Trail access in the Huntsville area is growing for mountain bikers thanks to the efforts of the Huntsville Mountain Bike Association (HMBA).
“Exciting times for recreation in these COVID times,” said Buck Miller, HMBA president, referring to the organization’s two new land agreements for recreational trail use. They’ve come a long way: as recently as 2018, when the HMBA formed, there were no public mountain bike trails in Huntsville.
The HMBA will be developing new mountain bike trails on Deerhurst Resort property, as well as on 50 acres of private land between Maple Heights and North Mary Lake Road.
“We will now have mountain biking within riding distance of the Fairy Vista Trail and downtown,” said Miller. “[And] we’re excited to partner with Deerhurst Resort to develop up to 10km of new single track that will connect to the new trails we’re developing at Hidden Valley, in partnership with the [ski] hill and the Town of Huntsville.”
The 50-acre parcel of land is just south of downtown Huntsville and a short bike ride from Main Street. In the past it’s been available to ATVs, snowmobiles, hunters, and hikers, but will now be used exclusively for mountain biking. “It’s been known as ‘Lance’s Loops’ in the mountain bike community for more than 20 years. The owners would like to remain anonymous and wanted to mitigate their liability on the property, that is why they chose the HMBA as a responsible group to manage the trail system,” said Miller. “Our association has insurance coverage for all of our members while riding and trail building on property we have permission to use.”
The HMBA has posted no trespassing signs around the property at every access location. They will not be personally forcing trespassers off the property, but they want to inform the public that only HMBA members have the legal right to use the property. “We have no personal problem with ATVs, but in a mountain bike venue they create very large ruts in the trails that last a lifetime and aren’t conducive to have a good experience on a mountain bike ride,” said Miller.
The HMBA is building and maintaining trails on two other properties: Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area and Echo Valley in Lake of Bays, both of which are public, multi-use trails.
“With COVID, cycling has seen a massive influx of new riders to the sport across all disciplines,” said Miller. “The HMBA expects to see our membership more than double in 2021 to over 200 riders. The local bike shops have almost entirely sold out of stock and we want to make sure their customers have a place to ride, be outside, and stay healthy right here in Huntsville.”
The new trails will require a HMBA membership, which costs $35 for adults and is free for youth 16 and younger. Visit huntsvillemountainbike.ca for more information.
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