The other day I had a bit of a rant about our fast growing vegetation and how it is quickly overtaking our local trails. I got a comment that suggested that we have a trail maintenance crew, or at least someone in charge of organizing said trail maintenance. All great ideas. One problem with that. Passionate people, or in our case, the lack there of.
Now a word to you locals: I already know who most, if not all of you are. I'm not writing this as an indictment of you. Just telling it like it is. You are welcome to comment if this rubs you wrong in any way!
The thing is, there are so few of us and so many miles of trail. Last fall, a local race team and a couple of the more passionate mountainbikers got together to help clear out a small portion of the State Parks trails. A great job was done by all, but they didn't get around to maintaining all the trails out there. It was too big a job for a couple days work. And that doesn't include the municipal trails in Ulrich Park, or the Green Belt. We're talking miles and miles of trail that would require several days each month on each system to maintain. With the amount of dedicated, pasionate mountain bikers that we have in this area, that's asking alot.
We just need more people that live and work in this area that are passionate about their off roading. Perhaps there is a little hope here from two things that I have noticed. The first is the resurgence in sales of mountain bikes in this area. The second is the rise in interest in the trails up at Camp Ingawanis. These trails are a bit more inspiring, shall we say, and invoke a little more passion for the developement and maintenance of them. There is an organized effort developing to maintain those fine trails. Perhaps a little of that will carry over to the local trails, which the governing bodies have no money to spend on maintenance of these trails.
In the mean time I pick up the blow downs and ride out in the Green Belt whenever I can. That is, until the weeds get too high, then I wisely retreat and wait until fall. It's just too much for one guy to take care of on his own.
Let's see, the city should mow the trail the one and only time they do it all year about late August or so............
So, if you have a trail maintenance group in your area, you should consider lending them a hand if you love mountain biking. Those people are a rare quantity of folks that care enough about riding trail to actually do something about it. Shouldn't you? All it takes is a few hours of your time one or two days a year to make a big difference.
If you don't have a trail group in your area, then consider being the first member of one. Maybe you'll be the only one, for awhile. One person can make a difference too. And you might be surprised to find someone joining you someday. Action- not words. Hmm.....that reminds me!
Trans Iowa 13: Soggy Bottoms
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