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Daily Trail conditions in Etobicoke Creek

HOME FORUM RIDING GREATER TORONTO AREA ETOBICOKE CREEK Daily Trail conditions in Etobicoke Creek

This topic contains 473 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  caRpetbomBer 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #820351

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    Hi @erik It’s our pleasure, no one wants to ride shitty trails.

    Any and all help is appreciated. You don’t need a chainsaw to seriously improve the trails. Clearing the overgrowth is the biggest and most frequent task at hand. The key guys ride the trails enough to tackle the big stuff. Just reporting issues here and doing your part, whatever that is is appreciated. Just checking in here before a ride to read about the conditions of the trails and any potential hazards is a huge help. It’s also greatly valued to refer riders you come across here or online to the site so that we can continue to build a community around these trails.

    I know the trail names and locations are all a bit confusing. More importantly is knowing the best route to link up all the trails to maximize their potential. While the trails can be ridden in both direction, for the most part, some do flow better one way than the other. I guess it depends what you’re after.

    The south is pretty much up and down, no wrong turns or hidden entrances. The north has several options.

    I’d be happy to take you on a tour – show you the regular loops and give you any 411 on what you may be able to contribute.

    I’m north of Dundas and usually drop in from Centennial Park

    Happy Trials

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #820352

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    I was hoping that someone who perhaps can’t contribute as much with the trail work itself would step up and take on the admin roll on Trailforks. The app, and others like it, are here to stay and they have far too large an impact on our trails to ignore. While none of us here really use the app for our local rides, most of the new riders in the creek do. So while it’s great that trail reports are being logged there, even builders being thanked, the issues aren’t being resolved. I gave it almost two years to see if it would work but the trails deteriorated into their worst state ever, many completely lost. Trail networks need a community to survive, maybe even thrive.

    I have taken on the admin roll and hope to be able to integrate it with the site and further grow the community.

    We can now embed the trails we’re discussing in the forum. This will hopefully make it more clear and help everyone get on the same page. I again urge members here to direct riders to the site. Whether on the trail or online, the trails need a hub if they are to survive. None of this is sustainable or matters if riders don’t find the community here. It“s not viable for the same guys to bust their backs year after year.

    As an example, here are some of the trails being discussed.


    Meglington


    Matheson Loop


    RFG Connection

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #820353

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    Hard to explain how stoked I am to read this. I know it wasn’t the easy choice, but I think it’s the best one and one that helps build a community and draws in more folks to the conversation. rather than creating even more “pokemon go” riders glued to their phones trying to sort our their route.

    Have you poked Brent about getting some RFG tags in for E-Creek trails since realistically it’s the users here putting in the sweat equity?

    #820354

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    Thanks @blurredlines Had to put on my big picture glasses (with rose tint) and look it over once more. Let’s just say I’m causiously optimistic, but then I always am 🙂

    I did speak with Brent but didn’t know about or ask for any tags. Still find it frustrating to see shop ads below trails they do nothing to support. Really, they are the only ones who profit financially from everyone’s hard work.

    The embed seems to work well in the forum and I can get you setup for the same in the Don thread. Let’s call this a beta and see how it goes.

    The missing component is still getting folks here. The embed link is still one-way traffic off the site. However, I hope to find a way that we can all benefit from this. I still worry that all anyone wants is a map but my goal, as always, is to build a community. There are other good eggs out there and we need them.

    Let’s ride and chat about the future. Maybe come with a crew and ride the creek with me. Fall bikepacking trip is also on deck. Got a whack of work to get through but hoping for an adventure in October.

