We promote and cover mountain bike advocacy a lot here at Dirt Rag, arguably more than any other magazine. We do it because we believe it is critical for continued access to trails, and to help promote and grow the sport we love. We also do it to give some much-deserved recognition to the good work of all the local clubs and volunteers out there building and maintaining trails for all of us. These local clubs do some amazing work with minimal resources, all in the name of building better trails.
Recently the Dirt Rag World Tour had a chance to get together with several Midwest local trails advocacy groups for the 9th Annual Midwest Mountain Bike Summit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This was a meeting of people on the front line of trail access, from groups like the Michigan Mountain Bike Association (MMBA), Wisconsin Off Road Bicycle Association (WORBA), Friends of Off-Road Cycling (FORC) Quad Cities, Gateway Off-Road Cyclists (GORC) St. Louis, Chicago Area Mountain Bikers (CAMBr), and Wisconsin Off-Road Bicycling Association (WORBA) to name a few.
These are the kind of people who make it happen in your neck of the woods. They’re out there swinging Pulaskis and McLeods building and maintaining trails. They’re also the ones working with local land managers to gain access to areas so that new trails can be built.
The three day summit/festival was a great way to share information, meet new friends, and learn new trail-building techniques. IMBA was there in force with a 2-day trail school with hands-on technical trail building demonstrations, along with Club-Care and Gateway Trails presentations. Plus there were other workshops and seminars focusing on all aspects of mountain bike advocacy with nationally and regionally known presenters. Stihl and Ditch Witch brought some toys for hands-on trail building at the Cannonsburg Ski Area. There were also races and organized rides from the ski area. Last, but certainly not least, the summit concluded with a 40-mile epic ride. And Founders Brewing provided some much needed refreshments after three days of learning, digging and riding. Advocacy never tasted so good.
A special thanks goes out to Nate Phelps and his crew from the Michigan Mountain Bike Association for hosting this event. Word is, the Midwest Mountain Bike Summit will once again be held in Grand Rapids in 2010. Keep an eye open for details at: www.midwestmtbsummit.com.