50 Mountain Bikers on 50 State Trails Committees
What Trail User Groups Serve on Your State's RTP Committee?
The RTP legislation mandates that each state "shall establish a state recreational trail advisory committee that represents both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail users, which shall meet not less often than once per fiscal year."
There are no guidelines specifying the exact makeup of the state committees. Therefore, each state has adopted its own methods of selecting committee membership. Colorado, for example, picks one member from each congressional district plus one at-large member. California's recreational trails committee and state trails board are one and the same. In Minnesota ten user groups, two of which are for bicycling and mountain biking, fill the committee seats.
You should inquire with your state's RTP program to determine how seats are filled. If no mountain biking interest is represented, leverage your position by referencing other user groups. If the committee currently has hiking and equestrian members, it makes sense to also include a mountain biking member. Be sure to determine how seats are selected and the length of each term.
In many cases mountain bikers may not have a "right" to sit on the state committee. Make a good case for the benefits of having your perspective represented.
Steps for Gaining Membership on Your State's RTP Advisory Committee
- Determine which state agency manages RTP funds.
- Determine the individual within the agency that manages the program (usually the state trail administrator).
- Call or request a meeting with that individual.
- Discuss whether mountain bikers are represented as a user group on the committee and if there are any empty seats on the committee.
- If there is already bicycling representation, make sure to meet with the person to educate them on your club and state mountain bike access needs.
- Research past trail projects that have been funded. If very few mountain bike proposals make the cut, you have a good argument to ask for a position on that committee.
- If you encounter resistance, do some homework and meet with your local, state and national elected officials to ask them to write a letter supporting your presence on the committee. Make sure your presentation is polished and you have your act together before asking for support