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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Hardwood Hills Sold

    Yes, it is true. Kim Viney has sold her beloved Hardwood Hills to a new owner, Jack Sasseville, who was the pro turned coach cross country skier at Hardwood.

    Rumours fly that it will become a private club with members requiring to purchase ownership shares. However, I find it hard to believe that day pass paying public users will not be an important business requirement as well. After all, Hardwood Hills as it is today does not have an ultra uber flair for luxury and 5 star class to attract the big time spenders. Crum.....no luxury condos, and only 2 buildings built from 2 halves of a massive storm drain tube! No bar?? No entertainment?? No dining room?? So working class....

    Wish them all the luck !
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  2. #2
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    They might as well make some business off of it, or else they won't be putting those trails to very much use for the majority of the year.

  3. #3
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    I can't see them requiring ppl to become owners to ride their. Unless it is at a reasonable price. They'd lose my business. It would be a damn shame as Hardwood is an amzing place to ride.
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  4. #4
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    I thought Hardwood was sold last year to the county because of a lawsuit. Something to do with the dump next door leaching toxins into the ground......I dont remember the whole story.

  5. #5
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    I'm pretty sure that it was sold to the county of Simcoe last year, and that Kim will be running it for them (leasing it). There were news releases about the sale, and they announced it at the end of the xc race season.

    I believe it was because of the lawsuit involving the leeching dump next door and affecting the groundwater? Don't remember specifically anymore, but it was all over the news back in the fall. I also seem to recall reading in the paper that the county plans to continue running it business as usual (except that the Wed race series will start 2 weeks later this summer).

    Do a search here and you'll find the entire story, and the press releases.

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    I think this is the latest development, AFTER that happened.

    Garage Monster is an avid XC skier there and he may have some more information to share.

  7. #7
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    I hope not. When the county bought it last year, they indicated they were going to maintain the land as is - that it would not be lost to development, and that they were actually trying to purchase adjacent parcels of land to ensure recreational greenspace. I kind of liked that idea.

  8. #8
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    This thread would be referring to the hardwood hill business. Would include items like the bike shop, cafeteria, coaching services, the lease to the land the buildings are on, not the actual property that the trails are on.

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    Jack Sasseville purchased the small amount of property out front with the parking lot and buildings from Simcoe County. He also leased all the trails property for a long time frame (30 years?). It is great to see a facility like this continue as an asset for our area. It sounds like the new ownership is buying this with the idea of making it bigger and better.

  10. #10
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    As far as I've heard, the members-only worries are unfounded. Day passes will continue as part of the business plan. I have heard that the new owners are eager to upgrade Hardwood facilities into something more like an outdoor sports club, with much improved food etc. This might lead to higher membership fees, but I'm not sure whether it's been decided for sure.

    And yes, the business was sold; the land is leased.

    ~ Nerdgirl (aka Mrs. Monster)

  11. #11
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    That makes sense, and I wish them every success.

    I hope prices don't go up much though...it's not exactly a cheap place to ride as it is. The membership prices aren't bad, but the daily fees and Wed race fees are pretty steep.

  12. #12
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    there goes the neighborhood. riders will have to pay equivalent money like Hilton hotel to ride there.

  13. #13
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    I never really understood the concept of paying to ride XC trails. Hardwood is fine but there are MUCH better trails in the area. As for amenity's like bike washes and food service..who needs them. This sport is supposed to be about exploration and adventure...isn't it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBoner
    Hardwood is fine but there are MUCH better trails in the area.

    I'm very familiar with most of the trail systems around there - there are certainly some amazing trail networks (that the general public don't know about), but I don't know of any that have the sheer variety or quality that Hardwood has.

