The Arrowsmith Cycling Club has been pedalling around the region drumming up support for its current initiatives at the popular bike trail network known as HammerFest, near the Englishman River Falls Provincial Park.
The club’s vice-president, Roy Kregosky, has approached the Town of the Qualicum Beach and the Regional District of Nanaimo asking for letters of support to turn HammerFest into a sanctioned trail that would benefit not only the health and well-being of the community but also boost tourism in the area.
At present, the club, whose members come from Bowser to Nanoose Bay, is negotiating a land use agreement with Mosaic Forest Management, which manages the forested private land.
HammerFest has been in existence for more than two decades and provides 45 kilometres of single-track riding trails with a variety of courses that suit beginners to advanced riders. They are all managed and maintained by club volunteers.
Kregosky indicated HammerFest trails are unsanctioned and have no official status despite being a well-recognized area for mountain biking. A fully legalized land use agreement, Kregosky pointed out, will allow the club to actively manage, maintain, expand and promote the network based on classifications outlines in the Whistler Trail Standards.
The club is required to meet a number of criteria outlined in the proposed Mosaic agreement. It will require substantial financial backing and Kregosky said the plan is to apply for federal funding through the Canada Healthy Communities program.
Kregosky appeared as a delegation at the Regional District of Nanaimo regular board meeting on June 22. He requested a letter of support and also acknowledgement of the values of a properly sanctioned and community accessible trail network at HammerFest. The club also approached the Town of Qualicum Beach for support.
Both Qualicum Beach council and the RDN board agreed to write a letter of support which the club aims to use as leverage in their grant application.
If successful, Kregosky indicated the funds will be applied towards creating a complete trail inventory, signage and subsequent report outlining steps needed to move the trail network to the next level. The goal, Kregosky said, is to provide all users with a better and safer understanding of what HammerFest has to offer.
The Arrowsmith Cycling Club was formed in 1994 and became a society in 2000. Its mandate is to promote the sport of mountain biking through programs, weekly events, and special events within Qualicum School District 69.
Kregosky said the club has been providing support to school youth clubs by way of donations of money and equipment so all riders have the ability to participate.
“Our project is bikes for all,” said Kregosky. “Which is to purchase 15 new mountain bikes to be distributed to various after-school bike clubs in the Qualicum School District 69. That will enable these school kids to participate in these different activities and to use bikes that they may not be able to afford to buy themselves.”