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The Dauphin Derailleurs Cycling Club (DDCC) is well on its way to making Dauphin a cycling city.
The club presented a concept plan for a trail system in the Selo Ukraina area, at Countryfest Community Cinema, June 7.
DDCC president Brenda Gregory gave a short history of the development of DDCC, noting the group incorporated in 2017 with a goal to develop trails in the area. With the City of Dauphin’s successful submission to host the PowerSmart 2020 Summer Games, the DDCC is focussing on the development of a mountain bike course at Selo.
Alex Man, with Scatliff, Miller and Murray Urban Design revealed the concept plan.
A geological engineer, expedition racer, coach and father of two racers, Man has been building trails for 15 years.
There is a lot of interest in mountain biking, he said, and the Dauphin area has some of the best topography in the province.
“My overall vision for the whole area, including the park (Riding Mountain National Park) and various towns around it, is to create a destination based on trails,” Man said.
He outlined economic benefits, pointing out proximity to bike trails has been shown to increase property value and bicycle infrastructure is a major consideration, when deciding where to live.
Bicycle tourism favours smaller towns, Man said, adding turning a simple trail into a long-term destination can generate more than six times the revenue per day as day-trippers.
“I think you’re in the sweet spot here. You’re away from the major highways, but not too far,” he said.
The goal is to build trails for several user groups, he said, providing good trails for locals, attracting families to the area who are already visiting RMNP and making it a destination for cyclists.
“The longer your trail network, the more trails you get, the further people will come to visit them,” Man said, noting trails in other communities form a circuit and compliment each other.
The short-term goal of the concept plan is to complete the PowerSmart Manitoba Games course prior to 2020, he said, preferably for spring of 2019.
The course is about four-km long, Man explained, which is spectator friendly and ensures coaches have access to the racers.
While the course is in the planning stage, Man intends to utilize the Selo grounds and include the main stage, as well as the amphitheatre stairs. He anticipates it will be one of the main attractions of the trail system and a destination for annual races.
DDCC is also planning a broader trail network around the course, Man said, eventually integrating with RMNP.
“And there’s a positive vibe for Parks Canada to do that,” he added.
The different trails will be built using a stacked loop system, which is designed with many loops “stacked” on each other, giving users a variety of trail options. Easier, shorter loops are arranged close to the trailhead, with longer, more challenging loops extending further beyond it.
At the corner of Hwy. 10 and the first east west road north of the park, Man said, is a somewhat flat and treed area identified for a trailhead facility and an easy or green rated trail for families.
The blue rated trail is next, for more intermediate riders which, he said, is more narrow, in the bush and is also attractive to runners and walkers. The black rated trails are back country, difficult trails for experienced riders.
“What we want is something that’s going to appeal to a wide range of multi-sport users, not just mountain bikers, but bird watchers, dog walkers, 3D archery, you name it,” Man said, adding there is a large group of ultra runners in the area who will use the course, as well.
DDCC also wants a Manitoba Cup series course, he said, which is longer, to accommodate adults.
“You have some amazing terrain to the west of the Selo site. Across the river, there’s this valley that’s just covered in ferns,” Man said, explaining he lets the terrain guide the trail design and takes advantage of the unique features of the area.
He estimates the concept plan has about 20-km of potential trail, prior to integrating with RMNP.
Cycling is the new golf, Man declared, adding he has been approached to build a trail on an old golf course, which can then be utilized in winter months.
Clayton Swanton, DDCC infrastructure committee chair and PowerSmart 2020 Manitoba Summer Games co-chair admits the plan is a big goal for the community, but he sees it as an economic driver for the area.
“I firmly believe that this is a really strong path forward for us to attract tourism all year long and become a destination place,” he said.
Swanton also introduced local project manager, Scott Sylvester, a retired plant manager of the Jenpeg Generating Station, who has been a bike racer, messenger and mechanic.
Sylvester invited the community to get involved to help the plan become an epic destination.
At the gathering, 2020 Manitoba Summer Games Powered by Manitoba Hydro co-chair Carla Wolfenden presented Gregory with a $250,000 commitment to the project which includes $50,000 from the Dauphin Rotary Club, $25,100 from the Dauphin and District Community Foundation, $75,000 from the City of Dauphin fulfilling its commitment to the Games, along with a matching $75,000 capital project grant from Sport Manitoba. The project was also successful in receiving a $25,000 provincial grant from Partners for Growth.
Wolfenden pointed out many of the sport venues in Dauphin need little improvement or upgrading, other than development of the mountain bike venue.
“But there’s been a new energy, thanks to things like the Mud Run. I find Dauphin a lot more physically active,” she said, adding support of municipality and DDCC will make the permanent bike venue possible.
While the concept plan focussed on 20-km of trail in the Selo area, DDCC secretary-treasurer Melisa Stefaniw said the group is optimistic about developing linking trails to Dauphin and throughout the area in the future.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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