Assembly Bill 1789 Passes the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee

Trails legislation reaches important milestone in the California Assembly

AB 1789, which was introduced by Assembly Member Bennett on February 3, 2022, unanimously cleared the Assembly’s Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee hearing on April 5, 2022. The bill is now moving on the Appropriations Committee for review. The “More Trails for All” act (CAMTB’s working title) specifically funds new non-motorized natural surface trail projects in California. AB 1789 is widely supported by the CAMTB member community. Many members submitted Letters of Support for the Bill, and attended the hearing, encouraging the WPW Committee to support the legislation.

Member and Partner Supporters of AB 1789

For more information on AB 1789, please visit www.camtb.org/ab-1789/.

CAMTB welcomes it’s newest coalition member, Amador Trail Stewardship

Co-Founders Brett Watson, 2nd from left, and
Brad Booker, 2nd from right, out with the boys in Amador County

We are pleased to announce the newest addition to the CAMTB family, Amador Trail Stewardship. ATS was founded by Brett Watson (pictured 2nd from left) and Brad Booker (pictured 2nd from right) in 2021 to provide local outdoor recreation opportunities in Amador County. It strives to develop, provide access to, and maintain multi-use trail systems that enhance the local community in Amador County, which straddles the Hwy 88 corridor running from Jackson up to Kirkwood. ATS wants to see residents of Amador living healthy lifestyles and to invite surrounding communities to enjoy our natural beauty while increasing commerce, by way of recreation, to the county. For more information visit www.amadortrailstewardship.com or like and subscribe them on Facebook and Instagram.

AB-1789 Aims to Activate New Funding for Trails in California

AB-1789 (Bennett) Outdoor Recreation: California Trails Commission: Trails Corps

Full Bill Text: [link]

Status:

  • Under review, Appropriations Committee

Our Position: Support

UPDATE: AB1789 passes the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee Unanimously on April 5, 2022.

Bill Summary

  • Creates the California Trails Commission
  • Requires the CNRA to assign a California Trails Coordinator
  • Creates the Trails Corps Program within the CCC to specialize on natural surface trail construction and maintenance
  • Appropriates $75,000,000 one time from the General Fund to fund non-motorized trail grant program, with an emphasis on new trails or new access to existing trails
  • Appropriates $15,000,000 each year to continue the program
  • Allocates at least 40% of those funds to benefit under-resourced communities
  • Adds “biking” to the list of recreational activities welcomed in State Parks 

AB1789 was introduced by Assembly Member Bennett on February 3, 2022. The “More Trails for All” act (CAMTB’s working title) specifically funds new non-motorized natural surface trail projects in California. Many CAMTB member organizations will be eligible to apply for those funds. It reinstates the California Trails Commission to help oversee and coordinate trail development around the State, and includes a representative of the mountain biking community. California had a trails commission until 2014, which this bill reinstates. It also assigns a California Trails Coordinator to work with the Commission and the California Natural Resource Agency. The bill creates a Trail Corps within the California Conservation Corp to specialize in trail construction and maintenance, and ensures they are properly trained. The one-time $75 million appropriation will be followed by $15 million in annual funding. The bill also requires that at least 40% of the funds benefit underserved communities. This does not mean the projects must be in underserved communities, but communities from these districts must have access to and benefit from the projects funded. The bill specifically names “Biking” among the list of recreational activities for which improvements can be made in State Parks. This bill helps advance the state’s 30×30 goals, advances trails, promotes trail equity, and aligns perfectly with CAMTB’s vision for more trails, better trails for all Californians.

Affiliated Supporters

CAMTB AB 1789 Letter of Support

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The California Mountain Bike Coalition: A Squeaky Wheel for Trail Advocacy

Original Article Featured in Singletracks

BY MAUREEN GAFFNEY

Photos courtesy of CAMTB

California. The Golden State. The Left Coast. Progressive. Liberal. Most populous state in the nation, the third largest land area only after behemoths Alaska and Texas. The birthplace of mountain biking. Man, with stats like that, the trails must be off the hook! A double black diamond DH for you!  A frolicking, flowy XC for you! Trails for everyone, everywhere. 

