words:: Ben Osborne // cover photo :: Chris Christie.
If you’ve been one of those folks who never buys a trail pass, never pays the usage fee, or never lends a hand on a trail day, we forgive you. But now, more than ever is the right time to support your local trail system. While bike shops and big brands might stay afloat, the trails that we know and love are under threat more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they need your help.
Because most trail networks focus on volunteer support, fundraisers, and community grants, the non-profits that support the trails we get to ride are vulnerable right now.
With gatherings likely to be banned through the summer, a huge source of income for these entities is effectively gone. Trail building days, fundraisers, sponsorship fees, and more have been taken away from trail associations, leaving them with nothing more than membership fees to rely on to build trails and be able to pay the hard-working trail fairies who help feed our addiction to nature.
WORCA (Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association), one of the most well-funded trail associations, recently announced a budget cut of more than 60%. This leaves the quality of trails, and more importantly the safety of their users in jeopardy in one of the world’s premier mountain biking destinations.
So, if you’ve never bought a trail pass, don’t feel guilty, feel like you have something to hide, or continue on sneaking onto the trails that workers and volunteers spend countless hours making for you. Instead, step up—because now is the time when the trails, and their workers need it most. —ML
Here are some of Canada’s biggest networks that we’d love to see you support, even if you aren’t from there: