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Put this in your pipe and smoke it:

  • Since the beginning of 2011, we’ve built 17,115 feet with 645 volunteers (thanks volunteers!). That equates to about 26 feet per person, per project.
  • So on a typical Saturday Trailbuilding School field session, we average about 25 volunteers and 650 feet of trail (I love calculators).
  • This weekend we had 10 volunteers, and built 500 feet of trail at Cathedral Hills in Grants Pass, OR. That’s 50 feet per person (I did that one in my head). We might not have had a large quantity of volunteers, but we sure had quality.

Call me Malcolm Gladwell, but doctor, I think we have an outlier. It’s all thanks to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

We just finished a visit in Grants Pass hosted by the BLM. It became crystal clear that most of the BLM recreation planners we've worked with across the West work their tails off for mountain biking.

The BLM has been one of IMBA’s most stalwart partners in figuring out ways for a federal agency of its size to permit new mountain bike trails that are totally on the mark when it comes to meeting the need for sustainable and challenging singletrack.

Some examples of rad singletrack on BLM property: Sandy Ridge (OR), Paradise Royale (CA), Cathedral Hills (OR), Johnny Behind the Rocks (WY), Cronan Ranch (CA), Croy Creek (ID), Hurricane (UT)… It’s a fact that we’re forgetting some, so chime in with your favorite BLM trail.

Point being that it’s refreshing to see such acceptance and advance for mountain biking at the federal level. Every other federal land management agency out there has created similar innovative mountain biking opportunities, but the BLM field offices that we’ve worked with seem to be particularly sensitive to the idea that mountain biking is not just part of recreation management, but it’s a way to build a generation of future stewards for the land, and in turn, help agencies accomplish other of their management mandates. In return for this vision, volunteer organizations are willing to put in time and resources to partner with the BLM, knowing they'll get something in return.

Granted, amazing trails don't happen overnight. It takes vision from land managers and volunteers alike, and we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, but the absolute best trails are the result of tight partnerships between agencies and volunteers. You need each other! And of course it helps if you have volunteers who can each build 50 feet of sweet singletrack in 150 minutes!

So thanks a bazillion to BLM’s Grants Pass Interagency Office, and its partner volunteer clubs from southwestern Oregon, like the Rogue Valley Mountain Bike Association, Team Pistis, and the Rogue River Area Trail Stewards (I prefer their acronym, Rogue RATS), as well as our local sponsors for the weekend: Southern Oregon Subaru, Bikekraft, Spin Cycles, and Don's Bike Center.

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Rad singletrack on BLM? I

Rad singletrack on BLM? I don't know, how about let's talk Fruita.