Don't Panic! CMHC Signs Most of Mount Seymour Trails "No Trespassing"

Oct 28, 2016
by Lee Lau  
Update #1 - October 28th, 2016

On October 27, 2016, the CMHC met with various parties to discuss their future intentions for the large block of land owned on Mount Seymour. To summarize the new developments, the CMHC confirmed that their concern was liability and that they were willing to discuss ways for all recreational users to access trails on the CMHC lands in the "short to medium term". The Province of BC's responsible agency is RSTBC which has a track record of successfully managing and sanctioning recreational trail access. No further color was given on proposed long-term access by recreational users of the land.

*CMHC has responded and stated that responsible recreational use will be permitted. They have not articulated a stand on organized or commercial events as yet.

The NSMBA released the following statement with respect to the meeting which states in par that:

bigquotesThe CMHC acknowledges that they did not conduct sufficient consultation with user groups and neighbouring land managers before posting the updated signage.

No meeting minutes have been provided by any of the parties. The CMHC refrained from commenting on the NSMBA's statement but provided the following statement (a portion excerpted below) :

bigquotesCMHC is pursuing a coordinated and consultative approach to identifying future uses of the land.

The best option for the short to medium term is to find ways to permit recreational use in a way that is safe for users and reasonably mitigates liability risks to CMHC. The longer-term site review will take into account the prior use of the land and related environmental aspects and a best use strategy for the property will be developed.

bigquotesAs a result of the meetings, and information brought forward by interested parties, CMHC and the Province are prepared, as co-owners, to permit reasonable and responsible recreational use of the property. Users are reminded that persons entering this land do so entirely at their own risk and that the owners are not responsible for any damage or loss to property, or personal injury.

Going forward, CMHC will work closely with the Province to consider the management of appropriate recreational usages of the property.

The DNV did not reply to requests for comments on the meeting.

David Stuart, the CAO of DNV had previously stated the DNV's willingness to explore managing the CMHC lands on Seymour for recreational use. Longtime trail advocate Sharon Bader stated that if the DNV was to manage the land then the results would generally be positive. Bader participated extensively in the DNV's Alpine Recreational Strategic Study process which resulted in many of the trails on Mount Fromme attaining sanctioned status. According to Bader "the DNV was responsive, listened to user groups, and were very practical in managing trails, allowing volunteer groups both to access trails and to maintain them."

John Hawkings confirmed that the provincial agency at the meeting is FLNRO (Ministry of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resources Operation) confirming that the Recreation Sites and Trails BC ("RSTBC") arm of Forestry is the arm of government handling permitting processes and management of recreational trails on BC land. Hawkings further stated that RSTBC would be involved with discussions concerning the CMHC lands.

Todd Hellinga of the Whistler Off-road Cycling Association ("WORCA") had encouraging words concerning the prospects of sanctioning trails under the RSTBC umbrella explaining that RSTBC is proactive and works in collaboration with WORCA. Hellinga added "thousands of km's of previously unauthorized trails have been brought into the legal fold through processes in conjunction with clubs and FLNRO so there is sound reason for cautious optimism".

Lawyer Sean Rowell of Perry and Company explained that the law under which RSTBC would sanction trails was the Forest and Range Practices Act adding that the Forest Act made it a civil offence to construct trails without permission and that directors could be held liable for the actions of employees who had constructed trails. However, Rowell added that the same s. 57 had been applied throughout BC to legitimize trails in diverse jurisdictions citing the examples of Smithers, Burns Lake (see Pinkbike coverage here) and other areas in Northern BC where there had been substantial government help in sanctioning and creating trail systems.

On October 10, 2016, trail users and residents neighboring Mount Seymour found No Trespassing signs placed over 25 access points and trailheads indicating that access was prohibited. Mass confusion ensued. Very few users and/or residents knew that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation ("CMHC"), a Canadian Crown Corporation providing mortgage insurance to homeowners, owns a swathe of land on Mount Seymour in North Vancouver.

The signage potentially affects all recreational users of these trails whether they are hikers, dog walkers, trail runners, mountain bikers, parents, kids, old people, or young people. We caution that this does not necessarily mean that all trails are closed. What this does mean is that a significant number of Seymour trails are on lands signed as private and prohibited for access. This article will describe what has occurred and potential impacts.

Various users of the Seymour trails. Top L - photo SharonB Bottom L - photo MeghanB Right - Chaz on a Cove Group ride when we installed the C-Buster signs on the trail which was built in the late 80s
Various users of the Seymour trails. Top L - photo SharonB; Bottom L - photo MeghanB; Right - Chaz on a Cove Group ride when the C-Buster signs were installed. The trail was built by Cove Bike Shop riders in the late 80s.

Seymour light
Fog and trees of Seymour.

Mount Seymour

Mount Seymour is a prominent peak in the eastern part of Vancouver's North Shore. Trailforks lists 72 trails on Mount Seymour. MTBTrails' Locals Guide to North Shore Rides guidebook describes Mt Seymour as the "hard working, blue collar brother" able to accommodate a diversity of users and lists 42 trails. The trail number discrepancy can be explained in that Trailforks segments trails into different sections.

Mount Seymour is surrounded by the municipality of the District of North Vancouver ("DNV"), a city of 85,000 people. Land in the Mount Seymour area is owned and managed by a multiplicity of land managers; the DNV, Metro Vancouver, BC Parks and private landowners such as the CMHC.

The area is heavily forested and cherished by all users who as recently as the mid-90s won a land zoning battle to have 1200 acres of land protected from residential development. Trails are used by residents and visitors to the area throughout the year for recreation.

Mount Seymour mountain biking trails
CMHC signs affect us all.
Young families use Mount Seymour trails - Sarah Fenton Tippie picture

CMHC Lands on Mount Seymour

On Thanksgiving Monday, October 10, 2016; No Trespassing signs were installed on the perimeter of the CMHC's landholding with no prior notice given to either neighboring land managers, trail users or community organizations. Thirty-eight trails are potentially affected as being partially or completely located within the CMHC's landholding.

