Making A Difference, One Shovel-Full at a Time

If you are like most people, there comes a time when you start asking yourself “Am I really making a difference?” The office might be wearing on you, the traffic might be getting to you, the family might just seem a bit too demanding. The end result is we start wondering if we are making a difference during our time on this planet.

Now as mountainbikers we can count ourselves more fortunate than most. We have one of the best releases of stress, energy, and endorphins, at our disposal, a ride in the woods. But what have we done to earn this gift? I’m not talking about going to work or supporting our local bike shop with our disposable income, I’m talking about paying real dues. Supporting our resource can be done in three primary ways, your money (contributing to MBOSCC or Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks), your vote (keep the parks funded with our tax dollars), or your time. Your own personal situation will help you determine which way is best for you.

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Epic Queenstown NZ Singletrack

I’ve come across the Trailworkers volunteer crew working in Wilder twice in my twenty years of riding. I was impressed that my friend Dan Chen was there both times. It turns out Dan has been donating a half day of his time on the first Sunday of each month since the mid eighties. Talk about dedication! So it was with no lack of guilt that I joined him and 18 others this past Sunday at Wilder to learn more about trail maintenance and to swing some tools. Two of the three Wilder Ranch Crew leaders were on hand (thanks Chuck and Harvey for your work), a bunch of regulars from over the years, a high school teacher an a half dozen of her students, and Chris Pereira, the Park Maintenance Supervisor for trail programs in the Santa Cruz district (the guru). Chris’ experience and knowledge about trail work and his great leadership inspired every one of us.

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Chris Pereira – Trail Guru

We spent a total of four hours together on Twin Oaks trail learning about maintenance and how to do it correctly. Chris is a wealth of information and is responsible for some of the best trails in Wilder, most of the reroutes (trail changes to improve ride quality and drainage) that you have admired were the result of his effort. It was great working alongside people of  wildly varied experience and ages who all shared the same belief, we are the good that we want to see in the environment. There is no challenge in our local hills that we can’t overcome with the right mix of knowledge, effort, and a few bucks.

I can’t think back on a day of public service that I have enjoyed more than this past Sunday. To be outside, working on the trails I love, surrounded by inspired individuals of all ages on a warm Sunday is an experience I will not soon forget. Or miss again. The list of reasons to be out there is a long one, we need to invest in the resource to prove ownership, we need to exhibit to the state agencies that parks are critical and we are invested in them, and we need to battle the indoor trap and break away from the computer and playstation. But the best reason to engage the resource, to become stewards of the land, is that it needs us and we need it. The payback comes back everyday we pedal that trail, and with every thank you that we harvest as the trail users stop and applaud the efforts of our crew.

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Wilder volunteer Trail Crew, where are you?

Sign up here so you don’t miss the next trail day, the first Sunday of the month at 9:45am in the upper Wilder Ranch parking lot or at one of our other priceless parks. You can make the difference!

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