As the pressure on many of our beloved trail networks increases, so do requirements for scheduled maintenance and trail related amenities like parking, washrooms, kiosks, appropriate signage and garbage cans. This in turn presents its own set of challenges for the grassroots volunteer organization that is typically quarterbacking management of that very same local trail network.

IMBA Canada is committed to supporting its member clubs, who in turn support their own members, who in turn are the common backbone of the volunteer maintenance crews. Yes, there are communities in the province that are fortunate enough to have a seasonal, paid trail crew, but it’s not the norm… yet. It’s been a long time coming, but our expectation is that as social science evolves, so will access to funding.

One of IMBA Canada’s priorities is to provide its members with resources that enable them to make a case for annual financial support with local government and/or land managers. We are currently assembling and updating our deep library of social science that includes information on topics ranging from user conflict to wildlife displacement to hiker/biker impact studies to our most revealing tool of all, the economic impact of mountain biking.

Times are changing and so is the quantity/quality of social science available to trail advocacy organizations. As an example, during a difficult negotiation recently in Squamish, where a smaller local network was threatened with a ban on MTB use, IMBA Canada’s offer to provide the committee with appropriate science was part of what ultimately enabled an informed decision around the protection of MTB use in the area.

Our goal is to have the resource library updated and ready for public consumption by the end of the 2017 calendar year. If you’ve got a study you’d like to share, we’d be pleased to review and include it as an available resource. Let us know!

Doug Topp


BC Council