Reinventing the Outdoors contest: Find out how to help organizations like Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists work and play in nature.
UPDATED! Launched on Monday April 4, GOOD and the 2011 Ford Explorer will be devoting six weeks to the Reinventing the Outdoors Contest,, which showcases amazing organizations like this one that are redefining the way we live, work, and play outside. Check in every day for a new story about the people, celebrities, and programs behind each organization. Help your favorite group win the $50,000 grand prize by voting for them starting Monday, May 16 through Friday, May 20.
How can you help organizations like Sonoran Desert Mountain Biking? Donations, of course, are always appreciated. Among other things, SDMB needs money for new tools to help maintain trails, especially since they’ve acquired the coveted Arizona Trail stewardship for the five miles that run from Mexico to Utah—a rare honor accorded by the Forest Service. Vance also urges people to “come visit and get the word out about how great we are!”
Having tourists enjoy Tucson and surrounding trails responsibly lets Arizona politicians know that trails are important not just to local bikers, but also for the local community businesses that benefit from tourists and visitors. And for those wanting to really have a hands-on experience, Vance welcomes people to get off their bikes and go clear cacti and trash, and pull briar bushes off the trails with SDMB.
What if all this bike advocacy talk has you hankering to make a difference in your own community? First, find out if there is already a local advocacy group in the area by checking out IMBA. If you have a local chapter, offer to help, or just donate and get out and ride. If not, Vance has some advice: “Find a like-minded group of folks who like to bike and play, and organize around that. But make sure you’re organized and professional. Because if you’re seen as a group of renegades that rides on any dirt lots that are around, you won’t be taken seriously.”
Get friendly with local land managers; their cooperation is integral to creating more trails. Then reach out to the International Mountain Biking Association and groups like SDMB that are already established, as they can offer advice from years of experience. IMBA publishes two books on building trails and land management that are also invaluable resources. And Vance urges, “Don’t forget to ride and have a good time. That’s what it’s all about.”
Images from SDMB