(Black Press Media file)

(Black Press Media file)

Increasing use, not cyclists, taking toll on Victoria trails

Re: Letters: Offroad biking trails put natural areas at risk (July 23).

Ms. Madsen takes issue with cyclists using trails in natural areas, saying they put those areas at risk. I am a hiker, trail runner and mountain biker and I love our natural areas. I believe any heavy use by people puts those areas at risk, and the reality is, areas close to densely populated areas will see heavy use.

Ms. Madsen implies that the cyclists spray-paint trees and leave trash. None of the cyclists I know would ever do that. I have never seen a spray-painted tree and very seldom see trash unless we’re closer to more heavily used areas such as a lake. People that vandalize things and leave trash would do that whether they are on foot, on a bike or in a car.

In the Hartland area of Mt. Work, where offroad cyclists have an agreement with the CRD which allows volunteers to do trail maintenance, the trails are in good condition, and any unauthorized trails or ‘shortcuts’ are decommissioned.

IMBA standards are used to maintain trails and prevent erosion. Every month a large group of volunteers works on the trails. Unfortunately, this is the only area in which we are allowed to do that. It’s not for lack of trying to get agreements for other areas.

We can’t stop people from getting out and enjoying the natural areas. There is more and more pressure on these areas with the increasing population in the CRD region, and fewer natural areas due to development. So we are going to have to learn to share in a way that allows access to as many people as possible while allowing for trail maintenance by volunteers, so that we can help to limit the damage.

Linda Walsh

Victoria