Mountain bike club plans work bee for Godey Trail
Merritt’s Mountain Bike Association is hoping community members will lend a hand in maintaining the Godey Creek Trail at a work bee scheduled for Oct. 20-21.
The trail, which is accessed from the B.C. Visitor Centre and follows the creek, crossing it several times, features 15 wooden bridges, 10 of which need repair or replacement. The popular trail is used by hikers and horseback riders as well as mountain bikers.
“It’s a jewel of a trail that not only locals use, but visitors and other interest groups as well,” said MMBA President Sean O’Flaherty.
Made up of volunteers, the MMBA has a management contract with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources to build, maintain and manage the trails in the area.
According to O’Flaherty, the local bike association was the first group in B.C. to have a management contract with the province, which was developed as a pilot project. Now, most mountain bike associations have similar agreements, he said.
With funds from membership dues and trail map sales, the group sees to the upkeep of the local trails — including 10 to 12 high-traffic trails and up to approximately 40 other identifiable marked trails — however, members are hoping for some community support to maintain Godey, a multi-use trail.
“If it was any of our other trails, the club would just handle it ourselves,” said O’Flaherty. “Because of all the other interest groups that use the trail, it’s getting so it’s wearing out and since we’re not the only ones using it, we’re saying let’s repair it as a community.”
Coralee Sarasin, on-site manager of the B.C. Visitor Centre, said her staff see visitors accessing the trails on a daily basis.
“During the summer we could direct a couple of groups a day or more to the trails,” she said. “It’s a popular trail and locals use it all the time.”
MMBA member Darch Osborne said the province assessed the trails this summer and noted the wooden structures, built 10 years ago in some cases, needed repair or replacement.
Osborne said besides providing ramps for the mountain bikers to use, the trails protect the environment from the high traffic of bikers, hikers and horses that would otherwise be crossing creek beds.
“It’s not just a hedonistic thing for bikers; it’s a nice thing for mother nature and the community,” he said.
Richard Deacon, a new member of the MMBA, said he was blown away by the mountain biking infrastructure in the area when he first moved to Merritt from Vancouver.
“This area has some of the best trails, and mountain biking is not just about the hardcore guys who do it everyday,” he said. “It’s amazing that there are guys like this here who know where to send people and are willing to maintain the trails, but I can’t expect a small group of people to do all the work and still benefit from it.”
Deacon said the Godey project was an opportunity for the community to take ownership of the bike trails he described as another “calling card” for Merritt.
“These trails are non-exclusionary — we just happen to be the custodians — and we’re looking for volunteers,” said O’Flaherty. “We’re going to need labour to assist in restoring this important recreation trail, including carrying wood in and lifting.”
The work bee is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 20-21 and the group is looking for labour and supplies including:
• a box of 4.5-inch Ardox nails, 6-inch Ardox nails, and 8-inch Ardox nails
• diamond lathe or extruded mesh for grip on wet wood
• two pulaskis
• three rakes
• three hoes
• four branch clippers
• two draw knives for bark
• one lift of 2X6X8 lumber
There are also opportunities for businesses who contribute to be recognized through trail signage, on the website (www.merrittmountainbiking.com) and in emails and newsletters.
Those interested in being involved can contact the MMBA at email@example.com, on Twitter @merrittbiking or on the Merritt Mountain Bike Association Facebook page.