Training Day

04 December 2011

If you are like me, there comes a time when you start asking yourself “Am I really making a difference?” As a mountainbiker, I have one of the best releases of stress, energy, and endorphins, at our disposal: a ride in the woods. But what have I done to earn this gift? I’m talking about paying real dues. Supporting our resource can be done in three primary ways, your money (contributing to MBOSC or Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks), your vote, or your time.

Getting organized.

Chris explains the finer points
of the rolling dip drane design.

Lunch break.

The first step in creating a new rolling dip drain
is removal of the vegetation.

Dirt removed from the drain can be used
to raise the trail tread
on the downhill side of the drain.

A big crew can make a real difference,
and this one learned a lot in the process.

I’ve come across the Trailworkers volunteer crew working in Wilder twice in my twenty years of riding. I was impressed that my friend Dan Chen was there both times. It turns out Dan has been joining the volunteer trail crews in Wilder Ranch since the mid eighties. Talk about dedication! This Sunday I joined him and 14 others for some practical, hands-on training in trail maintenance technique.

The larger than average crew included the following folks:
Medwin Schreher
Dan Chen
Dave Robinson
Richard Seiter
Criston Gardner
Anne & Russell Henmi
Doug & Trevor Blaisdell
From Soquel High School
Marissa Ferejohn Swett
Reid Barbier
Wesley Chen
Eric Wells
Registered Crew Leaders
Chuck Wisse
Greg Lydon
Harvey Hartman

The good turnout may have been inspired by the announcement that this special training project would be led by Chris Pereira, the State Parks Maintenance Supervisor for trail programs in the Santa Cruz district (the guru). Chris’ experience and knowledge about trail work and his great leadership inspired every one of us.

We spent a total of four hours together learning the best techniques for maintaining the rolling grade dips that were designed to drain water off the newly reconstructed Twin Oaks trail. Chris is a wealth of information and is responsible for the recent rerouts of the Twin Oaks and Engelsman Loop trails.

It was great working alongside people of wildly varied experience and ages who all shared the same belief, that we are the good that we want to see in the environment. There is no challenge in our local hills that we can’t overcome with the right mix of knowledge, effort, and a few bucks.

I can’t think back on a day of public service that I have enjoyed more than this past Sunday. To be outside, working on the trails I love, surrounded by inspired individuals of all ages on a warm Sunday is an experience I will not soon forget. Or miss again. The list of reasons to be out there is a long. We need to invest in the resource to prove ownership. We need to exhibit to the state agencies that parks are critical and we are invested in them. And we need to battle the indoor trap and break away from the computer and playstation. But the best reason to engage the resource, to become stewards of the land, is that it needs us and we need it. The payback comes back everyday we pedal that trail, and with every thank you that we harvest as the trail users stop and applaud the efforts of our crew.

Sign up here to volunteer and here to receive the newsletter so you don’t miss the next trail day, the first Sunday of the month at 9:45am in the main Wilder Ranch parking lot or at one of our other priceless parks. You can make the difference!


— First person perspective contributed by Dave Robinson.