More Trails and Counting in 2020
After 21 years at IMBA, Richard Edwards, IMBA Trail Solutions (TS) Director of Community Engagement and Education, has accepted an exciting opportunity at West Virginia University as the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Coordinator for the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC). It is a fitting move for Rich, a legendary trail builder and walking trail encyclopedia, to take that knowledge to an academic setting and shape programming that will influence trails for generations.
Rich recently joined the Frontlines MTB podcast to discuss his history with mountain biking, advocacy, IMBA Trail Solutions and the trail building landscape. Have a listen:
Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew member Rich Edwards, April 2001 (Photo Credit: Dana Harshberger)
Rich and his wife Jen were recruited by TCC #2 Joey Klein and Kathy Summers in 2000 after a Trail Building School in Tucson, AZ, and formed Trail Care Crew (TCC) #3. TCCs would travel to different cities for weeks at a time, host trail building schools, and were the catalyst between local mountain biking clubs, land managers, and other trail users to build new trails. Developing relationships and mutual respect were essential to creating sustainable trails that were fun and easy on the land—a balance between recreationists and conservationists. Rich and Jen became one of the strongest trail teams in TCC’s 18-year history, leading Trail Building School clinics in the midwest, in the south, along the east coast, in a few western states, and even into some eastern provinces of Canada. The knowledge gained in Canada was later shared with our friends in the UK.
IMBA Trail Care Crew, Texas (Photo Credit: Joey Klein)
TCC evolved into Trail Solutions, after Rich, Joey, and Pete Webber came up with the idea in 2003, and pitched it to Tim Blumenthal, then IMBA Executive Director who went on to run PeopleforBikes. Initial projects for Trail Solutions included trail design for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Draper/Salt Lake City, UT, and a 5-year build at Tamarack Resort in Idaho. Over the years Rich's position evolved, and his knowledge and expertise of trails and trail building have grown to be more and more extensive.
Rich and Jimmy, IMBA Visit, Scottish borders, 2002 (Photo Credit: Joey Klein)
Rich and Joey travelled to Italy, Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland and met with some of top land managers in the UK, attended conferences and other networking events, and visited now-famous mountain bike destinations with trail directors. These trips to the UK, as well as others to Canada, Mexico, Australia, the Middle East, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and beyond, allowed Rich and Joey to build knowledge on trail building and mountain biking land management tools and techniques around the world.
Mauro and Rich, Italy (Photo Credit: Joey Klein)
Rich and Joey also did numerous tours of speaking and consultation visits in Finale Ligure, Italy, which is now one of the premier stops on the Enduro tour. IMBA Italian rep Mauro was their guide during their visits and helped IMBA gain popularity in Italy. Mauro shared ideas and solutions, attended IMBA Summits in the U.S., and brought knowledge back to Italy. The relationships Rich and Joey built during these visits helped build strong ties in Italy.
IMBA World Summit, Washington, D.C., 2004 (Photo Credit: Bob Allen)
To Rich: thank you for all that you've done for IMBA—words cannot express our extreme gratitude for your commitment and dedication to IMBA's mission for over two decades. Your knowledge, guidance, and leadership has influenced mountain biking communities and trails across the United States and internationally.
IMBA TS Tylor Brackett and Rich Edwards in Louisville, KY, 2016 (Photo Credit: Chris Orr)
Rich Edwards and team flagging trail in Greenville, SC, 2019 (Photo Credit: Rich Edwards)
“You’ve helped me become a better planner, designer, and advocate for mountain biking and trails, and your impact over the past 21 years to the overall community is nothing short of amazing and awesome.” -Mike Repyak, IMBA TS Director of Planning and Design
IMBA TS Rich Edwards and team (Photo Credit: Steve Kasacek)
“Thank you for your 21 years with IMBA and all that you've done and all the trails in almost every state, several countries. You've influenced thousands of miles of trail around the world.” -Joey Klein, IMBA TS Trail Specialist
Joey Klein and Rich Edwards go for a ride, March 2016 (Photo Credit: Joey Klein)
“The legends club of IMBA Alumni—What a fabulous job you did with building rapport and relationships with our partners starting in Trail Care Crew and IMBA Local groups and grew to land managers, federal agencies, and beyond. [Your strategic vision and leadership has inspired] us to think bigger. [...] You leave behind a legacy for us all to continue to build upon.” -Kent McNeill, IMBA CEO
Rich Edwards riding (Photo Credit: Joey Klein)
“As a longtime armchair trail builder, long on ambition, less so on talent, I’ve been a Rich Edwards fanboy for years! Rich is one of the pioneers in trail-building and strands of his knowledge and experience are present in trails everywhere. If you enjoy riding high-quality trails, raise a glass to Rich Edwards. Chances are, he had something to do with that great experience.” -Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director
Congratulations! We wish you nothing but success and happiness. We are all so happy and excited for you and hope to cross paths again soon. Happy trails to trail champion and legend, Richard Edwards!