Trails from the ground up

It was a busy summer on the Shore. The local trails have been inundated with users of all kinds, even with parking lots closed walkers, hikers and bikers from all over the region made their way to our trails. It means a lot of work for hundreds of volunteers that build and maintain terrain.


Community builder


The North Shore Mountain Bike Association’s Joe Woywitka knows firsthand how busy the trails are. He spends five days a week working on taking care of the region’s trails as its trail crew lead. The covid restrictions initially changed the make of users on the trails, but as the months went on, the numbers continued to rise, he said. 

Joe Woywitka

“I am out working on the trails and the influx of new riders, trail runners and hikers has been huge,” said Woywitka. “We are seeing a lot more beginners out there – which is a good thing. I think they are seeing what goes into the trails. It’s great. It means more people for the sport, more people to support the association and get involved in advocacy for the trails.”

The NSMBA is thrilled to see more riders out – it aligns with their mandate of “Trails for all. Trails forever.” Their goal is to grow the sport to more people and with more diversity. A cause the covid pandemic has helped in its own way. 

With many riders and families spending their season out on the trails for the first time, they are seeing for the first time what it takes to keep the trails on Seymour, Cypress and Fromme safe, said Woywitka.  

“Growing up here there wasn’t the same amount of trail maintenance going on – which means fewer beginner trails or trails that made it easy to get into the sport,” he said. “What the NSMBA has been doing over the last 10 years or so is to make the trails more inclusive and help people get into the sport and also maintaining the more challenging terrain the North Shore is known for.” 


Trail work


It takes a whole community to keep the trails environmentally sustainable, safe and fun. More than 1,600 volunteers shared their time with the NSMBA last year for more than 13,000 volunteer hours. 

The NSMBA uses a dedicated group of 500 volunteers – the Shore Corps – that have all undergone training to lead its community trail days and corporate trail days. Giving a few hours to the trails is something Woywitka would like all riders to consider. With no experience necessary, the Shore Corp takes the lead on guiding volunteers. 

“They are the core group of builders we can lean on to help maintain the trails. Some have ‘their own’ trails that they are the lead builder on and are dedicated to maintain,” he said. 

Today the Corps is needed more than ever as covid protocols require smaller groups further apart. With the trail work days resumed, it is a chance to give back to the sport you love.

“Volunteers are what drives our organization and lets us get the majority of work done. You will see how not only do we maintain the trails but how we make our trails fun,” he said. “The primary focus when we are out doing any sort of trail work is sustainability. When you participate in any form of outdoor recreation there are going to be environmental impacts and our goal is to offset what comes from mountain biking and the trail maintenance. ”


Trails forever


There are a few plans in the works to add more terrain to the North Shore. For the first time, the NSMBA is working with the City of North Vancouver to establish some trails in Greenwood Park, just south of the Upper Levels. 

“We have found a suitable place to build,” said Woywitka. “The terrain is a little bit easier and it isn’t super steep like many parts of the North Shore mountains. It would be a great place for beginner and intermediate trails.”

With the expansion and redesign of trails focusing on newer riders completed over the last few years, the NSMBA is also looking to better service the experienced riders that have been using the trails for decades. 

“Over the last several years we have really rounded out the beginner and intermediate trails and we are hoping to push for a new advanced level trail,” Woywitka said. “Somewhere higher up on Fromme would be the best place for it. It is something the community has been calling for and we want to make sure we are advocating for the higher level riders.”

Visit www.nsmba.ca and check out the calendar for Community Trail Days. There is a plan for family day this fall. You can also email info@nsmba.ca for more information.

How to help support local trails

  1. Support the NSMBA with a membership purchase.
  2. Attend a trail building day.
  3. Shut down braids – the unsanctioned trails between maintained trails.

Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Growing community celebration

This has been an epic gardening season. More people than ever took to the earth and tried their hand a growing their own food. When the rest of the world was closed, the line-ups at Maple Leaf Garden Centre was well down the the block. We have fought cold and wet months, and now moths but Lynn Valley gardens have still never looked better.

