Bike Cochrane has been named the town's official trail stewards.
The agreement was announced at last night's successful season kick-off membership drive and silent auction fundraiser.
It's a pilot project that will allow Bike Cochrane's volunteer trail crews to repair and manage some of the town's trails.
Paul Perrault, director of operations for the nonprofit organization. says they will initially work on the Ranche and Sunset Ridge trails. They'll be brought up to safety standards and will include basic wayfinding and mapping, along with user education signage.
The organization has several volunteer trail crews but welcomes more people to help formalize, remediate and expand upon Cochrane's trail network for mountain biking, walking, trail-running, and on-leash dog walking.
Those interested can reach out here.
Bike Cochrane president Robert Martens says the agreement is a result of a relationship Bike Cochrane has been building with the town over the last couple of years.
He says it largely started with the restoration work they completed on the Grandfather Trail in the Cochrane Ranche that included a boardwalk. They've since offered to work in partnership with the town to address pathways needing general maintenance, largely due to usage and erosion.
"We started to talk about that and it evolved into a formal agreement that's signed, where we outlined the rules of engagement, and we're official trail stewards now on behalf of the Town of Cochrane."
Perrault is excited to see the program begin this summer that will once again allow residents access to natural areas to create right here in town.
"Bike Cochrane is really excited to share our great mountain biking with more people as it becomes more accessible," states Perrault. "Once these trails are signed with clear user behaviour, and a group like Bike Cochrane is actively managing the trails, many more residents of Cochrane can appreciate unique places within our town, without negatively affecting the land.”
The kick-off celebration was the first they've been able to hold since their inaugural year. They packed Rocky View Brewing.
"It's impressive how many people came out, and we definitely observed that there was a need for it to connect and talk about all the exciting initiatives we're undertaking," says Martens.
The club boosted as membership of 400 last season and has had a strong response in the early going this year.
"Based on what I've seen the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't be surprised if we're already sitting at 250 or more," says Martens.
Membership has its benefits, including access to their private Buffalo Bean Trail, located on the grounds of the Cochrane and District Agriculture Society.
Volunteers are currently preparing the popular LaunchPad, located behind Garmin on Bow St., for its opening. Weather permitting, it will open soon.
You'll know when it's available to ride when the barricades are removed. Using the LanchPad beforehand will cause costly damage to the facility.
Cochrane Crusher gravel cycling event
Registrations continue to roll in for the inaugural Cochrane Crusher gravel cycling event on Aug. 21, which includes fondo, race, and e-bike components.
Martens says the event is starting to fill up, and they continue to have additional sponsors step forward with great prizes.