Turning People Into Power
At most visits, the IMBA Trail Care Crews share best practices with local mountain bike organizations on how to build and maintain a sustainable and effective mountain bike advocacy effort. We do this because we know that a group of individuals focused on common goals and organized around a single entity is much more likely to be recognized, get what they want, and demonstrate their commitment to the community. The Midwest Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) proved a recent testament to this strategy through their work with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at Busiek State Forest outside of Springfield, Missouri.
Land managers and political decision makers are typically reticent to put much stock in single soldier advocates because they rarely represent the sentiments of the entire mountain bike community and can be unreliable. The story at Busiek is no different. For years, individual volunteers had approached the MDC with offers to help maintain and build trails. Forest managers longed to say, “yes” to a valuable volunteer resource, but they didn’t have confidence that those volunteers would be around long term. Hoping to allay this fear and instill confidence in forest managers, MORC organized itself as a non-profit mountain bike advocacy organization and developed relationships with MDC land managers.
Now, MORC is established and is developing a proven track record as a cohesive, organized, and passionate group of volunteers. They are educated about sustainable trail building practices and are focused on doing trail work that contributes to better trail experiences for mountain bikers and all trail users at Busiek. The MDC land managers are thrilled with their partnership with MORC and expect them to continue to be a valuable resource for the trails at Busiek in the future.
The great trail work on Saturday never would have been possible if Springfield’s volunteers hadn’t taken the time to get organized through MORC. We built 800' of new trail at Busiek and worked with the MDC to evaluate their trails and think about how to make the forest a great place to ride.