And now – we celebrate! 


Virtual Fall Fair


We want to share the gardening glory and hard work being invested in yards and patios. More than anything we would love to gather and look at your summer projects – woodwork, quilts and art. While we would really love to taste your jams, jellys, pickles and pies, it doesn’t seem like the most covid-responsible idea.

Instead we are putting together a digital Fall Fair – we want to share your hard work with our readers and Facebook followers. We are running a contest from now until Sept. 30 for residents of the North Vancouver.

We have four $25 gift cards to Maple Leaf Garden up for grabs!

Send us your photos in one of these categories.

  1. Best flowers/ornamental garden
  2. Best Veggies – garden or harvest
  3. Best basket or container of any kind
  4. Best under 13 years old – I grew it myself!

Here is how you do it:

Pick ONE entry per category.

Put the category in the subject of the email.

Email the photo to robin@lynnvalleylife.com – please send a SEPARATE email for each entry. For adults there is a maximum of three entries, one per category and for children, a maximum of 4.

Include your name, postal code, phone number, age (if entering the child category) and any details you want to add about the photo.

Deadline Sept. 30, 2020.

By entering the contest you consent to receiving future editions of our newsletter, sent once a month. We will not distribute or sell your private information to others.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Camp options in a covid world

There has been a lot of innovation going on behind the scenes of local small businesses and organizations offering kids summer camps. Most options were tossed out the window with Covid-19 safety concerns but a few have pushed through and adapted. We have a list of Lynn Valley activities still available to keep your kids busy and active this summer. 


Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre


The Ecology Centre has three mini-camps scheduled for August. Join Ecology Centre naturalists for adventures, fun, and outdoor education. These mini-camps are for children ages 6 to 9 and run from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Each mini-camp costs $79.95. Phone 604-990-3755 to register. 

If you are looking for a quick morning activity at home, the centre  also has some pre-recorded videos to check out on their website.


Endless Biking


Endless is back with Covid-19 procedures in place to offer mountain biking camps to children 6-16 year old. With half-day camps for the younger and full-day for older kids, their coaches will help instill confidence and skills on the trails. Prices range from $200-485 depending on the length and number of the camp days. Details and registration can be found on their website


Elevate Ultimate Frisbee


Elevate is offering both disc golf and ultimate frisbee activities this summer. Their disc golf camps take place at Eastview Elementary and their ultimate frisbee camp and teams meet at Kirkstone. Both activities are naturally more socially distant than many sports and will keep your kids active and outdoors. Though many camps are full there is space still available in some. Full details can be found on their website


Escape Adventures


Lynn Valley’s own Escape Adventures is back. They have four offerings this summer: The Rippers, Survive the Shore, Extremer Ridders and Shore Shredders. From straight up trail riding to outdoor camps with nature skills and kayaking, the camps have been adapted and coaches trained on proper Covid-19 procedures.


North Van Rec


NVRC is offering full-day outdoor camps during July and August.  They have been designed and offered in accordance with provincial health requirements. The locations are across North Vancouver to take full advantage of our beautiful outdoors. Camps do not include trips to other locations and public transit will not be used. These camps will run rain or shine. Campers should be prepared for the weather as they will be outside all day. One camp will run in Princess Park and Lynn Valley Community Centre. Registration is open now for July and will be open for August camps on July 16. 


Kudzu Studio


If art is more your child’s thing, Lynn Valley’s Jeri Engen is back using her years of children’s art education to teach LIVE, online art classes. They are live streamed small classes offering the same individual attention she offers in studio. All projects are process-based with open-ended prompts that allow each student the ability to create their own unique artwork with one on one attention from an educator. Packages are thoughtfully created to use a limited number of supplies through multiple projects in order to minimize cost and offer the greatest value for families.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Dropping a line near End of the Line

With the rushing waters of the Capilano, the wharf at Cate’s Park and the tranquil quiet of Rice Lake, the North Shore is an angler’s dream. As a quiet, close to home summer sits on the horizon, fishing might be something new to get the family outside.


