Trail Building Association:
TORCA (Tri Cities Off Road Cycling Association)
Location: Port Moody, BC, Canada
The Tri-Cities Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit, charitable organization that advocates for trail use and access in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, and the villages of Belcarra and Anmore (BC, Canada).
They are committed to the maintenance of the trails and the expansion of these networks while striving for long-term sustainability and environmental conscience. TORCA’s mission is to provide public recreational amenities by planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining trails in our local networks.
Favourite trail experience for TORCA’s Sponsorship Director
Flying down TORCA’s newest trails Manhandler and the 3 Little Pigs on Knolly’s new Fugitive 29er. It starts with Steve Sheldon’s infamous “IMBY” climb trail. This switchback filled, punchy climb will test any level of rider. At the top of IMBY, you transition into the beautiful and challenging Physiotherapy and then Psycho Therapy climbing trails. Your efforts are rewarded by coming down the fast and flowy Manhandler & the 3 Pigs.
Another option after you descend Manlandler & the 3 Pigs is to climb back up Physiotherapy to ride East bound & down and Hammer Time. These trails are awesome and have a little bit of everything. They give you some tech as well as super fun flow. This area also has some small rolls, jumps and fun wood features. After Hammer Time, the trail connects with Blue Line, a rad flow trail with beautiful creek crossings. This area is breathtaking; you’re surrounded by Douglas Firs, Cedars, Ferns and the BC Rainforest.
Current trail project
We’ve been working closely with the land managers RSTBC (Rec Sites & Trails BC) as well as the cities of Port Moody, Anmore and Coquitlam.
What completed trail project is TORCA most proud of and why?
I would say the Eagle Mountain project, which has a variety of trails.
TORCA is proud of these trails because there was a time when things were super challenging on Eagle Mountain. This area had great old school trails but they had rotted, were unstable and were dangerous.
Many of the trails were a safety concern for the land managers. Not to mention this area feeds into two salmon hatcheries and is a sensitive environmental space. TORCA knew that these trails had to be built with the highest environmental standards possible and understood that it would take collaboration with the local and provincial land managers.
It was hard work, but with thousands of volunteer hours, four years of applications, site visits with land managers, submitted trail plans, GPS reports and environmental reports, we’ve come to a light at the end of the tunnel. This past year we started entering into official stewardship agreements and at this point, the trails that have been built are not only fun but they also acknowledge the sensitive environmental priorities. It was a complete team effort and a good example of what can be done when a group of dedicated people have a vision and work collaboratively with the land and its owners.
By going through the proper channels and working closely with RSTBC and the local municipalities, we ensure all user stakeholders are finally on the same page. There is a lot more to the story but at this moment, we’re excited for the future of the local trails. Eagle Mountain, Burke Mountain and Bert Flinn Park are where we call home. The trails here rip and it’s only going to get better. The future of mountain biking and local partnerships is bright.
How do you get the local ride community involved in your organization?
We engage the community in a variety of ways. We host local events like “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day”. We also have booths at community days to help educate the public on who we are and what we do. We host monthly trail days, which are sponsored by our amazing community partners. The past two years we started holding local races called the TORCA 500 Series. Some of these “races” are for all ages starting from four years old and up. Other races are run and bike events to bring out both trail runners and bikers. Our race series and events are fun and always end with treats, prizes and pizza! It’s a great way to connect with the local community, have some fun and meet new friends.
What are the plans for the future?
There is so much to be done on Eagle and Burke Mountains, but like many other organizations it comes down to funding, volunteers and capacity. We want to continue to support our working relationship with the province and cities, and build environmentally conscious and sustainable trails.
In addition, we also want to work with local trail builders to do things right. Together we can strategize trail builds, and help supply tools and volunteer hours when needed. We want to create sustainable trails that will last for years. In the end, we need to come together as a united mountain bike community and do it right.