Mountain biking in Vermont has changed considerably over the last decade and is perhaps the fastest-growing form of outdoor recreation here in Vermont. Trail forks counted over 580,000 ride logs in 2022, surpassing their pre-pandemic number. During that period, VMBA has also grown into the country’s largest statewide MTB advocacy group, wrapping 2022 just shy of 10,000 members.
With this incredible growth in our profile, presence, and impacts – those of us at the helm here at VMBA acknowledged we needed a new long-term plan that would look downfield and ensure we were charting a course that would both harness this growth and ensure we retained the magic and character that makes trail riding in Vermont what it is.
With the goal of a new Strategic Plan for the organization, the Board and staff sat down in late 2021 to hammer out a process for putting such a plan together – mindful in particular of all the different stakeholders we’d need to hear from. We began by revisiting VMBA’s Mission and Vision, culminating in a full-day workshop last January and modest – but important – updates to both Statements.
With these in place as a ‘north star,’ we got to work collecting input from our Chapters, listening to our partners, and analyzing data from our annual Member Surveys (which nearly 800 of you just completed for the 2022 season – thanks!). Based on these sources and our first-hand experiences, we mapped out the major challenges of well-planned, accessible, and progressive trail systems statewide and mountain biking being at the center of healthy, economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable communities statewide.
With this veritable laundry list of ideas, desires, challenges, and opportunities, the Board and staff hammered out seven major goals across Trails, Advocacy, Community, and the Organization. That’s right, TACO, and no, we won’t be using that acronym again. And we didn’t stop there, as a real plan includes both a sense of the “how” and the “what.” For each goal, we identified a set of supporting activities and key partners we would need to work with to succeed.
Where possible, we gave ourselves hard targets and nearer-term objectives to help us meet these goals by 2028. Lastly, the Plan includes a ‘roadmap,’ which lists major milestones over the next 5 years that will help keep us on track. Surely, this course will evolve and change – just like mountain biking in Vermont – but it marks an essential first take.
You can check out a visual summary of the Plan and view the entire document. Feel free to share your thoughts/comments below – and be sure to attend our Annual Meeting on March 23rd if you want to learn more. We also aim to have more informal Q&A sessions in the months ahead, giving members another opportunity to ask questions and weigh in on the Plan.