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Pump Track Politics

wadespade

Chimp
Jun 29, 2011
2
0
I am currently living in Winston-Salem, NC and am interested in building a pump track at one of the local parks because there isn't a public pump track in the Winston area. That said, I contacted the local trail boss/guy who runs parks and rec for the city. To my surprise he said, "I have actually been doing some research of my own and am very interested in helping you get this under way". He says he will get back to me. 3 weeks later, after exchanging various emails and phone calls, discussing design ideas, etc., I get a phone call from him saying "No pump track because risk management does not want volunteers working on city property". I was a little confused as this guy seemed overenthusiastic and then all of a sudden said "no". He even had me submit a design and then said no! At this same park there is currently a run-down pump track and 6.5 miles of singletrack in need of some serious TLC. His explanation for the unsatisfactory trail condition was a "lack of city employees", which is probably true. Then I proposed having a park ranger/city worker "supervise" the construction of a pump track by experienced trail builders and other volunteers. Now keep in mind, this would require one person to supervise this thing. He said, "NO volunteers may be involved in any of the physical building of trails or anything". How else did he expect it to get built? As far as having volunteers, my buddies and I have been spreading the word about a prospective pump track being built and all the LBS are enthralled with the idea and said they'd get us some workers out there to help. Man power wouldn't be a problem.

Now, I have a few questions here, any advice is greatly appreciated as I am not giving up on this.

1. Why would this guy lead me on for almost a month and then say we can't build one? Surely, he would have known from the start that risk management would say no. If the rule is "no volunteers whatsoever", how did he honestly think it would get built?

2. Also, he said that "If any work is to be done at the park it has to be done by city workers/park rangers. Now every time I see trail work being done I have never seen a park ranger or govt worker doing any of it. It's always volunteers.

3. My final question. Is there always this much bureaucratic crap to go through to get a trail built?
 

Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,479
465
behind you with a snap pop
Yep. There is a reason you see so many pump tracks built on private land and in backyards. If you are set that you want to work through a city, you are going to have to be patient and willing to wade in knee deep bull$hit to get your goal accomplished. Ha, you should see what a state park in SC has to do to get a new legal trail approved.
 

Straya

Monkey
Jul 11, 2008
868
3
Straya
1. Its quite possible that the staff member was super keen and still is but has had someone higher up make the decision and he has to abide by it. I've been a local government worker and had to do a few things I didn't really like but it was my job and I was pretty much had to do as I was instructed.

2. Some employees occasionally do works on this kind of thing, I know some local government areas in Canada paid staff to do trail work. Jump on the net and have a look at what some other governments in your area are doing and take it to your council and show them. If other areas are using volunteers then call them and ask how they do it and present that to your guys too.

Where I live our Occupational Health and Safety laws state that volunteers are considered employees of the company so that there is no difference. It might be worth having a look at your own laws to see if something similar exists and whether it can be useful for you.

Also, your local council will most likely have a strategic plan, or some overall planning document that states how they plan to run their area for the next x years. Most of these documents often state that the council will provide recreational facilities or even volunteer opportunities or the like for their constituents. It would be well worth finding a copy of this document and reading it and then pointing out how a pump track or trails would help them meet these objectives that they have set. Use their own planning documents to make your case.

It might also be worth checking out if your council provides volunteer opportunities for people doing other things. Lots of local councils use volunteers to do all kinds of things so if you can show that they have volunteers doing other activities with similar levels of risk it allows you to argue that MTB volunteering isn't that bad or different to what other volunteers are doing in the local area.

3. Yes it is always that difficult. The first time. if you can show how other areas are doing it it might be easier. It is also the employees ass on the line in some ways so they are going to make sure that they are not doing anything that they shouldn't be.
 

eccorp

Chimp
May 18, 2010
56
0
"Ha, you should see what a state park in SC has to do to get a new legal trail approved."

Five years later and $8500 LATER. Sulphur Springs Reroute should be rough cut in by the end of the week. talked with trail builder and looks like a group will be out there tuesday afternoon working before the night ride gets under way. we will be planning another big trail day soon.
 

Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,479
465
behind you with a snap pop
"Ha, you should see what a state park in SC has to do to get a new legal trail approved."

Five years later and $8500 LATER. Sulphur Springs Reroute should be rough cut in by the end of the week. talked with trail builder and looks like a group will be out there tuesday afternoon working before the night ride gets under way. we will be planning another big trail day soon.
True, and I was not even talking about Paris. I was referring to how long it is taking to get these trails legalized at Croft State Park. The trails are already built and already being used, the ranger and park want them open and legal, but it is still a LONG process to get them opened. As of now, they are presently being "scanned" by the state for bombs. Myself, I bombed down them yesterday. ;)
 

ioscope

Turbo Monkey
Jul 3, 2004
2,004
0
Vashon, WA
Start a professional trailbuilding company that is licensed bonded and insured. Offer to do the work, not as a volunteer, but as a "professional." You will get paid! Or you can donate the labor and get a tax deduction! You just have to play their stupid bureaucratic game to win in this world.
 

CHepler

Monkey
Sep 5, 2005
208
15
Our cities insurance allows us to have groups sign a liability release to work in the parks. That is what we use for the Youth Clubs, Historical Society or anybody else that may use city property for events. This is done for everything from voluteers who drag/maintain ball fields to using the property for festivals.
 

Metal Dude

Turbo Monkey
Apr 7, 2006
1,140
0
Smackdonough, GA
I can think of one xc trail system that a few of my buddies built in Peachtree City GA that were illegal and someone within the city council or whatever was a sorba member and got them legalized in less than 2 months! This is an exception and in a planned city with 80 miles of cart paths and tons of recreational stuff going on. It has a very athletic based population, if that had anything to do with it? I don't know but, def. rare.
 

dbohle17

Chimp
Jul 5, 2011
3
0
winston
bring on the harassment ....... but you could just build it.
hobby? salem? it all gets built by the elves
hit me up, im in winston.
 

wadespade

Chimp
Jun 29, 2011
2
0
Yeah, I even mentioned having a professional company come in and they said, "No volunteers, period. No one is allowed to work on city property other than city workers."
 

Straya

Monkey
Jul 11, 2008
868
3
Straya
Yeah, I even mentioned having a professional company come in and they said, "No volunteers, period. No one is allowed to work on city property other than city workers."
I'd be politely asking for them to provide me with the city ordinance or policy where that is outlined.
 

CHepler

Monkey
Sep 5, 2005
208
15
It's probably neither ordinance or policy of the city, but the insurance provider to the city. Ours is through TML (TN Municipal League) but as I said they have a release form we can have people sign for activities or events on city property.
I would approach the city manager/town administrator with my questions.
 

edwin66

Chimp
Apr 12, 2012
10
0
Winston-Salem, NC
bring on the harassment ....... but you could just build it.
hobby? salem? it all gets built by the elves
hit me up, im in winston.
Yea, a few friends and I where doing that, but got stopped by a cop. He said we cand be doing this and so on. He also said if he catches us again we will be fined. Totaly sucks... I've been the one building and maintaing it for a few years, but its all going down hill now.