Or not. Though 42% of the state’s nearly 100 million acres are public lands owned by the state or federal government (California State Parks, US Forest Service, National Parks, etc.), many mountain bikers in California find themselves wanting. Bike bans like the ones on Mt. Tamalpais, where progenitors of the sport clunked their way down Repack in the 1970s, began to spread and with them, groups of civic-minded folks determined to stop such bans. These groups formed coalitions, attended public meetings ,and began influencing policy. Or at least, they are trying to. about:blank

Fast forward to 2018. The annual California Trails and Greenways Conference, sponsored by California State Parks is taking place in Sonoma County, a handful of miles as the crow flies from the slopes of Mt. Tam. The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has just lost their California representative. This fact ripples and whirls like a fog around the halls, through the meeting rooms named Redwood, Bodega and Golden Gate. And lots of heavy hitters in the world of mountain bike advocacy are here at this conference, State Parks being a common, unifying thread through the work of clubs from San Diego to Eureka, from the Mexican to the Oregonian border. https://2ec4a22de78b44a5465e520baba84c6f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In light of this news, they do what any self-respecting group of world-wise mountain bikers and mountain bike advocates would do. They go to the bar. Bear Republic Brewing happened to be mere steps away, and that is where 60 folks from myriad organizations up and down the state discussed their plight, hoisted a pint (or two) and formed what would soon become the California Mountain Biking Coalition (CAMTB).  (Yes, the author is aware that “CAMTB” is not the acronym for California Mountain Biking Coalition. That would be CMBC. Maybe they had too much beer?) Their mission “grew out of the recognized need for a state-wide voice for mountain bikers in California.” 

“The loss of our excellent state rep at IMBA really drove home our need for statewide collaboration, a unified voice around legislation in Sacramento, plus, the fantastic growth of high-school mountain biking highlighted the need for more and better trails” said Vernon Huffman, CAMTB Board Member and president of Access 4 Bikes in Marin County on a Zoom call in December. 

When I asked his fellow board member Susie Murphy, Executive Director of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, about the organization’s greatest success to date, she focused on CAMTB’s desire to “build a foundation of knowledge and to develop key relationships at State Parks and elsewhere.” Murphy noted with pride that over 30 organizations have signed on as CAMTB members in the mere two years the organization has been a legitimate 501c4, with actual staff, and that they are actively courting an additional 80+ groups with good reason to believe they’ll land most of them. 

“A Slack channel for advocates from up and down the state to ask questions, compare notes, has been invaluable for all. How do I get non-profit status? How do I run a fundraising campaign? Start a bike park? Deal with X or Y aspect of CA State Park regulations? There’s no need for folks to reinvent the same wheel over and over.”about:blank

Steve Messer, Board President for Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) representing riders in the Los Angeles area added that instead of viewing CAMTB as “an umbrella organization” as is often the case with statewide coalitions, “we view it as a foundation, a platform to help lift the work of individual clubs and coalitions across California.” This is a small but important shift in philosophy and tone that will likely serve the enterprise well. When I asked how Messer thought the small, plucky local orgs were being served by CAMTB, his response highlighted a keen understanding of policy, politics, and the bureaucracy that is California State Parks: “We’ve all been trying to make change, make progress from the bottom up since forever. With the power of a statewide coalition representing 140,000+ riders, we can now start to work from the top down.” 

IMBA Trail Solutions, US Forest Service Region 5, Modoc National Forest Team, and CAMTB on site.

CAMTB has a part-time Executive Director, Michael Anzalone, and the board hopes to bring him up to full time status in 2022. Interviewed for the role on a ride at Tamarancho and during après beers at Split Rock Tap and Wheel in Fairfax, Mt. Tam presiding over all, Anzalone is no “bro.” His board members cite his professionalism and organizational skill, traits surely critical to lead the efforts of a state 770 miles in length with 40 million incredibly diverse residents.

