Snow has melted off most of the trails, the compressed ice skinnies are disappearing and the dirt has been awesome. I know we are still in winter, but the early season riding has been amazing. With the present cost of gas, it’s been pretty easy to justify staying at home and riding bikes instead of visiting our highway 99 neighbours to the north and south.

During this time of year, the Sorca trail crew is quite small. It consists of me for 4 days a week (weather permitting), and Emmett Hancock assists me from time to time to deal with large blowdown.

I have lived in the Sea to Sky region for thirty years. This is the largest amount of blowdown I have ever seen in Squamish. The January freezing rain event on top of dry soils from the heat dome event last summer has resulted in plenty of tree failures. I love working in the forest, and it is quite amazing to witness the changes from year to year. The forest seems greener with all the new blowdown and the trails seem narrower with all the tree detritus. The bulk of SORCA spring trail work has been clearing trails of blowdown. One advantage of all the deadfall has been that some braids I meant to deactivate this year, have been blocked by large fallen trees.

Each year Sorca offers a two-day chainsaw course delivered by Silverback tree works. We had a small group take the course on March 16th and 17th. Our way of giving back to the volunteer community who tackle so many of the trail projects for free. We will be offering another course in the fall.

Thanks to the many volunteers who have cleared the blowdown throughout the trail network. It is astonishing how quickly our trail network is cleared after large events. I think people often take it for granted that they can ride the 700 km of trails within Squamish and rarely need to get off their bikes to climb over/under blowdown.

Some of the trail maintenance items SORCA has tackled recently include:

  • Blowdown on Treasure trail
  • Blowdown on Fifty shades of Green
  • Blowdown on Hoods in the Woods
  • Blowdown on Tinder
  • Blowdown on Deliverance
  • Blowdown on Cheshire and Cheshire kitten
  • Blowdown on Yer Sister
  • Planning re-routes of Word of Mouth impacted by logging
  • Dealing with erosion issues on Bird Wire
  • Meeting with trail-builders and guiding companies to plan future projects
  • 2-day chainsaw course for volunteer builders and Sorca Staff

Dave wisdom

I always look to plants to get indicators on what is going on in the ground before starting a trail project. Here are some helpful hints for building in Squamish.

Salal is an indicator of rocky soils and slabs. Hard to find dirt when working in areas of salal, but rock soils often drain well and are pre-armoured.

Ferns are an indicator of good brown dirt. When looking for dirt, I will look for areas with ferns. Ferns can also be moved and re-planted.
Cedar trees indicate water flowing nearby. Fortunately, it is also the best wood to build bridges (you will probably need to build a few bridges if in an area of cedars).
Devil’s club indicates standing water. Best to re-route a trail from any areas where you see devil’s club.