Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club Trail Development in Trowbridge Forest

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Thunder Bay – SPORTS – “The Trowbridge Masterplan will help expand Trowbridge Forest into a destination for all outdoor trail users. New additions to the park will bring some unique opportunities for riders to enjoy such as the Kinsmen Bike Park with jump lines and a pump track, 5 downhill mountain biking trails which will be the first of their kind in Thunder Bay, and destination-worthy singletrack that will highlight the unique terrain and breathtaking views. These additions will allow users to spread out across the trail system and progress their skills on a wide variety of trails,” states Michael Mckenzie, Blacksheep Trails Coordinator.

The 2021 year for the Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club has been the largest and busiest to date. Currently Blacksheep membership is over 500 members. Compared to just under 400 in 2020 and less than 300 in 2019. That’s close to double in just two years The club has also been hard at work creating and maintaining the trail system that lives north of the highway between Blasam Street and Copenhagen Road. It has taken hundreds of volunteer hours to make those trails available to all users. Our trail counter has registered over 30,000 uses this year alone.

It’s no surprise that mountain biking in Thunder Bay has seen such large growth. Bike sales have surged 40% globally since the pandemic began. Bike shops have been sold out of bikes since last spring and manufacturers all over the world are struggling to keep up.

One piece of development that Blacksheep is working on this year is the Skills Park located at the Trowbridge Park. We have contracted local trail building company Precambrian to construct the Skills Park this Fall. There are 4 unique jump lines and a pump track. These features are a fantastic way for riders to build skills safely and effectively. The different trails provide a good progression for riders as they develop new skills. This skills park was just one piece in the Trowbridge Master Plan that Blacksheep developed with the city of Thunder Bay. New play structures and a pavilion are part of that plan and will be added next year.

The Balsam Connector, that was completed earlier this year, and more trails included in the master plan will have a profound impact on the community in other ways as well. Tourism has seen an increase from out-of-town riders. The bike trails also provide an excellent opportunity for healthy outdoor recreation. The trails are multiuse and see plenty of foot traffic alongside the riders. A large trail running race recently utilized some of the Trowbridge trails.

Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club is lucky to be surrounded by such a beautiful forest and be part of an amazing community of outdoor enthusiasts. The club is all 100% volunteer run and couldn’t have made this much progress without our wonderful community.

For anyone with questions regarding the Trowbridge Master Plan we have created a short FAQ page on our website: https://www.blacksheepmtb.com/2021/10/14/trowbridge-forest-recreation-trails-master-plan-faq/

 

Jonathan Portinga
Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club Communications Director