“As a community we are getting better at organizing ourselves, and building fruitful, mutually beneficial partnerships. Our work with CA State Parks and IMBA hold great potential, and we want all boats to rise as a result of these efforts. This coalition is taking intentional steps to model the behavior and engagement we seek, and to garner results that benefit the larger recreation community. We can’t do that in a silo, which is why our relationships are so important” said Anzalone. 

In the coming years, CAMTB will continue its broader work bringing new member organizations on board, honing its policy and advocacy chops in Sacramento, while also drilling down to focus on ensuring the California State Parks Trail Manual includes mountain bike trail building techniques, and that CAMTB is consulted regarding policies affecting its users—policies like where and when e-bikes are allowed. The organization will also engage in upcoming US Forest Service planning efforts in the Sierra and Sequoia region. A similar effort to create a statewide mountain bike advocacy organization is underway in Colorado, and likely other states as well. As they say, there’s “strength in numbers.” If I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on CAMTB’s number.

About the Author

MAUREEN GAFFNEYMaureen lives in Carbondale, CO. She writes better than she rides but she don’t care cause it’s really fun. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and refuses to buy a gravel bike cuz she’s old and cranky and in her day gravel was “the shitty fire road part.” But she’ll knuckle under soon.

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.

New Can You Dig It?! trail grants just announced!

Leading industry component manufacturer, e*thirteen, partners with CAMTB for a round of trail maintenance and rehabilitation grants

we*thirteeen Trail Grants

Powered by e*thirteen

CAMTB is please to announce a new advocacy partnership with e*thirteen. In 2022, the California and Squamish, based cycling component manufacturer e*thirteen will be donating 5% of all sales site-wide during the month of December to California Mountain Biking Coalition member trail projects. This important underwriting will direct much needed funding back into trail maintenance and upkeep projects across California. Trail use by bikers, hikers, runners and equestrians has seen exponential growth over the last two years and our trails need rehab.

The trail advocacy community has been longing for more wide-spread cycling industry engagement to help support both trail upkeep and new construction projects. We are beyond delighted to partner with the e*thirteen team to give back to the trails.

Michael Anzalone – CAMTB Executive Director

How it works

Purchase ANY e*thirteen components, site-wide, at www.ethirteen.com before 11:59pm on Dec 31, and e*thirteen will contribute 5% of the proceeds to California Mountain Biking Coalition member trail projects in 2022.

Find out more at www.camtb.org/wethirteen.

e*thirteen

e*thirteen’s headquarters are located in Petaluma, California, and Squamish, British Columbia. Both these towns are major hubs of mountain biking. The brand lives and breathes mountain biking and has located itself in some of the best riding locations in North America. At its core, e*thirteen is a small group of riders who think up, engineer, and create new products that they know will improve the way they ride their bikes. When it comes to the mountain bike industry, the best products come from riders themselves and e*thirteen is a company of riders through and through. From affordable entry-level components to high-end carbon “Race” products, e*thirteen strives to improve the ride of all riders everywhere.

History

e*thirteen first gained recognition in the early 2000s for their superior chain guide systems. The California based company soon became the industry leader in chain retention. Since their inception in 2001, e*thirteen has expanded their product offering to include wheels, tires, drivetrain components, and many others. All their current products still contain the same high-performance pedigree of their original chain guides. e*thirteen has a laser-sharp focus on improving the ride for everyone, providing beautiful, well-engineered products to riders everywhere.

CAMTB Year-End Matching Grant

Double the pleasure. Double the fun. Give by Dec 31 to double your support with our year-end matching gift!

Photo by Todd Couper

We are excited to share a special matching gift opportunity to help bolster CAMTB’s 2022 programming and capacity building efforts. Double your impact today by contributing to the CAMTB Annual Fund

All gifts made to CAMTB between now and Dec 31 @ 11:59pm, will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000! Turn $25 into $50, $100 into $200, or $500 into $1,000 through our easy to use online giving platform. 

CAMTB Legislative Update – October 2021

The California Mountain Biking Coalition (CAMTB) works on several fronts to make bike-friendly trails and access better in our state, including state-level legislation. In 2021, CAMTB supported and advocated for several bills that would improve funding for trails, improve diversity and equity on public lands, and make bicycling safer for all trail users. While not all made the cut, a number of key pieces of legislation were adopted. See below for the latest updates.

