With the Christmas and holiday season upon us, we wanted to take the opportunity to write a message to all our members (current and future) summarizing our accomplishments and giving thanks to those who have helped us along the way. It’s a happy story and one that seems appropriate for this time of year!
Mountain biking has long been a part of Canmore’s DNA. Yet, for several reasons, Canmore was one of the last major riding destinations in Western Canada to formally have a mountain bike trail association. In the spring of 2016, a group of dedicated mountain bikers, with a shared vision, formally came together and established CAMBA as a non-for-profit society. Our board of directors consists of nine diverse individuals, which includes representation from the three local bike shops.
In our short existence, we are proud to have achieved many successes.
Firstly, we have established strong relationships with area land managers. We signed an agreement with the Town of Canmore to build a connector trail in Quarry Lake Park (QLP) as part of the Town’s Open Space and Trails Plan and from this, our first volunteer-built trail broke ground in the spring of 2017. We applied to create a new Enduro/Freeride trail at the Canmore Nordic Centre by submitting an application to Alberta Environment and Parks following the guidelines set out by the Kananaskis Trails Committee. And just recently, we signed an MOU with Three Sisters Mountain Village representing the first time a Canmore developer has included a mountain bike trail association in their plans for future development.
We demonstrated that we could represent the interests of our membership through mountain bike advocacy. We conducted two surveys to help us achieve this; one in 2016 which had 266 respondents, and our most recent survey in 2018, which had 432 respondents! The findings from these surveys have been used to help us guide our short, medium and long-term efforts and helps us frame our advocacy work at the local and provincial level. On multiple occasions, we have met with provincial government politicians including the Minister of Culture & Tourism, Economic Development and Trade, Municipal Affairs, the Environment and have regular meetings with our local MLA for Banff-Cochrane, Cameron Westhead. We also led and coordinated Canmore’s first ever multi-recreational municipal candidate election forum in 2017, and received feedback from the candidates that ours was the best-coordinated forum that year. This is something that we will most certainly do again.
I also had the privilege to attend the Western Canadian Mountain Bike Advocacy Symposium that was hosted by the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA) and IMBA Canada. The theme was “Building Diversity in the Mountain Bike Community” with a goal of determining ways to ensure that mountain biking is seen as an open and inclusive recreational pursuit. What emerged from the two-day symposium was a list of ways for the various attending organizations to help make First Nations, women, youth, LGBTQ2i+ and people with disabilities feel welcome in the mountain bike community. Stay tuned for more on that in a future blog post and some of our activities in 2019.
We could not have achieved all that we have in such a short period of time without the help and support of so many. To our partners and sponsors at An Edible Life, Rave Coffee, Canmore Brewing Company, Three Sisters Market Bistro, Bear Cozy, The Bicycle Café, Outside Bike and Ski and Rebound Cycle, thank you. To the land managers at the Town of Canmore, Alberta Environment and Parks and representatives with Three Sisters Mountain Village who have trusted CAMBA and allowed access to build, ride and maintain trails on your precious lands, thank you. To our dirt partners at the Canmore Trail Alliance who ensure that the interests of all trail users are represented at one table, thank you. And to those of you who volunteered your valuable time to become crew leaders, provided legal services (Simon Lee) and information technology/systems expertise (Justin D’Oliveira), our gratitude is deep.
Finally, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of you – our membership, our community. To those of you who have become members and empowered us to be your voice and advocates for your local trails, thank you. To those of you who attended one of our many trail days at QLP, Razors Edge and the Benchlands Skills Park or helped us at our booth at one of the many events, thank you. We wouldn’t be where we are today without all of you who believe in CAMBA and believe in trails for the mountain biking community. We are looking forward to a most exciting 2019 and hope that you are there with us then and beyond.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Holidays and Happiest Trails!
President, Canmore and Area Mountain Bike Association
On behalf of the CAMBA Board