Poised in front of the Ucluelet Brewery, the newly minted Ucluelet Mountain Bike Association board of directors, from left, Louis Maddiford, Nick Holatko, Travis Wade, James Inkster, and Markus Rannala are excited to see the wheels turning on a proposed new trail network. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Poised in front of the Ucluelet Brewery, the newly minted Ucluelet Mountain Bike Association board of directors, from left, Louis Maddiford, Nick Holatko, Travis Wade, James Inkster, and Markus Rannala are excited to see the wheels turning on a proposed new trail network. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Ucluelet mountain bike non-profit takes flight

Vision for Ukee’s new trail system focuses on fun, inclusive trails for all riding abilities

Ucluelet is positioning itself to drop in on British Columbia’s mountain bike scene with friendly, flowing trails through Bigfoot’s backyard.

In the spring of quarantine 2020, the group of local riders behind the once elusive Ucluelet Mountain Bike Association (UMBA) got serious: they incorporated as a non-profit, launched a website, opened a bank account, and secured an insurance policy.

“It seems like the timing is right for everything. It’s surprising how it’s all coming together,” said UMBA president Markus Rannala.

The vision for Ucluelet’s new trail system is to focus on fun, inclusive trails for all riding abilities, notes Rannala.

“In a nutshell, the huge surge in the popularity of mountain biking can largely be attributed to the evolution of trail building and the style of trail construction. It’s a far cry from the original extreme vertical descents, and the new style of trail focuses more on beginner friendly, flowing terrain that can be enjoyed by a wide-spectrum of skill and ability levels,” he said.

UMBA board member James Inkster said clearing all the dense brush is not going to be an easy feat, but the end game will be worth it.

“It will give tons of local riders opportunity to ride trails they are comfortable with. They won’t have to travel. And this is literally one of the only places in Canada that you can legitimately mountain bike year round,” said Inkster.

About 20 years ago, Ucluelet’s original mountain bike trail was built on the face of Mount Ozzard. The advanced trail didn’t have much use to the broader community and slowly went into disrepair. But over the last couple of years, there has been a huge push by local volunteers to re-build the Ozzard trail and add entirely new terrain to ride.

“The potential out here is incredible. The economic and community benefits of mountain biking have been well studied and well proven,” said Rannala, adding that Ucluelet has a unique opportunity to tap into a pre-existing tourist base to bring additional revenue to the region.

In 2016, the Western Mountain Bike Tourism Association released a report to determine the economic value of mountain biking in the Sea to Sky corridor (North Shore, Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton). Study results showed that over $70 million of non-resident spending was directly attributed to the mountain bike industry, and as an upshot visitor spending supported 687 full-time jobs.

“I’ve seen the overwhelming success and the huge community benefit that sanctioned trail systems have brought to dozens of other towns throughout B.C.,” said Rannala.

He said he would like to work towards the inclusion and involvement of Indigenous youth programming. In fact, one of UMBA’s mandates is “to build relationships that foster educational and recreational programming with surrounding communities and Indigenous organizations.”

“The development of local trail systems could be a fantastic opportunity for collaboration and involvement with Ucluelet First Nation and Toquaht Nation,” Rannala said.

UMBA recently submitted a comprehensive “Mountain Bike Trail Development Proposal” to the Barkley Community Forest board of directors with the hopes of working with them to fully realize the recreational potential of the area.

As it stands, Ucluelet’s handful of existing mountain bike trails are on Ucluelet First Nation Treaty Lands.

“Further development should only proceed with their development and consent,” said Rannala.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Electric bikes OK on B.C. mountain trails

READ MORE: Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Mountain bikingucluelet

Just Posted

A shot from within Leah McDiarmid’s new gallery shows a sneak peak at June 13’s opening exhibit. (Leah McDiarmid photo)
New gallery promises engaging experience in Tofino

Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art unveils inaugural exhibit on June 13

Louise Rodgers and Georgina Valk cup a handful of freshly sifted, nutrient-rich compost. The duo met about 10 years ago while their kids were in kindergarten. They saw a need for composting in Tofino so they founded Tofino Urban Farm Co. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino moms turn mounds of organic waste into “Black Gold”

Curbside residential and commercial compost pickup to begin in 2022 for West Coasters

Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks thanks Tofino businesses for becoming allies

Businesses say they can play a part in reconciliation by supporting Indigenous stewardship

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Ucluelet mayor and council will wait until further in-person engagement can take place before making their final approval regarding the draft OCP that went to public hearing on May 13. (District of Ucluelet photo)
Future public input session planned for Ucluelet’s draft OCP

“A couple little changes and some housekeeping items and we’ll get to it in September”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read