Stop, Collaborate, and Listen!
When we talk to clubs and land managers, we really try to promote dialogue and cooperation between groups. By partnering with land managers, other user groups, and even other bike clubs in the region, you can pool resources, exchange ideas, raise awareness, and increase understanding. In our recent visit to Cornelia, Georgia, we saw a great example of this in action.
The USFS Forest Supervisor for the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest recently invited area user groups to participate in the USFS-CONF Collaborative Trails (CoTrails) Initiative. Representatives from groups representing hikers, equestrians, cyclists, hunters, anglers, and others participate in the initiative, which serves to open dialogue between user groups and the USFS to provide quality trail experiences that are sustainable and that meet the needs of diverse users. The group is drafting a strategic plan to outline the group’s plans and objectives, which include volunteer engagement and education, trails assessment, mapping, and addressing unauthorized trails.
Things are still in the works, but getting everyone to the table is an excellent start and something that we would love to see happen more often. It’s very easy to get into an “us-vs.-them” mentality, which is almost always counterproductive. Opening lines of communication is never a bad idea. We look forward to hearing more about this collaborative and what they are able to accomplish in the years to come.
During our visit to the area, we did a land manager training session with staff from the US Forest Service and put on a trail building school, hosted by the Upper Chattahoochee Cycling Club. We thank everyone for their participation and commitment!