The Mountain Bike Atlantic Fall Summit was held in Fundy National Park this past week, and it was amazing!
Our hosts and black diamond sponsors Parks Canada and Friends of Fundy helped us put on an event that allowed stakeholders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland the chance to learn from one another in an effort to promote the amazing trail networks across Atlantic Canada!
Our Pre-Summit workshop with Parks Canada provided great insight into their approach to sustainable trails. The morning session was hosted by Shirley Butland and provided information on important conservation efforts and techniques used to convert old roadbeds to forest to restore and re-route problematic trail sections. The afternoon session was hosted by Mark Schmidt and focused on the importance of planning sustainable and successful trail systems that meet the needs of a variety of trail users.
We welcomed more attendees on Thursday for the Summit kick off with keynote speaker Terry Tomlin, a godfather of MTB in Atlantic Canada. Terry’s engaging and comical story-telling reminded many in the crowd of how far the sport of mountain biking has come since the 90s, but also of how awesome it is to have this community that is stoked to see the sport flourish in Canada’s East!
To explore the economic opportunities for trail communities with the MTB Atlantic movement, the afternoon saw Panel Discussions with Bill Goulding, owner of Black-Diamond-Summit-Sponsor Sustainable Trails, Jackie Oncescu, PhD UNB, Mayor Cyrille Simard of Ville d’/City of Edmundston, Paul Basile from Keppoch Mountain, Greg Dion from Parc Sugarloaf Park, Mark Schmidt from Parks Canada, Mike Robertson from Sacred Rides PEI, John McNair from Outdoor Elements and joining from the west coast by video conference was Leah Knutson, Project Consultant for MTB Atlantic. Panelists gathered together to answer questions about The Mountain Bike Traveler, Regional Collaboration to Build a Mountain Bike Destination, and Rural Revitalization and Economic Spinoffs of Mountain Bike Tourism.
After enjoying a group ride down Whitetail, we gathered at the Chignecto Pavilion to officially launch www.MTBAtlantic.com! This website is exactly what we wanted to provide; it has rad imagery and videos of the amazing trail networks, blog posts for local tales, information for trail networks obtained from local trail stewards, and trip ideas to help you maximize your visit. Thank you to Tim Foster and Matthew Smith from Dose Media for your dedication to showcasing these amazing trail networks while infusing the East Coast culture into Mountain Bike Atlantic.
Thank you to Bill Goulding of Sustainable Trails and the ECMTB Team for BBQing supper for everyone on Thursday night! A crisp Fall evening filled with exciting conversations by the bonfire closed out the first official Summit day.
Friday began with a workshop supporting the principles and values behind great trail development with Mark Schmidt from Parks Canada. Our local Advocates were in attendance at a training session led by Dose Media to learn about sharing their adventures throughout Atlantic Canada with you through social media. Look for them on the trails and follow their posts at #mtbatlantic!
Friday afternoon welcomed Brian Gallant from Sinister Sports to lead a presentation and discussion on the economic impact of Adventure Tourism as an economic driver in rural communities. McIntosh Run Watershed Association, Mountain Bike Halifax, TrailFlow Outdoor Adventures, and Shoreline Dirtworks hosted an excellent trail builder dialogue that facilitated discussion among peers about what it takes to run a successful club or association and how to build trails to the highest standards while avoiding volunteer burnout. The dialogue sessions were followed by an interactive workshop with Project Manager, Sam Bosence, and the Advisory Committee members to generate ideas for the strategic planning for the future of Mountain Bike Atlantic. Thank you all for your insight and contribution!
On Friday night, Friends of Fundy organized a “Fundy Fresh Culinary Experience” for all attendees! Little Louis’ Fine Dining Chef and avid mountain biker, Pierre A Richard, provided a gourmet seafood feast that was delicious and Instagram worthy! A lineup of Summit attendees eagerly waited their turn to shuck La Maison BeauSoleil oysters dressed with apple & jalepeño mignonette, chive flowers, and crab apple chips! A surprise for the dinner guests was a fresh Bay of Fundy Albacore Tuna, which Chef Pierre seared outside of the Chignecto Pavillion on the green egg BBQ, and served with a squash purée, daikon, apple slaw, amaranth! Farmer Brown’s Greenhouse & Market Garden provided an amazing locally-sourced meal of smoked pork & beans – bellies were full!
On Saturday, we hit the trails for the Road Trip Challenge! Riders visited White Rock Recreation Area, Sussex Bluffs, Elgin – to cheer on the Tour of Elgin racers, and Fundy National Park. Some riders stopped in to local breweries, cideries, coffee shops, bike shops to check out the local offerings before heading back to the Salt and Fir Centre to pick up their new MTB Atlantic pint glass, enjoy local beer & cider, eat local wood-fired pizza and watch an epic movie on this last Summit evening. The Holy Whale tapped 11 kegs filled with beer and cider from the Fundy Region and beyond to kick off the Summit After Party! On the patio, Farmer Brown’s contributed to the amazing post-ride atmosphere, and made fresh, wood-fired pizzas for all! Anthill’s “Return to Earth” screening was an awesome way to chill after a stimulating, stoke-filled, 3 days!
Thank you to our sponsors Giant Canada and Shoreline Dirtworks for the awesome prizes and silent auction items! We were able to auction and giveaway Giant and Liv helmets, gloves, socks, lights, tools, and water bottles. A lucky winner from PEI won a hefty prize from Shoreline Dirtworks – a consultation for a track/trail project in their community! Thank you to the local shops, and tour companies for numerous prizes and donations to our silent auction – Mike’s Bike Shop, Bike Monkey, Be Rad Adventure Company Inc., Outdoor Elements, Tomlin Sports Marketing, Sacred Rides PEI, Trailflow NS Outdoor Adventures, and Parc Sugarloaf Park!
The MTBAtlantic Summit facilitated valuable conversations that united four Atlantic provinces in an effort to showcase Atlantic Canada as a Mountain Bike Tourism Destination.
There is more to come so let’s keep the stoke going in our trail communities. We can all be part of this initiative.
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Thank you to our Sponsors, Advisory Committee, Advocates and to all who attended this Summit!
Contributed by Sam Bosence, Project Manager