EMBA May 2022 Newsletter

UPDATES FROM YOUR EDMONTON MOUNTAIN BIKE ALLIANCE (EMBA)

  • This Newsletter! Thank you everyone who checked out our first-ever edition in April. Fresh off the trails, we have whipped together the May 2022 edition. Want to see your Edmonton mountain-bike related event, content, or group featured in our newsletter? Drop us line and we will give a shout-out about it here.

  • Trail Pop-up Booths: Over the month of May, EMBA has held several trail-side Pop-Up Booths in McKinnon Ravine, GoldBar, and Terwillegar, where we distributed 344 free bear bells. We have met and talked with hundreds of trail-users including trail walkers and runners, many cute doggos and many mountain bikers. Thanks to Mud, Sweat and Gears for the bear-bell donations and cheque for $500 dollars! Our conversations at the booths ranged from the Ribbon of Green and the impacts on cycling to Edmonton Mountain Bike Skills Park and so many things in between! We were over-the-moon to hear from you how well our work and advocacy are received by you and making it through to all trail users!

  • Ribbon of Green/River Valley Modernization Plan Project: On Tuesday, May 31, City Council’s Urban Planning Committee will receive an update from Administration on results of the second round of public engagement in their River Planning Modernization project (RVPMP). The RVPMP is designed, in part, to update and expand the 1992 Ribbon of Green (RoG) plan to Edmonton’s entire river valley and ravine system. With expansion of the RoG coverage area to the entirety of the river valley and ravine system, EMBA estimates that more than 90% of the existing singletrack natural trail system will now be located in areas designated as “Preservation”, in respect of which the 1992 RoG and SW+NE Ribbon of Green that is the template for the proposed comprehensive plan state that cycling is a prohibited activity, and the only permissible use of the trails is by foot-based traffic. Representatives of EMBA will attend the meeting to present on the impact of the proposed uses of Preservation trails on the mountain bike community, to discuss the scientific papers that have looked at the comparable impacts of cycling and other human activities on wildlife and the environment and to request that City Council amend the current RoG plan to permit cycling on any Preservation trail where human activity is allowed, pending an on-the-ground assessment of trails as part of a comprehensive trail strategy that Administration will request funding of for the 2023-2026 Budget cycle. EMBA has prepared two presentation decks that outline the science and the impacts on off-road cycling of the proposed limitations on use of Preservation trails. Science in Photos and to date, the RoG team had heard from many cyclists that they value the trails and do not want to see cycling prohibited on trails that other citizens are permitted to use. If you haven’t yet, please take the time to contact your City Councilors and encourage your friends to do the same, to let them know what our trail system means to you and your quality of life.

    EMBA has written an Open Letter, which we have forwarded to all members of City Council in advance of the May 31 Urban Planning Committee meeting, to outline our position. A version of this letter, edited for length, has also been submitted to the Edmonton Journal for consideration for publication this week.

  • Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green should be a welcoming place for all – mountain bikers included Check out this article in the Globe & Mail, written by our own Board Member Mike Enders. “Banning mountain biking on single-track trails in the river valley will only restrict the ability of volunteers to properly maintain existing trails and increase unapproved construction of single-track trails.”

  • Proliferation of Unsanctioned Trails in the River Valley:Over the last while, it’s been noted by many conservationists and even by ourselves on the EMBA board that there has been a big increase in unsanctioned trail building in the River Valley, with new unauthorized features being added to existing trails. Many of these trails and features are not built properly, and some features are unsafe and pass through environmentally sensitive areas. EMBA does not condone unsanctioned trail-building activities. Furthermore, EMBA strives for Legal Trails. The proliferation of these unsanctioned trails does not help us when we work with city admin to advocate for Mountain Bikers and singletrack trails in preservation areas. We support the proposal set out in City Administration’s Council Report for May 31 to develop a comprehensive Trail Strategy as a follow-up project to the Ribbon of Green project. This framework, or master plan, will inventory and assess all existing singletrack trails in the River Valley, identify concerns, and work towards amicable solutions to the demands of the diverse groups. These groups include the cycling community and conservation first organizations interested in protecting and providing access to the river valley. Administration’s proposal also includes the development of a master plan for the long-term network of singletrack trails. We know that mountain bikers are passionate about conserving the environment and promoting health and wellness for the ecosystem of the river valley, as it’s the connection to the natural areas that brings us all here.

  • Trail Etiquette: Let’s all remember to continue to be courteous and friendly out there. Ring your bell and say hello and thank you to those you pass! Often, other trail users will step off a trail to let you quickly bypass. Be sure to give other users lots of warning with a ring of your bell or a quick shout-out well in advance. Not everyone out there is as nimble as a cyclist, and some can’t as easily jump off a trail or may have a dog that just doesn’t understand! As we get further into spring, nature takes over, and we lose our sightlines through the trees. Stay Alert and keep in mind that there may be someone else coming around that next corner, so a bear bell can be even better for warning other users of your approach.
  • Uphill Wins! Trails are for all to use and in most cases in Edmonton, are bi-directional. If you are riding downhill, and see someone coming up-hill, please yield the right of way to the climber. It’s much easier to regain momentum heading down than up.

  • Six-Shooter: Last June, EMBA’s city contact advised us that we would no longer be permitted to perform routine trail maintenance work on Six-Shooter, as the trail is in an area classified by the 1992 Ribbon of Green Plan as a ‘Preservation area’. While the City previously allowed us to work on this trail, they told us that this was in error. Since the trail-care ban has been in place, we have witnessed increasing environmental damage like trail trail-braiding and widening. Trail-braiding and widening occur because small potholes form from usage, and when it gets wet, these potholes hold water for long periods of time, and users of the trail will hike, walk, or bike around the muddy spots. Proper maintenance of this trail would see EMBA using its well-established trail-care practices and ensuring the potholes are filled, and the trail is sloped and contoured to prevent this from reoccurring. EMBA is still valiantly working to resolve Six-Shooter with the City Administration. Six-Shooter is a prime example of what we feel will happen should the Ribbon of Green project be allowed to move forward as written today. This trail illustrates why we will be asking City Council to amend the Ribbon of Green plans to include cycling as a permitted use of Preservation area trails, pending their further on-the-ground ecological assessments. Again, if you haven’t yet contacted your City Councilor, please let them know that you support this approach.

  • Mountain Bike Skills Park: The first public concept plans are not too far off! In our latest meeting with the City, we are reviewing environmental assessment requirements to determine whether previously completed assessments are sufficient for the Bike Park or if a new one is needed. We will have more updates as the Bike Park plans progress.

  • National Urban Park: A National Urban Park has been proposed for the City of Edmonton’s River Valley. Currently,  EMBA is participating in stakeholder meetings designed to gather input on proposed locations for the park and its governance model. This should not impact or delay the Ribbon of Green, and EMBA feels strongly that the views of Edmontonians, expressed through the Ribbon of Green consultation process, need to be the most important guidance for any such park. As important details are proposed, we will keep you up to date here.

  • EMBA Adopt a Trail: Our 2022 program for trail maintenance is now up and running! We’ve had our first trail day of the year in Terwillegar Park. We worked on Secret Trail, Go Trail, and Dave’s Trail. We took a look at Lower Corkscrew, and it was far too wet to work on. We are hoping to work on something exciting that will address the long-term sustainability of this important trail that connects many areas of Terwillegar Park. Our trail day was put on for some of our newer Adopt a Trail leads to get in-person experience on how to plan and host trail days.

  • Open Trail Days: Our Adopt a Trail program has traditionally held trail days organized by the various formal and informal mountain bike clubs in the EMBA Alliance. These clubs organize the work and volunteer call-outs, usually handled by their own members. Over the last many years, we have begun to host Open Trail Days, organized by EMBA leads, that are open to all members of the public on a first-come, first-served basis. As with many things, we suffered to get more going through COVID, but we are super hopeful to see more of those in 2022. We know many of you are not a part of any of these clubs, but we still want to help out and volunteer to keep the trails fresh. To find out how you can volunteer and be a part of some on-trail fun where we plan to make them more exciting, be sure to keep following our social media or check out our page aboutTrail Day. We are also looking for more people to lead Open Trail days. We provide all the training as we do to our regular Adopt of Trail leads.

  • Did you know? Your group does not need to be a formal club or group to become an Adopt a Trail group. Do you have a few friends you regularly ride with and are interested in adopting maintenance responsibilities for a trail or two?Get in touch with us. All we need from your group is one person to be dedicated as the lead, and we will train your lead on how to go through the motions of hosting a trail day and the work request system. We also offer almost yearly in-person trail-building schools and pruning courses from a certified arborist. Not only that, but we also offer incentives for hosting your own trail day. Adopt a Trail leads are responsible for regular review and assessing their assigned trails, creating maintenance plans, and hosting trail days, and we will be there to help you along the way.

  • Trail Maintenance needed? If you’ve been out on the trails and come across a trail that needs some maintenance, give us a shout out here!

  • Fort Saskatchewan Trail Alliance: On Sunday, May 15th, the Fort Saskatchewan Trail Alliance had a clean-up day. This was their opportunity to introduce themselves to the community. Thanks to the City of Fort Saskatchewan, and local businesses like Ottalaus, and Home Depot for helping with garbage supplies, gloves, water, etc.

  • EMBFest – Volunteers required: Edmonton Mountain Bike Festival (EMBFest) is looking for volunteers to help out at their event; they are looking for ride leaders, sweeps, and people to help with onsite events. Find more information on the EMBFest Volunteer page.

  • YEG Trail Blazers: A fun mountain bike race for kids! Have a lil shredder amongst your clan? Enter them in this race on June 4th. The race is presented by Vixen Racing MTB. More details are available here.

  • EMBA Singletrack Trail Master Plan: We recently formed a committee to develop EMBA’s vision for the Single Track Master Plan. A lot of work is ahead for these commendable volunteers. Developing this plan aims to help build and communicate EMBA’s vision for a sustainable, connected, single-track trail network today and in the future. If you have had experience developing these sorts of things for other communities in the past, we would love to hear from you!

  • EMBA By-law Update: We are in the final stages of updating our By-Law. These updates will ensure the long-term sustainability of EMBA and bring opportunities to enhance the already amazing mountain bike community in Edmonton.

  • EMBA Wear: Check out our online shop! We have recently added some fresh new EMBA Wear. HoodiesT-Shirts, and Hats now available. We also still have a few pairs of our ‘retro’ EMBA Socks kicking around still! Grab some while you can!
  • Happy Trails! We hope you have a great month of riding, remember to keep the rubberside down.

    THREE DAYS CELEBRATING Mountain Biking in YEG! Edmonton Mountain Bike Festival (EMBFest) has some updates and we want to share them with you.

    – Registration opens for the September 9 Friday activities on May 27th (Group Rides, Expo, Kids Activity Area, Bike Rodeo, and so much more!)
    – EMBFest and Town Square Brewing will be bringing head-to-head Big Wheel Trike Races, a 90s Bike Fashion Show, and other cool stuff!
    – EMBFest is Looking for Volunteers! CLICK HERE to sign up.

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    Did YOU Get Your Membership Yet?

    Thank you to those who already purchased a membership for 2022!  You are now entered into a draw for an awesome giveaway for Cranky’s, Revolution Cycle, AND Shift Happens! Three Winners each get a $50 gift certificate!!!

    AND anyone else who purchases a membership, you aren’t forgotten! When we reach 500 members, we will do it all over again with THREE MORE $50 gift certificates! We are not done yet as we want to do even another THREE MORE $50 gift certificates at 750 members!

    THEN when we reach 1000 members, we will do one more draw! This time for THREE $100 Gift Certificates for Cranky’s, Revolution Cycle, and Shift Happens!!!