2019 Trailforks Awards: Advocate of the Year Winners
Advocates of the Year Winners
Trailforks Advocacy Awards are never easy awards to hand out. Not because it's difficult to find individuals or groups deserving of this award, but the complete opposite. Not a day goes by that we do not hear or read stories of individuals or groups going above and beyond when it comes to protecting, investing and advocating for public spaces and trails we choose to recreate on. This year's class of winners are doing exactly this. Each group has dedicated their time and resources to make sure we have these public spaces and trails to recreate on now and into the future.
Without further ado, we would like to recognize the following groups for everything they have done in the field of advocacy, Minneapolis Bike Parks, California Mountain Bike Association, Tweed Valley Trail Association, BIKE EREMUA Bikers Association, and Terrace Off Road Cycling Association.
Minneapolis Bike Parks:
As our urban areas continue to expand, more than ever there is a need for local advocacy groups to maintain and secure more open spaces for recreation within big cities. The residence of these urban areas deserves safe, dedicated, family-friendly spaces where they can learn and play on their bikes without having to worry about traffic or other pedestrians. But a lot of times these dedicated spaces are not included in city master plans. Minneapolis Bike Parks, a grassroots organization located in Minneapolis, MN is confronting this issue head-on. They are working alongside community members and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board to ensure bike parks (bicycle playgrounds, pump tracks, skills courses, and single track) are included in Minneapolis neighborhoods and regional parks. The example Minneapolis Bike Park has set will hopefully encourage more advocacy groups to follow in their footsteps and work towards securing spaces within their communities so our youth have a chance to learn to ride their bikes in a safe, family-friendly environment.
California Mountain Biking Coalition:
There is no hiding the fact that California has its own unique set of problems when it comes to securing public land access that is open and free for all to use. There are many individuals and groups doing great work in their own respective regions but California has been missing a unified voice to help coordinate mountain bike advocacy efforts statewide. The California Mountain Bike Coalition was formed to do exactly this. The group hopes to follow in the footsteps of some other very successful statewide advocacy groups like the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, the Vermont Mountain Bike Association and the New England Mountain Bike Association. The formation of the California Mountain Bike Coalition is a step in the right direction and hopefully means more unfeathered trail access for the mountain bike community in California.
Tweed Valley Trails Association:
Tweed Valley Trails Association is only just starting their second year of operation, but have made quite a name for themselves within the Scottish mountain bike community. TVTA became the first trail association to sign an agreement with Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS). This groundbreaking agreement saw TVTA officially take over the maintenance and management of some once unofficial trails within Caberston Forest, commonly known as 'The Golfy', a very popular mountain bike destination in Tweed Valley.
Mountain bikers across Scotland and the world should applaud the tremendous amount of work put in by the TVTA, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), and the large numbers of volunteers who have turned up at the dig days. Their positive working relationship means that locals and visitors to Tweed Valley will be able to enjoy a safe sustainable trail network now and long into the future.
BIKE EREMUA Bikers Association:
It's amazing what can happen when you have a group of like-minded individuals with a passion to turn something old and forgotten into something new and great. It was just over two years ago an informal riders club came together and formed BIKE EREMUA Bikers Association. They, along with the support of local businesses and the council of Esteribar Valley in Navarra, Spain, started the process of resurrecting some old historical trails. Out of their dedication and hard work a new destination trail center emerged, Eremua MTB and Trail Space, offering 15 routes suitable for all skill levels of mountain bikers and trail runners and a welcome center, which include showers and accommodation services for its visitors. Right from the start, the objective was to develop an initiative that would promote rural development in these depopulated valleys that would return life and adventure back to these areas. Without question, BIKE EREMUA has succeeded. Just goes to show you, anything is possible when you combine passion, an idea and a whole lot of hard work.
Terrace Off Road Cycling Association - TORCA:
When it comes to mountain biking in BC, one's mind would normally gravitate to places such as the North Shore, Squamish, and Whistler. But there are many groups doing a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes and on the ground promoting and growing the mountain bike scene in the Northern regions of BC. The Terrace Off Road Cycling Association is one such group. TORCA has put countless amount of time and effort into their cycling infrastructure, solidifying themselves as a truly destination-worthy place to visit or call home. Their most recent endeavour, which has been dubbed, 'The HuB Project,' is a collaboration with the City of Terrace and aims to provide beginners and new riders the opportunity to hone their skills in a planned progression style skills park. The HuB will also create an important connection between downtown and the trail network, eliminating the need to rely on vehicles to get rides to and from the trailhead. The project will see the rehabilitation of some existing trail, the addition of 1.5km of new trail, a run bike-friendly trail, progressive skills area, and a pumptrack. It's great to see trail associations like TORCA spearhead projects like these. They see the importance of engaging these new riders, especially the youth as they will become the next generation of advocates ready to carry on the job of growing and promoting mountain biking in Northern BC.