SB155 – Public Resources Trailer Bill and SB170 – Budget Act of 2021
CAMTB Position: Support
Status: Passed on September 23 2021

These bills provide funding this year and next for a wide variety of climate resilience projects, including multi-benefit projects for public access. This funding goes through multiple avenues, such as the State Resources Agencies, CalFire, and multiple State Conservancies, which are regional organizations which in turn fund local projects throughout the state. These were passed and signed by the governor.


AB 155/SB 45 – Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022
CAMTB Position: Support
Status: Pending Rules Committee

These are bond proposals to support lands throughout California in many ways. They did not proceed this legislative season, but many of the proposed projects were funded directly with the state budget surplus via SB155 and SB170.

AB122 – Vehicles: Required Stops: Bicycles
CAMTB Position: Support
Status: Passed, but vetoed by the Governor

AB 122, aka the Safety Stop Bill, would have allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields and permit rolling stops. Similar laws are in currently in place in 10 states across the US. The bill passed both the Assembly and Senate, But the governor said he feared that the legislation intended to increase bicyclist safety would have “the opposite effect.”

SB 624Environmental Equity and Outdoor Access Act
CAMTB Position: Support
Status: Hearing postponed by Assembly Appropriations Committee

Adds a new division to the Public Resource Code that explicitly establishes promoting environmental equity and outdoor access as a goal for all state agencies and departments that manage natural resources -currently there area a lack of job training and career pathway opportunities for employment at the Natural Resource Agency, and each department , board, conservancy, and commission within the agency, that allow for upward mobility within the agency. We believe in equitable hiring processes, workforce development, and visitation for user groups at all levels under our government – supporting this bill will uphold California to ensure all Californians can benefit from and have meaningful access to the state’s rich cultural and natural resources. This bill did not proceed.

AB 30 – Outdoor Access to Nature: Environmental Equity
CAMTB Position: Support
Status: Hearing postponed by Assembly Appropriations Committee

Would declare that it is the established policy of the state that access to nature and access to the benefits of nature is a human right and that every human has the right to safe and affordable outdoor access. This bill did not proceed in 2021.


This is just a start as CAMTB ramps up our efforts in the legislature, along with our work with other state, regional, and federal agencies and legislators.

Sea Otter 2021 – We’re back in 3D!

L-R, CAMTB Executive Director, Michael Anzalone, Board Members John Terberg and Jake Bayless, CAMTB Member Steve Larson from Share MTB, and Margie Terberg at the CAMTB Sea Otter booth.

Last month, CAMTB made a splash at Sea Otter Classic in Monterey for one of our first in-person gatherings since the pandemic began. As you can imagine, the raceway grounds were a buzz. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Sea Otter, has some history – like 30+ years of it. The event Co-founders Frank Yohannan and Lou Rudolph hosted the inaugural Laguna Seca Challenge on April 6 & 7, 1991. There was a total of 350 athletes and 150 spectators. Today the event hosts over 9,600 athletes and 72,500 fans. In 1993 the event was renamed the Sea Otter Classic and is now universally regarded as the world’s premier cycling festival.

Nowadays, the event mixes salt-of-the-earth race vibes, with innovative consumer showcases from the industry, and two scoops of good ol’ festival buzz. We cheered on some great races, got our hands on the latest and greatest gear from leading manufacturers, and scored some much needed hang time with the extended CAMTB community.

All told, 9 of our then 26 member organizations were on hand to represent the coalition for the premier of our first shared booth space at the show. Being that this was also my first Sea Otter, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. COVID added a level of understandable uneasiness, but once the booth was set up and the pre-show jitters passed, everyone settled right in. We saw a steady flow of traffic at the CAMTB booth throughout the weekend, striking up conversations and spreading the CAMTB gospel of More Trails, Better Trails to those eager to learn more. We also reconnected with some of our existing partners, like Sierra Nevada, and Bosch, and a slew of new potential partners, that we’re lining up to help take trail advocacy to the next level in 2022.

