Updated: June 04, 2021 07:45 AM
Created: June 03, 2021 10:58 AM
The Twin Ports trail system spans dozens of miles. Maintaining it takes many hours and many hands. Most of that labor is taken on in good will by trail users through Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS).
COGGS Trail Director and SkiHut employee Ansel Schimpff said, "COGGS is a 100% volunteer run organization and it's also a membership based organization. So right now, we're sitting just over 500 members who pay a membership annually.”
Most week nights, various groups of volunteers are hard at work on different trails. Even so, it’s hard to keep up with demand.
"We've got over 75 miles of trail in town now and a volunteer group working for two hours a night can only get so much done. So we're just trying to build on that volunteer maintenance going forward," Ansel said.
COGGS is looking for businesses to sponsor trail maintenance work days and boost those volunteer numbers.
They’re teaming up with SkiHut for a trail maintenance work day on Thursday, June 10th. Earth Rider Brewery is providing beer and Thrivent is providing food. Anyone wanting to participate is asked to RSVP to the Facebook event so they know how many people to prepare for.
Ansel said, "Hopefully we'll be able to get some more businesses involved and help get more of the trails taken care of."
In addition to keeping our trails in great shape, volunteering builds relationships between trail users.
"It's a great way to meet other people that use the trails that you may not run into otherwise, and it's just a fun evening out in the woods working on the trails that you use all of the time," Ansel said.
Volunteering isn’t the only way to contribute to trail maintenance. Ansel says becoming a member of COGGS is a simple act that helps in a big way.
Ansel said, "The city looks at membership to see how many people are using the trails, and if that membership doesn't reflect the actual users, we aren't going to get as much support as the trails need, so just becoming a member of COGGS goes a really long way."
The most basic way to keep trails nice is check the trail conditions and follow them. Riding when wet can cause considerable damage.
Ansel said, "And the more maintenance we do to these trails, the more often they're going to be open after it rains. So all of that maintenance is just trying to get them ready for weather."
We update the current conditions on our website Monday to Friday.
Every Thursday, WDIO News will bring you a story about the sport of bike riding. We will focus on the trail systems in our viewing area as well as equipment and bike maintenance. If you have a biking story that you think we should cover, e-mail Brandon Weathers at email@example.com.
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