    The best thing about Hardwood is that it's often less crowded than some of the other trail networks throughout the area. Even on weekends, it really isn't that crowded.
    Last edited by Pizza_Royale; 04-09-2008 at 02:38 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBoner
    I never really understood the concept of paying to ride XC trails. Hardwood is fine but there are MUCH better trails in the area. As for amenity's like bike washes and food service..who needs them. This sport is supposed to be about exploration and adventure...isn't it.
    Partially yes. But places like Hardwood are great if you are trying to ride with a bunch of people of varous skill levels. Or if you are new to the sport or area and want to ride good mountain bike trails but don't have the time or contacts to search out the hidden stuff. Or, to a lesser extent, if you want to go out for a good long hard ride on technical trails and don't want too many easy linking trails. Or if you are a race promoter looking for a good venue to hold a race at. And while I don't necessarily see the need for showers after a long hard day's ride (I ain't called skunky for nuthin'), my wife seems to think that they are a good thing (and she tells me that the showers at Hardwood aren't bad
    at all.) Besides which, if I've got to drive all the way up from Toronto, the entry cost to Hardwood is getting to be tiny compared to the gas cost.
    Anyway I like Hardwood, I'll be riding there again , I just wish I didn't have to deal with all the traffic on the 400 going there and coming back.
    Cheers, Dave

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    They're out there...you just have to find them!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBoner
    They're out there...you just have to find them!
    True, and word does tend to spread quickly over the web so I won't mention names. I've gotta say I've met some really interesting people on the "other" networks around Barrie, and if they look out of place (or are enjoying themselves WAY too much) I always ask how they found out. It's usually the same..."I was brought here by a friend and swore not to tell anyone else"
    Last edited by Pizza_Royale; 04-09-2008 at 02:48 PM.

  18. #18
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    There is indeed some nice stuff veryyy close,,, but the interweb is just too big.

  19. #19
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    True. Forget I mentioned some of the area names that I did.
    Last edited by Pizza_Royale; 04-09-2008 at 02:41 PM.

  20. #20
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    Show, Don't Tell......has a nice ring to it........helps keep respect for what is there.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phat Tyred
    Show, Don't Tell......has a nice ring to it........helps keep respect for what is there.
    Yeah, I almost understand this sentiment - if you already know the good trails, its easy to tell others to explore or to hook up with other riders who know the area. Its a lot harder on the other side (new to the area / available at odd times to ride / don't want to drive 1-2 hours just to spend all day poking around side roads looking for mythical sweet singletrack). In practice, this attitude is at least a little selfish. Are you promoting respect for the trails, or just keeping them to yourself? Share and share alike, I say.



    To DHBoner - it may seem stupid to pay, but if you have 1 day free per week and just want a good hard ride (but noone will spill the beans on their personal, hidden gems) what else to do? Sure there are a few well known free spots to ride around (Hydrocut, Ravenshoe, Don, Durham), but a change of pace is nice ya know?

  22. #22
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    Hey Evil, I do not know of any trails other then the great ones at Hardwood Hills. My family rides in the Wednesday night races. The cost is very reasonable and we love it there. I was only commenting on the Pizza's friends, they seem to want to share the ride, just not broadcast it to the world, sounds fair.

    I also only have one day a week to spare, so I go to where the ride is great. I also do not have time to rake or maintain any trails, so again I ride where I pay for someone to do this for me. I would consider it selfish to ride without helping or paying, just the way I feel. Others consider promotion to be work. To each their own, I would rather ride sweet singletrack instead of poking around.