One of the biggest highlights at Sea Otter though was connecting with the latest additions to the coalition, Tony Pereira, co-founder of Coastside MTB in San Mateo County, and Mike McGuirr and Darius Rike of Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA). Stay tuned for some exciting news on that front in the weeks ahead. CAMTB anticipates reaching the 30 member organization mark by the end of 2022, which puts us on a 50% growth trajectory for 2021. We’re reaching the critical mass needed to garner the attention of key land managers in the State and we’re already making good use of that leverage in our works with CA State Parks and the US Forest Service.

In the wake of Sea Otter, we’re still riding high on the energy we picked up at the show, and we are now making plans to return next year with bigger and better activations with our member and partner community. Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead, and if you haven’t already, sign up for the CAMTB newsletter in the sidebar.

Interested in supporting CAMTB with a financial or in-kind contribution? Got a burning question or comment for the CAMTB crew? Send us a line at letsride@camtb.org anytime and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

You can also make a one time or reoccurring donation right now using our online giving platform.

CAMTB’s CA State Parks Summary Advocacy Plan! (Revised)

***Revised on Aug 31, 2021 based on feedback from Ca State Parks.***


Introduction

In March 2021, California Mountain Biking Coalition (CAMTB) commissioned an advocacy report and work plan to inform its engagement with CA State Parks for the coming years. Exploratory interviews with its Board of Directors and its Legislative & Government Affairs Working Group were conducted by Bill Keene, CAMTB’s Senior Policy Advisor. Subsequently, CAMTB held a day-long strategy session on April 23, 2021 with the same audience. The following abbreviated report highlights the output of this collective work and contains the following:

  • Summary themes from the interviews & strategy session
  • Details of CAMTB’s Advocacy Platform; and 
  • Next steps for bringing this important work to life.
Rider at Montaña de Oro State Park, near Morro Bay

Summary

CAMTB currently represents 25 California-based 501(c)3 off-road cycling advocacy organizations. Our affiliates span 8 major geographic regions, including Shasta/Cascade, Sacramento Valley, Sierra/Sierra Foothills, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern Inland, as well as the North, Central, and Southern Coast regions. Combined, CAMTB affiliates represent 15,000+ riders across the state. Of these organizations, 89% work with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to enhance trails and protect the valuable natural resources. Our discovery interviews yielded a number of interesting CA State Park management themes that are impeding our member’s ability to enhance CA State Parks trail systems for bikers, hikers, and equestrians alike. They include:

Off-Road Cycling Specific
Leadership
  • Public Resources Code 5019.93 restricts improvements in State Parks that do not directly enhance the public’s enjoyment of the “natural, scenic, cultural, or ecological values of the resource”. In some instances this has been used by State Parks staff to restrict purpose built trails or other trail features added to enhance user experience. 
  • Inconsistent E-Bike usage policy interpretation and enforcement, district to district and park to park, has and is creating confusion amongst users.
  • Bicycle-legal single track trail mileage has not increased in proportion to the increase in ridership seen over the last decade. This has been further compounded by an increase in ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic, which in some areas has seen a 3-4x growth year over year. 
  • Despite substantial growth in ridership across the state, there is a feeling amongst the off-road cycling community that it is seen by CA State Parks as a second-class user group, or worse yet, a threat to public safety;
Leadership
  • Lengthy response times or no response from staff and leadership;
  • Turnover of staff and leadership has stalled and/or eliminated projects;
  • Lack of transparency and inconsistency in decision-making within the organization
Operational & Procedural
  • Reluctance from districts or park units to work with volunteer groups, and in some cases, volunteer efforts have been active undermined
  • CA State Parks Trails Manual – despite recent revisions, the current CA State Parks Trails Manual does not sufficiently meet the diverse needs of modern recreationalists. Protecting natural resources and elevating user experience are not mutually exclusive.  Adopting a more progressive approach to trail design, construction, and maintenance practices can do both. 
  • Policy and Procedure interpretation varies from park to park and district to district resulting in operational and enforcement inconsistencies
  • Limited opportunity for public engagement or input on major policy initiatives at the State or local District level – examples include the recently updated State Parks Trails Manual and the e-Bike policy update. 
  • Absence of a modern tool kit for managing and creating trails in State Parks. Two examples from other California Land Managers include U.S. Forest Service or Marin County Parks);
  • Challenging Change in Use process – requests are seldom approved, and those that are, have and are taking years to complete. 
  • Challenging Road and Trails Management Plan process. Despite the critical role RTMP’s play in trail system management, only four RTMPs have been completed in the CA State Parks system to date – Chino Hills State Park (SP), Donner Memorial State Park (SP), Humboldt Redwoods State Park (SP), Mount Diablo State Park (SP). Additionally, there are only three “active” RTMPs. Castle Rock State Park, initiated in 2010, Folsom Lake SRA, initiated in 2012, and Santa Monica Mountains NRA, initiated in 2003 are currently “in-process”. As a point of reference, the total estimated time for completion of Castle Rock State Park RTMP was 18 months (California State Parks)
Funding & Development
  • Shortage of funding and staff resources available to address the $1 billion dollar plus backlog of deferred maintenance and repairs. 
  • District Change in Use and Road and Trails Management Planning processes also impaired by lack of funding;
  • Member organizations have found the process for allocating private donor funding to specific projects to be challenging to complete.
Volunteer Trail Crew Day organized by CAMTB member, Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, at Wilder Ranch State Park near Santa Cruz

