Mountain bikers have the North Shore Mountain Bike Association. Mountaineers have the B.C. Mountaineering Club. Even local dog walkers have an association.
But the hundreds of people who take to the North Shore’s trails simply to go for a run have never had a group to lobby for their interests and speak on their behalf, until now.
The nascent North Shore Trail Runners’ Alliance is now recruiting members.
When the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation caused controversy last fall by temporarily banning trail users of all kinds from its Blair Rifle Range lands off Mount Seymour Parkway, mountain bikers were front and centre in liaising with the District of North Vancouver and the federal government. Trail runners were more of an afterthought, said Matt White, one of the founders of the alliance.
“There really wasn’t a voice for the trail runners so a few of us got together,” he said. “The trailing running community is a growing community and one, we thought, that needed a voice.”
White announced the formation of the group from the stage at this year’s Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival at Centennial Theatre and has since launched a Facebook group called the North Shore Trail Runners’ Alliance, which today has about 150 members.
Plans now are to invite trail runners to a general meeting, elect a board of governors, officially incorporate as a society and start building a consensus with members on the group’s future priorities.
“I think the needs of trail runners are complementary to the other trail users but there are some distinctions,” said White, noting trail surface and access requirements often differ. “We want to work in harmony with (other trail users) but when it comes to decisions on bridging and trail clearing and trail use, we’ll participate in that and keep development that is also complementary for the trail runner.”
The group can be found on Facebook by searching North Shore Trail Runners’ Alliance.