    Have a good ride.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBoner
    I never really understood the concept of paying to ride XC trails. Hardwood is fine but there are MUCH better trails in the area. As for amenity's like bike washes and food service..who needs them. This sport is supposed to be about exploration and adventure...isn't it.
    Every 12 months or so I repost an example from Kolapore since I'm familiar with it. There are no amenities whatsoever. Exploration and adventure? carry the map with you but don't look at it unless you're still in the woods at dusk. Ballpark annual cost of trail maintenance: $10000 (insurance+materials) but that doesn't include hundreds and hundreds of hours of volunteer labour plus driving expense as many volunteers are coming from the GTA at $0.35/km in travel cost. One day you will understand, I guarantee it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilScience
    Its a lot harder on the other side (new to the area / available at odd times to ride / don't want to drive 1-2 hours just to spend all day poking around side roads looking for mythical sweet singletrack). In practice, this attitude is at least a little selfish. Are you promoting respect for the trails, or just keeping them to yourself?
    I think it's a combo of both. A lot of work has gone into some of the trail systems, and I can see how those that cut/do the work can become a little possessive, wanting to keep them pristine. On the other hand, by keeping them quiet (and by keeping the crowds away) you ensure that the quality remains and you reduce trail impact. We all know it's easy for trails in Southern Ontario to turn to sand, erode or increase in width.

    I usually head north each spring to meet up with friends to do a bunch of raking/clearing of deadwood in the Barrie area each spring. There's a TON of windfall/deadwood each spring that needs to be cleared - most areas up there are practically unrideable without a spring maintenance session. The work sucks, but it needs to be done, and it's a good way to get introduced to new areas...it's like "buying" your way into the club, so to speak. Originally, when I asked about new areas to ride nobody would say anything, but when I offered to rake and to clear trails suddenly the 'cloak of silence' was gone.
    Last edited by Pizza_Royale; 04-09-2008 at 03:11 PM.

  25. #25
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    Yes, the young ones still think that trails came down from the heavens.......as granted by their wishes.
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  26. #26
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    *checks over shoulder*

    This is completely speculation, but I get the feeling that the "hidden" trails in question are kept quiet to prevent potential land access issues. It is a lot easier for land owners to look the other way if it is relatively small numbers of people are using the trails. Who knows what would happen if hoards of people flooded the trails every weekend.

    We should probably keep our voices down though, there are those among us that are very sensitive about any mention of these trails. We wouldn't want them to get their chamois in a bunch (again).

    Trails, what trails? Did I say trails? Huh?

    ...Besides, I'd say the singletrack is better at Hardwood anyways.

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    Certainly the trails at Hardwood are much more convient for those of us that live North of 7, who would rather cycle to the trails they ride. It might even make me a faster rider eventually

    Stosh
    If you happen to see my lungs back there, tell them I've gone on ahead.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by greer
    *checks over shoulder*

    This is completely speculation, but I get the feeling that the "hidden" trails in question are kept quiet to prevent potential land access issues.
    Actually, the majority of the good stuff in the Barrie/Simcoe County area are in designated Simcoe County Forests, so land access won't be an issue for a long time. Simcoe County has made a point of buying and preserving many parcels of land as natural habitat. In terms of the trails disappearing any time soon, I don't see it happening (thankfully).

  29. #29
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza_Royale
    In terms of the trails disappearing any time soon, I don't see it happening (thankfully).
    Good to hear. I hope you're right.
    Check out Crankarm; a mountain biking journal from two brothers in Ontario, with trail reviews, equipment reviews, and photos.

  30. #30
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    From their latest newletter (email).

    Hardwood Ski & Bike



    1. Welcome from Jack Sasseville

    Hi everyone


    On behalf of all of the investors and staff of Hardwood Ski and Bike I would
    like to welcome everyone to our new business.

    At a macro level Hardwood Ski and Bike will continue to operate as a cross
    country ski and mountain bike center as it has for the past 25 years.
    However, we are planning some exciting changes and upgrades to all facets of
    the operation.

    We will continue to have the great winter and summer trails that we have
    always had, but we will be investing in brand new snow grooming equipment.
    Our goal will be to groom every kilometer, every day to the best of our
    ability.

    Our programs will continue to be very strong. Sharon Foulkes is returning to
    Hardwood Ski and Bike as Program Director and will be leading a great staff.
    Check the website at www.hardwoodhills.ca <http://www.hardwoodhills.ca/>
    for details and to register for all of our summer and winter programs.

    We will be making significant changes in the look of Hardwood Ski and Bike
    over the summer and fall. We will be spending over $350,000 to upgrade the
    main chalet so that the presentation will match the product. We will be
    finished by the middle of October so that we are ready for the Open House
    and the ski season.

    Our last big change will be in customer service. We will be creating service
    standards in all departments so that we can deliver on our mission statement
    for everyone:

    To be the best full service outdoor health and fitness recreation facility, providing a quality experience for members, guests, and their families.

    I look forward to leading Team Hardwood towards this goal.

    Regards



    Jack Sasseville

    President and General Manager

    Hardwood Ski and Bike L.P.



    2. Employment Opportunities

    Hardwood is looking for great people to work at a great place!

    Our vision is to be the best full service outdoor health and fitness
    recreation facility, providing a quality experience for members, guests and
    their families. Hardwood Ski & Bike is looking to add members to Team
    Hardwood that can fulfill this vision and enjoys skiing and biking.

    Resumes are being accepted in the following positions:

    * Rental and Retail Personnel
    * Mountain Bike Service and Nordic Ski Service
    * Food Service
    * Outdoor Trail Maintenance
    * Mountain Bike Coaches and Instructors

    To join Team Hardwood send resume with cover letter to Jack Sasseville at
    Jack@hardwoodhills.ca



    3. Mountain Bike Camps, Clinics and Programs


    Try a LESSON, PROGRAM, CAMP or CLINIC

    Hardwood Ski and Bike is gearing up for a great mountain bike season. All
    our instructional and coaching programs are planned and registrations are
    under way.


    Radical Rider's, Advanced Radical Rider's and Wonder Wheels will continue as
    the first and second step in our grassroots program. Getting kids ages 7 to
    13 years into mountain biking and having fun is the focus. These programs
    introduce your son or daughter to mountain biking and the trails at Hardwood
    Ski and Bike. Registration is on-going for our spring and fall programs.


    Camp Hardwood for kid's ages 6 to 14 years returns for its 10th year with
    great new programming plans and of course - awesome riding. Our great
    instructors are returning with new ideas and can't wait to see the camper
    friends they met last year. Sign up early to get the week you want.


    Mountain Bike Devo is up and riding for the 2008 season. Devo is for kid's
    ages 10 to 18 years. The focus is developing Mountain Bike racers, who are
    dedicated to a year round training program and racing. Devo will allow each
    team member the chance to grow as an athlete and an individual in a positive
    atmosphere. Currently, training is happening in the rain, sun or snow.
    Trips are being planned to Bromont, the Velodrome in London and races
    throughout Ontario. It is never too late to join. Check out the web site
    for information about the coaches and for more details. This program is an
    excellent step to our development program.


    NEW! Devo Chicks

    This program will encourage young female mountain bike riders to participate
    in the sport. Devo Chicks will foster a community of young female riders
    in a noncompetitive setting who will enjoy riding together. The first get
    together will be at Hardwood Ski & Bike on May 14 at 6:30pm. Coaches are
    Wendy Simms and Laurie Gain. Please call Sharon if you would like more
    information.


    MB101 and MB201 will continue with Rob Fex as the primary instructor. If
    you enrolled in MB101 Introduction to Mountain Biking last year, try MB201
    Immediate Skills as your next challenge. Rob will help take your skills to
    the next level. Check out the date and sign up early to ensure you get the
    date you want.


    Women's Camp is returning by popular demand with a mini "Spa" option. Sign
    up for a wonderful foot massage and pedicure at the end of the day. What a
    great treat after a day of riding! The two-day camp will be filled with
    great instruction and support. Challenge your self in an atmosphere of
    "women power". Sign up early as it is limited to 30 women.


    Privates Lessons, School and Corporate Groups are all available. Please
    check the web site for details. www.hardwoodhills.ca



    4. Mountain Bike Races and Events

    Hardwood Ski and Bike is proud to announce their events for 2008, and the
    release of all event details on our website www.hardwoodhills.ca.