    Cheers amigo! Thanks for the recent work in the Don!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #820359

    fietser
    Participant

    Clearly a big and difficult decision @fasttimes – I know it has been on your mind for some time now I have to get the App I suppose 😉

    ‘Still find it frustrating to see shop ads below trails they do nothing to support. Really, they are the only ones who profit financially from everyone’s hard work.’

    rant/ This. Probably not the spot to discuss this but it chaps my ass to see shops boasting proximity to trails, pointing customers to the trails, hosting shop rides and doing nothing to support/ acknowledge those who are working to keep them up a running. Which is why I shop and have my bike serviced where I do. No it isn’t close but they get it. The better the trail experience the more riders and therefore bikes that will go out the door and need servicing – seem like pretty basic stuff to me. While most who do the work are not in this to profit in any way a tip of the hat never hurts./ rant

    Anyway, followed up with Urban Forestry this morning and they are going to clear the tree from the Creek at Bloordale BUT it is unclear if they are going to clear the path. I have requested to speak to the area supervisor in hopes to have this informal, but well used trail, cleared. It has worked before but we will see. Again, the more calls they receive about this kind of thing the more they realize that the trail is being used…

    Trying to dip my toe back in a little more here. As always, if we all just do what we can do when we can do it we will all be better for it.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #820361

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    FYI – I came across a fellow sitting just by the overflow drain off Sismet road. On the map below, it’s at the top of the sharp bend in the trail.


    Etobicoke creek (Creekbank)

    He is a middle eastern man, in his mid 30s. He was sitting there, smoking up and drinking a coffee. I don’t care if someone is out in the woods getting high but this fellow had clearly been doing this regularly and has left a massive pile of trash. There are a bunch of coffee lids where he was sitting and all his empty cups have been tossed down the hill in front of him.

    I didn’t clue in the first time I rolled by and was friendly towards him. It wasn’t until I rode by again that I noticed the pile of trash he is leaving there.

    I dont like to cause conflicts with trail users but I feel that this person should be spoken with. I will certainly do so when I see him and ask that he cleans up his mess. He’ll likely sight that the entire area is filled with trash anyway and that pot is legal, but i’ll try. Open to other suggestions about how to handle this matter. Maybe if I ask him while in there cutting stuff with the chainsaw? Haha!

    It would just be so great to have some sort of trail stewardship so that we can organize cleanup and maintenance days, maybe even put up a few signs. I know others like @braindamaged have taken out bags and bags of trash from that area but it’s clearly a favourite dumping site and unless that is addressed, the trash will just keep piling up. The area just adjacent to it is literally a landslide of industrial waste. To resolve that issue, we’d need to involve those companies. At the very lease, ask them if we can have the trash picked up from their site. In speaking with the CoT, they have folks to pickup trash from drop sites such as this. Trash in the woods really bothers me. The people who do it, like this guy, are trash.

    With the trails falling on both Toronto and Mississauga boundaries, stewarding both sides will be challenging. Maybe a start on the Toronto side to set the example for Mississauga. Getting the nod to do trail work would be a few years away, but I think cleanups, which could entail some side trimming, wouldn’t ruffle too many feathers. The relationship should be started and I encourage others to take on a role! Can’t build? Cool. Can you do this? There is so much a stewardship group could do and we can start this on our own, we don’t need a status or to be approved. There is so much that can be done to improve the trails and the area above and beyond building trails. Signage, dirt scooter management, tree planting, invasive species removal etc. Doing this is the start to getting the trails and the group formerly recognized.

    I see events can be added to Trailforks. While we can’t formerly organize any trail work, we could organize a cleanup day. Again, I cant do it all, but with some help it would be great to cleanup that area. I know I speak to runners and hikers in there regularly who have expressed interest in helping. Maybe we could get the ok to post a few signs and see who we can get?

    The primary users of these trails are homeowners with properties backing on or near the creek. The traffic tripled when the trails were added to Trailforks. While it’s nowhere near the traffic the Don sees, to those users it’s still about all kinds of increased bike traffic. To riders simply finding and riding these trails based off of Trailforks, they may think these are primarily bike trails. Its important that everyone get along on the trails or it wont be good for any of us. Its a tight and friendly, multi-use, community in there and I think a cleanup would go a long way. Would certainly show a lot of goodwill on the part of mountain bikers.

