Friday 18th August 2017,
Ottawa Mountain Bike Association
OMBA News

Advocacy

OMBA’s purpose is to improve mountain bike trail access by working with local landowners, stakeholders, clubs, and riders in the Ottawa/Outaouais region.

We are a non-profit, volunteer organization that applies best practices developed through our affiliation with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). We build working relationships with land managers, develop and manage year-round trails, promote mountain biking initiatives, and host events for our local mountain biking community.

If you love mountain biking and trail access is important to you, we welcome your support. Join us in making the Ottawa/Outaouais region a better place to ride.

Advocacy on behalf of Ottawa, Outaouais and the surrounding area is an important mandate for our association. We have realized some very successful, sustainable projects in recent years, including

  • Mississippi Valley Trails (Almonte). OMBA continues to develop and maintain a year-round, 15 km network of shared-use trails connecting Almonte to the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area and beyond. The trails are on a mix of private land, unopened municipal road allowances, land managed by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, and provincial lands. OMBA volunteers in Almonte have been extending this trail each year, with the goal of building an IMBA Epic from Almonte to Pakenham.

  • Fatbike/snowbike pilot trail in Gatineau Park. This is a shared-use singletrack trail system that OMBA has developed in partnership with the National Capital Commission. By all accounts, cyclists, snowshoers, walkers, and runners are successfully sharing this newest trail network without conflict. OMBA supplied volunteers to assist with signage and maintenance of the trail system and our members act as ambassadors to other users and visitors of the trail system. OMBA continues to advocate for more winter access to trails in Gatineau Park for fat biking. Here is a great CBC News video.

  • South March Highlands Conservation Area (Kanata). OMBA successfully partnered with the City of Ottawa to create and maintain a 20+ km technical singletrack trail system in this remarkable natural forest. OMBA acts as the trail steward and supplies the volunteer labour to build, map, sign, and maintain these trails for shared use in both summer and winter.  CBC Video from 2014

  • Camp Fortune. OMBA continues to work with Camp Fortune to create a sustainable trail network for both cross-country and downhill mountain biking.  

Our on-going projects include:

  1. City of Ottawa Bike Park. OMBA continues to advocate for a bike park that incorporates a pump track, jumps, skills area, and other features for riders of all skill levels to enjoy in a central location of Ottawa.

  2. Gatineau Park unofficial trails. OMBA has put significant effort into advocating for opening up some of the unofficial singletrack trails in Gatineau Park. As part of this work, OMBA has been working with the National Capital Commission to determine which trails are sustainable for mountain biking according to IMBA best practices.  

  3. Grassroots support. Many smaller grass-roots bike organization are also asking OMBA for advice and support on trail development. Recently the communities of Wakefield, Chelsea, Brockville, and Calabogie have all approached OMBA for ideas.  

  4. Shadows Ridge (2015,16), close to the Richcraft Recreation Complex, Innovation Drive, Kanata is the latest trail to have been built by volunteers led by the OMBA trail builders. The process involved:

  • Trail mapping (OMBA expertise)

  • Environmental approval from City of Ottawa (City Staff and contractors)

  • Trail clearing (OMBA Members)

  • Trail building (OMBA Members)

  • Trail Riding, Running, Walking (Everyone)

The Shadows Ridge project is ongoing and is a great way to become involved with OMBA if that is your interest. We certainly appreciate the help with the clearing and building.

How can you help with advocacy?

  • Unify the local mountain biking community so we have a common voice

  • Speak up and educate: Help people to understand what OMBA is involved in.

  • Respect the Trails: Encourage riders to follow IMBA guidelines on riding, trail building, and trail maintenance

  • Maintain our trails to the best of your ability

  • Introduce riders to the trail networks in the area

  • Share resources to facilitate advocacy efforts and getting the work done

  • Only build and maintain trails where you have permission to do so.