The Ridgemont trails network won’t be open this summer but the Fernie Trails Alliance is working to restore other trails affected by logging. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

UPDATE: Fernie Trails Alliance to restore trails affected by logging

FTA works to reopen Coal Creek Heritage Trail, Morrissey trails and Elk Valley Trail

UPDATE: The Fernie Trails Alliance is working to restore trails affected by recent logging.

This is good news for local mountain bikers grappling with the closure of the Ridgemont area, which has been extended until October.

FTA Board Chair Krista Turcasso said once logging in the Ridgemont area has been completed, the trails will be revitalized as soon as possible.

“While it will definitely be a missed component of our trail network, there is so much available and the Fernie Trails Alliance will be regularly recommending loops, and trails to help residents and visitors plan their adventures,” she said.

In the meantime, the FTA’s maintenance committee is working to restore other areas affected by recent logging. These include the Coal Creek Heritage Trail, Morrissey trails and Elk Valley Trail between Fernie and Hosmer.

Other trails are in good shape.

According to Turcasso, Castle Mountain trails are clearing quickly, with all of Montane, the Roots group (Roots, Rerooted, Uprooted, Resurrection and Roots Extension), Elk Valley Trail to lower South Castle and Hyperventilation to Today’s Special ready to go.

In the Mount Fernie Provincial Park, Stove Trail, Dem Bones, Phat Bastard, Red Sonya and Blue/Black Betty are available, while Mount Proctor trails, Mad Cow, Far Side and Swine Flu, are riding well.

“The season has begun earlier than usual and trails are in great shape,” said Turcasso.

“We encourage riders to share their experiences and get creative with linking loops. We also ask people to adhere to the early-season code of conduct: ride, don’t slide. Through puddles, not around. Avoid wet areas after rain.

“A good portion of our trails are on private land. Show your respect and appreciation to the land owners, and trail crews.”

The FTA will soon launch the Fernie Trails Pass, which gives users who aren’t part of a member club (FMBC, Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club, and Stag Leap Running Co.) and visitors the chance to contribute to the trails network, and sign the appropriate trail use waivers.

Memberships to the above mentioned clubs includes the Fernie Trails Pass.

The pass will cost $40 with options for day and weekend passes for visitors. It will be available at the FTA’s website, which is also undergoing a makeover.

On Sunday, The Free Press reported:

Trail users will not have access to Fernie’s Ridgemont area this summer after delays to logging.

The popular trails network closed in October for harvesting activities and was expected to reopen this month.

LOOK BACK: Harvesting to close Ridgemont trails in Fernie

However, Parastone, land manager for private landowner Pollyco, has confirmed Ridgemont won’t be accessible to the public until October 2019.

Lynn Henderson broke the news to trail users on Facebook over the weekend.

“The Fernie Trails Alliance have officially announced that Ridgemont will be closed for the summer due to delays in logging,” she said in a post on the Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA) Trail Conditions And Ride Board group, Saturday, that garnered dozens of comments.

A map of the closure area shows affected trails include the Coal Discovery Trail, Sidewinder and Eric’s Trail. See the map here.

In October, The Free Press reported Vast Resource Solutions Ltd had been contracted to conduct the work, which would involve harvesting, road building, hauling, slash disposal and road reclamation.

At the time, Vast outlined a number of objectives for the project, including using selective harvesting techniques to make the properties “FireSmart” and reduce the risk of wildfires.

Trails would have an eight-metre Machine Free Zone around them to limit damage.

LOOK BACK: Fernie’s Ridgemont area now off limits

In a statement to The Free Press, Parastone General Manager Simon Howse said about 4000 cubic metres of timber have been harvested so far and logging operations are ongoing.

Parastone has been in consistent communication with the FTA, which, in turn, has been working with the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club, Tourism Fernie, Fernie Alpine Resort, Island Lake Lodge and Fernie Mountain Bike Club (FMBC) to keep the community and tourists informed of trail closures.

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Trails app Trail Forks has been updated to reflect the extended closure. Source: Trail Forks

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