Volunteer with WNYMBA; Lend a Hand and Give Back to the Mountain Biking Community on “Trail Days”
Hilary Clinton said “it takes a village ...” and that could not ring more true for the creation, enhancement and preservation of great mountain biking experiences in Western New York and the world. Amazing mountain biking trails do not just happen on their own. The trail system in Ellicottville was on its way out the door twenty years ago, along with many trails nationwide being closed to bikers. Thanks to the formation of the International Mountain Biking Association, more local clubs are popping up and really educating more people to enjoy trails responsibly and in partnership with land managers. If it weren’t for organized groups like Western New York Mountain Bike Association (WNYMBA) and local clubs, there would only be one trail to ride in Ellicottville, the White trail. The association also educates all users on proper use environmentally and socially of trails. This promotion is through their website, emails, word-of-mouth, newsletters, local shops and brochures.
WNYMBA celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, and foundering member Jon Sundquist is just as jazzed today or maybe even more than when he first moved to the Buffalo area from Boston to ride and advocate for the rad trails in Western New York. He says he builds trails because “it’s fun” and he encourages other riders to volunteer twice a year to give back to the trails and be part of building more for continued expansion of riding in Western New York. Jon also speaks to the fact that many locals are not educated on the extensive trail systems and who are less than optimistic about the notion that this area is a very special place to ride. Sure it is not Colorado or Utah, but Western New York has its own gems of firm ground with unique roots and extensive rocks to hop, and plenty of down timber to make it challenging for your next adventure by bike.
On May 13, 2012 (also Mother’s Day) fifteen volunteers gathered at the local bike shop in Ellicottville to spearhead the further expansion of a new ride called the Mesa Trail. This was volunteer Joe Catalano’s 7th time out this season to clean up, build and enhance local riding trails. Typically a day out with WNYBA lasts about three hours - and it’s focused work. On Mother’s Day they were “bench cutting” the Mesa Trail, which is a sustainable design passed down from the International Mountain Biking Association of making a single track into the side of a hill. When built properly, the soil will not erode the trail and the integrity of the land is used as a hard riding surface. The result of this day of trail building took many conversations and partnerships with the land managers, DEC and obtaining what’s called ADOPT a Natural Resource Agreement.
Trail Days can have up to 20-25 people involved. If you are looking to meet more riders, give back and get a stellar workout, visit WNYMBA.org to volunteer and learn more about building, maintaining and preserving the trails you love to ride! Ellicottville Bike Shop also sets up Trail Days so visit your local shop to get more information on how you can participate and keep it real with the mountain bike community.