How did the CMHC come to own 640 acres of land in the middle of North Vancouver? References are from Donna Sacuta's definitive account of the history of the Blair Rifle Range in North Vancouver. In 1927 Canada's Department of National Defence ("National Defence") expropriated this land parcel from DNV for a make-work military installation and rifle range. This land thus became federal crown land (Sacuta pp 4 - 6). The area was largely unsettled at the time and the DNV did not have much choice in the matter. As the DNV grew and residential development began to surround the area National Defence conveyed the land to the CMHC via the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation (now known as GC Surplus) thus transforming the land from crown land to a private landholding (Sacuta, pg 28-9). This was a mechanism to sidestep First Nations claims on federal property and evidently was somewhat successful as the land has stayed somewhat under land claims radar.

New CMHC sign - Blair Rifle Range entry from Mt Seymour Parkway
CMHC sign at the entrypoint to the Blair Rifle Range from Mt Seymour Parkway.

Trailforks overlay of the CMHC lands - trails in orange
CMHC lands are in yellow - many recreational trails are wholly or in part within the CMHC boundary. View biking trails on the interactiveTrailforks map. This map draws from the DNV's Geoweb GIS database and can be considered definitive).

3d representation of the CMHC lands. CMHC in brown
3D representation of the CMHC landholding on Mount Seymour. CMHC lands are in brown.

Tracing the same map seen above and searching against the public British Columbia Land Title and Survey ("LTSA") database results in a hit for 8 parcels of land (see the land parcels here).

The total value of these 8 parcels is $151 million but can be considered grossly understated as the values are historical from 2010 especially considering that the Real Estate Council of BC's estimates for bare North Vancouver land appreciation is approximately 180% from 2010 to 2016 (depending on location).

Trails affected by CMHC signage
List of affected recreational trails including hiking, walking and biking trails

It should be noted that any land valuation is highly speculative as a significant portion of the CMHC lands cannot be developed. In large part due to the Seymour community's active lobbying, DNV zoned the bulk of the 644 acre CMHC parcel for parks and recreation (details are here). Litigation ensued between the parties with the BC Court of Appeal deciding in DNV's favor in 2000, therefore upholding the parks and recreation zoning and settling the matter.

Impact on trail users

Trail users have stated bewildered and surprised reactions to the CMHC signs. DNV Councillor Mathew Bond has been active in informing the community about this issue and solicited comments from users via Facebook.

Blueridge residents Aaron and Cheryl Sauve hike and bike in the Seymour trails. They relayed that the Seymour trails were a major factor in why they bought their house where they did and why they moved to North Vancouver in the first place, relocating from Seattle. In their words:"they are some of the best trails in the world, and it would be horrible if our kids had to 'trespass' to enjoy them.". According to Riverside residents, Glade and Jen Schoenfeld, their family will continue to use the CMHC trail stating "This is not a protest or act of defiance. In the most simple terms, you can not keep kids out of the woods. My real concern is that the signs will prevent proper trail maintenance, the trails will fall into disrepair creating real hazards. If safety is the guise for restricting this current action has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy." Amberlea and Jeremy Schaab trail run and bike and also confirm that they will be continuing to use these trails; "my son just started riding single track and Seymour is where most of the beginner trails are."

Users pf Seymour trails. Upper shots from L to R Photo by Blaise Ratcliffe. Photo by Lisa Patterson. Photo by Lisa Patterson Bottom R Photo Aaron Sauve
Users of Seymour trails. Upper shots from L to R: Photo by Blaise Ratcliffe. Photo by Lisa Patterson. Photo by Lisa Patterson Bottom R: Photo Aaron Sauve

Commercial entities who use the trails have also expressed similar disappointment at CMHC's actions and uncertainty about continued access to trails on CMHC lands. Barry Rueger of the North Shore Professional Dogwalkers' Alliance conveyed that the licensed dog walkers who might have used these trails in the past will be avoiding them in large part due to insurance concerns at least until the confusion has been resolved. Graham Archer of Kintec Footlabs stated the importance of the CMHC trails to trail runners and his business in that the trail network is ideal for trail running in being lower grade which allows for great 'runnability' all the way up to Baden Powell which allows for higher mileage all within a relatively safe and accessible area. Kintec uses these trails for trail clinics and race training and will be looking at whether insurance coverage dictates changing trail usage patterns.

Kneeknacker - July 12 2014 Photos at the 3 4 mark at the Hyannis Aid station and the Seymour Grind. Photo by Richard So
Kneeknacker trail run - July 12, 2014; Photos at the 3/4 mark at the Hyannis Aid station and the Seymour Grind. Photo by Richard So

Kintec Footlabs s trail running and race training clinics on Seymour trails Photo - Graham Archer
Kintec Footlabs's trail running and race training clinics on Seymour trails Photo - Graham Archer

Commercial and organized biking-related organizations will also be adversely affected - all citing insurance concerns. Speaking on behalf of the BC Bike Race, Andreas Hestler added that the BCBR would be looking at alternative options for different trails to use and may consider moving the course to a different city altogether. Hestler explained that the BCBR applies for and administers 110 permits per year and has no issue with applying for and complying with permit terms but that should obtaining permits from the CMHC be as difficult in the future as it had in the past then insurance concerns may militate in favor of changing the race. NSRide is the biggest mountain bike club in North Vancouver. Senior ride leader Brian Brittain confirms that NSRides will be changing its ride patterns to not use trails in the CMHC lands also citing insurance concerns.

A local trail organization, the NSMBA has announced that all trail maintenance in the CMHC lands is suspended; NSMBA director Penny Deck explaining the reasons being insurance issues. NSMBA director Brian Earle added that the grassroots Fiver race series will not take place on CMHC lands until the uncertainty is resolved also due to the same concerns. Cessation of trail maintenance would end the NSMBA's volunteer trail maintenance on trails on the CMHC lands after a 16-year run (the first recorded formal trail day held by the NSMBA on the CMHC trails was on Severed on May 28, 2000.

CMHC statement and "Safety"

In response to requests for interviews Karin LeBlanc of the CMHC emailed as follows:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the province of British Columbia jointly own a 644-acre plot of land in North Vancouver. The land neighbors parks that are popular with nature and outdoor recreation activity enthusiasts. However, the land is not a park or a recreation area. Recently, updated and additional signage was put in place reflecting current and long-standing policy with respect to use and access to the property.

At its core, this is a safety issue. In our continuing role as co-owner and manager of the land, and in the interest of advising the community, these signs were installed as an immediate measure. CMHC recognizes the concerns raised as a result of this updated signage. Currently, steps are being taken to engage with interested parties, including the province and the local municipality, with a view to considering options for future use and ensuring a coordinated approach to managing and monitoring the use of the property.

CMHC signs
New CMHC sign. Old CMHC sign in inset.

It is worthwhile to parse the CMHC statement. The old CMHC signs were hard to find and were indeed decrepit and barely legible. The CMHC did not provide a response when asked if there were specific concerns leading to replacement and updating of the signs. The CMHC did not provide a response when asked if the CMHC's "current and long-standing policy" towards recreational use is to prohibit access

Eyewitness Ken Lang of Vancouver was riding when he came across two people identifying themselves as with the CMHC installing the No Trespassing signs at the Corkscrew/Salvation trail intersection of Seymour. Lang asked if this meant that his group could keep riding that trail. Lang's recollection is that the CMHC personnel stated that they were not "saying anything"; that the CMHC now wanted to be more involved and that the safety concern was in relation to structures. CMHC spokesperson Leblanc did not clarify if CMHC's safety concerns were specifically concerning structures.

Lawyer Sean Rowell of Perry and Co. commented that "safety" was an ambiguous term potentially having many meanings but possibly encompassing liability. Rowell, whose main area of practise includes real estate, explained that in British Columbia landowner's liability is addressed by the Occupiers Liability Act as amended by the Occupiers Liability Amendment Act. (collectively the "OLA"). According to Rowell a recreational user on BC lands, in certain circumstances, is owed a diminished duty by a landowner, with the landowner only liable to the user if the recreational user is injured because of a landowner's intentional acts or "reckless disregard". On being shown the text of the CMHC signs Rowell commented that it was curious that the signs lacked any identification signing trails as "recreational trails"; an element that would confer upon the CMHC trails the protection of the BC OLA laws. Rowell also added that it was unnecessary under BC law for lands to be signed with No Trespassing or to prohibit recreational access for landowners to invoke the shield of the OLA.

Further to the topic of safety Douglas Pope of North Shore Search and Rescue confirmed that NSSAR responds to very few incidents in this area. A comment was also sought from DNV's Fire department which provides first responder services in the CMHC lands with no answer being provided at this time. Pinkbike will update when an answer is received.

Potential outcomes

DNV Councillor Mathew Bond commented: "The sudden reiteration of a decades-old, unenforced policy is causing a lot of concern for trail users of all kinds and for local businesses". adding that many trail users had expressed a strong connection to the Seymour trails and their deep disquiet with the uncertainty introduced by the CMHC No Trespassing signage.

Sharon Bader is a long time resident and user of the trails on the North Shore as well as a co-author of a biking guidebook for Shore trails and had this to lend from a historical perspective. "When I started hiking and biking in the North Shore in the late 90s, all of Cypress was signed as private, no trespassing and most of Fromme was signed as private, no trespassing. And surprise, surprise there were people hiking, walking, and biking on all. of. these. trails. Fast forward to now. There's a dialogue happening in Cypress in West Vancouver. DNV has been terrific and much of Fromme is sanctioned. Metro has also been terrific and trails on their land are also sanctioned. The outlier is CMHC. They have been utterly silent. I respectfully submit that if these trails are a concern to them that they should reach out to the community of users. That would be a respectful thing to do. Bader opined that many recreational users will ignore the CMHC signs just as they ignored other posted signs.

Trespassers will be prosecuted signs on Mountain Highway on Fromme placed by Grouse Mountain. Locations are at AIr Supply between the 5th and 6th switchback and close to the 7th switchback.
Trespassers will be prosecuted signs on Mountain Highway on Fromme placed by Grouse Mountain. Locations are at Air Supply between the 5th and 6th switchback and close to the 7th switchback. Thousands of hikers, runners and bikers go by these signs year after year.

Alan Bardsley is a long time resident of the District of West Vancouver ("DWV") and trail access advocate. Bardsley observed that British Pacific Properties ("BPP") a landowner of large land parcels in West Vancouver has Warning signs and has built gates on major access points. These gates are left open, which is consistent with their intent to be a good corporate citizen. While BPP does not support any trail work on their land, they have reached out to recreational users regarding future plans. It is envisioned that hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreation will be a major activity at their next development, Cypress Village.

Sign in West Vancouver from British Pacific Properties - NO TRESPASSING. On 3rd Switchback
Warning signs installed by BPP at gates (left open) at trailheads. BPP only signs areas as No Trespassing where active construction work is ongoing and where heavy machinery is in use.

Bader, Bond, and Hestler (for the BCBR) added that the CMHC has been notoriously unresponsive to questions or permit requests for decades. It appears that there may be some changes on that front; the installation of the No Trespassing signs being the foremost indicator of such.

DNV's Chief Administrative Officer David Stuart relates that the CMHC had meetings with the DNV and other neighboring land managers in June 2016. During that meeting Stuart commented that some DNV residents had raised concerns about trail maintenance efforts in the CMHC lands; and that DNV Parks then forwarded those concerns to the CMHC. However, Stuart clarifies that DNV only can manage lands either owned by the DNV or where the DNV has permission to do so.

Stuart further advised that DNV offered to share its experiences with the CMHC with its success in cooperating with volunteer organizations and also, to discuss possible ways in which the DNV could assist in managing CMHC land; however, no responses were received to such offers. Like the DNV, Metro Vancouver also reiterated its long-standing policy towards actively engaging with user groups and collaborating with volunteer organizations and affirmed that it only has an interest in managing trails within Metro's jurisdiction.

Seymour light
Seymour light

The outcome of the CMHC No Trespassing signs is indeterminate. As of the present, the CMHC is not actively enforcing the No Trespassing signs. A search of the BC Court Services Online public database discloses no applications for injunctions by the CMHC pursuant to enforcing trespass actions. The ray of light is that the CMHC appears to be taking steps towards community engagement. Leblanc of the CMHC advised that they have scheduled a meeting with "interested parties, including the North Shore Mountain Bike Association, the province and the local municipality, with a view to considering options for future use and ensuring a coordinated approach to managing and monitoring the use of the property."

Users of the trails and readers of this article can help by staying informed. The situation is fluid and Pinkbike will update this story as it unfolds. A significant landowner of North Shore trails has seemingly awoken from indifference and indicates that it wishes to engage with users who have recreated on their land for decades. This is hopefully a positive development.

As the intent of this article has been to relay news and distinguish news from speculation editorial comments have been left out. Please feel free to ask questions in comments, ask for opinions and, in particular, to add to Councillor Bond's request for comments should you have personal notes to add in respect of your use of the Seymour trails.

Resources and references:

- Donna Sacuta historical article re the Blair Rifle Range

- David Hay article "The Wild Game of Occupiers Liability" re Occupiers Liability in BC

- Mary MacGregor article "Occupiers Liability Act Amended" re Occupiers Liability in BC.

- Mary MacGregor article "Trespass I" re the Trespass Act in BC

- Mary MacGregor article "Trespass II" re the common law tort of trespass in BC

- Graham Litman and Matt Hulse article "ENHANCING PUBLIC ACCESS TO PRIVATELY OWNED WILD LANDS" re Trespass, Occupiers Liability and Right to Roam laws

-CMHC land parcels on Mount Seymour

(About Lee Lau: The author is a founder and former President of the NSMBA. He hikes and bikes and lives in the vicinity of the Seymour trails. He was not compensated for this article by Pinkbike or any other party.)

Author Info:
leelau avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2009
125 articles

  • 181 30
 am i the only person thinking this is being blown up a bit out of proportion?
looks to me they have simply replaced the signage that people have been ignoring for years with new signs for them to ignore.
  • 17 13
 youve got smarts!
  • 16 4
 when i was riding in vancouver i didn't saw a single sign that told me not to pass.
  • 35 3
 Not really, read the article. For individual trail users, yeah it doesn't mean much but it can adversely affect local businesses and organized groups.
  • 86 3
 Everything gets blown up a little too much now adays with things like social media.... But honestly as a Local rider... I'm okay with this one getting some overexposure. We are losing a massive chunk of cypress mountain just so rich people can build their homes on it. And that affected mountain bikers and hikers.... We just don't want to see more things taken away from the outdoor community. I just think a lot of people are generally worried that we may lose something that a massive community has worked towards creating. The signs were put up almost secretevley and I think that part really bothered people as well. Also shit these signs really ruin the North Shore feel when you get in there to ride... Nothing like climbing GSR in amongst the tall trees and and hearing not much but your own tires on dirt and ...oh look a big ugly fuck off sign! We in BC enjoy our what feels like a boundary free lifestyle... This shit takes away from that.
  • 52 5
 It's easy to be an armchair expert sitting thousands of miles away in the Rhondda! As someone who uses these trails every week, I can tell you that this issue has the potential for real and very negative impacts. Luckily, it is being taken seriously by the whole community.
  • 30 4
 Sadly @b45her but it's not that simple. I see that you're in Rhondda, Wales, so, I wouldn't expect you to be as understanding. However those who are local and seeing the signs and their locations (25 signs, there were about 3 before) it's disturbing. Additionally, the CHMC has been uninvolved in "managing" their land for decades, but all of a sudden they've erected 25 signs, with no consultation with any user groups. It's very disturbing.
  • 23 3
 As was posted, this may not affect individual users, but it will affect races, mtb/running/hiking clubs and businesses who require insurance to use local trails and do want to contravene what the NSMBA (trail assoc) has said so far. Think outside your immediate realm of your singular experience.
  • 32 1
 I don't think its possible to be too vigilant if you're facing potential loss of trails The worst part is that a lot of maintenance will cease until this is resolved, and winter is when most of it is done. Unmaintained trails are more likely to injure someone so its kind of a self fulfilling prophesy.
  • 13 1
 thanks for such an informative article. Over the years mountain biking has faced many obstacles- from trail saboteurs to trail closures. This is a massive trail network that has thousands of hours of trail work done by volunteers. Thanks to the North Shore Mountain Bike Association as well as all the trail advocates in Vancouver to helping keep mountain biking alive here.
  • 6 1
 There were never any signs on Seymour, they are all new this month.
  • 5 0
 @Alucas95: they were at the Blair range access and they were decrepit and not very visible. Blair range is the rocky aldery section between blueride and northlands golf course.
  • 17 1
 @CaptainSnappy: This WILL affect individual users if the trails cannot be maintained. Fantastic work has been done by NSMBA, TAP and others to build and maintain these trails. It'll be tough for CMHC to manage individual users but if they deny access to trail building and maintenance we will all suffer.
  • 2 0
 @Alucas95: to add to what @Sharonb said I am told that there were two signs still remaining. They were hard to see. I located one for the picture
  • 1 0
 This area is HEAVILY frequented by all kinds of users and has been for decades. We need loud voices to maintain these slices of recreation in Vancouver. On the other side, it's private land, I'd pop a sign up to ass cover too. The liability flows through to CMHC.
  • 1 0
 @Alucas95: Not true there have always been signs,but only 3 as far as i know.Now 25 signs.
  • 1 2
 @Sharonb: @leelau @rideonjon : you are right. i now do recall seeing a sign, it must have been a couple of years ago, but i didn't give it any attention.
  • 10 1
 @b45her also I'm not really sure why you're trying to erode support from other other mtbers. If you or someone from Spain, or Australia, or Switzerland or anywhere were facing trail closures, I'd offer words of encouragement and ask how I can help. Your comment reeks of C*NT
  • 1 0
 I'm guessing this is just about liability for the land owners/managers.
  • 1 2
 @BryceBorlick: Not eroding support of anything just stating that nothing has really changed other than the sign's being updated.
the more that local riders make an issue of it the more of an issue it will become, just carry on doing what folks appear to have been doing for many years and ride/walk in the woods without screaming and shouting about it, that will only draw more, possibly negative attention to the whole situation.
  • 2 0
 @b45her: No completely false,we need to be pro actice in this instance otherwise we may lose the area to development.
  • 66 0
 Brace yourself ... the solution to Vancouver's affordable housing crisis is coming. Micro Condos on C-Buster.
  • 4 0
 Are they allowed to build to any of these hallowed mountains ?
  • 2 0
 right, like those treehouse globes?
  • 5 1
 Only the area of Blair range is zone for development, the area where the trails are is Mountain Forest and zoned recreation, parks and open spaces by the DNV.
  • 1 0
 @pigman65: I actually believe I've read that they cannot due to contamination reasons.
  • 1 0
 I can see tent prices to skyrocket.. Time to invest.
  • 1 0
 @Sharonb: So what you saying is a golf course right ? Smile
  • 2 0
 @Skautik: West of the golf course...
Between Blueridge and Northlands Golf course.
  • 3 1
 These modern day projects are all thats being built in southern California. Building on and using private property is always risky and access can always be taken away at moments notice, even if it was available to use for years and years. The local gov or non profit will need to buy it just as they did in laguna beach.
  • 5 0
 @pigman65: If you give our (soon not to be) premier Crusty Christy Clark enough payola, she'll let you do anything!
  • 38 1
 Signs, signs, everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do THIS, don't do THAT, CAN'T YOU READ THE SIGNS?!
  • 1 1
  • 2 0
 surely vancouver has the most signs per meter in the world all telling you what you cant do Smile
  • 29 1
 When people start suing because their toddler falls off playground equipment that is clearly marked for older kids (see Kamloops), you can understand why CMHC is playing the liability card. The culture of launching a frivolous lawsuit over anything (see Billboard ads for lawyers south of the border everywhere) is starting to creep into Canada.
I suspect this is just a CYA tactic that leads to a "reduction in liability" outcome, but perhaps that's the view wearing rose colored glasses.
  • 13 2
 When you see the number of Personal Injury ads appearing all over the place I can see why CMHC has put up these signs and refuse to comment. There have been a few law suits here in Ontario that have seen trails closed, or now you have to be part of a mountain bike club so the trails are "no tresspassing" to non members. I think I pay up to 150 bucks a year to support many of these clubs to keep many trails open. All to reduce their liability if some douchebag pushes pass their limit and decides to sue. Canada is sadly going down the route of our neighbours.
  • 5 0
 A group used to do trail rides in my hometown and when one of the riders went off trail and got hurt in some old barbed wire fence, guess what, no more trail rides
  • 12 0
 Current laws in BC state that if a trail is reasonably marked as a recreational trail, the landowner/occupier is not liable for injuries unless that group has intended to injure the users (set traps). And signs or no signs, those users have the same rights as a trespasser. The situation is much different with the States and also in other parts of Canada.
  • 10 1
 and what is interesting is that in Canada, the health care system usually makes sure that you're well taken care of if you do badly injure yourself on public (or private) property. Part of the reason legal action in the USA is so focused on liability on property is because health care can and does bankrupt people, and some people go their entire lives suffering from injuries sustained on private property without the ability to access quality healthcare. I think what's happening in Canada is that people are just becoming greedy and seeing injury as get-rich-quick schemes.
  • 2 0
 very valid point. people are so sue-happy these days that unfortunately major companies have to cover themselves. Sucks that it can ruin the party for everyone else.
  • 9 0
 It's not always people. If you injure yourself and make an insurance claim (travel insurance, local extended benefits) the insurer will attempt to recoup costs wherever possible. That includes attempting to sue everyone if they think they have a chance of winning.
This occurred in Pemberton several years ago and everyone was about ready to burn whoever it was at the stake. So, if you hurt yourself and make an insurance claim, be aware that you may be the person that gets a trail shut down.
  • 5 0
 @axelerate: Good point. I once fractured some ribs at a local park after a little too much speed into a blind corner with drop off. I was surprised at how much the insurance company wanted to know about the incident, almost like they were dying for me to point the finger at someone.
  • 4 0
 @axelerate: and @PHeller the concept referenced is "subrogation". The insurance company pays out the person who was injured who holds the insurance policy. The insurance company then tries to recover its costs via suing every entity under the sun.