Getting started


“You can spend as much as $1000 or as little as $50,” said Reece Fowler, education director of the Seymour Salmonid Society. “You can probably spend a lot less than $50 if you head to Canadian Tire or Walmart. You just need a rod kit with a spinning reel.”

Family Fishing Weekend

Provincial fishing regulations allow children under the age of 16 to fish without a licence, but there are handful of rules to learn and becoming familiar with fishing closures (like the Seymour River) is part of fishing responsibly. Plus, there are additional licencing and regulations for saltwater and tidal fishing. 

But really it’s just a kid willing to try, a rod and some bait, says Fowler. While worms are a classic, he has other suggestions to get fish biting. 

“Power Bait is kind of like Play-Doh and comes in a little jar, smells like fish obviously,” he said. “You form a little ball on your hook, and cast it out. A sinker will sit on the lake bed but the bait floats up.”

It is a good option especially in the summer when the trout are deeper in the water.


Local waters


Lynn Valley’s Rice Lake is one of the go to locations for new anglers in the Lower Mainland. The man-made lake is an ideal location for stocked trout. With just a short walk in from the parking lot little legs will still have some energy to fish.

Family Fishing Weekend

“Originally Rice Lake was first made as a water reservoir and then used by the logging industry to help move logs down from Lynn Valley,” said Fowler. “It’s quite a nice environment for trout – there are no water activities, you can’t swim, you can’t go boating. The forest is nearby so there is a fair amount of food for the trout.”

Several times a year Rice Lake is stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. – information worth checking out. Most recently it was stocked with 4,000 trout in the first week of April. 

“It is stocked three or four times a year,” said Fowler. “You have the best chance to catch a fish within a week or two of a release because there are a lot of people who fish there, it gets fished out.” 

Between the stocking and the location Rice Lake is a good bet for a first fishing experience.

“You can park at the top and it’s a five minute walk in. There is a dock there as well as a number of other spots along the lake that have been cleared and created.” 

Being a small lake, Fowler offered this tip.

“Rice Lake is not as great in the peak of summer because it is not a huge lake, and it can get warm. The fish can be reluctant to bite. When you are fishing Rice Lake the key is to not go in the middle of the day in the middle of summer.”


Family Fun


Reece Fowler

Fishing can be a great way to share something you love or to learn something new with your kids. Typically the Seymour Salmonid Society teams up with partners to mark Family Fishing Weekend every Father’s Day. This year’s plans have been cancelled due to the pandemic but the annual event hopes to be back in the future with its equipment to borrow and info booths to get people out fishing. 

In the meantime, a little parental enthusiasm and family time can be a great introduction to the sport. 

“I love fishing and I have been dragging my daughter out since she was about four and now she loves it,” said Fowler. 

They visit Rice lake together often, plus his work gives Fowler and his seven-year-old daughter some unique opportunities to fish. While the Seymour River is currently closed to sport fishing, having suffered significant habitat upset after the 2014 rock slide, efforts to rebuild the fish population require catching fish for breeding at the Seymour Hatchery. 

“She has caught salmon every year for the past couple of years,” said Fowler. “When you’re having to hold on to a six-year-old kid so they don’t get pulled in the river by a big salmon it creates a bit of buzz.”


Further afield


There are a number of other spots worth checking out in the Lower Mainland. Fowler recommends Murrin Provincial Park with its sandy beach and small stocked lake, Buntzen Lake and Burnaby Lake. (Review each location’s governing body for openings and closures due to Covid-19 before your trip.)

North Vancouver also has a number of rivers known for fishing but Fowler doesn’t recommend them for children or new anglers. 

“Flowing water depends on experience. How old are the kids? Have they been introduced to rivers in the past? Most of our rivers are canyonated with steep sides,” he said. “They can be tough to get into if you aren’t experienced.”

During salmon fishing openings the mouth of a Seymour is an option, said Fowler with more of an estuary-like environment. It will also require a salt water licence and knowledge of tidal fishing regulations, he said.  


