CAMTB 2021 Year-End Recap

2021 has been an amazing year of growth for our small but mighty trails coalition. Over the past 12 months we have focused with intention on:

  • Building the critical mass necessary to garner the attention of key land managers in the state
  • Deepening internal coalition member relationships and partner opportunities
  • Defining our impact pillars: More Trails, Better Trails, Environmental Stewardship, and Empowered Communities, and
  • Developing the necessary vessels for these respective lanes of work

Why this? Why now?

Cooperation and collaboration amongst the riding community is imperative now given the shared challenges and opportunities affecting us all. Seasonal wild fire continues to wreak havoc on our public lands and surrounding communities. Combined, 6.8 million acres, or 6.5%, of California lands have burned in the last two years alone (cit), which has made fire recovery and prevention a stark reality for many. Trail use is at an all-time high, with some areas estimating 3x-4x pre-pandemic levels yet trail access and new trail development to accommodate this increase has yet to materialize. This influx of more and new recreationalists sheds light on the need but also acclerates the wear and tear on trails and increases the frequency of trail conflicts amongst users. Accompanying this is a entrenched misperception of and bias against our sport and those who identify as mountain bikers, which impedes our member’s ability to do what they do best – preserve, protect, and restore the wild places we love and the trail systems that take us to, through, and from them.

Membership

We now represent 28 bike-friendly trail advocacy organizations across California, which combined represent 15,000+ members, and perhaps more importantly, an effective audience of 130,000+ riders across the state (email + social).  Recent member organization additions include Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers (CCCMB), Mother Lode Trail StewardshipCoastside MTB, Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA), Orange County Mountain Bike Association, and Willets Area Cyclists.

We anticipate securing 3-5 additional member organizations by the end of this year from the Sierras and upstate zones, which will put our growth rate at 50% year over year. Next year, we’re targeting similar growth –  45+ members and an effective audience of 200k+ riders across the state. Critical mass is a key point of leverage for CAMTB and it is imperative that we continue growing the coalition with mission-aligned organizations and leaders.

Latest Member Additions

Advocacy

CA State Parks. Our first advocacy initiative as a coalition was CA State Parks, and we’ve made some excellent progress in 2021 despite it’s scale.  In the months past, we have established regular lines of communications with Director Quintero and his leadership team, as well as the Planning Chief, and District Superintendents. We are currently forming an external working group made up of CAMTB members and a subset of Superintendents interested in forging a cooperative working relationship to help address challenges with things like the State Parks Trails Manual, Road and Trails Management Planning and Change in Use processes.

USFS Region 5. In addition to CA State Parks, we are commissioning a similar advocacy report and launching a formal engagement plan for US Forest Service Region 5. This will include establishing an internal member-led working group that in year one will focus on building relations with Region 5 leadership in Vallejo and engaging each the 18 Forest Supervisors to help our members build a strong foundation for partnership with the USFS.

Engaging Lawmakers. This year CAMTB members participated in two virtual summits, advocating for outdoor recreation with state and federal lawmakers. In 2022 CAMTB will be hosting its own state and federal summits, advocating for bike-friendly legislation (see below). In addition, CAMTB will also be coordinating participation in partner legislative summits hosted by the Outdoor Alliance and California Outdoor Recreation Partnership (CORP). 

Tracking Legislation. And last but not least, legislative tracking and citizen call to actions will be a high priority in 2022.  This year we launched an internal Legislative & Government Affairs Working Group to keep coalition members up to speed on key State and Federal legislation affecting trails. We’re currently developing a public facing tracker for 2022, which will be shared widely.

Programming

2021 has also been a year of discovery for CAMTB.  The coalition has grown quickly, and with it the need to create programming and resources to address members’ explicit needs. Funding trails, engaging youth riders, elevating advocacy, and cultivating new leadership have all emerged as priority points of focus and will be brought to life by way of focused initiatives, including:

Can You Dig It?! – Trail grants program for shovel-ready trail projects across California – Goal of raising $50k in 2022 from new and existing corporate partners, including e*thirteen.  Our first partner Grant, we*thirteen, will award $3,500 to two of our member organizations for trail maintenance and/or technical assistance.

CAMTB Teen Ambassador Program – partnership with NorCal and SoCal Leagues to cultivate the next generation of leadership in trail advocacy. The program will lead with a 3-month teen ambassador training program. Those who complete it successfully will be qualified to serve as a CAMTB Teen Ambassador during the 2022/2023 race season.

Art of Advocacy – Education & engagement platform to evolve our community’s capacity for trail advocacy and accelerate action at local, state and federal levels. Includes advocacy coaching & workshops – culminates with a series of virtual and in-person summits with lawmakers in Sacramento.

Pathways to Leadership – shared DEI campaign to reach new audiences and cultivate new leadership in outdoor advocacy.  This year-long capstone project will be organized by CAMTB DEI Working Group, and will include a leadership benchmark study, shared campaign assets and outreach, and a follow up impact study to share learnings and introduce the newly cultivated leaders in trail advocacy.

Organizational Development

And finally, in 2021, we kept CAMTB lean and mean, running our efforts with a PT Executive Director and a very engaged  Board of Directors and Member Advisory Council. This has kept us nimble, but we will be making some stabilizing and capacity building investments to elevate our work together. For 2022, this includes:

  • Expanding the Executive Director role to full time.
  • Adding a Part-Time Policy & Legislative Advisor, Beginning of Q2, 2022
  • Bolstering our communications support to build up our trail riding community audience via social and email, and craft our citizen activations  – starting Jan 1, 2022

How can I help?

Trail advocates come in all shapes and sizes. If you love trails we have a place for you!

Step 1: Join/support your local mtb advocacy group – Check out our member roster here for some of our favorites. Did you know there are over 80 local trail riding organizations all across the state? If there’s a trail you love, there’s a good chance there’s a local group that maintains it.

Step 2: Spread the Word – Encourage your local trail organization to get involved with CAMTB (Contact: Michael@CAMTB.org)

Step 3: Support CAMTBindividual contributions and corporate partnerships are desperately needed. Invest in bike-friendly trails with a one-time or sustained gift to CAMTB.

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