    We are also excited to be working with Canada's largest online entry system,
    Eventsonline.ca to provide quick, secure and easy entry from home.


    Trek Wednesday Night Race Series, May 14 to Aug 27

    This is Ontario's longest running and most popular weekly series. It
    attracts over 200 riders per night, with 6 different courses to choose from,
    tailored to varying physical and technical difficulty levels. It is a highly
    family oriented event, with over half the riders ages 15 and under!


    Pearl Izumi Ontario High School Mountain Bike Championships, May 23

    As Ontario's Championship event for both High School and Elementary riders,
    the Championships offer both Individual and a Team Relay races. Individual
    results also count points towards overall school Champions.


    Trek Store Canada Cup/Ontario Cup, June 1

    As Ontario's annual stop on the National circuit since 1996, this event is
    annually Canada's largest National MTB event hosting Olympic Champions and
    Olympic hopefuls. Over the years we have been honoured by such riders as
    Roland Green, Alison Sydor, Marie Helene Premont, Geoff Kabush, the Chinese
    Olympic Team, and even the Grandfather of Mountain Biking - Gary Fisher.

    This event is open to all ages and abilities with differing categories, and
    always brings a fun festival atmosphere including a charity event, autograph
    sessions and the largest Mountain Bike expo. Come ride, race, and watch
    Canada's best!


    Dukes Epic 8 Hour, July 26 and Sept. 27

    As part of the Epic 8 Hour Series in partnership with Chico Racing, these
    events are all about camaraderie, sportsmanship and the gritty, hard core
    enjoyment of riding with friends. The Epic 8 Hour is a personal and team
    challenge to complete as many laps as possible. Hardwood MTB Centre offers
    the best in trails, facilities and support to create two very different and
    fun courses for these events, and uses the proprietary Chico Racing chip
    timing system for instantaneous accurate results.

    I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
    Hunter S. Thompson

  31. #31
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    Well, that's nice to see Jack has big plans. Not sure how all that will get funded.....that will be the challenge. Increasing daily rates may not work out all that well. But yes, Hardwood is long due for a facelift.
    SUCCESS - To be able to spend life in your own way

  32. #32
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    Hardwood Hills is a really good place to take a couple of big family groups. If you took them to someplace like Kolapore it'd be a disaster. At Hardwood they can do some 4-cross, some stunts, I can do several of the trails pulling a trail-a-bike and so on. Then they can sit down and eat popsicles.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza_Royale
    Actually, the majority of the good stuff in the Barrie/Simcoe County area are in designated Simcoe County Forests, so land access won't be an issue for a long time. Simcoe County has made a point of buying and preserving many parcels of land as natural habitat. In terms of the trails disappearing any time soon, I don't see it happening (thankfully).
    I think it's an issue for the University of Toronto Outing Club and the Ministry of Natural Resources (Province of Ontario aka public land) who operate and own Kolopore Uplands and are named as defendants in an ongoing law suit. I see the potential of the MTB trails dissappearing there as a real possibility.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch
    I think it's an issue for the University of Toronto Outing Club and the Ministry of Natural Resources (Province of Ontario aka public land) who operate and own Kolopore Uplands and are named as defendants in an ongoing law suit. I see the potential of the MTB trails dissappearing there as a real possibility.
    It may be an issue for Kalopore, but I just don't see the same problem arising in the country forests. Riding at Kalopore (an area specifially designed and cut by U of T) and riding in designated multipurpose county forest are two totally seperate situations. U of T "created" and "maintain" the trails at Kalopore - that was the problem. Somebody actually designed and assumed responsibility (though limited) for the trails and made them for a purpose, and hence there was someone to sue. In essence they are a facility, though I use that term loosely.

