Algoma Trail Network Mountain Bike Master Plan

We interviewed Matt Hadley, Project Manager and Travis Anderson, Director of Tourism & Community Development for the City of SSM about the ATM Master Plan. Click the links below to watch! 

Part 1
Part 2

A review by Andre Riopel, Advocacy Director
 
The ATN master plan is finally official and an impressive document it is. A big shout out to Travis Anderson and his team for being to see the potential for MTB in SSM. The plan is ambitious and starts out by describing the advantages of being a Trail Town for tourism, to attract new people and to benefit of our citizens. When complete, the MTB scene will explode in this city.

For those of us whose experience with mountain biking is limited to the 30-40 km of trails at Hiawatha the plan goes over an inventory of those trails and breaks it down to type which falls into two main categories: technical trails (which is all we have) and ”flow trails” which are machine built and amplify the natural feeling of flowing through the trails, a sensation that makes all velocity sports so attractive.  
The two main types of trails are further classified into difficulty levels and the importance of having something for every type of rider.  A balanced variety of trails is the cornerstone of becoming a Trail Town.  
The plan then gets down to identifying all our existing network and points to the obvious absence of FLOW trails in our network.  So the focus for us is to create an extensive network of FLOW trails for all levels.  Our community is blessed with the right type of terrain to build such trails and cooperative landowners who allow us to build these trails on their properties (Kinsmen Club and SSM Conservation Authority).  

The plan also focuses on a Trail Head staging area that would include a skills park, pump track, jumping zone in the accessible area near adjacent to the Kin Centre.   This would be a perfect venue for our fledgling children’s program ensuring the creation of a new generation of cyclists. 
The trail system itself is based on having a intermediate main trail with “stacked loops” off the main trail for expert level trails. I was particularly impressed with the proposed expert runs down the old ski hill.  I might learn to fly after all. 

Another item which I am very excited is included is a connection from the HUB Trail on Third Line to the Red Pine System, something we have been advocating for many years.  Imagine that almost no matter where you live you will be able to ride a VERY extensive network of cycling trails very close to you home without having to ride a roadway.  All we need now is a connection to Root River and Crimson Ridge and we could have 100’s of km of trails that would all be connected but I digress.  

The first components of the master plan, the west link to Farmer Lake has already begun and is expected to be completed this summer as well as some improvements to the Crystal System to make the whole thing a lot more “flowy” if you know what I mean.  To complete the rest of the plan, it will take a dedicated effort to find money and support, but as Travis said, you need a plan to apply for “shovel ready projects” and this plan is a big move in that direction.  For the skeptics out there who believe it’s too ambitious, I heard similar things when we were advocating for the Hub Trail and here we are.  I have no doubt that money to support cycling in it’s many forms will be available in the post Covid world as we need to shift focus on climate change.  And there is no better way to get more people cycling more often to do more things than to build infrastructure that supports the activity.  

Click to view the entire plan: