It's shaping up to be an amazing season. We're about to hit 4200 members (over 900 add-ons) and after what felt like never-ending rain, the trails are riding well. Chapters have worked together to organize trails days, rides and are making plans for next year already. Linking chapters is the hot topic and VMBA chapters have been supporting VT Huts with information, which is key to knowing where huts should be placed. The association is most excited about how well the chapters are doing:
- Grateful Treads is developing new relationships and access in state land near Jay
- Addison County MTB Club is enjoying a new grant to build in Silver Lake Campground with the USFS
- RASTA is currently building near the Rochester Ranger Station with grant support
- Hoot Toot & Whistle is enjoying a relationship with a new USFS district rec. coordinator recently hired
- Slate Valley Trails continues to build and refine trails near Lake St. Catherine State Park
- Caledonia Trails Alliance has new private landowner permissions for new trails
- RIPM will be exploring new opportunities in Groton
- WAMBA has a new agreement in place with the Aqueduct property in Woodstock
From an advocacy perspective things are raging along. VMBA continues to play an active role in the state's new VOREC initiative. The state, along with funding partners, hosted a conference in Grafton on Aug. 2 & 3rd. Multiple businesses leaders, legislators, secretaries/commissioners and nonprofits were in attendance. The goal of the conference was to listen and to begin generating ideas that will thoughtfully unite Vermont's outdoor economic potential while honoring the work of the volunteer force making it all possible. Simply put, VOREC is a good thing for riders in Vermont. VMBA's executive director, Tom Stuessy was in attendance. His report was, "At no time did the effort or importance of trail-based nonprofits need highlighting. Everyone in attendance understood how critical it is that we are supported differently going forward. I left the conference feeling excited and encouraged."
The next steps include you. The plan is to host up to five regional summits this fall to help ensure that individuals have an opportunity to share their opinions with the steering committee. The dates have yet to be announced, but will be shared with the public fairly soon. These summits are a fantastic opportunity for VMBA members and private landowners to come together and share their perspectives on nonprofit support and land management regulations. The key take-a-way here is that state leadership is listening and they've shown that they can and will make changes. VOREC isn't "just another exercise." This is a phenomenal opportunity to set a course for recreation in Vermont and we need you involved!
Lastly, as well as membership is doing, we still have over 500 riders that haven't renewed just yet. If you know one...give them a nudge. The #1 question VMBA answered at the conference last week (and every other time) is, "how many members do you represent?" VMBA is on the VOREC steering committee because of the growth we've achieved. What even more trails? Become a member today.