How much does it cost for us to recreate? A winter cross country ski pass can run you anywhere from $50 to $250 plus. Golfing in the summer can start at $25 per visit, or $2,600 annually, and that’s just for a public course. Road cyclists have already paid their fees for the road through taxes.

But what about mountain bikers?

Chances are, you might not have to pay any fees to access good XC trails in your area. Sure, some areas are private recreation centres like Hardwood Hills or conservation areas like Albion Hills charge for access, but even then it’s generally a lot less than many other forms of recreation.

Enter MTB Kingston. With almost 20km of singletrack on mostly private lands, it is mandatory to join the club (an annual fee of $75) in order to get access to the trails. Part of the membership fee goes to paying the leases the club uses to gain access to a large swath (some 1000+ acres) of land, the other pays for insurance and helps fund trail enhancements like the ongoing signage project and regular bridge maintenance.

The project we chose for our weekend visit was to help establish a piece of connector trail to Pete’s loop, a 4+ km loop of singletrack currently disconnected from MTB Kingston’s main trails. With the help of volunteers who came out for Saturday’s build, the club will once again be able to claim a total network of 24+ km.

This blog is not advocating for the mandatory-fee access model Kingston MTB has set up; rather sharing a great example of a unique approach to a unique situation that led to a very successful trail network. So successful, in fact, that riders of the other local hotspot, Collins Bay, also have memberships with the club to ride these trails.

Sometimes, you get what you pay for, and with Kingston MTB this is surely the case.

Big thanks to everyone at MTB Kingston for having us and setting up a successful visit, including Chris Frank and his family for hosting us, and Rob Sangers for helping to set up the project. Thanks also to Damian Bradley for shooting and producing this awesome video!!

IMBA Trail Care Crew visit to Kingston Ontario from IMBA Canada on Vimeo.


Photos from the weekend