    #820370

    fietser
    Participant

    Got out last night and despite the rain event we had the other day trails were in great shape. The drainage that was put in has done great things for the trail South of Dundas. We should make sure it gets cleared out before the snow flies.

    Went back to Bloordale to finish up the trail through there. Noticed that the large downed Willows have the red dot of death on them! Fingers crossed they are fully removed from the trail as per my 311 request – squeaky wheel and all that.

    Worked my way up the trail and started clearing brush/ weeds as I went. Should find that it is MUCH better and totally passable (minus the one awkward tree – more on that in a minute). Got wicked arm pump from the garden sheers I was using – much like brake bump from Park riding, HA!

    Got back to the last bit of branch lying across the trail and took care of it, no more ride around needed.

    Of note, a gentlemen who backs on to that section of trail questioned what I was doing. I politely said that I was clearing the trail to improve the user experience for the walkers, riders etc. who use this section of trail. He suggested that it was a protected area, which I didn’t disagree with, but countered that I was only removing material that was encroaching on the trail itself (i.e. not cutting down trees for the sake of cutting them down but rather clearing fallen trees and brush). I mentioned about the trees just South with the markings that were being removed by Urban Forestry if he wanted proof that I was simply lending a hand in a positive manner. He walked away and didn’t seem too bothered (I think). However, it made me rethink my method of removing the awkward tree that is across the trail in there – not sure a loud mechanical saw is the best option…. Regardless, it was good reminder to always engage the public/ other users in a positive manner.

    I am away this weekend but it looks beauty for riding – go get it!

    P.S. Nice to meet you Luke, hope you find your way here. As mentioned, feel free to contact us if you would like to lend a hand.

    P.P.S. @warden sorry I couldn’t stop – I was trying to make curfew, school night and all 😉


    Attachments:
    #820379

    allantats
    Participant

    Good to see some action in this forum again.
    Fietser, good work on Bloordale!
    I didn’t think the city would get into areas like that for tree removal but good to know.
    That’s the thing with many hands helping is that some of the smaller trails can be dealt with. Those 2 bypasses make for a more interesting ride staying off pavement and all that.
    As for all the garbage that’s a sore spot for me as well. I’m always up for a garbage cleanup if we can get a few people together.

    #820384

    allantats
    Participant

    I took down another smaller dead tree that came down at the top of RFG (again) and cleaned up a section of Burnamthorpe. A jogger and a dog walker both walked through Burnamthorpe while I was there and thanked me for the work. Always good for non riders to see some work being done on the pathways they use.
    I’m hoping to get to the rest of it next weekend.
    Both large trees have been removed in Bloordale (awsesome).
    I never made it past Eglinton but everything south of there is running nice…

    #820385

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    Glad you got out @allantats Thanks for getting after the tree on RFG Connection and for the work on the brush above Burnhamthorpe. I used to always opt for the low-line but since we cut out the big fallen trees a few years ago, I am enjoying the high line. Though a tree that was cut by someone else was left very close to the edge of the trail. In the brush at the trails edge, it’s quite hidden and could easily bust a foot, or worse, if caught at speed, Thankful you’re cutting that back. It will certainly help to make it at least visible. I’d like to go in and get it safely out of the way.

    I see that someone has also cleaned up the pile of trash at the fire pit along the creek there (where the “art” was hanging last year) Good on ya, whoever you are.

    Hopefully you make it past Eglington soon to enjoy some of the beauty trails up there. Some are still overgrown but for the most part its running quite well.

    Cheers!


