A valley that changes everything
“Suburb of paradise, the Vallée Bras-du-Nord prints in the head of the mountain cyclist a collection of postcards of rivers, trails and hills with emerald green foliage. A bucolic charm that is then quenched in the adrenaline and the effort to obtain one of the finest products of recreational tourism in Quebec. -David Desjardins, Mag Bike.
On the way, the contributor to Vélo Ma g magazine , David Desjardins, does not fail to highlight the role of change agent played by the solidarity cooperative of Saint-Raymond (Portneuf). It has reinvented the local economy while consolidating the social fabric. Created in 2002, the Vallée Bras-du-Nord represents the fruit of a dialogue between landowners, recreational tourism stakeholders and forestry workers, an alliance that continues.
From year to year, the one that has become the largest mountain bike destination in Quebec – and which is also very popular across Northeastern North America – is experiencing a steady increase in attendance and its turnover. While Vallée Bras-du-Nord is also known for its hiking trails, Saint-Raymond has recently been ranked sixth outdoor municipality in the province.
“The organization’s success is based on strong, diversified and long-standing business partnerships,” says Étienne Beaumont, project director and strategic relationship. The Vallée Bras-du-Nord is well anchored in its environment, in addition to standing out as a model of cooperative management and sustainable development. It creates a sense of belonging among its employees, its customers and the community. ”
While the first two phases of development (2002-2017) were devoted to starting and implementing a critical mass of four-season activities with mountain biking as a flagship product, the third phase (2018-2022 ) focuses on the improvement of poles, trail systems, accommodation and hospitality infrastructures. This new stage of growth aims to position itself internationally.
“It is particularly important for us to work together to create a unique atmosphere and atmosphere for a destination where local people, local hikers and tourists live side by side. We want to connect the city center to the bike paths of the Vallée Bras-du-Nord. To attract families, mountain bike beginners and electric bikers, there is also a need to increase the availability of easy trails, “says Beaumont.
The cooperative has finally successfully launched the development of the short-stay micro-adventure winter, which consists in offering simple and safe experiences to reconnect with nature and get out of its comfort zone. This orientation highlights the appeal products that are snowshoeing, mountain skiing – an activity that is gaining popularity in Quebec – fatbike and experiential accommodation (cottages, yurts, refuges).
“The organization’s success is based on strong, diversified and long-standing business partnerships. ”
– Étienne Beaumont, project director and strategic relationship
Did you know that…
The Vallée Bras-du-Nord initiated the Outdoors program at Louis-Jobin High School in Saint-Raymond. More than a hundred students are enrolled, young people who feel challenged by environmental issues, who become ambassadors of healthy lifestyles and whose participation in activities is often crucial in their choice of career.
Several major events take place on the cooperative’s territory. These include the MEC Quebec Two Trail Race, the Wildside Enduro Mountain Bike Race, the Quebec Stage 2 and 6 Singletrack Experience (seven stages in seven days at seven different sites in the Quebec City region), the Raid North Arm and the Transvallée.
In order to promote healthy lifestyles among its employees, the Vallée Bras-du-Nord has offered them, since last year, one hour per week paid to use the outdoor facilities for recreational purposes, whether for relaxation, exploration or training.
Young people who build … and rebuild themselves
Every year since its inception, Vallée Bras-du-Nord has been rolling out the En Marche initiative. Young people struggling with certain difficulties (dropping out, drug addiction, delinquency, etc.), but engaged in a process of socio-professional reintegration build and maintain the network of hiking and mountain bike trails. “This project is part of our mission, our DNA! The organization has built an enviable reputation for its innovative approach to this clientele. In fact, En Marche now serves as a model everywhere, “says Étienne Beaumont. The results of the program are eloquent: 75% of the 230 young people who participated in the program subsequently returned to the labor market or returned to school. A documentary on the initiative was produced in 2017.
For promising projects
The $ 100 million fund initiated by Desjardins Group at the end of 2016 is a great success. It aims to support promising projects for communities, and to breathe new economic and social dynamism. More than 300 projects have been supported to date. In this series, the Capitales Médias Group, in collaboration with Desjardins Group, presents some of these.
“For Saint-Raymond, the Vallée Bras-du-Nord plays an important role as a tourism ambassador throughout Quebec, and well beyond its borders. The Valley stimulates our DNA outdoors and positions us, even more each year, as the number one playground in the greater Quebec City area. ”
– François Dumont, General Manager of the City of Saint-Raymond
$ 300,000 paid by Desjardins in Portneuf for the development of mountain bike trails, including $ 200,000 for Vallée Bras-du-Nord.
8 cohorts hosted to date in the Outdoors program offered at Louis-Jobin High School.
100 km of singletrack trails , making the Bras-du-Nord Valley one of the most important cycling destinations in northeastern America.
80 km of footpaths.
+ 25 0 participants in socioprofessional reintegration projects.
+ 100,000 days / visits recorded in 2018, including 40,000 for mountain biking.
+ 50 direct jobs created.
230 members of the Saint-Raymond Bike Club.
8 events on an annual basis.
17 prizes won over time, a cooperative success repeatedly recognized.