PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

March 26, 2008

Like to Bike?

Filed under: Recreation, Health and Fitness — Jocko @ 10:00 am

Submitted by Keith Light

Comprehensive mountain bike park on Pender?

Do you like mountain biking?

Do you agree that the roads are too narrow, hilly and dangerous?

Are you frustrated because there are no trails on Pender Island that you can legally ride on?

Would you support a comprehensive mountain bike park on North Pender?

I have started an initiative to have an old gravel pit on South Otter Bay Rd., released from the bottom of Gulf Island National Park Reserve, better known as Roe Lake Park. This area is of no ecological value, and would satisfy ALL the mountain bike needs of all riders of Pender Island.

Watch for my submissions in the Pender Post, and the Island Tides newspaper.

Keith Light 629-9939


  1. Detailed Information on this post:


    Pender Island is blessed with a diverse forest ecosystem, amazing coastlines, great national parks, a terrific school, a wonderful community hall, and of course a great community with great people. We have wonderful forests, and parks with some great walking trail. We have a small ball park, and a large field at the school for organized sports. What we don’t have is a basic family recreational area, open to running around, picnicking, and biking.
    OK. What am I getting at? A couple years ago, after buying mountain bikes for my son and I, I was appalled to find that bikes are not allowed on any of Pender’s many trails. Not one. The roads are too narrow and hilly to make them acceptable for children, and far too dangerous as well. Sooo….what is a family to do? My son and I ended up going off island, for something as simple and basic as biking on trails. I thought the right to bike was in the ‘Constitution’!! Later that summer, someone told me of this old gravel pit that had been used occasionally for biking. I checked it out, and WOW!! Usable right now, the area had the potential to supply Pender Islands with recreational biking and more, for the whole family, and in several different venues! It couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s beside a road, with no nearby houses. Varied terrain. And to top it off, it was on Parkland!!
    Well, it turned out that the parkland thing wasn’t the blessing I thought it might be. It’s part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. This is not the kind of parkland you and I remember as kids. This is land being set aside for preservation and protection in its natural state. That, in its self, is a wonderful thing. We need to preserve and protect our wild lands. However, aside from some walking trails, almost everything else is banned in these parks. Especially mountain biking. Virtually all the parks on Pender are part of the Gulf Islands Nation Park Reserve.(GINPR). There are parks that are narrow rights of ways to the water, with trails. These are managed by Pender Parks Commission, and they don’t allow biking Alas, no safe place for biking. Hence my plan for a bike park. For those not familiar with this gravel pit area, you can check it out. Follow South Otter Bay road, past the Willinghams farm, past the duck ponds on the left, then right around the curve. You are now on the straight stretch. About 300 feet past the large cleared area on the right, there is a path on the left going up, next to a power pole, and marked by orange tape on a bush.
    Since the summer, I have been working on having this 20-30 acre area set aside for an all round bike park. I arranged a meeting with North Pender Trustees, (including school) a member of the Parks Commission, and one from Recreation. All were supportive, especially all our Trustees and the Recreation member. To start out, we felt we would need a legitimate legal organization to hold a license of occupation from Gulf Island National Park Reserve. Shortly after that meeting, I made a presentation to the Pender Island Parks Commission. At that meeting, I tried to impress upon them how much this bike park would help in our parent’s struggle to keep their children happy, healthy, and fit. Along with Pete from Recreation, I asked them if they would be willing to be the holders of a License of Occupation for that piece of the Park. That’s all they would have to do. Pender Recreation, and myself, would deal with setting up, funding, and liability. The Parks Commission said they go over my proposal, and get back to me. Over the next three months, I was told by one member of the Parks Commission that he was quite hopeful, as there was a great deal of support for the proposal by the other members. In mid February, Newell Smith, the chairman of the Pender Parks Commission sent me a letter, saying that CRD Risk Management had several concerns about being involved ( which he didn’t elaborate on ), and, besides that, he didn’t think that Pender Parks needed to be involved. He suggested that I should just deal directly with GINPR. In other words, for them, it’s not worth the trouble it would involve.
    I have no doubt that he was referring partly to the liability issue. Yet, he suggests that I should deal directly with the GINPR. Does that imply that I’m somehow in a better position to deal with GINPR, and the liability issue? So, our Parks Commission, and CRD, don’t seem to think that this is a worthy enough project for them to be involved in. Our kids don’t need a place to help keep them fit, happy, and healthy. Our kids and families don’t deserve, and don’t desperately need, a place for biking and recreation? Let them ride on the dangerous roads, or just stay at home. It’s not that important for us to put ourselves out. But remember, you can’t ride on Pender Parks Trails.
    On February 26th, I sent a detailed letter to GINPR, to the Advisory Board, to the BC Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Art. ( who HAVE recognized the value of mountain biking, and have started a pilot project to have mountain bike trails sanctioned, encouraged, and covered by insurance, on Crown Land.), to Parks Canada, and to Federal Conservative MP Gary Lund. I have asked that this proposal be seriously considered, as a very valuable asset to Pender Island. At this point, I am spearheading this move, along with support from our Islands Trustees, and our newly formed Recreation Commission. Hopefully, things will progress well, and positively, because ‘IT”S A NO BRAINER’. ( this will be our motto!!). However, considering that Parks Canada is very reticent to having anything done in their Parks that isn’t in their mandate, I have my concerns. At this juncture, right now, I am appealing to ALL Penderites, parents, their children, and their grandparents, etc., to write letters to GINPR Advisory Board, at 2220 Harbour Road, Sidney BC, V8L-2P6, voicing your support for a bike park at the old gravel pit. Point out that a bike park would be much more appropriate for this area, than saving it for it’s ecological? ‘importance’. Talk it up with your friends. Have a word with your local elected officials, the Recreation Commission folks, and any of the members of the Pender Parks Commission. Tell them you support this, and tell them you want them to support it too, by writing a letter of support. As well, write a letter of support to the Islands Tide, E-mail Parks Canada, write to MP Gary Lund. This CAN happen, but it needs you.