This occurred in Pemberton BC as previously mentioned. The action resulted in suspension of loonie races for a long time,

This also occurred in Victoria, BC in re a mountain biking injury. It has happened in other Canadian jurisdictions in recreational injuries
  • 5 0
 This is why the best things in the world are not available or fully available to the public. Because all the retards want the best shit and then if they get hurt there, they want to ruin it for themselves and everyone else, so they sue. And then pretty much now everything is posted with no trespassing signs or guarded off because of pussies who want to have the most fun in the best areas and also want to sue for money. You either, a) enjoy great scenery and amazing nature or you be an ass and try to sue everything and everyone you see and b) sit at home and be a miserable shit. Take your pick
  • 8 0
 Just as an FYI, most of us down here in the USA find the attorney's all their frivolous 'lawsuits' just as sleezy as you guys do up in Canada. Problem is most, if not all, of our politicians down here are attorneys as well. They leverage the 'take care of your own' philosophy and never get around to passing anti-frivolous lawsuit legislation.
  • 5 0
 FYI for those who don't know, @leelau knows a thing or two about the old legal system... don't argue with him on these points, you'll lose.
  • 1 0
 @webhead: don't blow the secret!! Lol
  • 3 0
 @axelerate, @PHeller This happened at one of the trails in my local town, although not in Canada, it was surprisingly in Florida, where you wouldn't expect to find many crazy trails. We have people who love to not wear helmets and one day this guy went and sent a 7 foot drop on a double-black diamond trail breaking his collar bone and getting a concussion from not wearing a helmet. Soon after the trail was closed for two years as the park feared being sued, we still have this issue with many people not wearing helmets so our trails are slowly dwindling.
  • 26 2
 This is so sad and very troubling to see. The North Shore Is obviously a world-renowned riding destination. I'm a U.S. resident from Washington state, and my friends and I are fortunate to be able to go up to Vancouver and ride the North Shore trails often. Mt. Seymour is our favorite mountain. If most of it were to be now closed to riding (combined with the looming threats to Cypress), I can assure you that we would unfortunately and regrettably take our tourist dollars and spend them elsewhere. We aren't alone. The hit to North Vancouver's tourist economy and specifically to all the local bike shops, restaurants, pubs, hotels, etc. will be big. It would be insanely idiotic to destroy such a vibrant recreational and tourist hotspot just because of some distant beaucrat's disconnected decree.

