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.
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!
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:
- Friends of Off Road Cycling in the Quad Cities area (Illiniwek Abermination and FORC Side Thrill Ride)
- Linn Area Mountain Bike Association in Linn County (Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy)
- Cedar Valley Association for Soft Trails in Cedar Falls (George Wyth MTB Race)
- Iowa Coalition of Off-Road Riders in Iowa City (Sugar Bottom Scramble)
- Central Iowa Trail Association in Des Moines (Hin und Zurück, Summerset Shootout, and Solstice Slam)
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.