This week I read a couple articles about how mountain bikers are finally starting to turn the tide on trail closures and trail use conflicts through leadership and hard work. We’ve seen the impact hard working mountain bikers can have right here in our own backyard and apparently it’s happening all over the country.
In Pennsylvania’s Wissahickon Valley recent studies have shown that degraded and eroded park trails were definitely NOT caused by mountain biking but rather by poor water drainage (good study to pass on to your local land managers). In fact mountain bikers have partnered with a local non-profit to improve the trails and the two groups worked more than 3,700 volunteer hours in 2008 alone! The Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association (PMBA) has about 250 volunteers who have worked on trails in the Wissahickon Valley and they even managed to get a $10,000 grant from REI for their work. The great thing is that everyone, including hikers and equestrians, will benefit from the work being done by the PMBA.
In Asheville, NC mountain bikers are heading up an effort to rehab and create new trails on city land known as Richmond Hill. The trails at Richmond Hill have been neglected for some time and residents seemed at a loss for what to do – that is, until the mountain bikers showed up. Now SORBA Pisgah is leading trail work days every other Saturday starting this weekend to build trails for beginning to advanced riders right near the heart of downtown Asheville. Oh, and the hikers will get to enjoy the new and improved trails as well.
Yep, on the east coast and in the midwest it’s rare to have mountain bike trails handed to us and if we want more bike trails we’re gonna have to take the lead ourselves. Find (or create) a local group and get connected on a trail project this year – let’s all be leaders in 2009!
Check out our list of local mountain bike clubs to find a group in your area!