After more than a year on the road, we’ve worked with more than forty communities to expand their trailbuilding knowledge. It’s the bread and butter of the Trail Care Crew. But over the years, since 1997, we (and our predecessors) have been bringing more to the table. We’ve had the opportunity to speak to two other important ideas whenever possible: the power of successful clubs and the value of singletrack trails.
Our visit to Duluth was exciting. Not only was it the culmination of six weeks in the Upper Midwest, it was a symbolic crossroad for the two of us. For the most part, we have now covered every region in the United States from coast to coast, north to south. With a boatload of miles and knowledge under our belts, we had the opportunity to show off the full complement of TCC tools. Over our four-day visit we worked with COGGS (the local mountain bike club) to present Club Care, Better Living through Trails and the Trailbuilding School. You’re probably familiar with the first and last; the second one might sound a little unfamiliar.
Previously billed as Economic Development, Better Living through Trails is a new twist on an important subject. It speaks to the value of trails and how they can be used to make communities more livable. It’s a little philosophy, a lot of statistics, all in the context of singletrack. Standing in front of a packed house, we spoke to several different community leaders and stakeholders from congressional staffers to city officials. It was the perfect crowd for such a topic.
Fortunately, our hosts looked beyond the usual suspects for this type of presentation. And when Mayor Don Ness addressed the crowd, it was clear that the value of singletrack was understood. He applauded the efforts of COGGS to expand and improve trail opportunities throughout the city and surrounding areas and was sure that such endeavors would show that Duluthians support the environment, healthy lifestyles, and economic viability.
Ultimately, by reaching out to the community and helping them understand the value of trails, COGGS went a long way to gain allies and supporters who can share their vision of making this city, in the northern reaches of Minnesota, the trails destination in the Upper Midwest.
Thanks to COGGS for their tireless efforts in making our visit to Duluth a huge success. Thanks to all of the volunteers and other community members who participated in the weekend’s events.
BIG THANKS to Jeff, Heidi and family for opening their home.
Photos from the weekend: