Every summer, crowds of mountain bikers race their way along woodland trails at Pass Powderkeg ski hill, flying around hairpin turns and executing tricks on tabletops and booters. But the visitor count is steadily growing, leading to overcrowding and unsafe riding conditions.
United Riders of Crowsnest has a plan to fix this.
Brian Millis, board member for UROC, says the group is working on securing grant funding for the creation of two new intermediate-level trails. He presented the proposal to Crowsnest Pass council on Sept. 14.
Both trails, three kilometres total, would start at the parking lot, with one leading down to Chainsaw Massacre and the other toward Little Shred Riding Hood.
Trail usage increased 67 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, says Millis, adding that new trails would help disperse bikers and take congestion away from popular multi-direction paths like Buck 50.
“That’ll take some of the pressure off of the others and health and safety-wise it reduces collisions,” he says.
Crowsnest council views the project favourably. They wrote a letter of support, which UROC submitted with its grant application package and Coun. Lisa Sygutek says she would like to see it expanded.
“I would like to see, possibly in the future, the board discuss making Buck 50 a one-way trail, only a down trail just for runners,” she says. “I think it’s a matter of time before someone gets really hurt on that.”
UROC has the proper permits in place to complete the project, but hasn’t found a contractor, so the group is considering starting next spring rather than in the fall.
“It actually worked out in our favour,” says Millis, who explains the added time gives UROC the opportunity to apply for two grants. Without it, he says, the group would have to rely on cash reserves.
Gillian Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze