Aug 25, 2020

Youth volunteers build Ladysmith's first sanctioned bike trails at Brown Drive Park

A youth-focused and community-driven project to build Ladysmith’s first sanctioned mountain bike trails got underway over the weekend at Brown Drive Park.

The project highlights a partnership between the Town of Ladysmith and the Cowichan Trails Stewardship Society (CTSS) – Ladysmith Chapter to provide safe and inclusive bike trails for youth of all ages and abilities.

Town staff and a team of CTSS-Ladysmith volunteers, as well as professional mountain biker Ace Hayden, started the initial heavy lifting on Friday, roughing in new flow trails and jump features.

Youth and parent volunteers then arrived on Saturday to complete this initial phase of the trail work and a pump track– working alongside CTSS-Ladysmith Chapter volunteers who provided guidance on building the trails and features to International Mountain Bicycling Association standards – an internationally recognized benchmark for safety and sustainability. 

In keeping with proper physical distancing protocols, groups were separated into family clusters and hand sanitizer was made available for use.

Volunteers from Fraternal Order of Eagles, Kinsmen Club of Ladysmith and Rotary Club of Ladysmith provided everyone helping over the weekend with a free lunch – fittingly, a Teen Burger from A&W.

As part of this youth-driven initiative, the Town is also pleased to be supporting Logan Steel, through an RBC Future Launch funding grant, to create a series of documentary short films about the Brown Drive Park project.

A local vlogger and mountain bike enthusiast, Steel is currently a summer student with Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) creating online video content.

An official grand opening for the new Brown Drive Park Recreational Bike Trails will take place in the near future.

In the interim, temporary signage has been installed at the entrance to the wooded area as well as the trailhead. Anyone using the mountain bike trails is reminded to watch for hikers and dog walkers who also frequently use the area.  As a reminder, motorized vehicles are not permitted in this area. 

The Brown Drive Park bike trails project achieves several strategic priorities from the Ladysmith Youth Plan – advocating for a youth voice by bringing teens and pre-teens into the decision-making, strengthening partnerships to provide volunteer opportunities through ongoing trail maintenance, and creating safe and inclusive spaces for local youth to gather.

In June, the Town completed a public engagement campaign to determine future uses in the forested area at Brown Drive Park and a majority of participants supported the creation of recreational bike trails.

Ladysmith Council then approved a multi-phased plan for the site which will be completed by the Town and CTSS-Ladysmith Chapter in the coming months, and as funding becomes available.

A portion of this work will form part of the CTSS-Ladysmith Chapter’s Youth Trail Building workshop in the fall supported through a Town of Ladysmith Grant in Aid.