It may not be hard to be nicer than me but this is a nice outtake on the subject.
What he said!
I too mourn the loss of the original Pemberton, and before that, the
beautiful Pinnacle Peak Trail. I promised myself then mountain bikers would
never lose out on another great trail!
For all of you who show up work day after work day, be it here in the
Valley, Tucson, Flagstaff, or whereever... you are the greatest. I can tell
you, from personal observation, that BLM, and the other members of the Black
Canyon Trail Coalition, have been "blown away" by the enthusiasm and
assistance of our mountain biker volunteers. Does that help build the
trail? More than you even realize. The Black Canyon Trail (BCT) has existed
as a subpar trail for several decades, but only after IMBA's vision and
design suggestions, and, two or three years later, a recent surge of
volunteers, is BLM getting into the "we have to stay in front of them" mode.
That's how you get exciting new trails built. I'm sure Flagstaff and
Tucson area land managers will agree!
Whether you all know it or not, its the exceptional enthusiasm, and trail
building skill level, of mountain biker volunteers that have given this
user group the "want them in..." stamp with many land managers. In other
words, I think every land manager in this State now realizes that if they
want to build trails, they need to get the mountain bikers involved. So
long as you maintain that kind of a reputation, you should never have to
worry about losing out on great trails.
Now, to the nitty gritty.
There are at least a dozen new trails being built right now in this State,
and all need help. The Black Canyon Trail, (Black Canyon Trail Coalition),
The Arizona Trail (central (Anna Pfender) and southern (SDMB) Arizona
sections), and the Flagstaff (Mark Gullo, Flagstaff Biking Organization)
area trails all have regular trail work opportunities. For others around
the State, check out the website for Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona (VoAZ).
They do really exciting things, like working on trails on the reservations
up in the White Mountains! I'm not as familiar with it, but I believe there
is a group working on a new master trail plan for the Bradshaw Mountains,
just south of Prescott. IMBA's Trail Care Crew will be visiting that area
I haven't compiled a neat list of links to all these organizations, or the
McDowell Conservancy, ... maybe some of you could help me out with that?
Scott speaks of other opportunities to help. He speaks truly. And here are
a few suggestions.
1. Access - opportunity to get involved politically. The Pima and Dynamite
trails are in grave danger. After the defeat of the State Trust Lands
proposition, a developer has now bid on a portion of land in this area, and
it appears the State Lands Department will not delay land sales in this area
any longer. Carla, at the McDowell Conservancy can tell you what she
needs... at this point, its political. Carla is encouraging any interested
individuals to contact the Governor's office to seek her intervention and
help. Basically, Scottsdale, (who has been a tremendous friend to mountain
bikers), wants enough time to purchase these lands itself for its proposed
preserve and trail system. Scottsdale would like the Governor's office to
encourage the State Land Department to continue delaying land sales until
Scottsdale has the money it needs to move ahead.
2. The Black Canyon Trail- participation in design work. As we speak,
there is flagging for new loops around Doe Peak (thats on the west side of
the Boy Scout Loop). It will add at least one more loop to the Boy Scout
Loop, which already exists, creating a compact, "loop trail system" in that
area. I haven't had the time to go out and check the flagging, but I would
really love it if some of you set aside a day to go check it out, and let me
and BLM know what you think. BLM considers this potential loop trail system
as "the mountain bikers' trail," mostly because Scott MacFarland and I were
strong advocates for another loop in this section. If you want to make that
label a reality, please go check out the flagging and let us know what you
think. Route suggestions will be considered, and this is the time to make
them. Bear in mind, this is not a riding opportunity. When I do this sort
of thing, I ride my bike there, stash it temporarily behind some bushes,
change shoes, and then go forth and bushwack (please be careful of delicate
vegetation, and watch for snakes, scorpions and spiders). It is
bushwacking, in the desert, on steep slopes, so appropriate clothing is
necessary (long pants and sleeves, and hiking boots).
3. The Black Canyon Trail - participation in design work. One of the
BCTC's goals this work season is to fix any "trouble" spots south of Table
Mesa Road. Suggestions for reroutes from current, non-sustainable sections,
from Doe Peak to Table Mesa would be welcome. Once again, some bushwacking
would be required.
4. The Black Canyon Trail Coalition (BCTC) meets the first Thursday of
every month. It is in these meetings that we do most of the hardcore trail
planning. BLM brings its route suggestions to the BCTC at these meetings.
We also address other issues, like shooting, trash or event appearances. I
am the only regular mountain biker participant. If there were someone else
willing to dedicate one evening a month to attending this meeting, it would
help to relieve me, and open another pipeline of communication with the
mountain biking community. Please let me know if you could help out here.
The meetings will alternate between Black Canyon City, and North Phoenix.
5. As Scott mentioned, there are limitless volunteer opportunities that can
be suited to your skills and interests. For example, the Black Canyon Trail
Coalition could use additional assistance on web design, grant writing,
event appearances, etc. Probably every other trail access organization
could also use such assistance.
This is overlong. I just wanted to take this final opportunity to say that
mountain bikers are the greatest volunteers in the world. Thanks for all
Black Canyon Trail Coalition
Arizona IMBA Representative
>From: Scott Anthony
>Subject: [RideAZ] Evolution of a Trail User
>Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 17:33:29 -0800 (PST)
>Yeah......its me again. You know the drill. Always feel free to hit
>"delete" when I start one of my opinionated rants. This one seemed to take
>on a life of its own, so go get a beverage if you are actually going to
>I was going to just sit on the sidelines regarding the trail maintenance
>conversation, but I guess I am just not smart enough to keep my mouth shut.
> If you wish to share this with someone, feel free to do so.
>So, as always, you can: 1) Delete, 2) Ignore, 3)Chime in, 4)Bash, 5)Other
>I started riding a mountain bike in the fall of 1994. (Fall, of course,
>being a key to how I ride a mtb.) It was/is incredibly challenging from a
>skill level and fitness point of view. Beyond that, well, there is so much
>more to it. The beauty of the surroundings, the people, the crunch of
>tires in the rocks........ It has become a really huge part of my life. I
>remember some of the first trails that I attempted to ride/walk. The
>quality, quantity and diversity of the trails amazed me.
>As I got to be a little better rider, (i.e. riding more than walking), I
>remember wishing that there weren't so many hikers or equestrians "in the
>way" of my biking. I don't think that I was ever openly hostile to other
>trail users, but I know that I was not the model citizen in terms of
>yielding the right of way, and so forth. Fortunately, early on in my
>riding adventures, I learned from friends the importance of having a
>positive relationship with the other trail users. I joined various
>mountain bike groups (MBAA - mainly to race, NORBA - same, IMBA - heck,
>sounds like a good idea) and read a lot of what these organizations
>published. I read about trails that had been closed to mountain biking and
>realized that I did not want anything like that to happen to me.
>Through the years, I became well indoctrinated with the basic rules of the
>trails. To this day, I try to always yield the right of way, be kind to
>the trails, say hello to others that I meet, and basically share that "good
>vibe" with other trail users. Am I perfect - no! But, I guess the point
>is; I try.
>Along the way, I have had the opportunity to help with various trail
>maintenance projects. One of my first experiences with trail work occurred
>because of an incident that some of us might recall. The destruction of
>the Original Pemberton Trail, still rankles some of us that remember it.
>Sure, it might not have been a "perfectly" designed trail - but, darn it
>was fun. The resulting "re-route" / "re-engineering" of the trail left a
>lot to be desired.
>Shortly thereafter other trail projects were planned. To have a trail that
>we wanted to ride, rather than a bulldozed, dirt sidewalk, I joined with
>many other riders and helped build some new trail. By showing up, taking
>part in the trail work, and being recognized as mountain bikers - we helped
>give political clout to our efforts to have trails built the way we wanted.
> And, we got better trails in the process. The competitive loops at
>McDowell Mtn Park are far from perfect, but they do service a user group
>very well. I am proud to have had a hand in building them, even if the
>actual design work had already been laid out. More importantly for me, it
>sparked the beginning of a commitment. I liked being involved with giving
>back something in exchange for all of the good times I was receiving. It
>seemed to me, that it was "the least that I could do."
>Trail maintenance and building opportunities have developed into something
>special for me. They are held outside, and well, I like being outside.
>Most of the time, the people that you are working with will listen to you
>if you have an alternative to the design process. I like that, because, I
>love to ride different trails. So, by being involved with the process, I
>get a small vote in how the end result will turn out. Sure, most of the
>big design work is done before I ever get there, but that is my fault. If
>I was more pro-active and spent more time with it, I am sure some people
>out there would love the help on the design process too.
>Trail work days often involve something of an artistic point of view for
>me. I am not talented with music or painting. But there is something
>really neat about following the ribbons tied to the creosote or mesquites
>and imagining what the trail will look like. Which cactus will need to be
>replanted, which rocks can stay for technical challenge, how to overcome
>significantly, sloping hillsides, and yet have a self-draining trail that
>will be there for years to come? The opportunity to be involved and then,
>literally hours later, see the fruits of your labors, is truly amazing.
