03/25/2015 11:54 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT

Unauthorized bike trails in Delta Watershed Park cause damage

Someone has been building mountain bike trails in Delta Watershed Park without the permission of the municipality and it has caused serious damage to trees and plants. The parks department got a call from a concerned resident several weeks ago.

“They were established in a well-hidden area of Delta Watershed Park that isn’t readily accessible from a visual standpoint when you’re on the approved trails in the area,” said deputy director of parks, recreation and culture Todd Stewardson.

“They’ve removed some ground-level plantings and removed some limbs from some trees. There were also some structures put in place to support the trail, which were embedded into the ground.”

Stewardson says it’s unfortunate the rogue trail builders didn’t reach out to him before they started building.​

“It’s disappointing because we do have a relationship with the Watershed Bike Club,” he said. “The individual or individuals could have reached to us or the club and asked how can we move forward in an approved way to enhance the biking experience in the park?”

The municipality has fenced off the unauthorized trails and posted signs in the area. It is also increasing its patrols of the area.

No issues before

Delta Watershed Park has a number of approved mountain bike trails that draw dozens of visitors every day.​

“If you don’t want to cross a bridge, this is pretty much your only option,” said mountain biker Chad Colhoun.

“I do a lot of biking in Whistler and on the North Shore, and this is really all we’ve got in the Delta area. Nice inclines and good declines. It’s a good workout.”

There have been heated feuds between mountain bikers and hikers in other municipalities, but no apparent issues at Delta Watershed Park.

“I’ve never had a problem in 31 years,” said Delta resident Marjorie Brown.

“The municipality built windy trails, bridges and jumps and most of the cyclists in here are wonderful people. They look out for you and you never feel scared because they’re always here.”

The borders for the park are 64th Avenue, Scott Road, Highway 10 and Highway 91.