    @fiester, rode the bit you trimmed along Bloordale. Nice work! That’s a nice section of trail. Still got a heavy serving of burs on my socks 🙂 but it’s certainly a big improvement. Saw the tree in question, I’m interested to see whether it gets handled by the city. That trail is a perfect example of where stewardship would shine. It’s not a mountain bike trail and is one of the more sensitive along the route. The entrance off of Toledo Rd. is on someones front lawn. They must be ok with it to not have done something but that could change with high traffic and/or a rude cyclist. A new homeowner could also wreck that for us. having a community behind it would help ensure its survival. Seeing a group of folks back there cleaning the trail goes a long way when they then see you in there cutting out a fallen tree. I agree that there are different tools for different jobs and locations. That’s not somewhere I would opt to go in with a chainsaw. Not now anyway, but once a relationship is built with the community, that should not be an issue. It would also certainly make it easier to call in Forestry and educate the homeowners to do the same. If their first encounter is positive that’s the beginning of a great relationship and leads to others, not just cyclist, championing the cause for these trails. It sounds like the fellow you encountered was ok with you working back there, but it only takes one unhappy homeowner to potentially rain on our parade. Rather than have them point the finger at cyclist as the bad guys, I’ d rather they call up and ask the city and recognize our effort. asking them to support us.


    Just a note to others helping by removing deadfall and brush.
    1. For deadfall, please cut it back as far as safely possible. Consider the situation above where the stump could be hidden and hit if slightly offline. Riders are often leaning into the trail, sometimes by a foot or more.
    2. For small limbs and branches. Please don’t leave a sharpened tip pointing up from the ground or out towards the rider from a tree. This could cause serious, even fatal, injuries from impalement . Cut it as far down to the ground or the larger parent branch as possible.

    Everyones help is greatly appreciated. Happy trails all!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #820390

    fietser
    Participant

    Love to see all the work being done! @fasttimes I hear you about the socks… I have fairly strict laundry instructions regarding this issue.

    I ‘hope’ to bring my son out to the Northern section for his first ride on those trails tonight! Haven’t been up past Eglington in forever so looking forward to enjoying some of the hard work that has been done up there – thanks!

    On a slightly less positive note, I was sent a screen shot of some rather concerning banter from the Don Valley MTB Facebook page (I don’t have FB) there was user on there (I have chosen not to include names here) who was suggesting that if people wanted to ride in the mud they could do so in the Etobicoke Creek:

    ‘If you like to ride mud try etobicoke creek, no one grooms them trails and you can ride the way nature intended you to ride, there is nothing wrong with riding in the mud it just ruins the trails’

    Now, I don’t know about y’all but I am not keen on someone ruining the trails that many on here spend so much time trying to maintain. Nor does it seem to make sense that a fellow rider feels this way, ‘it just ruins the trails’. I mean, they suggest that Motos ride on them so what’s the difference. Well, the difference to me is that shouldn’t we be leading by example and showing responsible use of the trails? Call me crazy but this just doesn’t seem to make any sense.

    #820410

    allantats
    Participant

    Wow…directing people on a public forum to come ride the ungroomed mud @ Etobicoke…nice.
    I guess he figures the downed trees and brush clear themselves??

    Ironically, on that note I got out on the weekend and finished off clearing Burnamthorpe and did a little more on Dundas.
    Hopefully no new trees down with the heavy winds…

    #820413

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    Regarding the screen grab from the FB group. I obviously find it concerning that someone would recommend folks ride in the mud or that our Creek trails are being promoted as suitable under such conditions. I don’t think sharing screen grabs and posting about it is accomplishing our higher purpose however. It’s now just two places where the rider in question has not been given the best information to remedy the situation. Maybe ask the person who sent you the details to either share a link to this thread or to this great artcle about why it isn’t ok to ride these trails in the mud. I believe you know the author 😉

    https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/stay-outta-the-mud-your-mother-warned-you-and-now-we-are-too/

    The rider in question goes on to say he does work in the creek. So while I’m quite unfamiliar with his work, i’d certainly welcome the opportunity to inform him that there is a dedicated community working on these trails and advocating on their behalf.

    This is just another reason why finding a community first and being shown the trails by a fellow rider is the best way to be introduced to new trails. Basic trail etiquette and particulars about sensitive trails like these are not passed on with the ‘map only’ approach. Social media and apps are not communities.

