Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay, local mountain biking club, plan for Trowbridge Falls trail development

Existing trails used by mountain bikers in a large green space in the north end of Thunder Bay, Ont. could see some significant upgrades in the coming years, as city officials say a plan will be developed to guide the process.

City, Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club, secure provincial funding to help pay for planning

Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club is working with City of Thunder Bay to improve trails at Trowbridge Falls. (Facebook)

Existing trails used by mountain bikers in a large green space in the north end of Thunder Bay, Ont. could see some significant upgrades in the coming years, as city officials say a plan will be developed to guide the process.

The city and the Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club have secured provincial funding for consultants to produce a plan to develop trails around the Shuniah Mines area in Trowbridge Falls park.

"That would be looking at the existing trails, what's there, and developing that as part of a greater system in our park," said Werner Schwar, Thunder Bay's supervisor of parks and open spaces planning.
Werner Schwar is Thunder Bay's supervisor of parks and open spaces planning. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

"With the ultimate goal of making it a destination for both tourism and [so] the locals have a great place to ride."

Bringing trails up to modern standards

The trails have been created and maintained by volunteers over a good number of years, Schwar said, but the plan would be designed to bring the trails up to modern, internationally recognized standards. It would also designate specific routes as suitable for beginner, intermediate and expert riders, in much the same way ski areas do.

"The longer term goal is to create a cohesive system there," he continued. "We do get a lot of complaints about people getting lost and stuff like that, so this will address that."
The trails subject to the plan are in the area bordered by Balsam Street to the west, the Trans Canada Highway to the south and the Current River to the north. (Google Maps)

Schwar said the city will pay $20,000 for the study, with matching funding coming from Tourism Northern Ontario.

Given the trails are on city property, Schwar said the upgrades can also help protect the city from liability.

"Any trail network has liability concerns but we can minimize our risk by making sure the trails conform to standards," he said.

Schwar said he expects the master plan to be completed in three months — as part of that process, he said public consultations are tentatively scheduled for February or March.

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