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Dundas Valley’s coarse trails work-in-progress, HCA says

Weather blamed for delay in adding topcoat of stone dust

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

The Hamilton Conservation Authority says relief is in sight for visitors to the Dundas Valley who are struggling to hike or bike the main trails’ new coarse layer of rocks.

Chief administrative officer Chris Firth-Eagland said staff had hoped to compact the rock base and add a topcoat of stone dust when work began last fall, but the weather, including December’s ice storm and a wet spring, got in the way.

Work will now take place over the summer and into the fall, he said, acknowledging the existing surface is a challenge.

“It’s very suitable base material for what’s used in the bottom of roads and things, but it’s not suitable as a final surface for cyclists, baby buggies, wheelchairs,” Firth-Eagland said. “It’s not that great for running on either because the stones are too large.”

Lech Biegalski, author of a blog called My Dundas Valley, last week publicly criticized the state of the valley’s trails, likening them to “rough farm lanes.”

“It destroys shoes and bike tires. It hurts the legs of dogs and other animals,” he wrote in the blog, circulated to local media. “It makes it impossible to remove the ever-increasing amount of horse manure. It looks plain ugly and creates a safety hazard.”

Firth-Eagland said “the silent majority” has been asking the authority to do something about the trails’ wear and tear.

“Some people like bare dirt, but it doesn’t get you over obstacles and lumps and bumps and things like that. They just get worse over time as the soil erodes around things in the ground, like roots and so on,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure everyone will love the trails in six weeks or eight weeks when we get all through it.”

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