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Author Topic: We were having a conversation...  (Read 4585 times)

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Offline Garry

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We were having a conversation...
« on: May 03, 2009, 08:14:49 PM »
...about what would it take, or how does one go about, to entice enough of the bicycling community to come on out and help build and maintain the very trails that they ride on. 

On the one side of the conversation it was brought up that the people building the harder trails aren't the ones riding them.  Case in point - last Alafia workday only three people showed up.  Now, it's not a SWAMP question, but a question in general of the mountain biking community. 

There was absolutely way more than four or five people riding these trails yesterday, so it's not like human bodies who enjoy this sport are not available one or two weekends a month for a few hours to give back.

Another part of the conversation was that nobody has to give of their time helping build or maintain something they can just as well ride even if they don't help, but many do as an understanding of what makes the world go around.

So that leaves into the equation where does it stop?  At some point the builders and maintainers get burned out and quit doing the work and the trails fall into disrepair, or sections that require more help (i.e. work) are closed which leaves less available trail to ride.

More discussion still was what does it take to get more people involved?  Is it that many people do not realize what it takes to have the quality and quantity of trails to ride, so they just don't know how to go about helping?  Or is it that no matter what you build and offer people will ride with no complaints because, "heck, it's here, lets ride it."

Such a hard discussion to find a clear cut answer to that solves the numbers issue.

Offline Triple T

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 08:35:54 PM »
Such a hard discussion to find a clear cut answer to that solves the numbers issue.

Definitely a hard question and one that you will find a multitude of answers and or excuses for.
 
I'll go ahead and give you mine now.  Alafia is the only place I've volunteered to work on.  My reasoning behind that is because it's the trails I ride the most.  However, the workdays are on Saturdays, and I realize it's only once a month, but I work EVERY Saturday and taking a Saturday off is like pulling teeth.  I'd like to make it to more workdays out there, but it's just not that feasible for me.  :-[
 
You know there will never be enough volunteers.  And I'm sure there are a lot of people that are ignorant to the fact of what it takes to build/maintain the trail system we have.  Not everyone that rides the trails are members or guests of this board and might not be aware of the volunteering needed.
 
I know there were signs at Alafia about volunteering, however, I'm not sure that they are all there anymore.  Either been taken down or whatever.  Maybe more signs, more of us spreading the word, maybe some literature for the rangers to hand out to the people asking for maps at the gate?
 
I appreciate the effort put forth by the individuals with way more volunteer hours than me.  And I know other people do as well.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 08:47:06 PM by Triple T »
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Online BillT

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2009, 08:47:50 PM »
I, too, fall into the busy Saturday boat - I spend almost all of my Saturday with my daughter - dance class then some sort of fun adventure after.  That said, dance is over for the summer after June and my weekends will be a bit more open so I'll be able to get out to do some trail work at least once.
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Offline schmitty

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2009, 08:59:04 PM »
People may have to travel 1.5 hours to get there and they may not ride at Alafia more than once a month so they dont want to spend the day maintaining the trail to just get some pizza and a free water bottle. So dont expect people to go out and do maintence just because they were able to go out there riding. Working on the trails is volunteer work not required work for riding the trails. 

Offline Jonesy

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2009, 09:11:54 PM »
I think there is a lot of different reasons that people don't make it out to the work days. Some have been mentioned in the previous posts. I think the number one issue is as Triple T said, that most don't know when work is scheduled. Maybe a sign at the front gate would let more know when and how to get the details.
 For those of us that regularly attend, some times life gets in the way of our hobbies from time to time. It is hard to turn down work these days when it is available, and if that happens to be on a saturday when trail work is scheduled, paying work wins every time.
It would be nice if some amount of work was required to be performed by those that ride the trails. Maybe it could be a requirement of swamp membership?
When do we get pizza and a water bottle? I feel jipped.

Offline drb81

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2009, 09:17:42 PM »
People may have to travel 1.5 hours to get there and they may not ride at Alafia more than once a month so they dont want to spend the day maintaining the trail to just get some pizza and a free water bottle. So dont expect people to go out and do maintence just because they were able to go out there riding. Working on the trails is volunteer work not required work for riding the trails.

so I only help maintain trails for free food? actually I maintain trails so I have a place to ride and to help the mountain bike community have a larger voice. (not to mention I'm an hour away from alafia) and as far as trail work is not required for riding the trails? what if no one maintained the trails we ride on? that's an easy answer, there would be no trails to ride on.
 
this is the exact mentality that needs to be changed to get more volunteers to help.
if you want trails to ride on, come help maintain them, pick up trash, trim some over growth. every little bit helps.
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Offline schmitty

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2009, 09:27:37 PM »
so I only help maintain trails for free food? actually I maintain trails so I have a place to ride and to help the mountain bike community have a larger voice. (not to mention I'm an hour away from alafia) and as far as trail work is not required for riding the trails? what if no one maintained the trails we ride on? that's an easy answer, there would be no trails to ride on.
 
this is the exact mentality that needs to be changed to get more volunteers to help.
if you want trails to ride on, come help maintain them, pick up trash, trim some over growth. every little bit helps.
You are better than me. Your holier than thou attitude is awesome. The only attitude that needs to be changed is yours and anyone else with that bull* holier than thou attitude.
I never said trail maintence is not required just that Im not going to spend my free day maintaining a trail cutting tree branches when I could be out there riding. Ive moved things and cleared trails when Ive been out riding. If I come across a problem I will fix it if I have the means available. I don't mind fixing things but dont look down at me because I don't come out on a saturday and have a brodate with everyone.
Last time I check the trails were on public land. So no I do not need to come out to maintain the trails.