    County forests on the other hand are multipurpose land in which you can do whatever you want - hunt (in some), ride, ATV. No trail pass needed, no maintenance, no maps...no accountability.
    Simcoe County is making a point of buying up as many parcels of land and preserving them as multipurpose recreational land, so that they don't get developed. That's a big difference, but a good one, for riders.
    Last edited by Pizza_Royale; 04-14-2008 at 08:25 PM.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza_Royale
    It may be an issue for Kalopore, but I just don't see the same problem arising in the country forests. Riding at Kalopore (an area specifially designed and cut by U of T) and riding in designated multipurpose county forest are two totally seperate situations. U of T "created" and "maintain" the trails at Kalopore - that was the problem. Somebody actually designed and assumed responsibility (though limited) for the trails and made them for a purpose, and hence there was someone to sue. In essence they are a facility, though I use that term loosely.

    County forests on the other hand are multipurpose land in which you can do whatever you want - hunt (in some), ride, ATV. No trail pass needed, no maintenance, no maps...no accountability.
    Simcoe County is making a point of buying up as many parcels of land and preserving them as multipurpose recreational land, so that they don't get developed. That's a big difference, but a good one, for riders.
    Read this...it's full of accountability.
    http://www.county.simcoe.on.ca/ws_co...coe_000280.pdf

    Simcoe County is a private land owner that bought land with public money. Letting people use the land for recreational purposes is a privilege, not a right and they can revoke that privilege at anytime. Thinking that we, as taxpayers, have a right to use that land is like thinking we have a right to drive police cars. The forests generate over a million dollars a year in logging revenue and if recreational use interfered with that you can bet that they would seal those forest up tighter than a steel barrel.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza_Royale
    It may be an issue for Kalopore, but I just don't see the same problem arising in the country forests. Riding at Kalopore (an area specifially designed and cut by U of T) and riding in designated multipurpose county forest are two totally seperate situations. U of T "created" and "maintain" the trails at Kalopore - that was the problem. Somebody actually designed and assumed responsibility (though limited) for the trails and made them for a purpose, and hence there was someone to sue. In essence they are a facility, though I use that term loosely.

    County forests on the other hand are multipurpose land in which you can do whatever you want - hunt (in some), ride, ATV. No trail pass needed, no maintenance, no maps...no accountability.
    Simcoe County is making a point of buying up as many parcels of land and preserving them as multipurpose recreational land, so that they don't get developed. That's a big difference, but a good one, for riders.
    A significant chunk of the Kolapore trails lie on forests owned by Grey County (ie "County forests"). If you've ridden there, you'll be aware that one of the trails is called "County forest." If you haven't ridden there you should hesitate before speaking so knowledgeably about it. In addition, there is MNR (crown) land and private property, and there are few signs demarcating the borders between the many parcels of property. If I had to guess I'd say the ratio was 25%, 65% and 10% respectively. As the previous poster has quickly noted, I hope you'll appreciate that the notion of "you can do whatever you want" on public land is quite incorrect.

  37. #37
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    News column as written in Pedal Magazine.

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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay.
    A significant chunk of the Kolapore trails lie on forests owned by Grey County (ie "County forests"). If you've ridden there, you'll be aware that one of the trails is called "County forest." If you haven't ridden there you should hesitate before speaking so knowledgeably about it. In addition, there is MNR (crown) land and private property, and there are few signs demarcating the borders between the many parcels of property. If I had to guess I'd say the ratio was 25%, 65% and 10% respectively. As the previous poster has quickly noted, I hope you'll appreciate that the notion of "you can do whatever you want" on public land is quite incorrect.

    Being involved with a Simcoe area cycling club, and as one who participates in trail clearing each year in the area, I have a special interest in Simcoe County Forests. First of all, the methods and policies used by Grey County (Kalopore) and Simcoe County are not the same. A few years ago I participated actively in the many open houses which were conducted in order to develop with the land management policy, and it was a very positive experience.

