A Passion For Trails: Vedder Mountain Trails Association
Vedder Mountain has for decades been a temple of recreation for people of the Fraser Valley. Recreation trails here date back more than half a century. Whether these trails began as game trails, old skid roads, or hunting trails, all have been co-opted over the ensuing decades by people eager to get out and experience nature, get away from the demands of busy lives or simply to get some exercise.
First ever VMTA photo 2004
In late 2003 a group of recreationists with an abiding passion for Vedder Mountain's trails came together to make a difference. Representatives from Backcountry Horseman of BC, Vedder Running Club, Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association, Chilliwack Outdoor Club, Cascade Off Road Motorcycle Club and Lower Mainland ATV Club (joined October 2010) came together in what initially would appear to be an un-holy union to support collective interests in Vedder Mountain's trails. We agreed that our common interests outstripped our differences. This cooperative approach gave birth to a unique partnership that has seldom been seen amongst recreationists. Our original members felt that the interests of today's recreation enthusiasts were being lost to the relentless pressures of industry and the logging trade. The end result was a very real fear that the juggernaut of industry and economy would leave recreation, nature, green spaces and future places of exercise and recreation on Vedder Mountain a mere figment of our collective imaginings.
In early 2004, ad hoc rallies in support of Vedder Mountain's extensive trail network brought hundreds of supporters and the media out in force. The coverage received led to never before attention from industry and logging representatives and Government officials, and Vedder Mountain Trails Association was born.
VMTA began with a mandate to negotiate with industry and the government on behalf of all of the members of our respective individual recreational clubs. Our goal; legitimizing and sanctioning of the extensive network of trails on Vedder Mountain to preserve them for future generations. To this end the VMTA executive pursued meetings and eventually (in 2005) secured agreements with NorthWest Hardwoods to preserve trails that lay within their permitted logging cutblocks. Pre and post-harvest tours allowed VMTA to have input on what are good and bad logging practices relative to the preservation of our trails. As a result, trails that would have been lost are open and available for the enjoyment of anyone who wants to venture into the woods.
Logging cutblock tour 2005
VMTA continues to negotiate with the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations (formerly the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Art) representatives pursuing our goal of achieving a legally recognized status for these trails. The end result would be trails that could not disappear. These negotiations have led to comprehensive GPS mapping of the trail network, education and instruction on trail establishment, planning, building and maintaining and the ability to secure some funding to assist with ongoing trail signage and maintenance. Though our job is far from done, the trails we have today are better, safer, and more sustainable as a result and will only get better. We at VMTA live by our motto; "Making Vedder Trails Better".
VMTA founding President