Manitoba is not exactly the first place that may come to mind for a mountain bike destination, but with the work being done in Riding Mountain National Park and surrounding communities, they are well poised to become just that!

Recently, I traveled to Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP) as par of our Trail Partners Program to take in all things trail related and see how we could help them grow their trail and mountain bike offer. The historic East Gate site and adjacent trails have long been a great riding area. The natural escarpment terrain lends it to be fantastic for challenging XC with some fun flowy descents after burning the climbs. With over 20km of great singletrack the Reeve’s Ravine area is a popular destination for many riders and boasts great views along the way. As good as Reeve’s Ravine is, it is the only place within the park that has a mountain bike offer and the park is hoping that with our help that they can create another destination within their boundaries to draw riders in.

The Trail Partners Program was the perfect fit to travel to the park and work with the park team and surrounding stakeholders to make that goal a reality. This visit was the first step in the creation of a northern mountain bike trail network in close proximity to the north gate and town of Dauphin, MB. The area being looked at has great potential with deep ravines, suspension bridge and observation towers to create a promising network of trails with fun for all abilities. The newly formed Dauphin Derailleurs have long been pushing the park to have access and volunteer agreements in place to help develop trails in the northern area and after this past visit, it seems like that vision will now start to become a reality.

Over the five day visit, the RMNP team and I looked at all of the current offers of trails and their master plan concepts to see what was in the works for trail development, and I can say with all honesty that they have some very exciting things in the works. With the constant stoke and energy coming from Dauphin and the desire for trails in their area they were the perfect fit to host our community engagement and stakeholder sessions. Over forty people turned out to our community engagement workshop with representation from Riding Mountain NP, Dead Ox Trailblazers, Dauphin Derailleurs, City of Dauphin including the mayor and town council, City of Brandon as well as Winnipeg and Manitoba Cycling Association to name a few. What was designed to be a quick half day session of light discussion turned in to a full day detailed conversation about all trails, trail potential and how all of the previously listed people can help and be a part of the development of RMNP as a cycling destination, while helping each other do the same in return.What came out of these discussions was a fantastic overall vision for the park and communities with great networking and relationships made.

Following the talks Tourism Dauphin and the town rolled out the brown singletrack carpet for a great tour of their local trails and awesome pumptrack and skate park area with way too many laughs enjoyed by all. There was a well attended build session and group ride within the park on the final day as well with all participants coming away with a lot learned and great energy moving forward. I would like to thank the management team at Riding Mountain National Park, Tourism Dauphin, and all participants for hosting me, the fantastic hospitality and great times on bikes!