Update: Council Meeting in Orangeville Regarding Dufferin County Forest Trails.
A small group of equestrians have been trying to rescind a forest management plan that took about four years of consultations and meetings. The plan assigned separate trails for the equestrians and MTB riders. The equestrians addressed their concerns to Dufferin Council on Oct. 12th.
The Orangeville council chambers were full that night. There were about 100 people in attendance and about 25 were CCC members. There were four presenters for the equestrian side and one for the MTB side, who was represented by Johnny Yeaman of Team Van Go (TVG). The MTBers were very vocal compared to the equestrians. The warden had to bang his gavel to quiet us down after Johnny’s presentation.
TVG were primarily criticized for having pictures of alcohol use displayed on their web site, and alcohol consumption is not permitted in DCF. Otherwise the equestrians didn’t really have any meaningful objections, other than they were not consulted during the 4-years it took to complete the plan. This did not draw much sympathy from the town, who felt due diligence was taken in all aspects of the process.
I’ve included a link to the Orangeville Banner’s opinion of the evening. Similarly, their opinion focused on pictures of alcohol rather than addressing the trail plan. They didn’t realize there are many more MTB riders using the forest as compared to equestrians. Nor was it mentioned that the MTB community provides trail building and maintenance, whereas the horse community does not generally contribute.
After the council meeting I went to dinner with Johnny and his friends. We talked about the common challenges MTB clubs have and the future of the DCF trails. He asked me to pass along his thanks to all the CCC members who came out - “It meant so much to me and all of us to see the support from Caledon. I can't explain how comforting that all was”.
It’s always nice to meet people who are on the same MTB wavelength. Cyclists are frequently disliked by most people - both on the road and on the trails, so it’s always good to meet kindred spirits. We have to keep together and it’s important to keep the cycling community strong.