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Sumas Mountain Trails Under Threat

Oct 16, 2017
by chris friesen  
There is a proposal in the works to put a gravel mine on Sumas Mountain. If this gravel pit was to move forward one of the Fraser Valleys hidden gems would be lost. Please take 30 seconds and sign the petition opposing the gravel mine development on Sumas Mountain.
https://www.change.org/p/fraser-valley-regional-district-oppose-sumas-gravel-quarry-proposal

This is a very real threat to the trail network on Sumas. We would stand to lose about half of the trails on the mountain. The greater threat is the access to the road up the mountain. The increased truck traffic on the access road would in essence shut down access to the entire mountain. Please read below for more information.

Sumas Mountain Trails Under Threat

In 2004, the Fraser Valley Mountain Bikers Association (FVMBA) was formed by volunteer trail builders concerned about the future of the area’s trails. The Club has since grown and is now overseeing trail networks from Maple Ridge to Chilliwack. The FVMBA has spent the last 13 plus years working to improve trail networks and advocacy in the region.

At the time of FVMBA’s inception, the Sumas Mountain trail network was under threat from increasing pressure for resource extraction on the mountain. Despite this, the area’s trails have managed to survive, and Sumas currently offers one of the most diverse trail networks in the Fraser Valley for biking, hiking, and trail running. However, Sumas’ incredible trail network is again under threat. An unnamed, numbered company (266531 BC Ltd.) has put in an application with the Province to develop a gravel quarry, which would destroy a good portion of the mountain’s network of trails. This is why we are reaching out to you today.

For most of 2017, the FVMBA has been working diligently on resolving outstanding legal agreements with land managers for most of the trail networks in the Fraser Valley. This is a massive initiative which affects trails in the following riding areas: The Woodlot in Maple Ridge, Bear and Red Mountain in Mission, Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford and Vedder Mountain in Chilliwack. The trails in these areas are at various stages in the process towards establishment (legalization). The final step in this process is signing a partnership agreement with the Province for the agreed upon trails in an area. The FVMBA currently has an active partnership agreement for a large portion of the trail network on Sumas Mountain. The Club is in the process of working through the administrative steps required to uphold and maintain that agreement.

As part of this process, the FVMBA is working to gather data on the value and importance of these trails to users, both local and visiting. While these trails were originally built and cared for by mountain bikers, they are now used extensively by hikers, trail runners, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The FVMBA is at a crossroads in many respects. The Club was formed by builders to create one voice for local trails and the sport of mountain biking. However, in order to maintain and expanding our local trail networks, we are now faced with an increasing volume of paperwork, permitting, and other administrative tasks, all of which must be completed before any tools can go into the ground. When the original founders of FVMBA conceived our organization, today’s requirements for environmental assessments and annual operating plans didn’t exist, but this is not the reality today, and without them, the trails will cease to be. It used to be “No Dig, No Ride”; it is now “No Paperwork, No Dig, No Ride”. As an example, even a simple trail day now requires the creation of a safety plan, and to ensure volunteers have the necessary training to perform specific tasks; on top of this, we are only allowed to work on trails that are in good legal standing.

This current reality puts the FVMBA, as a volunteer organization, in a position of being underfunded and under-resourced in an administrative capacity. Currently, there is no FVMBA Director for the Abbotsford area, where Sumas Mountain resides. Therefore this letter is being penned by the Director for Mission, with the hopes of formally vocalizing opposition to this quarry project, and encouraging other trail users to speak out against this application. The community of trail users in Abbotsford is large and continues to grow. FVMBA is reaching out and asking for this community’s help because we all lose if this quarry development application on Sumas is approved.

If you are now wondering, “how can I help?” regarding the proposed gravel quarry, below are an immediate set of steps you can take to help:

FVMBA Membership: renew your existing membership, or become a new member. Membership fees directly fund supporting local trails and increase the size of our voice at these tables.

