I was recently invited to speak on a panel at the Back Country Horsemen of America's annual leadership meeting. The pannel was to be focused on multi use trail management specifically discussing the various different uses and how we work together to co-exist on the trail. Much to my surprise the panel discussion turned out to revolve mainly around mountain biking. The panelists disgussed issues with shared use trails, successes in partnering with IMBA and IMBA Chapters, safety concerns and much more. My time on the panel was primarily focused on sharing solutions to many of the issues brought on by shared use trails, precieved conflict and dispelling some of the myths of mountain biking. The panel discussion was a catalyst for nearly an hour of questions and stories shared by about 100 attendees at the event.
What struck me about the ensuing dialogue was how much praise IMBA and IMBA Chapter's recieved for their work throughout the country with local equestrian groups. The work that local mountain bike organizations are doing with their neighboring equestrain organizations is not going unoticed and many of the people in the room who were admittedly aprehensive when they first began working with mountain bikers had nothing but great things to say about their local wheeled trail advocates. This goes to show that we've come a long way. I don't think that I'd have had the same experience had I attended this meeting 10 years ago. Thank you to all of you who have worked to improve relationships with fellow trail users! It's certainly paying off.
To those of you who would like some help connecting with other trail users in your neck of the woods or need some ideas on how to make it happen please let us know. We're always happy to help!