>Maitenance opportunities, where you undertake reroutes to improve
>sustainability and drainage are equally rewarding in their own way.
>One of the beautiful things about trail work is that you don't have to be
>involved in every facet of the process to be a huge help. You can show up
>at trail work events and offer your labor. You can pick your hand tool and
>decide how many blisters (or not) you are getting that day. You can help
>provide lunch or snacks for the workers. You can be involved with lay-out
>and planning to a certain extent on some projects. There are plenty of
>volunteer groups out there looking for people to help with a myriad of
>differnt activities related to building and maintaining multi-user trails.
>Several years ago, I decided that I would work at least 1 trail maintenance
>event per year. One day out of 365. I can ride or hike (yeah, I do that
>too) any of the other days. Sure, work and other stuff gets in the way far
>too often with those other 364 days, but I still find time to ride quite a
>bit. I also decided that doing trail maintenance was a lot more fun when
>it wasn't really hot out. I guess I am more inclined to have sweat running
>in my eyes when I am on my bike, then when I am using a pick or a McLeod.
>Where is this major rant going............well.......it sure would be nice
>to see more familar faces at some of the trail maintenance projects. Hey,
>how about less of the "same old faces", and how about a whole bunch of
>"new" familar faces? How about a whole bunch of people that are truly
>"new" to the process? We are so incredibly fortunate in Arizona. We have
>amazing numbers of trail opportunities to ride bikes, horses or hike. But,
>with increasing populations in many areas, the trails are really getting
>worked. Our "single" track, in many places is big enough to drive vehicles
>along it. The demands put on the relatively small resources that the
>governing agencies have available are not even close to being enough to
>maintain the current number of trail miles. And we need more trails!
>More trails will help ease the burden on existing trails. More trails will
>help disperse existing and new users so that various user group conflicts
>can be minimized. Anyone that has ridden South Mountain lately on a
>weekend knows that we could use some more places for people to go to hike,
>bike and ride their horses. We need more trails. We need to better
>maintain the ones that we have. And the agencies responsible for all of
>this, don't have the resources to do it.
>Sure, belonging to an advocacy group is a huge help. Write your check out,
>drop it in the mail, and you are good to go. Right? Wrong! This is only
>part of the answer.
>As enthusiasts, we need to do more! The next time you ride your bike,
>think about the trail that you are riding. Perhaps it is a "newer" trail?
>Who built it? Do you like it? Cool. Want more? Would you have done
>something different? Get involved!
>Or maybe it is an "old" trail. A "classic" with awesome features,
>challenging lines, solid drainage, beautiful views. Wow! How lucky you
>are to be riding that kind of a trail! Something like that, built
>correctly, will be enjoyed for generations to come. Wouldn't it be cool to
>ride something like that, knowing that you had helped with even a small
>part of it? That opportunity exists - and then some!
>I have not devoted a lot of time towards trail work. But, I have tried to
>be true to my goal. At least 1 day per year. Last year, I worked 2 days.
>This year, I will have 3 days completed within the next 2 weeks. These
>days do not come cheap. I have had to rearrange other activities and
>"gasp" actually missed a couple of rides! Yes, I would rather be riding.
>But, when I am riding, I respect, and appreciate the trails that I have all
>the more, due to the efforts that I am putting forth.
>Think of all the people that you know that ride a bike, horse, or hike.
>Can you imagine the amount of trail that could be built and maintained with
>each of those people working 1 day per year on a trail project? It is
>almost an unfathomable amount to me, because I know how few people get
>Please do not misunderstand. I am not asking people that are already
>involved to do more. I have made a choice to work 3 trail days this year.
>I actually hope that I can do quite a bit more, because of certain project
>that has really hit home with me. It happens that I am able to make that
>choice. And that is fine.....my choice!
>If you already do trail work, and have similar goals to me (1 day per
>year), well, right on! You are giving a little bit back.....and it is
>appreciated. If you can do more, awesome! If you are a regular trail
>user, and you aren't doing any trail work, well -- please reconsider.
>The trails that we all enjoy required a group of people that put in
>significant effort. It is amazing what a group of motivated people can
>accomplish. Just showing up is the first step. One day per year is not
>much. Do more if you can. But make it out to a trail event this year.
>You might find out that there is a lot more fun to it than you realize. I
>guarantee, you will appreciate your next ride even more!
>Enjoy your trails - show how much you do!
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