Where Awesome Trails Come From

Trailwork-Intro
Photo Credit: Joe Petersen. Work Credit: Cheryl Dralle, Andy Peterson, Tara Starr, Bruce Brown, et al. Location: Center Trails, Des Moines, Iowa.

No one to build and maintain trails would mean no trails. And no trails would mean nowhere to ride for fun and no races!

So let’s give a a big shoutout to all those who have done and will do the necessary work on our trails, both locally and across the state(s). Let’s also make a resolution to go to the next trail work day or even contribute to trimming and other maintenance on our own as our schedules allow.

Ways to Help

There are a variety of ways to help.

  • Show up for trail work days. Bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Then let organizers divide folks into groups to tackle the projects they have decided are the highest priority. You can find yourself installing bridges, armoring wet areas with stones, trimming back overgrowth, building new technical features, and more.
  • Photo Credit: Joe Petersen. Brick Donation Credit: (please step forward). Location: Center Trails, Des Moines, Iowa.
    Photo Credit: Joe Petersen. Brick Donation Credit: Steve Wiseman. Location: Center Trails, Des Moines, Iowa.

    Donate money and materials. Just joining your local trail organization helps the budget for maintaining tools, buying new tools, getting gas for the mowers and trimmers, covering insurance, buying work day snacks, etc. Whenever you can, contribute to special fund drives that allow your organization to afford new big ticket items like mowers. And keep an eye out for material requests; that pile of landscaping materials you ripped out in your last home improvement project might be just what is needed!

  • Photo credit: Joe Short. Work credit: Joe Short, brush hog, and power scythe. Location: Sycamore Trail, Johnston, Iowa.
    Photo credit: Joe Short. Work credit: Joe Short, brush hog, and power scythe. Location: Sycamore Trail, Johnston, Iowa.

    Do some work on your own. Carry some pruners or a handsaw in your pack. The next time you encounter a face slapper, thorny ankle grabber, or downed limb, take care of it. (Be sure to toss the trimmings several feet back from the trail so animals or weather don’t track/wash it back on to the tread.) During the summer months, it can be a constant battle to tame back the overgrowth; consider going for a hike with your hand tools so you can really get it done. If you haven’t already worked closely with the local trail organization, resist the urge to do more ambitious projects; you may end up working at cross purposes.

Local Trail Organizations

If you are not sure how to lend a hand, It may be easiest to contact your closest trail organization. Join, donate, volunteer, fundraise—whatever you can give back so others can enjoy the trails just as much as you do when you are out riding, training, racing, meeting friends for a group ride.

The 2015 IMBCS season involves trails built and maintained by five local organizations:

Each of these trail organizations has a Facebook presence and their own website where you can easily find the links to join, donate money, volunteer, etc.

Photo Credit: Katherine Roccasecca. Work Credit: CITA. Location: Center Trails, Des Moines, Iowa.
Photo Credit: Katherine Roccasecca. Work Credit: CITA. Location: Center Trails, Des Moines, Iowa.