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Living on the edge

We live in a special place. Nestled between two mountains on the edge of one of the world’s best cities, it is a unique situation shared by few other places. Where else in the world can you live a 20 minute drive from downtown but also be a 20 minute bike ride from the backcountry. As summer comes full force we need to think about how to keep our special community, our homes and forest safe.


Wildfire home protection


Living on the edge of the forest there are some unique considerations to prepare your home to be in its best position to resist fire. The District of North Vancouver has an interactive website offering suggestions. 

  • Use fire resistant plants: Plant wildfire resistant plants within 10m of your house (avoid pine, cedar, spruce, and juniper)
  • Replace conifer hedges:  Replace flammable conifer hedges with low flammable species.
  • Prune conifer trees: Prune conifer trees to give a 3m separation from ground to crown, and to buildings.
  • Clear eaves: Clear your eaves regularly to ensure no build-up of debris.
  • Screen your roof vents: Put screens over vents to keep debris and embers out.
  • Replace cedar roofs: Replace cedar roofs with non-combustible ones (metal, ceramic, asphalt).
  • Use fire retardant coatings: Treat fences, decks, and garden sheds with a fire retardant coating.

Keeping the home fires burning – maybe


There are clear regulations of what is allowed for recreational burning on the District of North Vancouver website. While gas or propane fueled devices are generally allowed, most wood burning units are not. 

Permitted:

  • burner (natural gas or propane)
  • outdoor gas fire bowl
  • gas barbecue
  • charcoal barbecue
  • patio heater (natural gas or propane)

These open fires are not permitted (minimum $400 fine):

  • fire pit
  • chiminea
  • outdoor fireplace
  • fire bowl/yard campfire
  • Requiring permit: beach/park fire and outdoor pizza oven 

Learn more


For those planning more extensive construction this summer there are additional regulations that need to be considered. 

There are also additional resources from the the province and federal governments. 

From the archives

We spoke with the District of North Vancouver Fire Rescue about its wildfire preparations and how they were training additional District staff to support their work in the event of a fire. Check out that post here


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Hitting local trails with kids

With Dr. Bonnie Henry’s call to stay close to home, to stay active and get outdoors, a new book is aiming to support local outdoor adventures with your kids. Local teen Harrison Crerar’s second book, was published by Rocky Mountain Books just last month.


Foster a love of the outdoors


Still a teen himself, author Harrison Crerar has brought a unique perspective to his new book Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore in hopes other kids will love the outdoors as much as he does. 

“I have been so lucky to grow up on the North Shore,” he said. “I have so many fond memories of fun adventures. There are so many parks and so much to explore.”

His family made the time outside a part of regular life. His North Shore childhood focused on adventure and discovery, which just so happened to take place on trails. 

“I have been hiking, really, since I could walk,” said Crerar, a biology student at McGill University. “One of my earliest memories is hiking up Goat Mountain when I was young.” 

Focusing on exploration had him looking for salmon along local creeks, finding a particular plant or trying to spy particular Howe Sound peaks across a view.


Give kids credit – and time


Harrison Crerar

“Kids can do a lot more than you think they can,” said Crerar. “They love nature a lot – give them something to explore, something that is fun and they will want to go on hikes.”

He encourages families to focus on the journey, slowing the pace and allowing kids to investigate in the ways they want to.  

“[For me] there was a lot of discovery involved,” he said, adding Crerar remembers his parents hiding Easter Eggs or helping the family find Geocaches. “If you give kids time and space, they will enjoy it.”


The new book


Similar to his first book, with co-authors Bill Maurer and David Crerar, Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore, this book focuses on local mountains from Lion’s Bay to Deep Cove, along with some Howe Sound Islands. 

“This is a family hiking guide for the North Shore, including lots of hikes in Lynn Valley,” said Crerar. “When it comes to Introducing kids to hiking you have to start small like an easy walk around Rice Lake or the Varley Trail – something to get kids interested and then as you go on, introduce longer and more interesting hikes. And it never hurts to have a bit of chocolate for the end to motivate them to go a little bit further.”

