Since 2005, the Durham Mountain Biking Association (DMBA) has, without a doubt, been one of the primary advocates for the mountain biking community in southern Ontario.  The DMBA have focused their mountain biking advocacy efforts in and amongst the Durham Region, not only to retain access to trails, but also to develop new sustainable riding opportunities.  Their success can be attributed to strong leadership, a dedicated volunteer group of 450 members and a positive relationship with their land manager.

Partnership between the DMBA and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has allowed extensive collaboration on the TRCA’s Trail Management Plan.  A singletrack plan originally developed by the DMBA and refined together with the TRCA, will be used on the Dagmar Tract property.  Additional singletrack trails were identified by the DMBA in the East Duffins Headwaters area of Uxbridge, and are now included in the TRCA’s management plan.  The DMBA’s involvement is unique and the first example of a stakeholder helping to develop a management document directly with the TRCA.  The club was also key in highlighting IMBA’s sustainable trail building techniques and their trail classification system to the conservation authority – each were paramount to the TRCA developing their own trail management strategy.

Further work and part of their ongoing partnership, the DMBA plan to sign a maintenance agreement with the TRCA, undertake detailed trail design that will, when approved by the TRCA’s Ecology and Natural Heritage Depts., result in 4-5 km of new trail in 2013 and an additional 5-6 km in 2014.

2012 DMBA Highlights – from Tom Hawks (DMBA President)

“We’ve had a fantastic 2012! We have 450 members, 10 Corporate Partners and money in the bank ready to be put to work on trails, tools, insurance and programs in 2013. We’ve had two major advocacy successes with the TRCA, which will open up two new riding areas in Durham with trail building beginning in 2013. We’ve designed and built 3km of sweet new single track in Durham Forest and 150 ft of new bridges in Ravenshoe with over 1,000 volunteer hours this year. Next year we’ll be adding double those distances. We’ve run 10 skills/fitness clinics for men, women and youths that 155 members enjoyed. We’ve run 80 group rides in Ravenshoe, Durham Forest and EDH for hundreds of our members. We’ve hosted two great kids/family events attended by over 300 kids and their parents. We’ve sent DMBA members on road trips across Ontario, and to Vermont, Georgia, North Carolina and Cuba!  50% of our members race – many have climbed podiums this year in Ontario, the US and even one at the TransRockies Challenge!”

I would like to extend my enthusiastic support to the DMBA, and congratulate them on their proactive approach to mountain biking advocacy.  Developing a solid partnership with the TRCA has, and will continue to, benefit mountain bikers for years to come – well done!