    Many here are not likely aware just how much designated Simcoe County Forest exists. I believe there are close to 40,000 acres (and growing) now owned by the county. Yes, some tracts are designated as revenue producing sustainable forest, but there is an absolute TON whose purpose is to preserve wildlife habitat, greenspace, and provide recreational opportunities. The county recognizes the importance of renewing the once devastated landscape, and is actively buying tracts of land for the purpose of preservation.

    Yes, recreational activity is a privelige and not a right. Yes, they have the right to log the forests if they decide to. But anyone involved in the process of the policy development understands the county's stance...avoid the decimation of land occurring at an alarming rate between Toronto and Newmarket, and beyond.

    Simcoe County forests are not Grey County Forests, and are not managed in the same manner. They are also not MNR land. I have been involved in the user agreement with the county, and have found them to be extremely supportive of recreational trail use and responsible development. I have also actively participated in erosion studies due to ATV traffic, and have lobbied (successfully) to have motorized vehicles allowed on designated Simcoe County forest trails only rather than all areas. I am well aware of the county's stance on it's various tracts, and I repeat that it is incredibly supportive to say the least.

    The county's mandate regarding it's forests is to:
    • Restore waste lands and marginal farm lands to productive use
    • Prevent soil erosion and restore and conserve water resources
    • Manage forests in a scientific manner to produce high-value forest products
    Preserve, conserve and improve wildlife habitat
    • Provide educational opportunities and encourage scientific research
    Provide opportunities for public recreation
    • Encourage private landowners in their reforestation efforts
    Support the County’s Natural Heritage and Greenlands policies

    With regards to mountain biking, their stance is that:
    Damage to forest soils and vegetation is minimal with most mountain biking activity.
    Recommendation 3.1 – THAT mountain biking be permitted and that Use Agreements
    be encouraged with organized groups.


    Having been involved with the Use Agreement process and the policy development, I cannot overstate their support. Yes, some tracts are designated for logging and subsequent reforestation, but those are in the minority in terms of active use tracts. We are in no way about to lose our access to the many parcels of prime MTB land in the Barrie area. In fact, many of the tracts have long term designations indicating no logging activities, so it's good news for us.

    Do other county's manage their land in different manners? Of course, but we're talking about Simcoe County Forests here. We're certainly lucky to have them to play in, and we should be thankful of the stance that the county takes. The original discussion here revolved around (county forest) alternatives in the Hardwood Hills/Barrie area. The fact is there are a ton of them, and the great majority of them are not going anywhere anytime soon. In other counties that may be wishful thinking, but luckily Simcoe County has put a lot of stock into making that known.
    Last edited by Pizza_Royale; 04-15-2008 at 09:04 PM.

  39. #39
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    A ski tunnel?!?!

    Their long term plans include building a ski tunnel? That's unbelievable!

    For those that haven't seen one before, it's basically exactly what it sounds like - an indoor, refrigerated cross-country ski trail that is operational year round and kept at a constant temperature a few degrees below zero. It allows cross country training on perfect snow at any time of year. I think the longest one in the world is over a kilometer long, but they are usually about half that in length.

    That would be simply amazing if that happened at Hardwood.


  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza_Royale
    Being involved with a Simcoe area cycling club, and as one who participates in trail clearing each year in the area, I have a special interest in Simcoe County Forests. First of all, the methods and policies used by Grey County (Kalopore) and Simcoe County are not the same. A few years ago I participated actively in the many open houses which were conducted in order to develop with the land management policy, and it was a very positive experience.

    Many here are not likely aware just how much designated Simcoe County Forest exists. I believe there are close to 40,000 acres (and growing) now owned by the county. Yes, some tracts are designated as revenue producing sustainable forest, but there is an absolute TON whose purpose is to preserve wildlife habitat, greenspace, and provide recreational opportunities. The county recognizes the importance of renewing the once devastated landscape, and is actively buying tracts of land for the purpose of preservation.

    Yes, recreational activity is a privelige and not a right. Yes, they have the right to log the forests if they decide to. But anyone involved in the process of the policy development understands the county's stance...avoid the decimation of land occurring at an alarming rate between Toronto and Newmarket, and beyond.

