As I write this update; the UROC board of directors, and our Executive Director Dougal are finishing our second day of a strategic planning session for 2023. We have dedicated a weekend to some heavy lifting as an organization, working on governance structure, developing our strategic goals for 2023 and beyond, and planning and reviewing our operational plans for the coming year. Its inspiring to see what we’ve been able to accomplish as a group in a short period of time and also daunting when we look at everything, we’re trying to achieve in the next 12 months.
The efforts we are all putting in towards making the Cumberland trails the most enjoyable for all users are certainly working in many ways. I think we can all agree that the user experience continues to improve, the trail quality has been elevated in recent years, the maintenance work has resulted in less trail conflict and an improved user experience. The new trails being constructed by both UROC through capital projects (New Vanilla, Sobo No Michi, Blueprint & Funky Vanilla etc) and the countless new volunteer built trails are resulting in more new places to recreate and a well connected and cohesive trail experince. The Board of Directors have been working on developing strategies for access/interface in the network to release pressures on the yellow gate area, developing and adopting trail etiquette and signage to reduce user conflicts in the network, we have developed numerous board level policies and a 3rd party event policy due to the increased use of the network by events and 3rd party operators. We are also engaging with the Village of Cumberland and CVRD about sustainable funding to ensure we can implement operational plans to support our strategic work. We are engaging with the Village and stakeholders on existing and new trail projects. We are doing our best to support our ED, so that the trails can continue to be as rad as they’ve ever been. We’ve just implemented a new board structure which includes subject matter liaisons for our ED to better support the great work he and his staff are accomplishing and we recognise that the membership uptake has increased year on year giving us new levels of support.
What might stand out to me as one of the biggest successes that we’ve achieved in the trail system is the progress we are making in Cumberland towards a more sustainable trail system. To this end, we now have a new land access agreement with the landowners and an MOU with the Village of Cumberland which will provide us all with continued recreational opportunities for the foreseeable future and beyond.. The underpinning of our management of the trails is the land access agreements and we are thrilled with the new agreements we have in place. Much work is still needed to ensure the long term sustainability of our trails, but I’m confident our community is up to the task while facing the many pressures caused by climate change and ever increasing use of the trail network.
Challenges Of 2022 And Beyond
As we look to the future, the trail system’s needs will continue to evolve and change. These changes will be shaped by a myriad of factors such as:
- Population growth
- The increasing popularity of outdoor recreation
- Climate change
- Demographic, cultural, social, and economic shifts in the future state of our community
- Land access
- Other pressures we likely can’t even predict at this time
Between the increased use of the trails along with challenges created by the 100+ days of no rain this past summer and the heat dome and atmospheric river in 2021, our trail crew and volunteers are working harder than ever to maintain the trails to the standards expected of all of us and those standards UROC has agreed to under the license agreement and responsibility for effective risk management. A big debt of gratitude is owed to the tremendous work of UROC’s Executive Director extraordinaire Dougal Browne, the UROC Trail Crew, and the hundreds of volunteers who have taken up their shovels and mattocks, and are accepting the challenges of the trail system head on. Without their tireless energy and huge effort the Cumberland trails wouldn’t be able to deliver the world class trail experience that we all enjoy.
The Future State
Lastly, at the beginning of this letter I mentioned that UROC’s board of directors were working hard to develop our new strategic goals and priorities for the coming year. I’m pleased to share them with you and I look forward to sharing more about our progress we’ve made at our AGM on April 19th, 2023. We will share regular updates like this letter from the UROC board of directors in the year ahead.
- Develop a multi-year (2-5 year) funding plan
- Develop a plan for how UROC is going to manage and organize races and events for the next 2-3 years
- Increased focus on community and stakeholder engagement
- Continued refining of governance practices and organizational development
Adam Speigel – UROC President and Board Chair
I would like to acknowledge that we live work and play on the Unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation