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The City of Toronto is concerned about the miles of informal mountain bike trails that exist in city parks and is asking for public input through next month. I’ve pasted part of the document that  the Strategic Services Branch of Parks, Forestry and Recreation is distributing regarding this issue, mountain bikers in Toronto should get involved to maintain access to as many trails as possible.

Purpose:
The Strategic Services Branch of Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) is developing a City-Wide Mountain Biking Strategy. The Strategy will examine the growing number and use of informal natural surface trails and stunt areas through our ravines and parks. The goal of the strategy is to determine the most effective way to provide recreational opportunities for off-road cyclists, while balancing environmental protection and safety concerns.

Background:
There are extensive networks of informal natural surface trails throughout the City’s ravines. These trails are used heavily by mountain bikers, dog walkers, trail runners, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. The trails were developed by informal social use over many decades. They were not planned, designed or constructed to be sustainable, and as a result many of the trails are eroding and negatively impacting the surrounding natural areas. There are also an increasing number of unauthorized dirt jump and stunt areas used by mountain bikers and BMX riders.

The City of Toronto does not have a city-wide strategy for mountain biking or managing the increasing number of informal trails and stunts areas. In the Crothers’ Woods area, PFR staff have partnered with the International Mountain Biking Association and local mountain bikers to address problem areas along the trails. Projects include trail remediation work on priority sections of trail, habitat restoration, education, and the creation of the Crothers Woods Trail Management Strategy in 2007.

Mountain biking and BMX riding is an increasing recreation activity in ravines and parkland. If unmanaged, there is a risk of significant degradation and negative impacts to the natural environment, increased liability for land-owners, and missed opportunities to provide recreation services to thousands of recreational cyclists in Toronto.

Get Involved:
The development of a City-Wide Mountain Biking Strategy will take place from November 2007 to March 2008. PFR will hold meetings with stakeholders over the next few months. PFR invites mountain bikers, trail users, recreation associations, environmental organizations, Toronto Region Conservation staff and City of Toronto staff to become
involved.

For more information or to be added to the contact list, contact:
Jennifer Kowalski, Project Manager
Tel: 416-392-7203
Fax: 416-392-3355
Email: jkowals@toronto.ca
Parks, Forestry & Recreation: Strategic Services
Metro Hall, 24th Floor
55 John St.
Toronto, ON   M5V 3C6

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