A new MTB trail just opened east of Toronto by Durham Forest called Dagmar North Trails. As I was riding it for the review on this site, I wondered what it took to reopen after being closed for 11 odd years.
So I interviewed John Fisher of the Durham Mountain Biking Assoc. (DMBA) who is on the executive. (and just happens to live near the trailhead – sweet!) He gave me the back story on this great achievement for the mountain bike community. Any major trails building endeavour needs – approval, money and manpower plus takes plenty of time (years) to reach.
He explained that years ago when the Dagmar Ski Resort decided not to give access to their parking lot the Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA), who own the land had no other choice but to close the trails and try to find a solution. As it sat idle for years,
the TRCA and DMBA were laying out a management plan to cut better, more suitable trails. Actually during that wait for studies and approvals, the club worked on a few new trails in Durham Forest since this area is approved.
What got the project really moving was funding from the National Trails Coalition (NTC) with $20k and 2 connector trails to the property. The TRCA obtained a right of way from Chalk Lake Rd. across a farmers field (connection to Durham Forest) and opened a trail from Concession Rd. 7. (connection to Glen Major)
DMBA fronted $20k of their own funds with the intent of recouping it back through membership and donations. We are at $13k says John and anyone enjoying the trails should consider donating or joining. IMBA helped with training trail builders the right way to lay a single track.
Then 200 volunteers, most from DMBA’s 700+ members, came out to put in over 5500 hours of work clearing, grading the land and adding logs, stumps, rock gardens, berms and retaining walls. A few tasks like cutting most of the trail benches were done with hired machinery. Maps and sign posts were added and are to be improved soon I am told.
Future plans are to build two more trails there, one will connect to the south parking lot at 3 Rocks. The clubs has also been in conversation with various government agencies to consider connecting trails to the north with Uxbridge, and the Rogue Valley National park to the west . John mentioned that the Rouge has finally been approved for MTB trails to be added and that’s an exciting prospect. DMBA has also had a voice in keeping MTB trails in Jefferson Forest.
It was John and Tom Hawks dream to reopen the Dagmar trails and many of us are glad they carried through. As you can see it takes plenty of effort to build legal trails. And the DMBA continues to do great advocacy work to give the sport of mountain biking a good name and open doors for future MTB trails….and FUN !