Republished with permission
By Chad de Alva
There is no greater tool for trail advocacy than the local motorcycle club and their boots-on-the-ground presence. Yet different clubs enjoy varying degrees of success in their trail advocacy efforts, as each club faces a unique set of challenges surrounding their local trails. Different user groups, different land managers, and different advocacy strategies all impact what a club is able to accomplish. Operating in their own little worlds, some clubs produce impressive results while others struggle just to keep their existing trails open.
In an effort to increase the impact of local clubs, and to further improve riding opportunities in Colorado and the surrounding states, the Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) recently arranged for a meeting of the minds. A chance for clubs that work with the TPA to get together to compare notes and share lessons learned. Clubs typically operate on a tactical level, engaged with their local land managers on efforts in their backyards, where the TPA supports strategic-level efforts across the state in addition to backing local clubs. By working with so many different clubs on a diverse set of advocacy issues, the TPA is a unique resource in that it can help clubs with everything from grants and legal challenges, to getting the equipment and resources that clubs need to get work done.
This combination of local club and state level trail advocacy is powerful, and the value in getting involved with other advocacy organizations near you can’t be overstated. If you are not part of your local club, you need to be. If you are part of a local club, determine what other clubs are in your state and make a plan to trade notes. The challenges your club has surmounted may hold the keys that another club needs to get a new trail project in the ground. Likewise, another club may have the additional resources that your club needs to accomplish its goals. Trade notes. Seek out opportunities to support each other. When it comes to preserving and creating the trails we all love to ride, we’re strong alone – but we’re stronger together.