Our CA State Parks Advocacy Platform

Based on the expressed shared challenges above, the CAMTB member community is focusing its efforts on three key areas:

Advocacy Pillar 1:  Expanded and Enhanced Trails– CAMTB will advocate for new and enhanced bike-friendly trail opportunities at all CA State Parks, and influence the policies and procedures used to manage these resources. In time, CAMTB will support the development of a statewide trails foundation that will assist in the common goal of increased and enhanced trails for a variety of recreational users, including bikers, hikers, runners, and equestrians.

Advocacy Pillar 2:  Environmental Stewardship – CAMTB will advance environmental stewardship and sustainable trail design as part of its advocacy platform to both protect and restore the natural resources we hold so dear. These efforts will amplify and expand upon the outstanding trail stewardship efforts of local CAMTB chapters, and provide replicable models for other trail advocacy organizations to adopt across the state.

Advocacy Pillar 3:  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Outdoors – CAMTB will develop a DEI framework for Outdoor Recreation in California, with clear and measurable goals, so that underserved and disadvantaged communities are seen, heard and embraced in outdoor recreation. We intend to run several pilots with CAMTB member organizations in year 1, with widespread adoption by year 3.  We seek input from CA State Parks on how best to marry these efforts with its own DEI initiatives to expand our collective reach.

Rider in Annadel State Park, near Santa Rosa

Next Steps

To bring these three advocacy pillars to life, CAMTB formed member-led action committees, which launched in June 2021. These committees will help ensure that the work is both shared and representative of the various needs that have been expressed by our larger member community across the state. Our work in year one will focus largely on developing trust and building relationships within CA State Parks, including the Director’s Office and the Office of Partnerships, as well as the offices of the District Superintendents.

We will also be pursuing partnership opportunities with CA State Parks affiliated entities, such as the California State Parks Foundation, Parks California, and the State Parks Commission.  In time, we expect these efforts to create opportunities at the state and local level to address the systemic challenges we seek to resolve. Action committee efforts will be tracked internally against our established CA State Parks work plan and associated metrics. Periodic updates will be shared with the CAMTB Members, as well as the larger off-road cycling community in California noting progress and opportunities for further engagement.  Our ultimate goal is to achieve success in all of our advocacy pillars while further developing our long-term working relationship with CA State Parks at the Sacramento, District, and local park level.


This report was prepared on behalf of California Mountain Biking Coalition, a 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of California. It is intended for informational purposes only and can only be used with permission by the California Mountain Biking Coalition. For questions or to request permission to use this document, Please contact CAMTB by way of email at info@CAMTB.org.


Do you love California State Parks?

We do too! Please support CAMTB and its member organizations CA State Parks advocacy efforts to ensure that the needs of the off-road cycling community are met!