issues, First Nations reconciliation and habitat protection.

Cooper noted the association is working as hard as possible to mitigate the effects of logging in the Boulder and MacPherson area due to a fir beetle infestation.

In response to a question Mayor Gary Sulz, Cooper explained that following a two-thirds approval vote by the membership in 2022 and subsequent approval by Recreational Trails BC, all trails are now open to e-bikes.

READ MORE: Heritage Management Plan approved by City of Revelstoke