We had the pleasure of working with the Monterey Off Road Cylcing Association (MORCA) last weekend in Monterey, CA.
Their main backyard trails are at Fort Ord, a former U.S. army post. About 15 years ago, the base was converted to civilian use, which to some sounded a lot like 'mountain biking.' These trails are roller coaster rides through oak chaparral and sandy sideslopes, providing at times unparalleled views of the Salinas Valley.
There are over 80 miles of trails on the property, some good, some bad, and MORCA has developed a relationship with the BLM land mangers who now oversee Fort Ord. The BLM has been turning to MORCA as one of their most effective user groups, to transform many of the unsustainable trails into fun reroutes, in light of the very sandy and loose soils. On Saturday we built 1,500 feet of new trail with 45 volunteers - a new record!
Sometimes we work with clubs that teach us more than we can teach them, and MORCA was one of those clubs. Check out their website to see a good example of a club that finds opportunities and gets well organized to capitalize on them. They've mastered the three-legged stool of advocacy - social events and rides that draw members and their families together, trail building days that are tailored to volunteers and get people psyched about the difference they are making, and the political relationships and leverage to make positive change in the community.
Plenty of thanks to the REI in Marina for hosting out Trailbuilding School, to MORCA for providing lunch and libations, and to the Los Laureles Lodge for letting us stay in one of their historic stable rooms in Carmel Valley.