Contributed by Charles Stevens, October 2021
The Wentworth Valley and biking isn’t new. Unsanctioned trails have existed for decades, along with a list of bike events over the years; the Spoke Bender Classic, Du It Like Bryan and old school DH races at the ski hill.
Recent years saw trails come and go on Trailforks and Strava making it a ‘know it to go’ type of place. Things really changed during 2020 when travel restrictions took place. It went from a few weekend riders to dozens of carloads of bikes. The increase in traffic started dialogue between local landowners and riders of how to properly manage the trails and potential growth. The Wentworth Mountain Association (WMBA) was formed to address these concerns, establish land use agreements, and begin building sanctioned trails at the ski hill.
Ski Wentworth’s role was vital, and from the beginning had an open conversation about many possible options forward. The focus evolved to begin developing a sectioned pedal access zone on Ski Wentworth property working closely with their leadership and the hiking group Wentworth Trails Association to create a multi-use trail system catered to all abilities.
This partnership was made easy with everyone’s shared interest to grow the recreational opportunities in the valley. None of this happened overnight, and took significant time and effort from everyone on all sides. Lots of behind-the-scenes details needed to be ironed out before the first WMBA trails could take shape. It was this and tempering expectations while details and plans were worked out that brought some of the biggest critics, but they have now quieted since tires are rolling on dirt.
It’s like a Swiss army knife for trail building
The Is are dotted and Ts crossed, so now what? You need a trail builder. Kodiak Trail Works (KTW) started like many builders, building pirate trails where ever seemed fit, but with talk of sanctioned trails in the community, it seemed appropriate to jump and make things official. Having an unusual set of skills finely tuned over many years of riding, running heavy equipment, working in settings requiring route finding and risk assessment/management. It’s like a Swiss army knife for trail building.
The need for high-quality trails in the east like what I’d been riding in Western Canada has long been overdue
The need for high-quality trails in the east like what I’d been riding in Western Canada has long been overdue. With the exponential growth of the bike community in the past two years, it was perfect timing. Ultimately KTW really started as a creative outlet and continuous homage to a passed friend who really started the trail building itch and love for riding bikes. WMBA along with a team of keen volunteers helped each Saturday morning during the course of construction. Numbers always in the double digits up to 30 plus laboured away each morning. That made this project very special the excitement was tangible every morning was folks walked up and checked out the progress. Everyone was blown away. This process made for a growing bond in the community and an endless amount of gratitude to every single person who came out. You don’t always have to dig to ride, but it sure helps make things happen!
On a first-time visit the 2km flow trail Hakuna Matata is a clear first run – maybe two runs. Follow this up with Tech-Flow on the trail currently called No Name. Now being fully warmed up, take a rip down Loveshacks – a full loamer. Not sure what a loamer is? Look at it as a mossy cloud of bliss.
With three new trails in the dirt and more on the horizon, what used to be an ‘under the radar local’s riding spot’ is now a must visit for everyone in the Atlantic.
After a ride, hit the local brews at Tata Brew, or coffee and snacks to fuel the day at Jimolly’s – supporting the local shops and businesses that have played a huge role in making all this happen.
Special thanks to:
Bike Monkey, Hub Cycle, Callus Moto, G & G Computers, Alva Construction, Nomad Supply Co, Battlefield Equipment Rentals, Triple Trades, PC Cycle, Mike’s Bike Shop, Antigonish Rental, and Anderson Cabinetry & Renovations. As well as all the GoFundMe supporters and every WMBA membership.
KTW- Make Dirt Pretty!