    It is time to begin a ground swell of support and energy

    For info, and to help set up PIMBS.(Pender Island Mountain Bike Society), call me @629-9939, or e-mail me @ .

    Keith Light…………….’IT’S A NO BRAINER’


    By Keith Light

    The Provincial Ministry of Tourism, Sports, and the Arts, has announced an initiative concerning mountain biking on Crown land. Following are some excerpts from this announcement. “ The MTSA is pilot testing a draft provincial mountain bike trail policy at several locations across the province to develop a consistent framework for the construction and maintenance of mountain bike trails”….. and “ The focus of the policy is to facilitate the development of a safe and environmentally sound mountain bike trail infrastructure capable of providing a variety of recreational and tourism opportunities”. Further, it goes on to say… “In the past, MTSA has not recognized or approved trails with stunt features, due to concerns over safety and liability. Under the draft policy, it is recognized that stunt features are an important part of the sport for many riders, and this issue will be risk managed whereby….”. It goes on to explain how this will be allowed to happen, including insurance. Halleluiah!! We hope the Feds will be on board too, and support the proposal for a bike park at the old gravel pit.

    Comment by Keith Light — March 10, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

  2. Thanks for all your hard work, Keith. There is indeed a lack of any kind of bike trails on Pender, mountain bike or otherwise. Unfortunately you are dealing with the federal government, who are still studying where to sanction hiking trails in the parks after three years of study. Even though the gravel pit is probably of low ecological value, they will probably have to do extensive studies to verify that as well! I hope I am wrong, and things move swiftly. I will write a letter of support for the cause when your organization gets going.

    Comment by vortexman — March 13, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

  3. I heard about this today and I checked it out as soon as I could.

    I think it is a brilliant idea. I ride my bike a lot on Pender, but I wish I could ride on trails.

    If not this area, another one would be awesome.

    Comment by Jaime — April 9, 2008 @ 5:10 pm

  4. Bike Park Proposal Update (May 30, 2008)
    By Keith Light

    First of all, I would like to address the concerns some have. There is a feeling from some concerned residents that a Bike Park at the site of the old gravel pit on South Otter Bay Rd. would mean that mountain bikes would end up in Rhoe Lake Park, and specifically the trails around the Rhoe Lake area. Why would anyone choose to go through approximately !/2 mile of dense forest to get to the trails, when at the present moment, anyone with a bike can access the park at various places where the park border is the road, or enter the park with a bicycle at the trail head. It is very easy. As well, despite what some may think, it would be an extreme feat to bushwhack through, and ride that steep and dense terrain. There would be no point. Ron Hamilton, of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and Carolyn Stewart, of Parks Canada, have both said, in writing, that if the Islands Trust and/or the CRD were able to show overwhelming support by Pender Island residents for the Bike Park to be located in the old gravel pit, Parks Canada would agree to discuss the matter. It was further stated that GINPR would consider a purchase or land swap by the CRD. That is a major step forward!!

    Now YOU have to tell our local Trustees and the CRD Director Susan De Gryp that you really support this proposal. Tell them why. It’s up to you to show your support. PLEASE, take 5 min.

    Write to: CRD Director Susan De Gryp, 625 Fisgard St., Victoria, B.C., V8W 1R7 Email:
    North Pender Local Trust, Box 80, Pender Island, B.C., VON 2M0

    Comment by Jocko — May 30, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

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