2017 will go down as the most exciting year for mountain biking that Thunder Bay and the surrounding region has ever seen!
After securing grant funding from Tourism Northern Ontario, Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club was able to partner with the City of Thunder Bay Parks Department and bring in industry expects to consult on a Master Plan Design for the trails in Trowbridge Forest. The design looked at all uses of the park areas known as Shuniah Mines, Centennial Park (north of the highway), Kinsmen Park, Trowbridge Campground, and the rest of the undeveloped land between Balsam Street, on the west side of the Expressway, and up to Cascades Conservation Area to the north.
The plan may be mountain bike focused, but it definitely takes into account all user groups of the park and attempts to provide expanded recreation opportunities for everyone to enjoy in all seasons! Currently Trowbridge Forest consists of 29 km of trails broken into the follow types:
- Mountain Bike Specific Single-track Trails – 12,220 m
- Nordic Double-track Trails – 11,462 m
- Other Multi-use Trails – 5,253 m
The Trowbridge Forest Master Plan
Click Here to see the design.
The master plan will see a significant expansion to the mountain bike specific trails, mountain bike optimized multi-use trails and park amenities. Overall, approximately 20,800 meters of trail will be added to the system. Key areas of expansion will include:
- Balsam Street Connector – This area will consist of a main multi-use trail with optional mountain bike specific lines and a new trail head. A new parking area and trail head will be established off Balsam St.
- Top of the Bluff Zone – A mountain bike optimized multi-use trail will ring the top of the Centennial Mesa offering views of Lake Superior and the Current River basin. Mountain bike specific lines will link in with this trail both on top and below the ridge line. Optional advanced boulder lines will provide technical challenge.
- Gravity Zone – Four gravity specific mountain bike trails ranging from intermediate to advance will flow down from the Centennial Mesa. Riders will have the option of both flow trail and technical lines. An uphill switchback climb will allow for quick access back to the top.
- 2k Corridor – Redevelopment of the 2k hillside will see beginner level access into the heart of Shuniah Mines and redevelopment of the intermediate trail Upper 2k. A Beginner level link will connect the area to the trail head at Kinsmen Park.
- Hill Top Ridge – Addition of an advance level descent from the existing intermediate flow trail. Below, an intermediate cross country connector will provide a route back into Shuniah and additional advanced level technical trails will provide riders with optional challenge.
Once complete the final system will provide approximately 32 km of mountain bike trails and over 42 km of recreational trails. On top of all this, the plan will see significant expansion to winter trail use for fat biking/ snowshoeing and provide more areas to be machine groomed.
Kinsmen Park Trail Head
The area around Kinsmen Park will see significant upgrades and will be developed into a full multi-use trail head complete with a skills park, dirt jumps, kids learning zone, pathways, a shade pavilion, and playground. A large portion of the open field will be maintained for general use. This area will be the main trail head for the system.
Development of the Plan
Clearly development of this plan is extensive and will require significant resources and investment of not only funding, but time and labour. All parties involved are committed to the development of this plan and are currently seeking out all opportunities. But we can’t do this alone, and a plan of this magnitude requires support from many different areas. If you are wondering how you can get involved, well, there are many options:
SUPPORT: Mountain biking growth through Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club. For years the club has been known for the races and events that we hold each summer, but we are also responsible for maintaining and developing all the mountain bike trails in the park. On top of this, we work to advocate for mountain biking opportunities and growth in the community. For those who are interested we offer a Trail and Club Supporter Membership at the annual cost of $20. This money goes directly to support initiatives like the Master Plan.
DONATE: We work tirelessly every year to ensure that all the funds brought into the club are stretched as far as possible. Donations and sponsorship are the number one way we currently fund our trail development each year. Every dollar we bring in for trail development helps. For more information on how to donate contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET INVOLVED: Much of the current development is done through volunteer work, and more hands make for lighter workloads. Volunteering is not only fun, but it’s extremely rewarding. There is no greater feeling than riding a completed trail knowing you had a hand in developing it. The club holds regular trail development days and information about these days can be found on our schedule.
Help build something great for this city and get involved today!
The master plan is a City of Thunder Bay Parks Department initiative developed in consultation with Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club and jointly funded by Tourism Northern Ontario. For more information about the plan please check out the city website at: WWW.THUNDERBAY.CA/TRAILS.