We have a saying at IMBA, "great trails build communities, and communities build great trails."

As Trail Care Crew, frequently working with exceptional people building great singletrack, we often witness the latter half of this statement, but sometimes forget that trails themselves bring people together.

Last week saw us working on trails in Sudbury, ON, alongside Conservation Sudbury. Built in the late 1970s by faculty and students of Laurentian University, the trails in and around Lake Laurentian Conservation Area have see much evolution – and many new users – over the years.

The project we undertook was a closure of a steep and badly eroded section of the Self Guided Trail just a few hundred meters from the trailhead and the Nature Chalet, which serves as day camp HQ for hundreds of kids over the summer.

By closing and re-naturalizing the old trail, and routing the trail along the contour we also discovered a great rock outcropping which served as a perfect lookout over Lake Laurentian! Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, the ambitious project was seen to completion and has already received positive feedback.

Possibly a greater success of the weekend (for us at least) though, was being able to watch the community come together around the trails and shared love of the outdoors. Outside of work, family, or school, recreation is an excellent way to meet like minded people and make friendships that last many years, and adventures.

Over the course of the weekend’s events, many new faces were spotted – joining the trail club for their first hike, ride, and trail build. Some were new to mountain biking, but many also had recently moved to the region for school or work and were eager to meet new friends and get out and explore. There was even talk of creating a new hiking club!

A great big thank you to Conservation Sudbury for hosting us, and to Friends of Lake Laurentian and the Walden Mountain Bike Club for showing us a great time! If you have the chance to visit the area, make sure to grab a meal and pint at the Laughing Buddha, and take in the hospitality of the Southbay Guesthouse B&B! Also a great big thank you to IMBA’s Ontario Coordinator Igor Hoogendoorn for joining us in Sudbury.

Check out photos from the event (including a DIY donation box for your trailhead) on Flickr!