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Trail development continues for Bighorn Ridge

Masha Scheele

Most of Hinton’s mountain bike trail users told the Hinton Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) they are looking for intermediate to advanced downhill trails.

The feedback was received during a community engagement session held Feb. 23 to get a sense of what riders want most out of the trail system and the Bighorn Ridge Project.

“Developing these trails would help us meet the needs of our local riders and bring in riders from outside of town,” said Casey MacKay, HMBA secretary, adding that Hinton has a good network of cross country and beginner trails in the bike park.

The HMBA, in partnership with West Fraser, are in the initial stages of creating a master trail plan for the Bighorn Ridge south of town and have hired a consultant, McElhanney, to complete the master plan.  Matt Hadley, a trail technologist with McElhanney, also attended the community session with his wife. Hadley works on the Trails, Tourism, Parks and Recreation team with McElhanney, which is based in Canmore. 

“We proceeded to hire him after getting many very positive references from other communities in Alberta and BC,” she said.

Hoots Inc. completed the five km downhill section last fall, an upgrade of the previous historic trail. 

“Jay Hoots worked to make the trail sustainable, less susceptible to water damage and fixed up multiple water crossings,” MacKay said.

Hoots is currently working on a mellow grade trail intended for uphill, non-motorized travel intended to be completed within the next year.

West Fraser has funded the two current trails and HMBA is working hard to apply for grants and donations to get more trails on the mountain, MacKay explained.

“Having this master plan completed will improve our chances of being successful with more grants,” she said.

HMBA envisions a trail network on the Big Horn with various trails for all ages and skill levels, to be enjoyed by both locals and tourists.