Sustainable Trails Bring People out in New Castle, CO
Despite the growing popularity and acceptance of mountain biking and mountain bike tailored trails there are still many land agencies still trying to find a way for it to fit into their management objectives. Vital engagement from the mountain bike community on all levels is the key to helping these agencies see the need and the value in creating mountain bike opportunities to not only dissuade unauthorized trailbuilding but to also create the infrastructure for new riders to develop the skills needed to progress comfortable on the trail.
This past weekend we spent sometime in the West Valley of Phoenix, an area flush with beautiful desert open spaces, many managed by one agency, Maricopa County Parks. Historically, Maricopa County has rigidly looked for ways to bring mountain biking into it’s parks under strict guidelines that often limit a true singletrack experience or provide much variety within in the system. After a discrepancy with some passionate local mountain bikers who took it upon themselves to create what they wanted to see, communications between the agency and mountain bikers were severed. That is until the recently formed IMBA Chapter, West Valley Trails Alliance came to the table with an organized and cohesive message.
With some great local engagement and knowledgeable volunteers, West Valley Trails Alliance is making huge strides in mending the relationship between local riders and Maricopa County. Amazing trail potential abounds in the Maricopa County Parks and it is up to the WVTA to find opportunities to not only strengthen trust but to legitimize themselves as a professional group that represents the greater voice of mountain bikers in the Phoenix area.
It was a truly monumental visit for us. With so much discussion of the historical bad blood between the County and the local riders, it was great to get everyone in the same room and discussing the many opportunities of the area. We had a great time riding, chatting, and building with everyone from Maricopa County Parks, WVTA, and everyone else who made it out to the weekend’s events.
Thanks to West Valley Trails Alliance and Maricopa County Parks, especially Brain Murphy and Jennifer Johnston, for their extensive planning for the weekend. Thanks also to all the volunteers and county parks employees who made it out, Chipotle for a great lunch, and Raymond James for their support. It was a great weekend and we look forward to hearing many continued successes from this beautiful area.