    So on that note, I came across a rider in there yesterday, I took the opportunity to show him the entire loop, north and south. I should add he was on an e-bike. I believe he was on more of an urban loop and normally rides these trails on his trail bike. He mentioned he found the trails on Trailforks. I told him about the site and the community so hopefully he finds his way here.


    There is a tree down across the stairs coming up from Burnhamthorpe.

    I would really like to cut this climb out of the loop entirely in favour of an alternate one further down the creekside trail. Over the last few years, someone has taken to draining their water back there and it’s always wet. Then there is that shitty bit along the fence just after that. I’ve found a good line that bypasses all this but I will need a hand finishing it off. It’s pretty much ready to go, just needs a bit of brush and deadfall cleared. There is a suitable line down, going south, but it’s not climbable. This new line would be ridable in both directions.

    Thanks for the work clearing the brush @allantats It must be the low-line you did? I came along the high-line and it was still pretty overgrown. I’ll maybe tackle that next week when I’m back. Thanks for the hard work amigo!

    It doesn’t seem as though Forestry has cut the fallen tree along Bloordale yet. They may however respond to a call to cut this one on the stairs as that is clearly a recognized trail.

    Lastly, the tree down on the first climb up from Marie Curtis has dropped even-further. Someone has propped a stump under it. I haven’t cut that particular one out because it seems to be keeping the dirt bikes off that section of trail. With a tree down just north of the tracks and this one at the entrance, they don’t have much trail to ride. It’s been inconvenient to ride under both of those but it’s done the trick as far as the dirt scooters go. I think this one on the climb has to come out now but it might be worth discussing the fallen tree approach as a means of keeping motos out. Barriers seem to work on most hiking trails. I think we can figure something out that works for us. Per my points in posts above, this would be a great thing to do under some sort of stewardship, where the barrier could be accompanied with some clear signage,

    Happy trails!

    #820455

    allantats
    Participant

    Regarding Burnamthorpe I cleared the section following the creek between the metal stairs and Burnamthorpe Rd. itself.
    Personally, I only use this section going southbound back towards Dundas. Going north I drop in from the townhouses on Mill and prefer the lower more technical line.
    I can’t picture exactly where the new line would be you are thinking about but would chip in with lighter work.

    Re: Bloordale there were 3 new trees down this year. 2 huge ones ones and a smaller one. I believe Fietser took care of the smaller one himself and his call to 311 got the 2 big ones removed.
    There is still one further north by the little brick wall where the garbage usually is but it has been there since I’ve been riding in there. It has fallen lower and now requires a dismount though.

    As for the tree on the climb to the hospital and north of the tracks I don’t care either way. Whatever keeps the motos to a minimum is ok with me.

    #820456

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    This is just another reason why finding a community first and being shown the trails by a fellow rider is the best way to be introduced to new trails. Basic trail etiquette and particulars about sensitive trails like these are not passed on with the ‘map only’ approach. Social media and apps are not communities.

    I agree with the later half of this wholeheartedly, but believe we can change that. Unfortunately (for the former half) there is a map, and we communities need to embrace that like we have done here on RFG and use it to better and grow our community. I still need a quick tutorial on how to embed maps with reports and such, but I’m extremely happy to be able to associate a map and location to a description of conditions. I think it brings value to what one is saying as a community member to those who potentially don’t know what’s being spoken about when someone says the third bridge on catalyst is missing more rungs and needs some attention. The reality for me is this brings context to the conversation for someone on the outside of the community and makes for a more inclusive environment (a thing mountain biking has been notoriously bad at). If we harness the map and make it work for us we can really benefit because the truly unfortunate part is that the ability to download a map and go is simply identifying the community members who have fallen through the cracks and not ended up here where they truly belong.

    All that said I love your anti-moto tactics, it’s something I don’t have to deal with (thankfully). Any chance you lads would be around/up for a fall classic Wednesday Nighter? i’m keen to come see all this work that’s been done and ride bikes somewhere “foreign” for a change

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