When writing the book last year he re-explored many of the trails with his young siblings. 

“I have a different perspective than most authors,” he said. “I have three younger siblings and we did a lot of these hikes together as I researched the book. I recalled what I liked about these hikes but also what my seven-year-old brother liked about the hikes.”

This led Crerar to think about each route and how it would specifically appeal to families. 

“In each of the descriptions we have included what we think might be fun for kids that adults may overlook. Like a rock – to adults a big rock is just a big rock but to kids it can be fun to run around, to climb up or maybe it becomes a castle,” he said.

Ranging from first-timer easy to moderately challenging, the routes are accessible from reliable roads and popular staging areas. Each route includes: detailed directions to trailheads, colour maps and photographs, seasonal information, round-trip distances, trail commentary, and difficulty ratings, plus step-by-step directions. 

“One that is more on the adventurous side is Kennedy Falls,” said Crerar. “It’s becoming more popular but it is still a bit of a hidden gem. Many people are aware of the old logging camp which is half way along between the tree and the falls. It is a good way to explore some of Lynn Valley’s history. Of course, there is the falls itself to explore and a giant old growth tree that is a nice resting spot.”

WIth a bit more family time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, now is a great time to get outside, he said. 

“Hiking is a great way to destress and enjoy some family bonding time without being trapped in the house 24/7,” said Crerar. “The important thing is to stay six feet from others but the North Shore has lots of wider trails where you can do that. Also do your research, Provincial Parks are closed [Ed. Openings will be limited as of May 14, not in the Lower Mainland]. Most of these trails aren’t in Provincial Parks and are still open.”

Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore is available at your favourite book shop or online retailer.  


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Kindness rocks

There are bright spots popping up all over Lynn Valley – and we aren’t talking flowers. Never have there ever been so many painted rocks brightening gardens.


Sparking joy and taking care of Mother Earth


A rock on Beaver Trail in Lynn Canyon.

The painted rocks are bringing smiles to many people. There are local painted rock Facebook groups like this one and a Vancouver mom has written a book specifically on Covid-19 and painted rocks. The Kindness Rocks movement is sweeping Lynn Valley and the rest of the world as people look for creative outlets in isolation. 

The phenomena has been building for a number of years. In some places and parks the rocks are becoming an environmental risk. This was the very issue raised by one resident of Lynn Valley with so many new rocks dotting forest trails.


Best practices for making smiles


Lynn Valley garden rocks.

We reached out to the District of North Vancouver for some guidance on best practices to keep up with the positivity while also considering our local creeks and forests. Generally any time you are out enjoying the forest it is best to maintain a leave-no-trace mindset. The idea is to pack out everything you take in (garbage, dog poop, etc.). Some parks limit access to garbage cans to encourage people to take their garbage out of the part completely. Leave-no-trace also holds to leaving the environment as you found it – leaving rocks in place (not stacking, which can lead to erosion).

Painting rocks is a fun activity that encourages creativity and brightens everyone’s day,” said Courtenay Rennard, communications coordinator for the District of North Vancouver. “When possible, we encourage people to place painted rocks near their homes or local neighbourhoods.” 

The District offered these further tips to keep up fun and protect our parks and waterways: 

  • Use non-toxic paint
  •  Do not take rocks from in or around streams to avoid disturbing our local fish and other aquatic organisms
  •  Do not place painted rocks near streams, as the paint could wear off and end up in waterways
  • Keep rocks in your garden and neighbourhood

Pollinator power

Garden centres are buzzing with homeowners with free time, excellent weather and nowhere to go. Now is the time to think about what kind of garden you’d like and who you want visiting this summer. Creating pollinator habitats is a creative way the community can do something together while we are forced to stay a part. 


Butterfly Rangers


Fromme Road Butterfly Ranger garden.

The District of North Vancouver has been a powerful partner for the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project. It has been an ongoing Project in the district since 2018.

“Right now we have 15 new Butterfly Rangers,” said Winnie Hwo, David Suzuki Foundation’s senior public engagement specialist and local lead for the program. “The North Shore rangers are the best!”

