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Thursday, 03 November 2011 13:05

Crowsnest Pass moves closer toward becoming a recreation destination

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By Susan Quinlan
Crowsnest Pass
Following a summer of hard work by community volunteers, mountain bike riders at Crowsnest Pass now have a bike park tailored to varying skill levels and a start on development of six mountain bike trails.


“Without this wonderful support we would not have the results we have today ... We had such awesome weather and the crew was able to come in and work and work and work,” said Shar Lazaratto, manager, Crowsnest Pass Community Futures.

Lazaratto explained the Mountain Bicycling Master Plan, created by the International Mountain Bike Association, identified the area behind the Albert Stella Arena in Blairmore for the bike skills park, while the east side of the Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill will serve as the site for development of a half dozen trails.

“While not all identified trails from the master plan have been developed yet, we will continue to search for funding and contribution sources to complete the trails.”

While the Mountain Bike Skills Park is now complete with “bumps, jumps, wide rails and beginner, intermediate and expert challenges,” work on the mountain trails continues.

Lazaratto said about six of the 120-kilometres of trail in the plan have been completed and represent a significant expenditure of time and labour.

“Six different trails are planned in the one region. Because they’re International Mountain Biking Association trails, they’re built to a certain standard to be sustainable.”

The six kilometres of trail now completed were done by hand.

“It’s very, very labour intensive.”

The beginner trails, completed first, are 36 inches wide, while the intermediate trails then narrow to 24 inches and the expert trails go down to just 12 inches, explained Lazaratto. Many rocks and roots were removed by hand by volunteers and summer students who generously donated time and effort to the project.

Cost of the park and trail development thus far is $360,000, with the Rural Diversification Initiative having provided $227,000. Cash contributions were made by the Municipality of CNP, Teck, Shell, United Riders of Crowsnest Pass (UROC), Full Moon Adventures, Ironstone, Devon, CNP Quad Squad, Community Development Trust through South West Alberta Trails, CNP Ski Hill Society and Alberta Excavating, said Lazaratto.

A number of in kind contributions and many volunteer hours were also contributed to the project, especially by UROC members, added Lazaratto.

In conjunction with providing opportunities for local enthusiasts, Lazaratto said the project is a positive initiative for the CNP in becoming a recreation tourism destination.

“It will bring into the community a substantial number of mountain bike enthusiasts and tourism dollars, as well as opportunities for business development and expansion.”

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