Offline drb81

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2009, 09:37:29 PM »
so I only help maintain trails for free food? actually I maintain trails so I have a place to ride and to help the mountain bike community have a larger voice. (not to mention I'm an hour away from alafia) and as far as trail work is not required for riding the trails? what if no one maintained the trails we ride on? that's an easy answer, there would be no trails to ride on.
 
this is the exact mentality that needs to be changed to get more volunteers to help.
if you want trails to ride on, come help maintain them, pick up trash, trim some over growth. every little bit helps.
I never said trail maintence is not required
Working on the trails is volunteer work not required work for riding the trails.

no holier than thou attitude here, never once did I say I was better than you. If anything I don't volunteer enough myself. I just think trail work needs to be advertised more, and without trail work there would be no trails to ride. These trails did not just appear out of nowhere.
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Offline $irWattZZZZ

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2009, 09:51:28 PM »
WOW ::)

Offline FACTORe

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2009, 09:54:44 PM »
I knew this thread would get juicy quick  :o

Offline slowfatguy

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2009, 10:11:54 PM »
OK Schmitty, you can yell at me for having a "holier than thou" attitude if you want. I like riding on my free time also. Is asking someone to come out and maintain trails so much? It doesn't have to be SWAMP trails even. There are alot of trails that need to be maintained. Nobody is asking people that ride (insert park here) 5 times a year to come out to every workday. But there are alot of people that ride somewhere every weekend, and have never, ever done trailwork.
 
Is it so much to ask someone to give up 4-5 Saturdays a year? I always here people talk, man that trail needs to be trimmed, boy that needs to be fixed, I sure wish there was some new stuff to ride.
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Offline ClintonRH

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2009, 10:14:25 PM »
You'll probably always have a hard time getting volunteers until the trails are falling off the hillsides. Most users don't even notice the problems that exist and if they do it's not a problem that they identify with except as one more obstacle in their path. Once they're past it they don't care anymore. Even then if the trails fall too badly into disrepair many users would rather complain about how poorly they're maintained than actually go do something about it. You'll never get out a large portion of the users. They're lost to you as volunteers. They'd jump through massive hoops to avoid doing anything no matter how trivial. A very small percentage (mostly the ones reading this already) will actively look for ways to help out because they recognize that if someone doesn't do something then there will be nothing for them and they don't have an issue (or possibly even enjoy) being that 'someone.' But that's an exceedingly small percentage in this society and inevitably part of this group can't help for various reasons. Which brings us to the middle group, the target demographic for volunteer recruitment so to speak. These are the people that would be willing to help but are perfectly happy to let someone else do it. I'm sure there's a massive variety of internal justifications for this attitude but the end result is the same. The question then becomes, how to involve this group. I would suspect that the best way might be make people realize that helping is making a personal investment in the continuing ability to enjoy the trails. This is difficult so long as the trails are in reasonably good repair and I'm not a marketing person.
Despite the HIGHLY visible signage I'd be further willing to wager that I large percentage of users believe that the trails are maintained by the county/state and don't really have a good grasp of how much work goes into them. They don't see it as a problem that concerns or affects them. After all the trails are in 'nature,' doesn't nature take care of itself? I wonder if it would be possible to make some signage of some kind for the various bulletin boards that shows how much work actually goes into maintaining the trails. Pictures that show volunteers working (preferably happy volunteers that look like 'normal' people) might be somehow effective. Maybe something showing how certain trail features are built and maintained might impress on people that these things don't build and keep themselves.

Offline Garry

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2009, 10:30:35 PM »
People may have to travel 1.5 hours to get there and they may not ride at Alafia more than once a month so they dont want to spend the day maintaining the trail to just get some pizza and a free water bottle. So dont expect people to go out and do maintence just because they were able to go out there riding. Working on the trails is volunteer work not required work for riding the trails.
Actually most all of the lunches are healthy choices, and water or gatorade on a hot day is a good option.  We never offer pizza.  It takes me about an hour or more to get to any one of the four trails that we maintain, so I certainly know the time involved with showing up to a workday rather than spending the time to just ride.  Actually, I do expect people to go out and do maintenance on the very trails that they enjoy riding on, because there is no other way to have these trails available to ride if people do not.  That being said does not mean every single weekend.  It just means a jewel of a trail system is given to you; why not throw something back now and again.  You and about 50 or 60 other people do the same thing every now and again and next thing you know you have a revolving crew.   ;D

Offline Garry

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2009, 10:34:55 PM »
Great talking points to the conversation Clinton!

Offline Garry

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Re: We were having a conversation...
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2009, 10:37:17 PM »
I knew this thread would get juicy quick  :o
Yep

 

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