With the addition of 15, there are now 38 throughout the District of North Vancouver, with homes on Wellington and Fromme participating as well as the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre. The program is active throughout the Lower Mainland focusing on DNV, Richmond and Vancouver. Their mission is to plant native wildflowers in yards, schoolyards, streets and parks to support local bees and butterflies. Their goal was to establish local “Butterflyways” by planting at least a dozen pollinator patches in each neighbourhood. 

“Environmentally we hear about some big problems, but there is this idea that citizens can make a huge difference if we get ourselves together,” said Hwo. “We think with focused tasks citizens can be part of the solution to support biodiversity.”

The Butterflyway Project focuses on wild bees and butterflies. Official rangers are supported with training, virtual meetings and a few plants. 

“Pollinators help make our food and we know they are in trouble. We have used too much land, we use too many pesticides. Their lives are getting more difficult,” said Hwo.  “Butterflies are the great ambassadors. If people plant for butterflies it benefits bees. A lot of the flowers that butterflies fly on are the same flowers bees fly on.”


Making your garden butterfly and bee friendly.


With applications closed for official rangers for the year (mark your calendars for January next year to apply), there are lots ways you can get involved to make your garden more pollinator friendly. It begins in the fall. 

“A messy yard – an organized mess – benefits pollinators,” said Hwo. “Pollinators lay eggs on leaves – especially if you are planting the pollinator plants. We don’t want to disrupt their life cycle and ecosystem. When leaves drop there are little lives growing on them.”

Leaving leaves on the ground until spring and gently gathering into piles can be an ideal way to support pollinators. 

“Leaf blowers are like a tsunami – nothing is left. Raking into piles will have little disruption and leaving it for organisms to grow will be hugely beneficial for butterflies and their lifecycle.”

For our climate the Butterflyways Project recommends 12 plants, in this handy PDF from the David Suzuki Foundation:

  • Common Camas – Camassia quamash

    Virginia strawberry

  • Goldenrod – Solidago multiradiata
  • Pearly Everlasting – Anaphalis margaritacea
  • Pacific Bleeding Heart – Dicentra formosa
  • Nodding Onion – Allium cernuum
  • Coastal Kinnikinnick – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Virginia Strawberry – Fragaria virginiana
  • Western Yarrow – Achillea millefolium
  • Douglas Aster – Aster subspicatus
  • Salal – Gaultheria shallon
  • Hardhack – Spiraea douglasii
  • Ocean Spray – Holodiscus discolor

Other tips from the DVF:

  • Host plants: Adults need a place to lay eggs where their caterpillars will forage. (Plant species that will get eaten and not just look pretty!)
  • Mud puddles: Some butterflies rarely visit flowers. They prefer mud, poop (a.k.a. “scat” or “dung”), sap and rotting fruit.
  • Blooms from spring through fall: Don’t limit your garden to an end-of-July colour extravaganza. You’ll need a diversity of native nectar plants to flower over a few months.
  • Overwintering habitat: Consider not raking leaves to provide a butterfly nursery! Most butterflies in Canada overwinter as caterpillars, others as pupae. A few species winter as adults, hibernating in hollow trees, under bark and firewood piles, or in garden shed cracks and crevices.  ew spend winter as eggs.
  • Sunshine: Make sure you (or your neighbours) have sunny spots.
  • Nectar plants: Most butterflies will feed from more than a few plant species

Learning more


The DNV is home to a special part of the Butterfly Project. Off of Dollarton there is a particular neighbourhood embracing the concept, culminating in the Butterfly Lane, led by Stephen Deedes-Vincke and Sally Hocking. Check it out on Google Maps or visit.

Join iNaturalist’s Butterflies in My Backyard observation collaboration – another project supported by Deedes-Vinvke. Download the app and help track Lynn Valley and North Vancouver’s biodiversity.  

The Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre is hosting online gardening workshops through April and May. Nothing specific to pollinators, but lots of great gardening topics. 


