Thanks to chapters and members this last summer riding season has been tremendously successful. It marked the second year of the statewide membership opportunity. Riders’ participation in membership increased by 26% and the chapter add-on opportunity jumped by 10% – the new platform is working. Mountain bikers loving the riding here understand that effective advocacy is critical to building our shared connection during trail days and riding. Belonging illustrates this commitment and has a huge positive impact on chapters’ capacity to make it all even better.
Nine new chapters came into the fold this year! Long time supporter of mountain biking in Vermont, Kingdom Trails will be joining us as a chapter next spring. These new chapters are organized, have vision and are utilizing VMBA’s chapter admin. benefits to maximize their impact at the local level. Chapters acting as the voice of riding locally means trails are managed in a way that best preserves the local character of the riding ANDthoughtfully connects economic opportunities with our strong and supportive business community. It’s a balance that both VMBA and chapters have united to uncover.
Bottom line – organized representation means trails are managed (and shared) with all perspectives incorporated. It also leads to a strong voice that can rally when necessary.
This growth impacts you directly. In 2013 the trail grant was $6,000 – this year VMBA will award over $22,500 to chapters for trail design, tools, materials and the input of professional builders. In the last three years, VMBA and members have invested just under $45,000 in trail projects. These funds have been used for parking areas, signage, bridge material, professional design/building, trail tools and events. Each element means a community came together to enjoy each other and riding/building in Vermont. This is a pretty special combination and we’re stoked that you understand your important role in keeping it all going.
The association has identified a number of key opportunities for 2016, all of which will have direct impacts on individuals’ riding in Vermont.
- Complete our work with the state to develop a statewide definition of the Act 250 process to support chapters’ work with private landowners
- Continue to effectively advocate for expanding access and funding opportunities for chapters’ trail projects
- Expand the VMBA chapter trail grant – we build this together!
- Complete the statewide fat biking access agreements with VAST, US Forest Service, Forests Parks and Recreation and chapters ensuring all winter riders have stress free access
- Continue to extend members a great benefits platform ensuring a VIP connection to the Vermont business community
- Host an amazing annual festival – Mad River Riders, Waterbury Area Trail Alliance and Green Mtn. Trails have combined to host the event at Mt. Ellen, July 22-24
- Expand chapter administrative benefits so they can dedicate even more time to the already incredible building effort throughout Vermont, chapters are the key to all this
- Begin uncovering state funding mechanisms to enhance the available matching opportunities for chapter trail projects
- Begin working towards tax credit incentives for private landowners opening their land to public recreation
- Continue to ensure that chapters have direct lines of communication with public land district staff to get more projects into the pipeline
- Streamline the web site and present a more user-friendly experience
- Continue to develop key relationships with sponsors and augment partnerships with other Vermont-based nonprofits
- Develop the chapter “new trail project playbook” to clarify the process for all types of land management, permitting, funding and maintennace
It’s an ambitious list. United as a community we can get it done. We’re all looking forward to a great winter season. Stay tuned for more news on winter riding. Keep riding. Stay involved. What!? You didn’t renew your membership this year? It’s not too late to make a difference for riding in Vermont. CLICK HERE to go to VMBA’s 2015 annual fund.