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Alberta mountain bikers banding together to fight clearcut of two popular riding areas

Alberta mountain bikers banding together to fight clearcut of two popular riding areas

Alberta’s mountain bikers are working together with hikers and other user groups to oppose two planned clearcuts that would decimate two popular riding areas. Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society (MMBTS) is working together with Bragg Creek Trails Association (BCTA) and other user groups to oppose to planned logging on Moose Mountain and West Bragg Creek.

Located less than an hour outside of Calgary, Alta. in the Kananaskis area, the two mountains are massively popular with Albertans and with visitors. About 738 hectares, combined, is slated to be logged as early as 2025.

To oppose the planned logging, GROW Kananaskis has two planned actions this week. There is also an online petition that currently has over 17,400 signatures calling for change.

Growth in recreation up against outdated logging plans

Moose Mountain and Bragg Creek are both massively popular riding areas. That’s due to their proximity to Calgary. But it is also the result of thousands of hours of volunteer work by both organizations (some of which, both organizations point out, was funded by the province). The current harvest plan is the result of an agreement that dates back to 2005, long before the explosive growth of recreation in the two ares.

For Jeff Woodgate of GROW Kananaskis, the change in how the areas are being used demands a reconsideration of the decades-old agreement that the current Forest Management Agreement (FMA) comes out of.

“The FMA was based on an agreement that was established circa 2005, and since that time there has been immense change in the area. Recreational usage of this relatively small zone has taken off, driven by the creation of trails systems and supporting infrastructure,” Woodgate argues. “The government needs to audit the agreement, appropriately value the different usages, and weight the impacts of clearcutting this area on its population.”

The current harvest plan was presented by Spray Lakes Sawmills. In November 2023, West Fraser acquired SLS. West Fraser is hosting an open house Wednesday, May 8 to allow public consultation on the West Bragg and Moose Mountain harvest plan as well as another in the upper Highwood watershed.

2018 Climbduro made use of Bragg Creek trails. Photo: John Gibson

Social cost outweighs potential profit

For Grow Kananaskis, the objective is clear.

“GROW Kananaskis feels that these two maps, (the harvest plan is presented as two zoomed in maps directly overlying the trail system) need to be omitted from West…

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