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Lynn Valley on two wheels

Lynn Valley is heading out of some significant road construction as the 29th St. bike lane nears completion and another bike lane project scheduled to come up for summer 2020 on Lynn Valley Road. Without a doubt, cycling is part of the culture of North Vancouver. The District OCP goals aim for 35 percent of trips tol be made by public or active (cycling, on foot)  transportation by 2030. We spoke with Jay Jardine, Lynn Valley resident and vice-chair of HUB North Shore


Bikes, bikes and more bikes


With access to world class mountain bike trails and half-decent transit, many families in Lynn Valley make do with just one car. 

“Many people have more bikes than cars at their house,” said Jardine. “As an advocacy organization, we know people want to use them more but the infrastructure isn’t there. We go up into the mountains and ride on all these stunts but are afraid to ride on city streets.” 

The community’s proximity to accessible outdoors attracts a certain kind of resident.

“We are an active community and that goes hand in hand with active transportation, people want to put effort in to get a bit of a workout,” he explained. “There are also people who are environmentally conscious and it’s a priority for them to be environmentally conscious with their transportation footprint.”

Both HUB and the District of North Vancouver are seeing trends of more cyclists on the road and especially more cyclists commuting.


Technological advances


One of the biggest changes to cycling is the rise of e-bikes. The motor-assisted bicycles are seeing technological advances and price decreases making the North Shore hills less daunting and more accessible. 

“We see from our count stations at Bike to Work Week the proportion of e-bikes is going up,” said Jardine. “We like to say it ‘flattens the shore.’ It’s no longer an ordeal to get home at the end of the day, it really opens the range of ages and abilities that can use the network.”

In the fall during an interview with Mayor Mike Little, he shared he has noticed a distinct increase in e-bikes and cycle commuters amongst District staff. So much so they have increased the number of District fleet vehicles as staff no longer use their own vehicles for work. Adding that the climbing numbers of all cyclists – especially e-cyclists – that makes him inclined to support projects like the 29th St. bike lane, as an essential east-west connection.

There are also trends to make cycling more family friendly with European-style cargo and longtail bikes becoming more common on North Van streets.

“People used to ask how they can bike or be car-free with kids,” said Jardine. “Of course some need to get their kids and gear to hockey practice in a mini-van but you also now see parents with two kids on the bike doing errands at Lynn Valley Mall.”


Infrastructure


With numerous projects on the books, HUB still continues to lobby for a more continuous network of cycling routes. 

“Compared to Vancouver we just aren’t there yet,” said Jardine. “When we look at the profiles of riders we are very interested in the ‘Interested but concerned’ – that’s who we want to target with more infrastructure. What we would like to see are ‘class A’ facilities, almost always separated from traffic where the volume and speeds are too high. Almost always separated from pedestrians because cyclists can be a hazard, and a network of traffic calmed neighbourhood streets.”

Casano-Loutet rendering. Supplied.

Vancouver has an extensive network of bikeways where there is a comfort for all ages and abilities to ride, said Jardine. North Vancouver has some obstacles to master with no continuous grid system and challenging geography but there are opportunities to improve.

According to the District’s website, most cycling infrastructure is completed during large and small road improvement projects. 

“[The District looks] for opportunities to include new bike infrastructure where individual project budgets allow (the bike lanes on and around the new Keith Road and Montroyal bridges are examples of this approach). Because of the project-by-project approach we take to building bike lanes, new lanes don’t always connect to existing lanes, nor do they always lead to our most popular destinations. While this may be true in the short term, over time, these individual sections will begin to knit together into a complete system, as we continue including lanes in our infrastructure and road improvement projects,” says the District. 

Jardine says HUB is happy to see what is happening in the Lower Lynn area and the forthcoming overpass linking Cedar Village and Loutet Park.

“It will be a game changer. This is infrastructure that allows for walking or riding your bike from one side of the highway to the other without interacting with traffic. It provides a whole new range of options to get around – to access CapU, the emerging town centre, the bridge.” 


Challenges


Selling more cycling infrastructure and opportunities is always a bit of a challenge. From complaints about lack of car parking to weather, HUB is even hearing how poor residential planning and strata bylaws are making cycling more difficult. 

“It’s come to our attention that people want help around restrictions like moving bikes in elevators and creating more secure bike parking,” he said.

Where weather is concerned, Jardine points to other infrastructure that is only used part of the year – like beaches. 

“Looking at Snowmageddon a couple of weeks ago – no one liked it,” he said. “Cars weren’t driving, parks and schools were closed, we don’t limit those infrastructure projects because they are shut down in poor weather. There are at least seven months where riding is ideal. When you add the comfortable lanes, the direct routes, the wayfinding signage maybe new technology, like e-bikes, you will see that riding in the rain isn’t as difficult as fighting through car traffic. 

“Even if the bulk of ridership comes seven months of the year, that is seven months we see the benefits of better air quality and less congestion.”

What’s coming up

Two large forthcoming projects  are on the City and District’s agendas to improve cycling infrastructure around Lynn Valley: the Casano-Loutet Bridge over the cut and a dedicated bike lane on Lynn Valley Road from Mountain Hwy to Kilmer. Both have start dates scheduled in 2020.

Lynn Valley bike lane


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Ready for Spring Break?

Despite all the snow – Spring break is creeping up on us. There are a number of activities to keep kids and tweens busy over the school holiday. Lynn Valley will be bustling with everything from film making to Lego to pollinators. The Ecology Centre is also back with its Wildlife Weeks activities for drop-in fun for all ages.


Film making


The Lynn Valley Library is hosting a film making camp for students in Grades 6-8 March 23-27. Participants use filmmaking equipment and with the help of filmmaking educators from The Cinematheque come together to make great stories for the screen! Fee for camp is: $290 for a general application, however financial assistance is available for North Vancouver District residents. This is popular, so applications are due Feb. 18! 


Nurturing Nature


The Lynn Valley Ecology Centre has a number of mini-camps for children ages 5-8. These Monday-Wednesday half day camps are a great option for learning and an easy introduction to day camps for those that have never done them before. There are is a mini-camp about Pollinators and one all about out senses. There will be games, crafts and outside time. Cost: $79.95.

There are also a number of drop-in programs to celebrate the natural world during Wildlife Weeks from March 15-26. All events take place at the Ecology Centre and are available on a on first-come basis. The suggested donation is $2 a person or $5 for a family. 

  • Great Snakes and Remarkable Reptiles Sunday, March 15, noon to 4 pm, Presenter: Westcoast Reptile Education Society
  • Swoop and Soar – Birds of Prey Monday, March 16, 1 pm, Presenter: OWL Rescue
  • Our Wild Neighbours Tuesday, March 17, 1 pm, Presenter: Marcy Potter of the Fur-Bearers
  • The Caterpillar and Pollywog – Black Light Puppet Show Friday, March 20. Shows begin at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, and 1:00 pm.
  • Wild About Mason Bees Monday, March 23, 10:30 am, Presenter: Taren Urquhart
  • Night Flyers Tuesday, March 24, 1:00 pm, Presenter: Kirk Miles of BC Community Bat Program
  • The Bear Essentials Thursday, March 26. 10:30 am, Presenter: North Shore Black Bear Society
  • City Salmon Thursday, March 26, 1:00 pm, Presenter: Fernando Lessa

Get your hands a little dirty


The much beloved Kudzu Art Studio has found some local space and is back for two camps March 16-20. There is the Art and Animal Camp for school aged kids from 9am-noon. As well as a Tween/Teen drawing and painting camp from 1-4pm. Students will explore a variety of mediums, techniques and artists. Each camp is $300 and details are on the website

Lego time!

There are six camps with space available in Lynn Valley all focused on Lego – plus coding, robotics, animation and more. There are a variety of age groupings with half-day camps for children five-15 years old. The programs will take place at Lynn Valley Village or at the Lynn Valley Rec Centre. Details and registration are at North Van Rec. Prices start range from $175-$195.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.