Are Forest Closures Really Needed?

You can tell people not to go to work, school or go out to eat, but take the forest away from Mountain Bikers and we’re gonna have problems!  Are forest closures really needed?

Over the past 5 weeks, we have been faced with some unprecedented evidence requiring some pretty heavy decisions. We have been told to stay home in order to save lives. If you would have told me a couple of months ago that the entire global economy would come to a screeching halt I would have laughed and thought you were acting like chicken little in a cartoon episode of the sky is falling. But, this is our new reality.

Recent forest closures have created a social media shit storm! Agree or disagree with the closures, everyone that mountain bikes has a strong opinion. We are a very passionate group!  Dealing with social distancing is not something communities have had to think about or plan.  Some communities acted quickly and made smart decisions that allowed trails to remain open, while others just shut down seemingly without much thought.

How do you balance keeping people safe and keeping people sane?

How do you appropriately manage resources while still allowing access?

These are difficult questions that require difficult decisions. It takes a dedicated group that knows how trails and parking are used together to. Noticing some particularly nasty comments on social media lately has encouraged me to be “social-media distant”  and trying to stay 6 feet away from Facebook.

Your riding community does have a voice if closures don’t make sense.  The community leaders may not be familiar with how trails are used and how big the impact of taking away recreation opportunities is.

 Forest Closures and Getting Involved

This is why now, more than ever you should support your local trail advocacy group! A collaborative effort is needed with all user groups and the land managers. Tell your local organization how you feel, support them, spread the word to join, donate and get involved. It is times like this that these organizations can work for YOU.

Why wouldn’t you want to have a strong, cohesive group that values your opinion and is your voice for your own backyard trails? This is why we support Pisgah Area SORBA here in Brevard, NC.  This is why you should support your local trail organization right now as well!

Don’t agree with all of the things that they do on a local level? Don’t think they are doing a good job or understand your needs? The beauty of these groups is that they are there to advocate for you, not spread their own agendas. Believe it or not, it is very easy to get involved and make a huge difference in your local community. These groups are always in dire need of volunteers not only to dig in the dirt but to plan, meet, advise and work with other community members to make the club stronger. These people are your people! They are mountain bikers that care about the local trails. PERIOD.

Sure we all have different opinions, but this is what makes these clubs stronger as well. Being able to share your opinion and listen and really consider others is a true skill and sign of maturity. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and brings their own experiences to the table. Being able to be creative and think outside the box is fostered in this environment.

Interested in how Mountain Bike Towns are dealing with forest closures?  Stay tuned this week for Part 2 on how other communities are managing and join our contest to nominate your FAVOURITE trail advocacy group. A $500 cash prize donation from our friends at Cognative MTB will be given to the group with the most votes. Cognative MTB is used to giving back, but want to encourage others to get involved in their local advocacy. These organizations are going to be feeling the economic shutdown quite a bit and are already horribly underfunded. (Details coming soon!)



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