The first Annual General Meeting and Social on March 18th was a unique event that saw us packing the Mohawk Inn with familiar faces and welcoming the Agreement Forest community members. It was amazing to see the variety of people who, sharing our common goal, threw their lot in with HAFTA so that after much sputtering on the runway this club and its official stewardship of the AF trails could take flight.

We’re grateful to the Mohawk Inn and Conference Centre who donated their conference room for the occasion. It was an excellent facility that worked perfectly for our needs. The fact there was a bar in the back definitely helped the time fly when it came to the legal aspects of the night such as the presentation of the financials. If you’d like to know more about the past year and how the night progressed please read on!

Making up the bulk of the night was the president’s briefing. It strolled through topics such as:

Our accomplishments(With your help!)

  • 330 hours of volunteer work into the trails this year.
  • Over 100 members.
  • Trail work is fully insured.
  • Recognition as stewards by the land owner(Halton Region).
  • Creation of a brand new trail(The Revolver).
  • Rehabilitation of Stunt and Christmas trail plus addition of 100 ft of boardwalk.
  • Front page recognition on Pinkbike the largest website for mountain biking in the world.
  • Mapping of all trails into a printable map and loading the Trailforks App.
  • Creation and operation of this website, Facebook page, Twitter, and  Instagram.
  • Trail tools, Jerseys and T-shirts for supporters.

Some limitations we faced:

  • Communication via trail signage is very limited due to land owner’s concerns of visual clutter.
  • Expiration facing the Cox Tract build permits.
  • Halton Region’s 5yr forest survey came back and the results are challenging.
  • Inability to currently offer official(Insured) group rides.

What the future holds for the club:

  • Keeping the AF trails open, sustainable, well maintained and fun is our mission.
  • More trail and TTF(technical trail feature) rehabilitation.
  • April 16th we’re at Hilton Falls Conservation for their trail day.
  • April 30th/May 1st we’re at AF taking care of our side of the forest.

The president’s report was quite the epic presentation, many thanks to Peter for patiently talking us through all the details and to our members for listening.

After the president’s brief our media and sponsorship director Paulo Laberge took a moment to recognize all of our sponsors. Paulo has been quite busy this year explaining how HAFTA is important to local businesses and the outdoor recreation community. In fact Nottinghill Wellness decided to become supporters that night! Through sponsorship your HAFTA membership now has benefits beyond supporting trails. For example, the crew from Bike Zone Mississauga was in attendance that night and announced, in addition to already helping offset the cost of the jersey, they would be offering members at least 10% off their in-store purchase( HAFTA card req’d).

Some of our other regional  sponsors have offered to provide similar discounts to card holders! Keep in mind your membership card also gets you into our raffles and we have lots of goodies from sponsors for our trail days. An annual membership is only $30(even cheaper if you join for longer) so if you spend over $300 a year on bikes/bike parts or clothing at one of the sponsors you’re getting a good price on kit and helping keep the trails sustainable. Pretty good deal either way. In addition to working together with local businesses we are partnering with local riding clubs like the  Wild Bettys to spread the “stoke.”

During the brief question and answer period following our sponsorship discussion some interesting comments about signage were made. Apparently at least one member feels the Agreement Forest has the atmosphere of an English labyrinth, with its tight single-track, dense forest and large rock structures. He worried that erecting signs may ruin that unique aspect – An interesting take to be sure, we wonder where he got that idea. Other long time riders stood up to take a moment to recognize how important and positive a role mountain biking in the AF has played and does play in their lives – Pretty neat! The talk continued on with a question regarding other regional trails that are outside the scope of this organisation. You can always contact us with any questions.

After all comments were responded to and questions answered as satisfactorily as possible we had ourselves a little draw! Up for grabs was an awesome pair of Oakley riding glasses from Via Ciclante in addition to POC gloves and sunglass cleaner. An I Will Allow It t-shirt was also donated by  ThePrfctLine – Be sure to check out their new t-shirt for Perry’s Portage.

That is a wrap for HAFTA’s first AGM. I just want to say it was great to see so many AF trail people coming together in one spot. The first year has involved a steep learning curve, but I think it was worth it. Definitely looking forward to seeing our members out enjoying the trails and volunteering when possible this year – Peace!

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What we really mean when we say the trails are poor and flooded is that they’re essentially closed. Below are pictures from the southern part of the forest.

If that doesn’t have enough impact then consider photos from the north western side.

This weekend a few people rode the vulnerable sections anyway.

That sucks because the flooded areas are all in little terrain bowls and if enough people ride or hike the flooded single-tract in these bowls we’ll end up with trail treads that are weak and chronically collect water. Slowly and steadily that low tread gets churned and loose/muddy enough that we end up having to armour it(extremely laborious). Unfortunately having these trails go through low areas is sometimes the only option given the rockiness and all the small tributaries. We do want to improve this aspect with some trail re-alignments.

To reiterate, under these extraordinary conditions we’re going to go beyond poor and state the trails are “closed”. Hopefully that is a strong enough message. This is really going to take some time to dry up since the old Nassagaweya(nazhesahgewayyong) Township is living up to it’s name as a place with more than one river!