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Monday, June 1, 2015

High five to Trail Builders!

Over the years I have come to appreciate and value the endless array of trails on Vancouver Island. I have even taken note of people, groups, businesses, and organizations that help build and maintain them.  What would Cumberland, BC be without the River Rats? This group of misfit retired mtn biking enthusists not only build trails; they build jumps, berms, bridges, and even a teeter totter to ride on! Then there is the Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association who are working hard to build a 700km multi use trail that connects the southern and northern tips of the island. Countless others are doing the same just so people like me can get out and enjoy our wild spaces. That is exactly what the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society has done with Maple Mountain on Vancouver Island.

Approx. 14km of hiking trails, built and maintained by the municipality of North Cowichan, have been around for many, many years. What the Cowichan Trail Stewarship Society has done is add value to the outdoor space by building sustainable trails for mountain biking and hiking. Now that I have had the pleasure of riding Maple Mountain, I can tell you these people mean business.



First off, they built a climbers trail for both hikers and bikers that has instantly become my favorite trail to climb. Sure beats the slog of riding a bike up a logging road. I really liked the fact that the trail winded thru a mixed variety of forests. Some second growth and some recent cut blocks which offered something new to look at while huffing and puffing your way 5km or so to the Maple Mainline Rd. From there its a mere 1.5km ride on the logging road to the top. Quality of trail pretty impressive as well. Love the smooth ride up with a few bridges and rock gardens to ride over. 



One can easily spend hours riding on Maple 
Mountain and the OTBP crew did! Roughly 4 hours to be exact. From the top, Ben and dad rode down Maple Syrup trail. Liv and I started down on this trail but it was a bit too steep and technical for adventure girl so her and I rode back down the climbers trail. It was a wise choice.  I am told that Maple Syrup is a technical xc, freeride, flowy, and downhill trail that requires endurance because not all of the trail is down! Well done, Ben. Sounds like he was able to ride most of it.  
(Check out a sweet video of Ben riding one of the bridges on Maple Syrup via facebook page, twitter & instagram)



So next time you are out hiking, trailrunning, or mtn biking be sure to high five a trailbuilder in spirit. They devote their hard work and time to trails so people like us can enjoy them. Can't wait to get out and explore more of Maple Mountain!

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