British Columbia

Mountain bike traps on Vancouver's North Shore highlight tension on the trails

As Tineke Kraal faces criminal charges for allegedly setting "booby-traps" for mountain bikers on the North Shore, hikers and bikers reflect on the tensions on the trails.

Mountain biker Mark Wood says recent incidents an anomaly, but hiker says multi-use trails are dangerous

Mark Wood of the North Shore Mountain Biking Association maintains many of the North Shore trails. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

As North Vancouver woman Tineke Kraal faces criminal charges after allegedly setting "booby-traps" for mountain bikers on Mt. Fromme, North Shore hikers and bikers are reflecting on the tensions on the trails.

Kraal was allegedly caught on camera intentionally laying logs, branches and rocks along the Quarry and Lower Skull trails in January. Such incidents have Mark Wood of the North Shore Mountain Biking Association shaking his head.

"It's generally harmonious," Wood told The Early Edition. "We understand we're not the only users in the forest. We pull over, we stop, we say hello." 

Wood says the atmosphere around the North Shore trails, which are largely shared by hikers and mountain bikers, has changed over the years.

What was once a fringe sport is now a mainstream pastime. Trails that were once considered illegal are now actively maintained by the NSMBA, with cooperation from the District of North Vancouver.

Wood acknowledges there are potential problems when it comes to sharing the trails, such as people hiking up a steep mountain bike descent.

"I think some clear wording on signage that allows people to understand the risks with that, would go a long way to reducing some of the tensions we're seeing," said Wood.

'Multi-use trails are dangerous'

North Vancouver resident Monica Craver holds the District of North Vancouver responsible for what she sees as "the mismanagement of this sport on our mountains."

She says mixing mountain bikers with other trail users doesn't work.

"I believe mountain biking needs to be contained to an area that can be managed by the District. I also believe shared multi-use trails to be dangerous, and separation of biking and hiking trails is needed," she said. 

In 2008, the District of North Vancouver completed a community-driven alpine use study with strategies for successful trail-sharing. Many of the recommendations have yet to be implemented.

Meanwhile, Kraal was released by a justice of the peace on January 4 on the condition she does not go near any biking trails. Her first court appearance has been put over until until February 18.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Tensions on North Shore trails


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