The hum and thump of mountain bikers commonly heard riding through Broomhill Park may be no more after manmade trails and structures were dismantled on May 23.
According to a Ministry of Forests spokesperson, the trails and structures were built without authorization on the Crown land, and were decommissioned because they posed a liability for the province and danger to public safety.
Lorien Arnold, owner of Sooke Mountain Cycle and founder of the Sooke Bike Club, said there is an understanding as to why the biking amenities were removed, but added members of the biking community have expressed disappointment with the action.
“Many people I’ve talked to in the mountain biking community feel a sting for something that they’ve been familiar with for so long, now that the trails have been modified in this way,” he said.
BC Forest Service workers removed the the trails and structures, both old and new, by the end of the day.
“There were structures that were removed that should’ve been removed a long time ago,” said Arnold of dilapidated, no longer used structures. “But there were at least four structures there that were built probably over the last two years and they were built properly…and had a good six or seven years of service life left in them.”
Although notices were posted announcing the trails were going to be dismantled a week prior, Arnold said the sudden action has left mountain bikers feeling unwelcome in an area they frequented regularly.
“There’s a lot of young people that have come into the shop here over the last couple of days really disappointed and upset that they’re not wanted in Broomhill anymore.
“There isn’t any animosity or anything like that from the mountain biking community as a whole, but people are upset and I think a lot of riders are feeling they’ve been left out of the loop when it comes to consolation.”
Another issue of concern is the dismantling of structures without signage warning bikers of the abrupt change.
Arnold said riders who are unaware of the trail alternations may unknowing ride through an area with the expectation of encountering a structure that no longer exists.
“Whenever a trail is changed that can be a dangerous situation, there’s no signage alerting people to the fact that this is happened,” he said.
The structures are not a product of the Sooke Bike Club, and it is unknown who erected them.
Broomhill has been a popular mountain biking destination for the past 15 years, with avid cyclists coming in regularly from Victoria to ride through the park.