Trail Advocacy

This award is given in recognition of successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance.

 

Washington: Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Seattle that serves as Washington State’s largest mountain bike advocacy and trail stewardship group.

The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has 10,000 followers and regional chapters across the state. Evergreen’s mission is to create and protect sustainable mountain biking opportunities throughout Washington through advocacy, stewardship, educational programs, and social and recreational opportunities.

Evergreen’s staff, board, and volunteers lead successful efforts to influence public policy relating to multi-use trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance across Washington State. Evergreen advocates for trail access and funding with city, county, state, and federal officials. Just in the past year, Evergreen’s executive director lobbied state legislators in person and during testimony on a number of bills proposed in the state legislature including:

  • Protecting the integrity of the Recreational Immunity Act (HB 2150)
  • Promoting the development of trail standards for Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land (HB 2151)
  • Supplemental Capital Budget - working to include funding for Raging River as part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway request package (HB 2224 and SB 6020)

Currently, Evergreen is advocating for trail access and funding with 13 city, county, state, and federal officials for a wide variety of trails from backcountry to urban trail systems on land owned by the US Forest Service, DNR, Washington State Parks, many counties, cities, and private land owners.

Evergreen’s staff and board members meet frequently with legislators, local elected officials, and agency staff to discuss the benefits of building multi-use trails and lead tours of project sites to discuss plans, projects, and proposals. Some of these advocacy efforts are highly complicated including:

  • Serving on the Outdoor Alliance Washington (OAW), part of a national group of human- powered recreation organizations, to advocate for outdoor recreation, access and conservation. OAW recently presented recommendations to the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation to improve access to public lands in Washington and to improve funding for state parks and other state land managers.
  • Working with Washington Wild and other wilderness advocates creating federal land protection proposals which the broad community of mountain bikers could support.
  • Advocating for new trail access on Skykomish USFS land with Congresswoman DelBene, USFS Forest Supervisor, King County Parks, Washington Trails Association, and Forterra.
  • Working in a consortium of conservation and recreational groups to fund the acquisition of private timberland or easements by Kitsap County to protect existing trails and incorporate new trails on property in Port Gamble.
  • Collaborating with Mountain to Sounds Greenway to fund, permit, and convert fire roads to trails on USFS land in the South Fork Snoqualmie area.

Successful advocacy leads to planning trails, trail systems, trail maintenance and renovations, and bike parks. Today, Evergreen is planning 23 projects on local, state, federal and privately owned land. These projects range from complicated multi-agency acquisition, planning, and federal permitting processes to working one on one with agency representatives.

Many times, Evergreen is asked to construct projects that have made it through the planning and permitting process. Evergreen has developed sustainable trail building practices, leads workshops of how to build and maintain trails, and has design standards for trail and bike park development. Evergreen is currently constructing trails on 12 projects including providing cash matches, trail design, trail crew leaders, and volunteer recruitment and management. Today, Evergreen is planning or building legitimate, sustainable trails at:

  • Wenatchee River, Methow, and Chelan Districts of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
  • East Tiger Mtn, Yacolt, Raging River, Teanaway, Naneum, and Green Mtn State Forests
  • Squilchuck, Olallie, Mt Spokane, and Moran State Parks
  • County and city parks including Seattle, Tacoma, King and Snohomish Counties.

The success of Evergreen’s efforts can be seen in the recognition from land managers and media. This year Evergreen received the Volunteer Organization Award from Region 6 of the US Forest Service. In the past Evergreen and it’s projects have been highlighted by the Western Governors Association, the Presidents America's Great Outdoors initiative, National Parks and Recreation Association, Conservation Voices award by Washington Wild, a documentary on successful management of recreation conflict "Pedal Driven", and many others.

Evergreen cannot accomplish its goals without the support of Washington's fast growing mountain bike community. Evergreen’s community engagement efforts include engaging volunteers to build and maintain trials and to lead the education, rides, and race programs. Evergreen mobilizes and trains hundreds of volunteers. Last year, they contributed more than 10,000 hours to the stewardship of multi-use trails on public lands across the state. These volunteer programs build and strengthen relationships throughout the organization, attract new people to the sport of mountain biking, and create new trail advocates.