Support Your Local Trail Organizations – 5 Ways to Give Back
With biking season pretty much in full swing, now is a great time to support your local trail organizations. Whether you sign up for a membership with your local club, go out for trail dig days, or just help spread the word, any support is always helpful. Trail organizations are typically non-profit and volunteer based, which means they rely heavily on the local mountain bike community for support.
Here is a list of 5 ways you can help support your local trail organizations:
1. Become a member
The more members the club has, the more they can work to better the trails and improve the overall mountain bike community. Strength in numbers is huge. More members means more awareness and more people working to improve the trail networks in the area. As memberships grow, the mountain biking community will natural grow and expand as well.
Trail organizations rely on donations so that they can keep funding projects. This is probably the easiest way to give back, but the impact can be big. Maintaining trails takes a lot of cash and with most clubs being non-profit, donations go a long way in supporting the biking networks in the area. Money raised can go towards:
- organizing events/giveaways for the community (races, trail/dig days, contests)
- improved signage for trails/networks
- new/improved parking areas
- renting heavy equipment for specific projects
- investing in new tools and equipment (rake, shovel, pickax, chainsaw, quad, gas, etc.)
- paying for certain members to take trail building courses
- lumber for new features
3. Trail Stewardship
Being a good trail steward is key to maintaining a strong and healthy mountain bike community. Respecting the environment, other trail users, and the trails you ride are critical in establishing good relationships and setting the stage for a safe and respectful biking community. As a steward, help others by giving directions, show them a new line, and offer a hand with breakdowns. The more we work together and have each others backs, the more everyone will benefit.
4. Spread the Word
Word of mouth can help trail organizations in a big way. Awareness is key and having more and more people spread the word about trail dig days, projects, events, etc, then more people can be rallied up to help. Social media can be a great way to help spread the word about what is going on with your local trail organization. Create some stoke among your friends and get people excited about what the club has been up to. Share photos and videos of the work that is being done. When people see work getting done and more awareness is created, this can be a huge motivational factor for others to get out and help.
5. Work on Trails
One of the most direct ways to give back is to work on a trail. Whether you go with an organized group through the local club, or a group of friends, there is always work that needs to be done. Clearing dead-fall/debris, buffing, packing, and working on drainage issues are just a handful of ways to work on trails. Maintaining trails takes a lot of work and the more people who are out putting in the time, the better.
At the end of the day, the mountain bike community coming together is going to be one of the biggest factors in maintaining and improving the local riding networks in your area. Local trail organizations are going to be the catalyst to make this happen, and the more people that support them and rally behind them, the sooner the overall mountain bike community can benefit.