Biologist Ken Bennett talks about the health benefits and virtually irreplaceable services that forests on the slopes of the North Shore Mountains provide; protecting the region's water supply and stabilizing slopes across a vast wilderness area.
Mountain biking actvities are destroying that stability and ecological biodiversity on these mountains/wetlands, and only adding to the stress in the forest. That needs to change inside DNV...and Mountain View Park wetland and upland is a very good place to start...
There is plenty of evidence on the NSMBA website itself about erosion and the damage that has been done.
The article in the North Shore News showed a photo of two participants digging through an old log to promote drainage. Those rotting logs have more living organisms than live trees and are crucial to the biodiversity of the forest. It is the species that live in them that we don't see, the species that live underground -- moles, salamanders, invertebrates and so on -- that are hugely effected.
The little forest wetlands are more threatened every day by the excessive erosion caused by building these trails. This is the only place where skunk cabbage grows, an essential source of food for black bears.
There should be no bike trails anywhere near them, let alone built right over them. All that rich forest soil is dug mostly from around trees and from the forest floor, compromising the trees' health. Giant rocks are also being dug up, and the constant maintenance required on all those trails because of the wear and tear from bikes means even more digging. This is much more invasive than people walking and hiking -- contrary to the belief of mountain bike advocates.
I submitted to district council six months ago that signage in these wilderness areas is required to educate bikers about the important species at risk -- especially given there is no enforcement in the wilderness. I have yet to see any signage about salamander habitat.
Citizens should go and see for themselves how many trails and mountain bike-specific structures are being built up there and speak up before it's too late.
This sport is being driven by big bucks. It's taking precedence over the ecology of our forests. North Vancouver district council has lost its will regarding environmental protection while catering to the mountain bike industry.
Growing up both "mountain" biking and conserving wetlands and natural environments in the Lower Mainland (and appearing at council meetings around both issues), a glaring absence becomes apparent.
The biker in me loves to cycle in the forests. That bikes, their tumbles and spectators, erode forest quality and destroy forest undergrowth is indisputable. Every biking presentation to council nowadays boasts of working to "restore" the trails and streams. No amount of trail-work or replanting afterwards will remove silt from ephemeral ponds or undo destroyed animal homes and gels in streams eroded and silted from the trails and undergrowth by steep terrain biking.
The conservationist in me knows that to achieve the "sustainability" promised in our community plan, Burnaby must set aside specific areas, especially steep terrain, as no cycling. Many years of experience around North America have shown if several trails in a watershed are deemed "multiuse," no frogs or salamanders' areas will survive the silting. Without amphibians, the insects displace native plants, and non-native invasive species thrive - and on and on.
Most children now grow up in Burnaby without ever seeing a salamander or hearing a frog. We must conclude that most mountain trails need to be "walker only" if the forests and wetlands have any chance of ever resembling second-growth forests instead of just tree parks. (Dogs, too, harm amphibians and watersheds as they spread devastating amphibian viruses when owners unwittingly traipse dogs from one stream or wetlands to another. Where dog use is respectfully limited, amphibians are sighted in wetted areas!)
So, cyclists, we're good at being heard at council meetings, so let's band together and urge Burnaby to create and foster recreation cycling trails only if there are preserved, non-cycling trails through the few viably sustainable natural areas in Burnaby. I will support cycling in sustainable natural settings, once Burnaby does the hard work of protecting our precious natural heritage, not just the easy part of saying "yes" to cycling.
Thanks, too, to the wonderful Stoney Creek streamkeepers for their decades of work on this precious stream.
Burnaby resident Alan James, a longtime member of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, is raising concerns that a July 13 mountain-bike in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area will erode trails and cause sediment to wash into delicate salmon habitat.
Click here to read the story:"Bikes Bad for Nature"/BurnabyNowhttp://scec.ca/
As I began to read Doug Ward's article on mountain biking, it seemed like it was just going to be yet another media glorification of this renegade sport inside our forests.
The article did not mention the "dark side" of mountain biking -- especially in connection with the North Shore free-ride -- with its devastating injuries and continuing damage to the natural environment.
The North Shore free-ride inside our North Shore mountains advocates: Riding four seasons a year -- rain, shine, sleet or snow; group night riding with bright helmet headlamps; bringing along their dogs (sometimes several) to run amok in the forest -- day and night! Small, green footprint? Not mountain biking.
Therefore, I was especially pleased to read the good news regarding this sport in the last paragraph of the article.
I have been advocating for the containment of mountain biking inside ski resorts for several years. That is where it works (that is where the revenue is), and it will greatly help protect our fragile alpine temperate rainforests on the North Shore.
I am glad to hear that mountain biking is moving into many ski resorts around the world. It seems the District of North Vancouver's own "Alpine Recreational (Mountain Bike) Strategic Plan" is already becoming a dinosaur in light of this "new" information.
Mountain bikers already have a multi-jurisdictional place to free-ride on the North Shore -- the Lower Seymour Conservation Area.
There are three ski resorts on the North Shore -- Cypress, Grouse and Seymour -- that cannot see the reason for pursuing the "bike park" course of reasoning as long as our North Shore municipalities continue to encourage the extreme free-ride inside their alpine lands adjacent to these ski resorts. It defies common sense. There is no revenue in it, therefore the answer is obvious.
It's time for the mountain bikers to face reality and sit down for some practical dialogue about the future of their sport, and negotiate with these three ski resorts. Sadly, the "hard-core" mountain biking minority continue to strongly push for their "right" to free-ride, unabated, on the North Shore.
If ski resort-based mountain bike parks work, let's encourage our municipal, provincial and federal authorities to guide mountain biking in that direction.