The recreational trails on Mission's Red Mountain were damages last week by a group of unknown dirt bikers.

The recreational trails on Mission's Red Mountain were damages last week by a group of unknown dirt bikers.

Mission’s Red Mountain trails trashed by dirt bikes

‘One twist of the throttle’ can undo thousands of dollars of hard work

A group of dirt bikers left their mark on the Red Mountain biking/hiking trails last weekend.

On Sunday, May 29, reports came into the district regarding approximately 20 dirt bike riders, riding in a group around Red Mountain on the recreational trails created for hikers and mountain bikers.

Dirt bikes and quads are not permitted on the trails.

According to Kelly Cameron, forest technologist for the District of Mission, the riders caused “quite a bit of damage, especially after the heavy rains.”

Red Mountain, located between Dewdney Trunk Road and Hayward Lake, has many carefully tended trails for hikers and cyclists; some even allow horseback riding. However, signs clearly state that dirt bikes are forbidden.

Rocky Blondin, a representative of the Fraser Valley Mountain Bikers Association, said dirt bikes “wreak havoc” on the trails, but the damage so far is “not irreparable.”

“The trails are OK. We can fix them. But if it happens two or three more times, we won’t be able to fix them. That’s the concern,” said Blondin.

He explained that dirt bike wheels dig a trench in the middle of trail water. Water then seeps in and the trail starts to erode.

“It goes downhill quickly.”

The Red Mountain trails are more than 30 years old and Blondin said they involve a long legacy of local Mission residents who established a small network of trails and have grown them over the years.

“We put in thousands of dollars a year into the trails, as an association. Those guys can undo thousands of dollars of work with one twist of the throttle. It’s heartbreaking.”

With summer about to arrive, the use of motorized recreational vehicles has increased.

Cameron said there are plenty of other places for licensed dirt bikers to ride, including logging and forest service roads. There is also a large dirt biking area on Blue Mountain in Maple Ridge.

“That’s a designated provincial site with over 250 kilometres of actual dirt bike trails,” said Cameron, who added that a $250 fine could soon be in place for anyone caught using a motorized vehicle on designated non-motorized trails.

She said the new Good Neighbour Bylaw, currently being debated by Mission council, would include the new fine.