Sign the petition located at the bottom of this article opposing the quarry application.

If you live in the Abbotsford area and want to get more involved, consider becoming an interim Area Rep/Director to temporarily lead the charge an official Director will be voted on at the AGM in 2018.

Not into digging? No problem, you can volunteer to help out with the paperwork needed for Sumas. Tasks could include: documenting trail features and recording statistics and helping complete a year-end report. Contact us to see how you can pitch in.

Looking to the future of FVMBA, the current executive has identified that the organization is facing a shortage in both volunteer and administrative capacity. To address this, in 2017 we undertook a strategic planning process and are creating a roadmap for a future with thriving trail networks in each community in the Fraser Valley. This plan will be rolled out at our AGM in February 2018, and we invite you to come and learn about it. In addition, there will be opportunities to join our ranks, with a list of new roles to fill and support within the organization, both volunteer, and staff.

Support starts with your membership – please renew/join today. It is more important than ever that we have a strong, well-resourced and unified voice for the trails in our region, especially if we want them to remain well into the future.

At the FVMBA we believe in trails and our community. Please join us in supporting healthy and protected trail networks in the Fraser Valley.



Sincerely,


Rocky Blondin


FVMBA
rocky@fvmba.com



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13 Comments

  • + 8
 Gotta love how much support there has been to fight against this destruction of land. I have probably signed 8 petitions against this proposal! Find somewhere else to dig a fucking hole!
  • + 7
 I don't live in Abbotsford but I ride Sumas everytime I drive from the Interior to the lower mainland, which nicely breaks up the drive and sometimes is necessary depending on how bad the traffic through Abbotsford is. It's a shame that Sumas is under threat. It is a great trail network and it would be a shame to lose it. Petition signed.
  • + 4
 Please also send respectful emails declaring your opposition to the project to southwestminesdivision@gov.bc.ca

We need our feedback on this proposal to be heard from as many angles as possible.

Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. Keep those signatures coming!
  • + 4
 This is the price of progress. Gravel for cement to build our cities is in short supply close to markets. Sumas will have material close to the city So buy saving transport distance they will save money. These companies are known to donate to both NDP and Liberal politicians. This is a serious threat to the Sumas Trail System. Maybe if 266531 BC Ltd. Would pay for a single track climbing trail.
  • + 4
 Cheers guys! It would be awesome if everyone could share the petition on their Facebook pages, you would earn some serious karma points! WE ARE IN A DOG FIGHT ON THIS ONE!!!!
  • + 3
 Please sign this petition! Sumas is friggin awesome. Come to Fraser Valley not just for Vedder - but Sumas, Ledgeview (also being hit by development), Bear, Red, Woodlot, Thornhill... this place is bangin, there's more to life than the almighty housing market!
  • + 6
 All ready a huge gravel pit on the south side of Sumas....why more???
  • + 3
 There's actually 3 quarries on Sumas already. One on the north side and two on the south. Between those and the ongoing timber harvesting which will already be effecting some trails in the near future, i think it's fair to say there more than enough resource extraction in the area to justify denying another site.
  • + 1
 It’s easy pickings for whomever to crack open
A new site on Sumas, it really does take a lot of effort into people speaking out to stop claims like this going forward I totally agree, why do we need another gravel pit? seriously!there’s gravel everywhere especially right by Su mas but the problem is it’s probably easy pickings for someone to make a nice claim there and take some easily extracted gravel gold!-time for the municipalities to step up and realize The people appreciate and utilize these forests and they need to be protected !!!
  • + 3
 I haven't even had the chance to ride there yet jesus! we already have so little.. why keep destroying?
  • + 1
 There are already 3 gravel quarries in the general area, there is no need for another one. Sumas also has a crude oil pump station and pipeline. It does not need to be pillaged for more resources. Go elsewhere.
  • + 2
 There is already a full size gravel MIne just down the street...
  • + 1
 Put this quarry is someone else's backyard.

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