Storytelling will head for the hills in Cumberland

Cumberland writers Matt Rader and Grant Shilling have organized a community storytelling event.

Cumberland writers Matt Rader and Grant Shilling have organized a community storytelling event on the history of the Cumberland Hills with a focus on the biking culture that has emerged in the past 20 years.

The free event is dubbed Bronco’s Perseverance: Changing Gears in Cumberland, slated for Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Riding Fool Hostel. The title refers to former mayor and village councillor Bronco Moncrief, after whom a popular bike trail running alongside Perseverance Creek was named.

Moncrief will attend the event. Donations will be accepted for the Cumberland Forest Society.

Rader and Shilling — who are calling themselves the Perseverance Creek Heritage Society — are interested in documenting stories concerning the local biking culture. What, for instance, is the origin of trail names such as Bucket of Blood and Space Nugget?

They are also interested in determining how biking history interacts with industrial history dating back more than 125 years, as well as ecological and geological history. Questions of land use, watersheds, economic development and community culture are part of the inquiry.

“It’s mountain biking as a vision for the community. That involves a bunch of stakeholders that aren’t necessarily mountain bikers,” Rader said.

“You’re looking at a forest that’s already several generations since first growth that’s been harvested over time. In building the trails there’s certain ecological things that people are trying to keep in mind…You’re building around watersheds and through cutblocks and dealing with hydro lines.”

Noting how stories are easily lost over time, Rader said the goal of the event is to record the audio, document the stories and make them available to the public.

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Rader and Shilling hope to organize further events on other subjects of community interest. A long-term goal is to develop a storytelling/writers festival in Cumberland.

Comox Valley Record

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