American Trails' 20th National Trails Awards Program honors people and programs at the 20th American Trails National Symposium. The awards celebration was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nov. 16, 2010.
This award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.
Ride With Respect
Trail crew at work
The "Sovereign Trail" in Moab is the only single track trail system in the immediate Moab area that is open to motorcycles and it's an area that is a great example of different trail enthusiast groups working together toward a common goal. Though the area is on Utah State lands, most of the management and maintenance of the area falls squarely on the shoulders of an organization named Ride with Respect.
Ride with Respect (RwR) is a group that does not represent motorized or non-motorized trail enthusiasts, they represent trail enthusiasts. They are made up of various user groups. Some members ride motorcycles, some ride mountain bikes, and some ride both.
Their "Call to Action" explains it well:
"Do you value natural landscapes and your privilege to recreate within them? Do you recognize that the growing popularity of outdoor recreation demands heightened on-the-ground involvement to protect natural resources while accommodating multiple-use recreation? And are you frustrated by the polarization of environment-vs.-access issues, which has paralyzed land managers into a bureaucratic gridlock? If so, then support the organization that shares your vision."
Their Mission: Ride with Respect aims to protect natural resources while accommodating diverse recreation on public land. We reach this goal through trail/restoration projects and educational programs. In combination, these initiatives work to concentrate vehicle travel to established roads and trails.
Off-trail travel most often results from confusion. Ride with Respect delineates appropriate routes through positive and negative trail marking. We improve trail conditions to minimize their deterioration and consequent widening. By documenting the effects of our trail work, we further general knowledge of techniques that ensure recreation is a renewable resource.
members (left to right) Clif Koontz, RwR program director (motorcycle & bicycle)
Terri Cygan, volunteer (bicycle) - Tom Feisthamel, volunteer (motorcycle & bicycle)
Mike Woodall, volunteer & Utah State Parks (motorcycle)
Jeff Fink, RwR lead trail technician (bicycle)
Off-trail travel is also caused by ignorance. We foster conscientious use by educating through interpretive signs and personal contacts. By offering certified rider-training classes, we instill environmental ethic and safety consciousness in children.
The group takes their jobs as trail ambassadors seriously, "We monitor areas to catch problems early. If a site is being denuded by misguided travel, we place directional signage as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Ride with Respect's field work can roughly be categorized into trail work and restoration projects. This way, we are not only working for land users, but also for the land, itself. Even our trail work is done to protect the area surrounding trails more than simply creating a pathway. Regardless of this distinction, the aim of all our projects is to keep natural resources healthy and accessible."
Since the Sovereign Trail and Ride With Respect are both for motorized and non-motorized single track enthusiasts, the exemplify what can happen when we put aside our differences and concentrate on the common ground. In this case, the common ground is the love for the land and the love for single track trails.
For more information:
Cliff Koontz, Program Director, Ride With Respect
1310 Murphy Lane, Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-8334 - Email: email@example.com
More about trails in the Chattanooga area:
Information from the 2008 Symposium in Little Rock, AR:
2008 Sponsors and Exhibitors:
2008 Awards and volunteers:
How to attend:
Past and future of the National Trails Symposium: