By: Comox Valley Record
The United Riders of Cumberland (UROC), Village of Cumberland, TimberWest Forest Corp., and Hancock Forest Management announced Tuesday that a land access agreement has been reached to formally allow non-motorized recreation on private managed forest lands adjacent to the Village of Cumberland.
This progressive and multi-faceted agreement not only authorizes public recreation on private and public forest lands south of the Village, but gives the private landowners the opportunity to better communicate and manage risks associated with people recreating on their land.
“This agreement represents the collective efforts of all parties involved and demonstrates what can be achieved through collaboration,” said Mike Manara, UROC president. “I am proud of the UROC board for their dedication to this project and the commitment to making mountain-biking a legitimate industry in our community. We are stoked to put Cumberland and our amazing trails on the map. I would also like to thank the Village of Cumberland for their support in this endeavour, as well as all the volunteers that have contributed to our trail network over the years – you know who you are and we thank you!”
“Completion of this project is a very positive step,” said Domenico Iannidinardo, chief forester and VP/Sustainability for TimberWest. “Years in the making, this agreement provides for legitimate access to mountain-bikers and recreationists to enjoy a series of trails over multiple ownerships. Much credit must go to UROC and the Village of Cumberland for their efforts in bringing this agreement together.”
“Hancock Forest Management endeavours to give back to the communities that surround our managed forest lands and a Trails Agreement gives us an opportunity to do that,” said Matthew Merritt, forester for Hancock Forest Management. “We are excited to move forward, working with the bike club to ensure a safe and sustainable use of the Valley’s resources.”
For the Village of Cumberland, the agreement helps to move forward Council’s goal of improving recreation opportunities in the community.
“Trails mean so much to our community from both a quality of life perspective, as well as an economic driver,” said Mayor Leslie Baird. “The parties know that working forests and trail-based recreational can be compatible land uses and that everybody – including residents of the Village – will benefit from this collaborative agreement.”
Under the terms of the agreement, UROC will take on key trail management and maintenance responsibilities for the approximately 70 km Cumberland trail network, while also continuing to work in partnership with local trail builders and other stakeholders. UROC will be working closely with the Village of Cumberland and private landowners on several trail infrastructure projects, including new trailhead information kiosks and the replacement of bridges over important stream crossings. Next up, UROC will be completing an inventory of the trail network to determine trail maintenance priorities and confirming trail difficulty ratings.
Over time visitors to the area can expect to see upgraded trail signage, improved route information, and consistent and proactive trail maintenance.