Residents of DNV- please stand up strong!!! Your friends down South are with you and counting on you to win this fight with your government-- or vote out your current leaders if they fail to overturn this. Preserving recreational access to this amazingly beautiful area for the ENTIRE metro Vancouver population (as well as the rest of us from all over the world) to continue to enjoy, as we all have for decades, is a vital civic priority.
  • 1 31
flag atrokz (Oct 24, 2016 at 9:32) (Below Threshold)
 of note these are not the north shore trails.....
  • 6 0
 @atrokz: yes they are. Mt Seymour, Mt Fromme, Cypress Mtn constitute the North Shore Mtns.
  • 2 7
flag atrokz (Oct 24, 2016 at 10:39) (Below Threshold)
 @DeepInTheForest: You're right, I didn't think Cypress was part of it. Aren't there trails further up north called the shore as well?
  • 3 0
 @atrokz: not to my knowledge. the north shore in vancouver is the north shore in reference to mountain biking. there is a north shore on the island of oahu in hawaii which again refers to a zone of gnarliness, but that is in the sport of surfing.

area north that had significant influence on freeride mountain biking in the early days is Kamloops.but that is not the north shore.
  • 3 1
 @DeepInTheForest: GOTCHA, I got them confused, for some reason I thought the original shore trails were further north. my mistake.
  • 1 4
 Sorry, I don't see how any of this will affect riders being allowed on private land.
  • 4 0
 @thedeathstar: As stated in the article recreational users are subject to prosecutions for trespass if using the trails. There is no record of CMHC starting trespass actions at press time.

Organized events have suspended or are considering suspending using the CMHC trails. This includes running races, running clinics, bike races or clinics, or trail maintenance for example
  • 4 2
 @leelau: Yeah, I get that. I understand trying to get the landowner's reasoning and intent, and working with them to understand use, liability, etc. I just don't see how US citizens boycotting the North Shore or calling for turning over the government is going to help that, since it's still private land. Honestly the idea of someone advocating a fight with the government while also complaining about a private landowner's rights seems at odds to me.
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: just stop, and get back to riding the DVP bud...
  • 1 1
 @thedeathstar: dude- it's not private land. CMHC is a Canadian Goverment agency.
  • 2 0
 @nsteele: as per the article the land became private through a conveyance of Crown Land to the CMHC. Crown Corporations can own private land
  • 2 1
 @leelau: Lee, I just hope you guys can sort it all out and keep it open. I'll write to anyone to give the international tourist perspective, but doubt it helps much. It's a local fight. Good luck!
  • 2 0
 @leelau: Lee, I believe that the land was sold to them for $1.00 by the Department of Defence. It was never returned to the DNV. Do you think that this is an effort for the CMHC to turn this area into a scar like Coquitlam? Can't trust any of these organizations anymore.
  • 2 0
 @MMOF: $1,846,500.was the sale price per the LTSA records and the Sacuta article pg 28

@nsteele thanks for the good wishes. Yup it's a local issue but the local governments are taking the lead on it and all we can do help with the correct information to educate user groups
  • 10 0
 Great background Lee. So, this is a marriage between BC and CMHC? That and "Currently, steps are being taken to engage with interested parties, including the province and the local municipality" means that locals who want to see trail access need to get political. In my view, it is quite possible that CMHC may be looking to get out of this partnership and is taking trail access off the table in order to leverage a buyout. I think the idea is some sort of tax break-buyout plan by BC or DNV (maybe in combo), to get CMHC out of this mess of holding difficult to develop land. Sad to see so many individuals, events, orgs and people abandoning use, it's only likely to undermine community appreciation and engagement. Strike while the iron is hot y'all and thank you.
  • 3 0
 At time of publication all that I have knowledge of is a document stating that the lands are held by CMHC and the Province of BC. Title is in CMHC and LTSA searches show this. CMHC holds the lands in trust for the Province in a 75/25 split as tenants-in-common. I do not have the trust deed or separate background documents showing any more detail than this
  • 12 0
 really well done article impressive and hopefully helpful for the long term solution that needs to be found
  • 10 1
 Great article Lee!

My Facebook has been blowing up with this crap for the last two weeks and I'll say what I say on every discussion that pops up. "I'm just going to keep on riding the trails"

If the CMHC is to cowardly to even let the community know their plan to try and disable one of the largest networks of multi use trails in The area... Then they deserve nothing but all of us ignoring their wishes and doing exactly what they told us not to do.

No one enforces the cypress trespassing issue so I really can't see Seymour being enforced either. Just for a minute imagine rolling out of Seymour from a great ride and there's a police officer standing there writing tickets!!?? Get a grip... The police don't even hit you with a fine for smoking weed anymore lol.

On another note... Got a 230.00 ticket for carrying bikes on my tailgate. According to the officer I was obstructing my license plate. So I asked the officer if a bike rack would be better and he said, nope still obstructs it. Nothing like getting punished for living an active lifestyle....
  • 5 0
 >Just for a minute imagine rolling out of Seymour from a great ride and there's a police officer standing there writing tickets!!??

That's how it is in Santa Cruz...
  • 3 2
 Canada is spoiled. Here it the "great" and "free" USA, we've got cops on trails with radar guns enforcing speed limits. Canada "problems". HA!
  • 20 1
 @jefe: That's not Canada being spoiled, that's the USA being *&^%^*%^&*.
  • 2 0
 put a plate on your rack
  • 1 0
 I got one of those beautiful tickets in downtown Vancouver too! (old policeman in a blue F150) I ask him "how about the police cars with bike racks on it???" he answer: we don't use bike rack in VPD, end of the conversation. I look for pictures in google but no luck, and I haven't see police car with bike racks anymore.
  • 2 0
 @Patagonian75: in NV they have a NSR on one the SUV's
  • 2 0
 The problem is that the NSMBA has stopped maintenance on these trails due to the signage and its implication. You can ride them, but there currently isn't a group of people who are taking care of the trail network, so it's going to be blown up pretty quickly with the amount of traffic that usually comes through Seymour.
  • 1 0
 @Patagonian75: you'll find them at YVR
  • 11 1
 I travelled all the way to Canada from the UK just to ride the North Shore trails, which included those on Mt.Seymour such a shame if they are lost....
  • 31 21
 It's all the fault of E-Bikes! E-bikers have the loam blood on their han... gears! Thee-took'r'trails!!! Thy'tk'traaeeels!!! Ty't'k'r'trls! Diytook-R-trayls!
  • 9 1
 Doook derrrr dreaaaails!!!!!!
  • 11 4
Please no electronic motorcycles in the discussion, not even as a joke.
  • 9 17
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 24, 2016 at 8:55) (Below Threshold)
 @scottzg: so you are affraid of e subject? What is it? DEpravation of thE innocEnt with profanEEtEE? Coming to a nun congrEss and shouting intErcoursE? The dEmons must bE released the walls shall trEmblE! HE-hE-hE hEE hEEEEp eeeeeep eeeeeeeep

