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Rogersville mountain bike trail brings community together


Kate Doyle, community developer, Moncton area, Horizon Health Network

Part of my job is working with communities as they look at recommendations from their local Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA). No one knows the lay of the land like the people who live there and Rogersville was no exception!

The Miramichi Area CHNA identified a need for increased recreational activities for children and youth in the community, particularly within outlying areas like Rogersville.

On my first visit to Rogersville I met with Maxine Caissie, an RN and manager of Horizon's Rogersville Health Centre, Angèle McCaie, from the Village de Rogersville, Annick Gallant-Roy, from the Francophone South School District, and Chanelle DaPonte (who was the community developer for that area at the time).

We started chatting about what we could do to address that CHNA recommendation could look like and right away we knew opportunities for young teens weren't as readily available.

Teens were already really into biking - what if we could have a trail built for them. Even better - what if they could build it themselves?


And so, the wheels were in motion to build the Kevin Pitre Mountain Bike Trail. Kevin was a beloved Rogersville community member who passed away in June 2019.

Community development is all about working with people and organizations to reach the goal - as the saying goes, "Many hands make light work" and that adage certainly applies to this project.

I reached out to Marc Leger, who's with the Southeast New Brunswick Regional Service Commission. Marc is known as "The NB Trail Guy," and he connected me with the Canadian chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA)! How great is that?!

That first conversation with IMBA is what sealed the deal - they could come and do a week-long session teaching interested youth to build the trail.

We're also so lucky to have other partners and resources like Marc from the Service Commission, and the IMBA; as well as the support from the Public Library Service and école Étoile de l'Acadie, which is Rogersville's Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

We were able to secure the necessary funding from the Sport and Recreation Branch of the provincial Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture as well as Horizon's Community Innovation Fund! The Innovation Fund is a new funding pool coming out of Horizon's Population Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Management Department. Community developers submit applications to help bring money to the table in innovative community-based projects

For the IMBA's week-long session, we hosted Justin Truelove, an expert on building sustainable, user-friendly trails. Justin taught an engaged group of Rogersville youth all facets of the current trails industry, practices and standards.

With his expertise, Rogersville youth now know the foundations of sustainable trail design, construction and maintenance techniques as well as the partnerships involved, volunteer management and the philosophy of trail, park and network design.

After a bit of classroom time at the start of the week, the youth and Justin went out and started the real learning by actually clearing the brush and building the trail themselves!

Thanks to a week spent working with Justin, our Rogersville youth are empowered ambassadors for the trail and the sport of mountain biking.

During Justin's week-long visit, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, federal minister of Science and Sport, visited with Rogersville youth who were building the bike trail.

She was amazed at the work she saw!


"I've taught sport in four different countries and I've never seen what you've done here," Minister Duncan said.

My favourite part of the week was seeing the pride the youth had while explaining what they had learned and while showing Minister Duncan and us around.

Rogersville is a community that is resilient and innovative. Projects like this just help to reinforce that pride and sense of community.

Projects like this don't happen without a core team though, and I'm happy to have been able to work alongside the Village of Rogersville (acting as the backbone organization), Horizon's Rogersville Health Centre and the Francophone South School District.

The goal of this project was just to get things rolling - from here, these youth can continue to build and teach their friends, families, neighbours and the rest of the community how to build on and maintain this awesome trail for years to come!


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