'Tis the season for giving back - IMBA & SDMBA cut The Appendix
In 2008 a popular network of undulating singletrack in northern San Diego known as “The Intestines” was closed off and graded over for development of new home sites. A sign was posted at one of the trailheads suggesting that once the homes were built a trail would one day reopen. Mountain bikers gave little thought to the notice, expecting any developer-driven trail would be a sanitized, wide, flat trail commonly found in nearby neighborhoods.
Fast forward to 2016, the San Diego Mountain Biking Association announced an IMBA Trail Care Crew visit that would kick off construction of the new trail. Reflecting the interests of trail users and the character of the popular Tunnels trails nearby, tight, twisty singletrack had been mapped out in partnership with land developer Pardee Homes and the land managers of the open space the trail would connect. This approach was unique in that SDMBA had never before worked with a private developer to establish sustainable singletrack in suburban San Diego.
As a nearby resident and avid trail user, I eagerly volunteered for the trail work session. I also saw an opportunity to showcase the work of the mountain biking association creating and maintaining trails for all users. In San Diego mountain bikers often only make the news when contentious issues over trail access lead to confrontations with other users, land managers, and in the case of one sensitive area, the Marines.
I reached out to our community paper and found a reporter who took great interest in the effort. The result was a front page article that put mountain bikers, SDMBA, and IMBA in a most favorable light. As SDMBA Executive Director Susie Murphy stated, “With development happening in all parts of San Diego County, we hope we can continue to work with developers to create quality, sustainable natural trails for their communities.”
Furthermore the dig day was highly productive; a dedicated handful continued the work for weeks and after a second large group effort the half mile trail was soon open to users. A Strava segment quickly appeared with a name for the trail that harkened back to its earlier incarnation – The Appendix.
This experience can be repeated in your community. Around the world IMBA advances opportunities for mountain biking by organizing volunteer trail work, promoting grass roots advocacy, developing innovative trail management solutions, and encouraging cooperation among different trail user groups. ZOIC works with and gives back to IMBA and its affiliated chapters. Whether we’re building trail locally with SDMBA or raising funds in places like Utah or Colorado through the events we attend, we know it takes a lot to build and maintain the trails we love to ride.