New trail map could stir conflict 

P>Trail users asked to respect closures and private land

A Function Junction-based mapmaker is trying to tread lightly across private land issues with the third edition of its Whistler-area trail map.

The map – which includes a myriad of hiking and mountain biking routes – does not include trails in contentious areas such as Pemberton's MacKenzie Basin and Whistler's Emerald Forest.

"The idea is that the trails are there," said Ryan Robertson, an employee of Terrapro GPS Surveys Ltd. "But it's up to the user to get permission from the landowner."

The map includes a disclaimer that tells trail users to act responsibly.

"The map does not distinguish between public and private property. Please respect all posted signs."

The map also lists internationally recognized mountain bike "rules of the trail," which asks riders to respect closures and refrain from trespassing on private land.

But the map is being sold at outlets throughout the Whistler area and may be used as a reference by out-of-town visitors who are not familiar with local trail access issues.

Three popular MacKenzie Basin trails were closed this June after conflicts between mountain bikers and the landowner.

Smoke A Howie and the lower portions of Cop Killer and Hawaii Five-O were made off-limits after the landowner was verbally abused and physically threatened by trail users.

A hand-drawn map distributed at local bike shops was the original catalyst for the Pemberton trail conflicts.

"We haven't heard any complaints yet," said Guy Patterson, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's trail access co-ordinator. "But it is the end of summer."

According to Patterson, an area trail plan is proceeding and will most likely be adopted by the SLRD in the fall after a public hearing.

The newly formed Pemberton Valley Trails Association is also part of the plan. The group includes trail users and landowners.

"The map could raise frustration levels, which could affect our negotiations with private landowners," Patterson told Pique Newsmagazine. "Only time will tell if the map will increase the potential for conflict."

A number of mountain bike trails in Whistler's Emerald Forest have been closed in the last year after the area was designated a conservation area by the municipality.

The Emerald Forest trails were included in previous ride guides but do not appear on the new Terrapro map.

Terrapro has produced three editions of Whistler trail maps. The first guide appeared in 1996.

The company has also produced trail maps for Downieville, Calif., Canmore, Alta., and Vancouver's North Shore.

All the trails on the Canmore map are now off-limits to mountain bikers due to conflicts between trail users.

And despite being one of the world's top mountain bike playgrounds, the North Shore map only shows hiking routes.

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