I am the corruptor of the noble, I am the night!
  • 2 0
 @Gasket-Jeff: "They took our dogs!"
  • 2 0
 day dook r terr ales awesome.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: dook der trayles
  • 1 4
 I fail to see how e-mountain bikes have anything to do with this. The only thing proper e-bikes do is get more people on bikes riding the trails... which is exactly what we want.
  • 8 2
 WHY does this article not make mention of the biggest threat to the users that recreate here ? Monica Craver This is the person responsible for attacking the CMHC and forcing them to take action. She even attacks Councillor Bond, calling him Teflon Bond for whatever reason. Does the North Shore need another individual creating unsafe conditions for users ? Someone needs to investigate and expose this lady before somebody gets hurts, or dies.
  • 12 0
 Engaging with her gives her credibility. Best to leave her alone with her irrational thoughts.
  • 9 0
 @pushingbroom EDITORIAL OPINION - Respectfully you give her too much credit. We as a community are vulnerable of recreational trail users are uncertain and vulnerable right now but the fact that CMHC is engaging is a positive development.

Monica is a gadfly. Every community has one. She's a check and balance. No more, no less
  • 3 0
 @leelau: gadfly, great word!
  • 4 0
 @leelau: Not that I disagree, but Monica Craver is also buddy-buddy with Tina Kraal and we all know how that went...
  • 6 0
 Latest update, 10/28/2016


CMHC and the Province are prepared, as co-owners, to permit reasonable and responsible recreational use of the property. Users are reminded that persons entering this land do so entirely at their own risk, and that the owners are not responsible for any damage or loss to property, or personal injury.

Going forward, CMHC and the Province will work closely together to consider the management of appropriate recreational usages of the property.

Thank you again for your patience!

Jane Thornthwaite, MLA

North Vancouver Seymour
  • 8 3
 Oh well ! Just don't care as the article says… You really imagine a cop running after you on a black trail, riding a bike with his gun ? Spaghetti western are better XD !
As we do in Switzerland, riding wild hiking paths without caring who owns the land (ok, sometimes you find some barriers appeared due to trials rider, but well you know the saying…).
Just keep on riding !
  • 6 3
 f*ckinoath mate. We'll fight them on the mountains, we'll fight them in the forests, we'll fight them on the streets (not roadies tho ( BMXers instead Ite) we'll even fight them in the gardens, and then build a pump track.
  • 4 0
 @Theeeeo: lol thought you were going for Churchill for a second there ^^
  • 1 0
 RCMP... they're another breed of cop
  • 4 0
 I suspect in their minds they are doing the mountain biking community a solid. Rather than tear down structures and blocking trails, they are leaving everything as it is. But users know that if they "trespass" to get to those trails there won't be any grounds for litigation if they get hurt.
Not uncommon in the States.
  • 4 0
 Sad to see Canada becoming as lawsuit-phobic as the U.S. When I go to a bike park here in the states, like Burke, you sign a huge liability waiver and there are tons of warnings etc. etc. When I go to Bromont, I buy the pass and hit the lift. If you're biking and you wanna sue someone because you fell off your bike, you are a supreme asshole.
  • 10 5
 Despite this, it still looks like a better and more positive situation compared to 90% of the UK.
"Get ur bikes off my hills and paths" f*ck off old woman.
  • 6 0
 Move to Scotland
  • 8 0
 @paulmurphy1989: it's not that bad
  • 6 0
 Money. It's great stuff. Far out its just plain bad
  • 2 0
 And the sign says "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"
So I put my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do
So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that, huh, me working for you"
  • 3 0
 I spent a year in Canada. Spending money, renting an apartment, getting involved in the community and riding trails. Those trails are worth so much to the community of vancouver and need to be fought for.
  • 3 0
 At times like this I always look to Woody Guthrie for advice.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
  • 4 1
 CMHC rearing it's ugly head after sucking money from people who have bought homes, now bending them over? Hope it's just signage---talk to the people CMHC!
  • 2 1
 For the idiotic things we do down here in the US, Washington's recreational immunity act has been a huge assist in opening up land to recreational users without fear of liability. Without it we wouldn't have most of our favorite trails. You guys should look into it.
  • 2 0
 @db24780 - the equivalent laws to the WA laws are the BC OLA laws referenced in the articles. What WA has that is lacking in BC is inducements to landowners to allow recreational users access to land.

For example, at least in the Bellingham area there are tax abatements on municipal taxes to landowners permitting recreational access via trails
  • 1 0
 @leelau: @leelau: @leelau: Ah, I see that now - thanks for pointing that out. It seems that in all the articles I've read (other than on pinkbike) the issue cited was liability so I assumed there was some. Given the way this was handled by the landowner I guess speculation on motivation is inevitable.
  • 2 0
 @db24780: EDITORIAL OPINION. The reasonable conclusion is that the landowner misapplied applicable law (which is BC law) or is indulging in overkill or both.
  • 3 1
 Why has nobody asked or wondered why, CMHC, a crooked crown corporation that makes most houses unaffordable to the average Canadian income earner, would even own land? I do not understand!
  • 2 0
 Read the article about the history of this area.
  • 1 0
 @Sharonb: OK, just read it, there is too much text to this article lol. But I still don't believe that CMHC "should" own it.
  • 6 1
 Sounds like the USA is wearing off on canada.....sorry guys...
  • 6 0
 Make Canada great again!
  • 1 0
 Great timing on...Thanksgiving vert thoughtful!

"... CMHC recognizes the concerns raised as a result of this updated signage. Currently, steps are being taken to engage with interested parties, including the province and the local municipality, with a view to considering options for future use and ensuring a coordinated approach to managing and monitoring the use of the property...."

