MBOSC this week announced an innovative membership program where folks can contribute at different levels and maximize the momentum that the group has generated through the years. They hope that as a member, mountain bikers near and far will feel good knowing that they support building and maintaining your local trails. 100% of the membership dues stay right here in the Santa Cruz area!
MBOSC is focused on expanding trail access in the Santa Cruz area for all trail users, and your membership supports building new trails for you to enjoy. With earned respect, they now hold a seat in the decision-making roundtable at many trail management groups. They are now offering solutions to cities, state groups, and different user groups instead of merely reacting to trail access closures.
We dug deeper into the opportunities brought about by this new membership program.
Q&A with MBOSC?
1) What’s new about this program? What existed before?
We were previously a chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). This was a good fit when we were an all-volunteer organization. Since we have developed into a higher functioning professional organization it now makes more sense for us to be an independent entity, keep membership revenue here locally, and control our own communication channels.
2) What are some of the goals of this program? What opportunities will it open up?
We are looking at the program as an easy way for people in the community to support MBOSC’s mission of improving trail access. For one, it will provide MBOSC with a sustainable funding stream which will allow us to focus on trail projects. Second, the more numbers we can show in our ranks, the more recognition we will receive from politicians, land managers, and bureaucrats.
3) What are the key short term and long term opportunities in the area?
We have a lot of projects in various stages of development. We are working with State Parks to continue to look at improving access at Wilder Ranch. We broke ground on a new trail there at the end of October and are working with State Parks to look at a more comprehensive trail plan for the park.
San Vicente Redwoods trail construction is poised to begin in fall 2019. The first phase will include construction of 8 miles of new trail with the remaining 15 miles hopefully following in the next couple of years.
The planning process for Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument is beginning this year. We will be engaged to make sure that mountain bike access is provided for there.
We are working with Santa Cruz County Parks on a new bike park that would help fill the vacuum left by the Post Office jumps.
One of our highest priorities is to bring mountain bike specific trails to the area. We need legal access for mountain bikers of all skill levels. We are working with our land managers to create these opportunities. We have been in Sacramento lobbying politicians and State Parks leadership to rethink their policies on managing mountain biking and have been getting traction there. We are also in discussions with private landowners including timber companies to explore the possibility for mountain bike access on private property (such as Galbraith in Bellingham, WA).
4) How far and wide do your members come from? Are you finding Bay Area folks eager to join MBOSC?
While our membership is skewed towards the Bay Area and Santa Cruz County, we have members from all over the country who have visited and appreciated the riding here.
5) What makes MBOSC different from other groups in the area?
I would have to say that it’s our members and volunteers. Our success has stemmed from creating a vibrant community of people who are happy to put in the work to make Santa Cruz a better place. Trail access is an important factor in our local quality of life. From showing up at a public meeting to make sure that mountain bikers aren’t shut out of our local parks to spending their Saturday’s slinging dirt on a volunteer trail maintenance project, MBOSC supporters are taking an active role in improving our community.
6) What is happening to Demo Forest? It seems like riding options are limited there now with just Flow and Braille as the main riding loops.
We have another busy season of volunteer trail work at the Soquel Demonstration Forest with three Dig Days scheduled. The Meridian Timber Harvest utilized the lower portion of Sawpit trail as an access for logging operations necessitating turning it back into a road as it was originally. The harvest is scheduled to wrap up this fall after which CAL FIRE plans to re-evaluate future access to Sawpit trail. MBOSC hopes to be involved in any effort to re-establish or reroute Sawpit. If folks are interested in seeing Sawpit come back, reaching out to SDSF Cal Fire staff to let them know how much you value the important work they do and how much you would like to once again ride Sawpit would be a nice thing to do.
7) What does the staffing look like now in MBOSC and what will it look like in a year or two?
MBOSC currently has 5 full-time employees and we are on track to keep growing! We have ever-increasing work in terms of advocacy, trail projects, and race opportunities and we plan to keep growing the organization to make Santa Cruz the best possible place to be a mountain biker.
MEMBERSHIP SIGN-UP LINK:
MBOSC Instagram: @mountainbikersofsantacruz
OGC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mountainbikersofsantacruz/
Hash Tags: #mbosc #mboscmember
More insight on their work is available HERE .