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Finn Hill mountain bike trail coming next year if club can raise the money

Trail will be used for mountain biking and other outdoor pursuits in winter - such as running, walking, winter fat biking and snowshoeing

Sault Cycling Club (SCC) has recently embarked on a joint project with the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

A proposed 3km "flow trail", suitable for all cycling skill levels will be developed on a parcel of land already owned 100 percent by the City of Sault Ste. Marie, adjacent to the portion of the Hub Trail running between Northern Avenue through Finn Hill and will run parallel to Black Road on the westerly side of the Hub Trail. This is land already possessing an undeveloped trail system.

This Finn Hill Trail is the first trail project for SCC - A registered not for profit corporation dependant on memberships and donations to achieve its mission of promoting cycling and cycling-related activities and the municipality of Sault Ste. Marie who are the landowners. 

The project has been in the development stage for more than five years under project leads Andre Riopel and Dean Greenwood who have been actively involved from the start. Others currently involved include Peter Henry (SCC Trails Director), Eric Eddy (SCC Past President), Jorma Paloniemi (Mapmaker), and Mark Santana (SCC Current President) as well as the fundraising committee which includes Katie Babcock, Megan Rainone and Cindy Pruce.

Approved in principle, the contract between the SCC and the city's legal department is expected to be voted on in council come January 2021. The last outstanding item was a virtual information session for the public with opportunity for questions and answers that was held Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020.

"Mountain biking is one of the fastest-growing sports today. It is a low cost/low maintenance recreational activity that promotes mental and physical well being, an appreciation of nature and the outdoors and a means of sustainable transportation. The most important feature of this trail is its proximity to residential areas which will allow access to local children (and adults) without having to drive to Hiawatha Highlands."

"This trail will offer urban residents easy access to top-quality mountain bike trails. It is also a great addition to Sault Ste. Marie's tourism."

"Our aim is to demonstrate that these types of trails should (like other parks and playground infrastructure), exist and be accessible in all parts of the city. Our long term vision is a city network of interconnected trails so that no matter where you live, you can access the network which will provide a city-wide active transportation network expanding on the Hub Trail, Voyageur trail and the vast network of informal trails that exist in our city," said Cindy Pruce, Communications Director, SCC.

The proposed Finn Hill Trail will be situated in an integral travel corridor, directly accessible for locals - both children and adults in the surrounding neighbourhoods and will be integrated into The Hub Trail which already provides some cycling infrastructure.

Aside from mountain biking in the summer months, this trail will be utilized for multiple outdoor pursuits during the winter months such as running, walking, winter fat biking and snowshoeing.

"The Finn Hill Flow Trail will be designed and built by a reputable company in the mountain bike industry to specific design standards with safety in mind. It will be inspected and maintained regularly by the Sault Cycling Club and the City of SSM Parks Division."

"We are hopeful that development can begin in the spring/summer of 2021 but that will be dependent on fundraising efforts," said Pruce.

"Fundraising efforts will be undertaken solely by the Sault Cycling Club. We will be running various fundraisers throughout the winter/spring to achieve our goal of raising $150,000. We will be seeking out a title sponsor for the trailhead as well as sponsors for the trail system. Further information will be provided on this in early 2021. We ask anyone who is interested in information on this sponsorship opportunity to reach out to us at [email protected]."

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About the Author: Violet Aubertin

Violet Aubertin is a photograher and writer with an interest in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma's great outdoors
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