Looking over the website I realized it had been too long since anyone has had a good rant. I figured it was about time to get some of the latest developments, accomplishments, goals and challenges that the Okanagan Trail Riders Association (OTRA) faces up and this seems like the right place to do it. Since the last ramble the club has had two very knowledgeable and hardworking Presidents and executive continue with the hard work to maintain what has been created but also to continue to create more trails. In my opinion the backbone of dual track is near complete for now though a lot more territory is slated to be opened up with it in the future. It is hoped that all the branches of interconnecting single track of differing difficulty can be worked on over the coming years. This we hope will keep people interested and coming back and will spread riders over a greater area protecting trails from overuse and the damage and subsequent expense and cost to repair. Lots of work to do so don't be shy about putting a team together or contacting Trevor Timmer to coordinate your volunteer efforts. This will be starting with trail cleaning the second weekend in April.

Riding season is just getting going and the kids and I have been getting itchy to go ride. This brings me to my first issue to rant about. I looked back at some of the earlier rants and got a sense of the passion and work that has been done to protect the Bear Creek area from those who would have had it closed. Great success has been and c continues to be done. As the snow slowly moves up the hill on the West Side one of the first areas to get utilized is Smith Creek which is on the south west edge of the Official Bear Creek Recreational Motorized Vehicle Area. I too have enjoyed riding there in the past. Negative
attention last spring from people riding through creeks, cutting fences, riding on private property and making rude comments and gestures when confronted. I know it is a small contingent but we all need to help police this type of behaviour within our own sport. Unfortunately irresponsible habits in those areas which have been enjoyed for generations will also be at risk of closure. We have been encouraging responsible sustainable riding habits up at Bear Creek but really need to remind everyone
that no matter where you or your friends or kids ride we need to be vigilant and protect our sport by being good ambassadors. More regulation, enforcement is coming to these other areas. Let's be proactive and try to lessen our impact now to help ensure these other areas remain open. I'm talking Smith Creek, Peachland, Noble Canyon, Summerland, Postill to name a few but I truly mean everywhere.

Here are a few of the issues that are of concern at these other areas as well as Bear Creek. Spark Arrestors – pretty straight forward. In Bear Creek we are trying to lead the curve in responsible riding and as we are all well aware forest fire hazards are all too real. The costs are huge. At Bear Creek it is the law. If you are a dealer or work at a dealership try to help your local customers and visitors by reminding them that it is required. Some people have danced around with the fact that it's not really a law. Well for Bear Creek it is an official rule established for the area and is an offence to not have one
that is punishable by fines based on The Forest and Range Practices Act- Sections 20 and 24.

Everywhere else in the province you are definitely taking a risk for yourself and everyone else. It may be unlikely but one wildfire directly connected to dirt biking will provide the ammunition certain groups need to shut you down. There will be legislated spark arrestors for off road vehicles everywhere in B.C. but be a couple more years but its coming.

Sound Level – 96 dB – If its loud, you are pissing someone off and they are not just taking it but are pushing at the political level to get everyone out of there.

Private Property - Sometimes it's posted sometimes it is not. If you know it is private stay away. If the fence has been cut don't ride over it. Maybe even try to set it back up. I don't know anyone that doesn't want or expect to be treated with respect. If you want people to respect your right to ride please respect private property owners.

Garbage – It certainly only takes a few bad apples to spoil it but with this issue its pretty simple. If you pack it in pack it out. Leave it cleaner than you found it. I know most have this pretty engrained in themselves but really try to educate those last few block heads you see. They are truly at risk of wrecking things for themselves and everyone else.

Mountain Bike Trails – Many dirt bikers ride mountain bikes and even if you don't we need to share. They are working hard to build trails and jumps. Sometimes they may build over what has been a dirt bike trail sometimes definitely not. Try to share again they are active politically and are looked at preferentially by some politicians. Don't ride it if it is obviously a mountain bike trail. Don't ride their jumps. Conflict I assure you will lead to closure not likely in your favour.

Water/Riparian Zones – We live in a pretty arid place for a lot of the year. Be respectful of water – try to use manmade crossings, stay out of bogs, if necessary cross waterways infrequently, slowly, in a shallow area with as little disturbance to silt as possible. Again if you wreck a creek you are wrecking your chances of riding. If it is an official riparian area you may be subject to fines and even if not you are making it harder on yourself and others for generations to come.

Ok enough ranting. There are some new single track routes we hope to finish this year opening up some new terrain that includes another water crossing . There has been some initial clearing in an area that we are trying to get an enduro-cross track started on.
There are lots more trails on the books to get built. Some of the funds for this come from government though money for new trails is likely to be less than it has been in the past if anything. Some funding comes from user fees and revenues generated by other OTRA events. Grant applications have been unsuccessful the last couple of years but we still hope to get some funds generated this way. It is really important to have our members spend some volunteer time doing trail work both maintenance and building. We welcome and need our membership support for this as well as fundraising initiatives. The annual general meeting this fall is a ways off but consider stepping up and adding your voice and support as an executive.

I look forward to seeing you out at one of this years events, an over the hump ride or just out on the trails. Ride safely and have fun.

Jacques Ledoux - President


  Previous Rambles:

March 2010

November 2008

April 2007

August 2006

January 2006

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