    Simcoe County forests are not Grey County Forests, and are not managed in the same manner. They are also not MNR land. I have been involved in the user agreement with the county, and have found them to be extremely supportive of recreational trail use and responsible development. I have also actively participated in erosion studies due to ATV traffic, and have lobbied (successfully) to have motorized vehicles allowed on designated Simcoe County forest trails only rather than all areas. I am well aware of the county's stance on it's various tracts, and I repeat that it is incredibly supportive to say the least.

    The county's mandate regarding it's forests is to:
    • Restore waste lands and marginal farm lands to productive use
    • Prevent soil erosion and restore and conserve water resources
    • Manage forests in a scientific manner to produce high-value forest products
    Preserve, conserve and improve wildlife habitat
    • Provide educational opportunities and encourage scientific research
    Provide opportunities for public recreation
    • Encourage private landowners in their reforestation efforts
    Support the County’s Natural Heritage and Greenlands policies

    With regards to mountain biking, their stance is that:
    Damage to forest soils and vegetation is minimal with most mountain biking activity.
    Recommendation 3.1 – THAT mountain biking be permitted and that Use Agreements
    be encouraged with organized groups.


    Having been involved with the Use Agreement process and the policy development, I cannot overstate their support. Yes, some tracts are designated for logging and subsequent reforestation, but those are in the minority in terms of active use tracts. We are in no way about to lose our access to the many parcels of prime MTB land in the Barrie area. In fact, many of the tracts have long term designations indicating no logging activities, so it's good news for us.

    Do other county's manage their land in different manners? Of course, but we're talking about Simcoe County Forests here. We're certainly lucky to have them to play in, and we should be thankful of the stance that the county takes. The original discussion here revolved around (county forest) alternatives in the Hardwood Hills/Barrie area. The fact is there are a ton of them, and the great majority of them are not going anywhere anytime soon. In other counties that may be wishful thinking, but luckily Simcoe County has put a lot of stock into making that known.
    Your involvement in the county's recreational policy development is to be commended. However, with your extensive knowledge of the policy, you should know that saying things like "you can do whatever you want" with "no accountability" is a dangerous way of interpreting its intent. People reading it may take it at face value and go all "willy nilly" throughout the forests.

    Thanks for your effort in sustaining recreation in Simcoe County Forests.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch
    Your involvement in the county's recreational policy development is to be commended. However, with your extensive knowledge of the policy, you should know that saying things like "you can do whatever you want" with "no accountability" is a dangerous way of interpreting its intent. People reading it may take it at face value and go all "willy nilly" throughout the forests. Thanks for your effort in sustaining recreation in Simcoe County Forests.
    Nothing to be commended about - I've just taken enough of an interest in the county forests in the Barrie area to get involved a little bit. It's great to be able to drive north a bit and have that much biking available. I get involved partly to know the future direction, partly to know the regulations, and (as a MTBer who helps clear trails each spring) partly to become more familiar with what else is out there to ride. It's great to have that much land available to play on, so it's really the county that should be commended for their efforts to preserve the land and allow recreational access.

    My saying "do whatever you want" was a bit of an off the cuff remark, and you're right that it was likely not the best way to convey my thought. I just meant that there are a ton of options and very little regulations in the Barrie area forests, probably because there is not a lot of policy abuse or trail erosion. The largest problem would be the constant need of ATVers to go wherever they want, regardless of signage, gates and trail permit policies. (I admit it - I love to stop ATV'ers and ask to see their permit when they're on the "no motarized vehicle" trails.)

    We see a lot of restrictions in county forests in Durham (night riding ban), York and even around Grey/Bruce. Fortunately, if you're on a bike Simcoe county is great because users are generally allowed to just enjoy the forests at will. The county recognizes that there are extensive MTB trail systems in many tracts, and they also recognize that these systems have minimal impact.

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