Skip to content

Friends remember beloved Squamish trail builder

David Reid shared his passion for all things outdoors with unreserved enthusiasm.

​David Reid is being remembered as a cheerful soul who worked tirelessly on behalf of outdoor recreationists of all stripes.

Reid died due to a kayaking accident on the Ashlu River in early August.

As the trail crew manager and lead builder for the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association since 2019, he was known for his enthusiasm. Reid was constantly asking runners, hikers, bikers and others to test out his latest builds. All the while, he'd be on hand to share a story and a laugh.

"He loved to share great outdoor experiences with people and help enable people to find great experiences…from travelling and trail maintenance, or just sharing where great hikes were, or all sorts of things," Jeff Norman, president of SORCA, told The Squamish Chief. "He loved to do that. And…he was great at it."

Reid moved to Squamish in 2006 and accumulated over 15 years of trail building experience, with a penchant for granite slabs and letting the trail decide where it wanted to go.

Norman remembered that Reid still listened to podcasts about trail building, as he was always working to refine his skills.

"Dave was one of the kings or mayors of outdoor recreation," he said.

Friends recalled Reid's fun, adventurous spirit.

Bryan Raiser, who knew Reid for over a decade, called him a magical, positive person with an unmatchable sense of humour.

As a case in point, he recalled one occasion when he received a text from Reid on a December day to go for a ride in 15 minutes.

"Riding a crazy trail in December is madness," said Raiser with a laugh. "But he said, 'I'm going to have to wear my Halloween outfit. Because Griffin doesn't believe I will' — Griffin being his awesome son. And so, sure enough, he shows up in an Eeyore onesie and with a Tigger helmet ornament for me…We…ride the whole thing in Halloween outfits. Just because we could."

Reid was constantly creating, pouring himself into his work. He had an encyclopedic understanding of trail building and land-use knowledge.

Another master trail builder, Ted Tempany of Dream Wizards, said that Reid was generous with that knowledge.

"Dave was a big supporter of all the other trail builders in town, and his influence actually spanned a whole bunch of different user groups, you know, not just biking and kayaking," said Tempany.

"He was tied to a lot of different groups in town, and helped bridge the gap between various user groups and different members of the community."

He said another thing that stood out was Reid's talent to hold an audience captive.

"He was such a good storyteller," said Tempany. "And I think part of that is because he told the story to so many different people that he had, you know, just perfected the delivery. So he was always super entertaining to talk to."

Reid was also an accomplished athlete and builder, but it never got to his head, Tempany said.

"In a corridor which is full of big egos and big mouths, Dave was always super humble, no matter what he was doing," he said. "We're going to miss him. It leaves a big hole in the community, for sure."

The co-owner of Capra Running remembered Reid as someone always eager to share and ask for feedback for his creations from the trail-running community.

"This town has so many great different sports in it," said Solana Green. "And sometimes people can be a little touchy when it comes to, you know, who's sharing the trails and how we're doing that. And Dave was the opposite. Dave wanted everyone to enjoy the trails."

Green said that while Reid worked for SORCA, he believed that the trails he was building were for everyone.

She recalled Reid's efforts at re-establishing a connector to the Word of Mouth trail, which had been logged. That route is used by the Squamish 50 race, a landmark event for trail runners.

Reid happened to need some runners to break up the organic bedding in the area. Having people run up and down the path would make it easier to mould the terrain. So he enlisted the aid of Capra.

"He texted me one day and he's like, 'OK, I need some feet on the ground. I can't have bikes go through yet, but I need you to get some runners to come out here and put their feet on the ground.'" recalled Green.

However, he gave vague directions that resulted in a bit of an adventure for the runners, she recalled.

"He did get it done, but it was always a little bit of a scavenger hunt with Dave," Green said with a chuckle.

"I think the trail system is going to really, really miss him, just in the maintenance factor and also in the new and innovative factor. But also just him as a person. He was just such a…lovely human that his loss is going to be felt by all of Squamish…we all love Dave."

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks