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It takes more than labor to create a feature like this gravity well.

Riders know they need to give back to the trails they love to ride. After all, there is no such thing as a self-sustaining trail. Periodic trail maintenance is a must in order for trails to stay safe and enjoyable. However, it takes more than manual labor to develop and maintain trails. Here’s four reasons why you should support your local trails financially.

Not all riders can attend trail workdays

It only takes a minute to drop a few bucks into a donation box like this one.

Some riders have career and family obligations that prevent them from attending trail workdays. I myself am one of them. As much as I would love to volunteer for trail workdays myself, they always seem to fall on a day and time when I have something else I need to do. However, it only takes a minute to write out a check to your local bike club, or to drop some cash into the donation box at your local trailhead. Doing so will provide tools for the volunteers who can attend workdays, and materials needed to build and maintain the cool features we love to ride.

Great trails take more than manual labor to create and maintain

Donations from local riders helped pay for Trail Dynamics to do some work on our local trails. Photo by Brad McLeod.

Rock gardens and wooden bridges don’t just magically appear on trails. The concrete, rocks, wood, and other materials used to create them, as well as the equipment that carried them to the trail, were purchased with cash. That money had to come from somewhere, and chances are, it wasn’t all from your local government. Giving money for trail development and maintenance makes the man-made features we love possible.

Giving money to local bike trails demonstrates their importance to your community

The city helped build and pay for this trail feature because they know how important mountain biking is to our local community.

Local governments will sometimes question whether they should invest in building new mountain bike trails, or whether they should continue to spend money on maintain existing trails. When that happens, it’s a lot easier for riders to convince their local officials to vote in favor of their local trails if they can demonstrate that area mountain bikers are willing to invest their own funds as well. Government officials always love to see a project that has a positive impact on the community, and doesn’t put a drain on the budget.

It sets an example for the next generation of riders

Riders are also ambassadors for the sport of mountain biking. We need to support our local trails financially to set an example for the next generation of riders. It sends the message that trails don’t maintain themselves. All riders share some amount of responsibility for maintaining their local trails, either through workdays or through donations — or both. If we can instill these values in the next generation of riders, then we can ensure the sport of mountain biking will be around for decades to come.

Every dollar counts when it comes to trail development and maintenance

Even something as simple as this bike wash and repair stand wouldn’t be possible without financial support.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to donate money to your local trails. Even a couple of bucks here or there has an impact. Imagine if every rider on your local trails gave just $2 a month. It would add up to a significant amount of money over time. That means better trails, which is a win-win for all riders. The next time you ride, consider donating some money to your local trails.

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# Comments

  • charding

    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment and message of this article and would also add that I believe MTBers should become dues-paying members of their local MTB club, association or advocacy organization.

    • Richard Shoop

      Thanks for your comments. I agree, but would caution that one should carefully research their local organizations carefully before paying dues to them. After all, you want to make sure your money is being spent wisely.

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