Photo Coursey of Scott Davis-Fisch
Vedder Mountain in Chilliwack BC, has recently been a victim to some serious Trail Vandalism. Two incidents of vandalism have gotten local riders and trail advocacy groups wondering who has it out for the local mountain bike community. The Vedder mountain bike trails are regularly maintained by the Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association (FVMBA), and are managed by the Vedder Mountain Trail Association (VMTA), these groups work in conjunction to help to provide to area for local Chilliwack mountain bikers to recreate in. Unfortunately these recent acts of deliberate, malicious vandalism have both groups on edge. The Vedder Mountain Trail Association has released the following statement:
"Sometime between the late afternoon of Friday December 27 and the morning of Saturday December 28, an unidentified vandal used a chainsaw to damage the landing area of the gap jump that has defined the end of the Skidder mountain bike trail since 1998. This rendered this feature a significant potential danger to a rider who might have attempted to ride on the feature. Fortunately this was discovered early and the trail was blocked for the protection of riders. As this was a malicious act that appeared to have no purpose but to harm mountain bike riders, reports were made to RCMP and the Recreation Sites and Trails BC manager was informed. A large contingent of volunteers from Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association, Vedder Running Club, Chilliwack Outdoor Club and several VMTA Directors and Officers attended on the following Saturday to rehabilitate the damaged trail. The end result was an even better and definitely a fun modification to this old-timely trail
Unfortunately, this past weekend saw yet more trail vandalism. This time the iconic Dilemma mountain bike trail that dates back to the early 1990’s was the target. Again chainsaws were employed to create the damage to several technical trail features and this was carried out sometime between the evening of Tuesday January 14 and Wednesday morning January 15. The way the features were damaged was consistent with the damage done on the Skidder Trail making it clear that the same individual(s) perpetrated this most recent crime. In this iteration of trail vandalism, 4 features were damaged. In 3 of the cases the damage was done in such a way that if a rider were to have ridden on the feature, it would have collapsed in on them likely leading to significant harm for the rider. The 4th feature was a rebuild of a very old feature commonly known as the Super Booter. It was only partially completed and all of the logs that were brought into place to be employed in the build were sawed into small pieces rendering them useless.
In addition to this damage, several signs were also removed including the Dilemma trail wand-sign and 2 large (3 foot x 4 foot) brown signs (in governmental colors) that were posted high up in trees (one on the road up from the mountain bike parking area and the other in the dirt bike parking area). Both signs were Ministry signs stating “No Unauthorized Trail Building or Trail Alteration Permitted”. These signs required an extension ladder to install and were lag-bolted to the trees requiring tools to remove (a time consuming activity to be sure). Is this just a coincidence or is there some association between the vandalism events and the theft of these govt signs?
Dilemma trail gets the heaviest use of any trail on Vedder Mountain (based upon trail counters) and though a mountain bike (non-motorized) trail, it has been happily shared by mountain bikers with hikers and trail runners for a long, long time. There have been no currently reported conflicts here between any user groups. This appears to be causing destruction for destruction-sake. There is a pretty strong intent to cause harm to mountain bikers.
We in the recreation community have been left wringing our hands trying to figure out who has perpetrated this crime, how to prevent this (and the potential injury to recreationists) in the future and how to move forward in a way where trail building volunteers would feel that their efforts and contributions were not an utter waste of their time and money. We know that we cannot do this alone.
We need eyes and ears in the forest. Installation of several motion sensitive cameras has been undertaken and it is hoped that these will catch perpetrators in the act in the event of any future activity. These crimes took time to perpetrate. The person had a truck with a ladder on it and someone undoubtedly saw this. Someone must have heard chain saws running. Someone may have seen a person walking out of the bush carrying a chainsaw or someone up a ladder doing something with a sign. We need people to come forward to help us here. Please consider sending information that you have to us and we will forward this to RCMP who VMTA is actively working with on this matter. We are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s). Please know that you can send information anonymously (if you choose) by email to the following link (VMTA Trail Vandalism Tips). Please help us to stop this dangerous behavior before someone’s loved-one gets hurt." - (Mark Steinebach- VMTA President).For more on this story check out the following links
:www.vmta.ca - Vandalismwww.fvmba.com - Vandalswww.theprogress.com
Video from BC's Global News: