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Tenure grant launches new Nelson-based mountain biking tour company

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
May 16th, 2011

Tenure has been granted by the Province for a new Nelson mountain biking tour business in the West Kootenay, but with some conditions after a New Denver-based environmental group opposed its presence on some trails.

Nelsonite Riley McIntosh’s application for Crown land tenure for a mountain biking tour business, Rilor Wilderness, was able to secure several, but not all, of the trails asked for in the Nelson, Slocan and Kaslo areas, read an April decision paper on the Integrated Land Management Bureau website.

“Components of the application that were allowed are specific trails in areas with few conflicts or with conflicts that are deemed manageable with extra effort in the Tenure Management Plan,” the decision read.

The rationale for the decision believed the result was a reasonable balance between sustainable tourism opportunities and local resource values.

Under the terms of the decision, Recco Ridge and Robb Ridge near Retallack, Alamo, Lower Wakefield, Choice, and Old Sandon Road Trails close to Idaho Peak, and Monster, Deception and Mineshaft Trails around Meadow Creek area were allowed.

Two other trails are subject to approval by the regional district — Placenta Descenta and Illuminati Trails (around Morning Mountain Regional Park in Blewett) — as they have tenure on that land.

Some of the trails the Valhalla Wilderness Society lobbied against were left out of the tenure, including: Big Owl and North Place Trails near Slocan; Powerslave (Toad Mountain); Little Tom, Excavator; Tunnel Vision; Viewing Stand and Pump Track (Enterprise Creek); and Salisbury Trail (Argenta).

In addition, the Tunnel Vision trail system and technical terrain features built by McIntosh must be appropriately disassembled and the site returned to a natural and maintenance free state as a requirement of the tenure offer.

In June of 2010 the Valhalla Wilderness Society issued a call for limitations on mountain biking in the West Kootenay backcountry.

“The Slocan communities have built up and maintained a precious resource of trails in this area over many years,” the press release read. “The Rilor application could, under some conditions, impact the user experience, the trails themselves, alpine terrain and wildlife very negatively.”

Valhalla said the type of mountain biking Rilor promoted intended to involve “steep, fast descents of mountain trails, perhaps with various structures in the forest such as ramps to get bikers airborne.”

They felt this was extreme mountain biking and had the highest risk of collisions with people and wildlife, as well as erosion of the trails.

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