Changes are Coming to North Vancouver’s Mount Seymour Trails

Photo: Sam James

The District of North Vancouver is making plans to mitigate the sprawling network of unsanctioned mountain bike trails on Mount Seymour, the North Shore News reports. The district believes that the trails are unsafe and harmful to the environment, and that the issues have worsened during the pandemic.

Over the next year, the DNV will work with the community, land managers, and First Nations and user groups to come up with a list of recommended actions, which will be implemented in 2022.

The DNV released a report in October, saying that they started baseline environmental assessments of trails in the Cove Forest area of Deep Cove, and then in Berkley Hyannis, and the Darkside areas. In 2018 they captured over 60km of authorized and unauthorized hiking and mountain bike trails. Prior to this, a formal inventory or assessment of trails on Mount Seymour had not been conducted. In 2019, they inventoried all mountain bike features, including jumps, ramps, bridges and boardwalks on all of the district’s trails.

Staff are focusing their initial efforts on the Berkley Hyannis area and developing a framework for trail decommissioning, consolidation, and closures in order to reduce the environmental impact from a “heavily braided and often redundant trail network.”

“However, In the absence of an agreement such as the one with the NSMBA on Fromme, and the deferral of the seasonal trail crew due to COVID-19 financial cut-backs this year, it has been challenging for staff to make significant progress in this area, and are focussing on relatively minor ‘quick wins’ as a stop-gap measure until resources are again made available,” says DNV in the statement.

The district plans to start monitoring the amount of trail usage throughout the year with “strategically located trail counters.”

The DNV says that a “very large fully developed and illegally built trail was located on Seymour. The environmental impact of this trail was significant with many mature trees illegally removed, and vast amounts of native soil moved to construct the trail.” The trail began on BC Parks land before it entered DNV land, so both agencies worked collaboratively to dismantle “high risk structures” and decommission the trail.

The DNV may further its work with North Shore Mountain Bike Association for future maintenance on Mount Seymour. According to the report, the NSMBA receives $100,000 for an annual trail maintenance budget for work on Mount Fromme on behalf of the DNV.

“Ideally, a year-round full time alpine trail crew would be approved within Parks to inspect and maintain trails, to decommission unsustainable trails, and/or those trails that may be recommended for closure through the study.”

The NSMBA said on a social media post, “As maintainers of multi-use trails across all land managers on Seymour, the NSMBA supports the need for this process; we look forward to providing input and collaborating with the DNV to ensure a sustainable future for mountain biking and providing trail experiences desired by all users.”

The DNV plans to give the Seymour Trails Strategic Plan priority in 2021, with preliminary recommendations presented in early 2022.

“With no formal trail management plan in place for the Mount Seymour trail network, and trail use rising in popularity over the past decade, Parks is recommending that Council endorse a framework to continue the planning of a comprehensive Seymour Trails Strategic Plan.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the North Shore Mountain Bike Association as an alliance and that the Association does not perform maintenance on Mt. Seymour. Both have been updated. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

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