Sounds like money-grab.
  • 1 0
 Fuck!!! CMHC anybody that had bought a house in Canada has the right to use the trails!!!! Who has the outrageous down payment on a house and even more outrageous is the CMHC fee when you don't have enough of a down payment. I say ignore the sign and ride the trails!!
  • 1 0
 My guess....they are drawing attention to the value of the asset and will receive some sort of financial recompensaction to turn them over to public lands. If they draw attention to the land value to recreational users, they'll demonstrate a higher than current appraisal value to get more money from a buy out.
Note: That's how developers here in the US back out big junks of land they can't sell. I have NO idea how things work in Canada.
  • 1 0
 The Ottawa International Airport and surrounding transport Canada lands and the former CFB Uplands are largely built on what was once the village/town of Bowesville (in fact the main terminal is right where bowesville main street was). South of the periment fencing is a lot of forest/farm land that includes former farms now owned by transport canada. The soil is very sandy and in fact riddled with trails created by decades of usage by MX/ATV riders. Who were illegally trespassing. The trails were also used by dog walkers, families, hikers, mountain bikers, and bird watchers. A couple years ago there were two major incidents reported to the police/city/transport canada that resulted in at least one lawsuit. Both involved ATV/MX riders. TC had had enough so they had the Ottawa police go in and enforce the many no trespassing signs (which the MX/ATV community often would knock down/steal so as to try and claim they didn't know, etc).

Now ALL the land is denied to all users. Its partially a security thing as the land is right under the approach to the #32 runway (which is the longest one and gets the biggest planes by default usually) and any wacko could be hiding in the woods with a drone or rifle or whatever, and partially liability. The lawsuit I mentioned was some teenager hurt himself, so his parents sued everyone, including the land owner. The other incident (which the nice police officer who filled me in as I showed up to mountain bike there) involved some MX bikes nearly running down an old lady who was walking her dogs along the gravel rail trail corridor that cuts across the TC lands and has MX riders regularly using also to cut back and forth between different forest sections. The trail trail itself is a NO go area for motorized vehicles..
  • 3 0
 Just copying the US model. Close it off then try to have a discussion... Reactive not proactive.
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one that read the bit about the land being zoned for parks and recreation and wondering why the landowner is forbidding recreation
  • 2 0
 It's DNV zoning, I guess cmhc disagrees.
  • 2 0
 as SharonB commented CMHC disagrees and have tried in the past to seek legal action to change that designation. it was zoned as such after CMHC purchased the land from the DND who acquired it from the DNV a long time ago during war times. It has a convoluted history.
  • 1 0
 surely it would be unlawful to prevent someone from recreationing on the land. I know it would be in the uk. There'd be some other ancient unwritten law preventing cycling
  • 1 0
 @mikeyspaff: The UK has passed "right to roam" laws to make it legal for recreational access to private land. There's no such laws in BC
  • 2 0
 @mikeyspaff: The UK's right to roam law does not apply to those riding bikes - only to those walking.
  • 1 0
 @BCDragon: yes I'm fully aware of the legislation and it does apply to those riding bikes if the public right of way happens to be a public bridleway. We are forbidden to ride on public footpaths or on any open access land that's not a public bridleway. It's this I was referring to and was using poetic license by referring to it as 'ancient unwritten law' what I meant was 'bullshit law'.
Now, what my point was, the land is designated for recreation and that designation has been upheld by a court of law. The landowner cannot lawfully forbid someone using that land for recreation, if that land was in the uk. Cycling is recreation.
  • 3 2
 Dont cross the imaginery property boundary within the imaginery borders of an imaginery country. Gotta love humans who arrived on earth and suddenly felt land that is part of the planet somehow belongs to them.
  • 1 1
 Why is everyone panicking in the first place when there are already signs on fromme, and all over cypress. I think that these signs are just up so that they are not liable for someones injury that's it... i bet this will all be over in a few weeks...
  • 2 0
 I find it concerning that there's more comments on a carbon fiber trail bike review than access issues for a renowned area of the North Shore.
  • 2 0
 Maybe some organized events that have used the land in the pass should give them a donation for using the property. Just sayin
  • 2 0
 Organizers try to contact the CMHC. There was never a response.... Until now
  • 2 0
 Keep us updated. Many of us will like to see how this progresses or just mimics SoCal. Land equals money, Money equals power. Power leads to control.
  • 2 0
 Progress is not intellectually provides a slippery slope for more development i.e. houses
  • 2 0
 Just curious, do any of these trails have any of the man made stuff I see on videos from the Northshore?
  • 2 0
 Yeah up top coming down from the mushroom parking lot there are some fantastic features, and all through the area. Now can I actually ride the massive drops and skinnies? thats the real question.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 @webhead: I'm guessing maybe they are getting nervous about that. I wonder what brought it on?
  • 1 0
 @vondur: we all do!
  • 3 0
 Reminds me a bit of the situation in San Diego, Ca
  • 4 3
 Bang on Theeeeo ......up in the Peak District its getting well bad in parts ....feel real sorry for the Mx enduro riders
  • 1 0
 Is that map right? Wasn't Upper Dales built by Metro Van? Looks like its in CMHC land.
  • 6 0
 Metro Van has responsibility for the land that drains into the Seymour river, Seymour watershed. The trails they take care of are within this area. This includes upper dales, lower dales, forever after, Ned's ect.
  • 2 0
 Great summary - thanks Lee.
  • 2 0
 Another good article Lee.
  • 3 2
 So the area was privatized so that the natives could not lay claim to it? Not surprised...
  • 2 4
 Corporate slime. Mtb Riders the world over should band together to buy land and preserve it for one and only one recreational use. No hikers, no horsey people, no e bikes, just Mtb riding. Then put up signs that say anyone not riding a bike will be prosecuted for trespassing. Sigh.... What a dream.
  • 5 0
 @fattyheadshok whoa. We're all in this together. Chill
  • 2 0
 Real estate ! $$$$$$$$$$ greedy f@$ks
  • 2 2
 Terrible news for the, er, bros who send it... What next, tattoos and beards forbidden? Egos could get shattered here....
  • 2 0
 Capitalism everywhere...
  • 3 0
 ^ Government everywhere you mean!
  • 1 0
 >inb4 more condos...
  • 1 2
  • 5 6
 I blame the e-bikers.
  • 2 5
 Fuck Monica Craver!
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