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Winter Advocacy Projects

Winter is fast approaching in the Tehachapi Mountains of Southern California and the results of the Tehachapi Mountain Trails Association's (TMTA) latest volunteer trail workday will soon be buried under snow until spring. But, even though trail work might be out of the question for a few months, there's plenty of opportunity to keep the the trails community in Tehachapi busy for the winter.

During a TMTA club meeting we heard great ideas like having the club host a cyclocross race, expand its membership, and develop a fundraising strategy. These are all projects that require organization and can be kick started in the winter months.

We also had more than 30 people, including club members, political decision makers, and other community leaders, turn out for our Better Living Through Trails presentation where the trails community heard about the opportunity to be a part of a trails master plan for both the city and the county. Getting involved early in a master plan is the difference between being heard, and struggling to catch up and be heard. Another discussion focused on private land, and attendees brainstormed ways to develop partnerships with private landowners through conservation easements or other strategies. Lastly, TMTA reiterated its commitment to continuing to work with the Golden Hills Community Service District to identify opportunities for new trails. Again, there are so many tasks a trail advocacy orgnization is involved in, beyond just digging in the dirt.

Great ideas were a common theme in all of our meetings. But, as most trail advocates know, with every great idea there are always challenges. So, how is TMTA going to work together to weed through all of its opportunities and actually make things happen?

First, they'll need to stay positive. It's human nature to think about constraints and limitations, and that can be discouraging. While it's healthy to have a conversation about challenges, always think about opportunities to overcome those challenges through creative problem solving. For every roadblock, there's likely a solution.

Then, once you've identified some good ideas (both big and small) along with ways to actually make them happen, it's time to prioritize and delegate. Have the club decide what's really important. Then, pair up those great ideas with the people who can make them happen. This means letting people choose a task that suits their interests and skills.

If all goes well, come spring TMTA will have some more solid results under its belt and be well on the way to creating some epic mountain bike opportunities in Tehachapi!

Thanks to the Tehachapi Mountain Trails Association for a successful Trail Care Crew weekend, as well as to Kern County Parks and Recreation for allowing the construction of a new trail at the Tehachapi Mountain Park.

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