The Disciples of Dirt (DOD) mountain bike advocacy organization in Eugene, Oregon, is preaching and practicing the gospel of sustainable trail and mountain bike advocacy management with a vengeance. The DOD has been around as long as IMBA, so they have a history as deep as the sport of mountain biking itself.
The DOD already has an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the Whypass trails just outside of Eugene and are currently negotiating MOUs with other land managers. Their patience and professionalism in dealing with the BLM is encouraging other land managers to take the DOD more seriously. We had members from the BLM, USFS, Army Corps of Engineers, City of Eugene, and City of Springfield all in attendance for our Land Manager Training session on Friday – a clear sign that the DOD has what it takes to bring the key players to the table and provide a great service to these agencies in helping to design and build trail assets in their community.
Like most organizations, the DOD has faced its share of challenges, but unlike many organizations has come out stronger and more energized than ever. While the DOD actively supports the building and maintenance of trails all around the Eugene/Springfield/Oakridge area, it has been a big challenge to get approval to get trails built in Eugene/Springfield city limits, forcing mountain bikers to take pilgrimages to the surrounding area trails they manage just to get in a ride.
They are making large strides towards getting trails in their backyard and are currently developing a short test trail in Bloomberg Park with the approval of City of Eugene officials. While this is somewhat of a test for the DOD to prove their skill and talent at designing and building sustainable trail, they are definitely up to the challenge and have even bigger plans once they clear these initial hurdles.
If you live in the Eugene/Springfield area, be sure to attend the DOD dirt worship services!