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Athabasca Muskeg Creek Mountain Bike Trails Initiative 


Outdoor recreation opportunities are essential to a thriving community: one that provides
healthy places to work, live, and play. In Athabasca, the Athabasca River (including developed
spaces and trails on the landing) and the Muskeg Creek trail system offer our outdoor recreation
foundations. A growing group of local outdoor enthusiasts is working towards increasing these
opportunities by developing dedicated mountain bike trails and supporting facilities within the
Muskeg Creek trails system and adjoining lands within the town of Athabasca. 
The proposed trails and elements will provide space for a range of mountain bike users to have
a positive experience in an inviting space. As individuals and among families and groups, from
early to advancing technical skills, the mountain bike trails will serve local riders and attract
visitors from outside the region. Looking to other mountain bike trails like those in Hinton, we
know that dedicated riders will travel to the trails as a destination and may stay and enjoy other
services in the area. 

Athabasca’s mountain bike trails initiative includes a range of proposed enhancements that will
be designed and developed in phases over time to result in safe and environmentally
sustainable recreation opportunities that align with other local features. These developments
may include: singletrack mountain bike trails that will intersect with the existing multiuse mowed
and paved trails, a skills park where newcomers can build riding skills and confidence in a safe
and contained space, and more advanced and technical riding features and trails. To begin, a
professional mountain bike trail designer will be hired to compile a master plan in consultation
with local stakeholders. This will prioritize trail and skill elements that are most appropriate for
the community, terrain, and funds available.    

Enhancing these outdoor recreation spaces in a planned and deliberate manner, in alignment
with municipal planning and development outcomes, will contribute to attracting and retaining
local residents and employers, and encourage visitors to the area. This initiative will support
others like it including those of the Tourism and Economic Development committee, the Aspen
View School Division, and the Rural Physicians Attraction Program. Developing outdoor
recreation opportunities supports individual physical and mental wellbeing and, in turn,
community wellness. Directing individuals to trails and facilities that are well situated and
managed ensures that recreation is occurring in a safe and sustainable manner.  

The Athabasca Muskeg Creek Mountain Bike Trails Initiative is in its introductory stages. Early
next steps include reaching out to the Town of Athabasca and Athabasca University as
administrators of the affected lands. Soliciting public input at this stage is equally important. The
Athabasca Northern Nordic Club, a longstanding local society that maintains working
relationships with the Town and University, supports this initiative by recently broadening its
membership to a biking community. Moving forward, the mountain bike trails initiative will
require capital investment, professional design, safety and liability mitigation and communication
to support the development of a trails master plan, development, and ongoing maintenance of
proposed facilities using a phased approach.

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