Hello Fellow Trail Enthusiasts,
We at Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) are following some proposed changes coming to the City of Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green. Some of these propose changes have us concerned, and we feel you should be aware and become more involved if you love the river valley and the single track network.
The Ribbon of Green Concept Plan was originally proposed in 1990 with the Ribbon of Green Concept Plan published in 1992. The basic principles of the Ribbon of Green plan was to provide conservation, recreation, development, trails, and education to our beautiful river valley and ravines which are “the most important feature of our city” as it is “..a vital ecological corridor, a valued recreation destination, a place of incredible cultural significance and a draw for visitors throughout the region”. As per the original master plan, public review was to be completed in 1992 and implementation of the master plan was originally slated to occur between 1992 and 1999.
Fast forward to 2020 and the Ribbon of Green concept has continued to evolve to “…ensure that the River Valley, the backbone of our open space network, remains vibrant and ecologically resilient”. This work project currently contains two simultaneous streams of work – the Ribbon of Green SW + NE and the River Valley Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) with further changes to be instituted in the near future. This important plan ensures that the Ribbon of Green in Edmonton is kept natural by limiting or prohibiting activities such as, but not limited to, the development of major facilities and natural resource extraction while protecting unique areas and employing dark sky principles where possible.
While we at EMBA fully support the intent of the Ribbon of Green initiative, we foresee drastic changes to our singletrack using community as the Ribbon of Green plan progresses. A lot has changed in the way that many people enjoy the outdoors since the original concept plan was introduced in 1990 and the use of singletrack trails has increased drastically as cyclists, runners, and hikers continue to take advantage of the low-impact high-solitude experience that our Ribbon of Green has to offer. We have seen and foresee more changes in the future of our activities within the city that include but are not limited to:
banishment of single-track areas in certain preservation areas,
inability to maintain existing or construct new singletrack trails, and
increased unapproved construction of singletrack trails.
Our mission at EMBA is to provide leadership and advocacy in the areas of building and caring for singletrack trails in Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley with our values being legal trails, environmental stewardship, partnership, and volunteering.
Our Stance on the Ribbon of Green and River Valley ARP update
Trails in Preservation Areas
Mountain Bike trail users causes no more damage to trails than foot traffic The Ribbon of Green unfairly condemns mountain bike traffic in preservation areas where other foot traffic is permitted. Studies show that routine trail care and maintenance is more important to trail preservation and erosion mitigation than limiting access to certain groups. Damage to trails is being seen because there is no one maintaining these trails in preservation and other similar areas.
SingleTrack Master Plan
Both plans are missing a masterplan for single track trails which should include an inventory of the existing trail network in its entirety. We at EMBA also believe it should contain a vision for future extensions in which a singletrack/natural trail network extends to all areas of the river valley and ravines. This masterplan should contain language that details the standards of trail through the three primary project stages – design, build, and maintenance. Those standards should guide trails to be constructed and cared for using environmentally sustainable methods with conservation of the natural environment as a core element.
We Need Your Help
We are looking for people to help further our cause in Edmonton and recommend you do so in several different ways.
We at EMBA want to reiterate that we do support the Ribbon of Green initiative but still feel that not all user groups have had the opportunity to make their voices heard for what shapes this plan. We want to help ensure that our highly used singletrack system is available and maintained in a sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion to allow us and the generations to come the opportunity to enjoy our Ribbon of Green to the fullest!
Talk to Your Mayor and Councillor
Help Shape The Future of Edmonton’s River Valley
Your input will help create strategic planning guidance for the future of the River Valley and inform how decisions are made for this integral piece of Edmonton’s landscape.
Research Your Candidates
We encourage you research the candidates for the next mayoral and council election in October. Most have contact information and social media presence which you can use to engage with them to determine if their future vision of Edmonton matches yours.
You can find a list here of all candidates running for Council and Mayor here
*Please remember to keep all communications polite and respectful as we’re all acting as ambassadors of our respective singletrack activities.
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Research on Trail Usage in Preservation Areas
Examples of Single Track Master Plans