June 28, 2022
Most Outstanding National Trail Association Winner…
The “Most Outstanding National Mountain Bike Association” award emphasizes the importance of national trail associations and their created impact on their communities and trail networks.
It’s our pleasure to announce Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland as the recipient of the “Most Outstanding National Trail Association” for this year’s campaign. Scotland is recognised for its public access rights to land and the countryside so some people might think, how hard can it be to develop world class trails and a vibrant mountain bike scene? Well, it always looks easier than it is. And that’s certainly the case for Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland. DMBinS won the title of Outstanding National Trail Association for a (very) good reason. Over the last 10 years, DMBinS became more and more the voice of the Scottish mountain bike community, both supporting the rider community as Scottish businesses and pushing the first (and so far only) National MTB Strategy to become European leaders in mountain biking.
It’s not surprising that the Take Care of Your Trails campaign initially started in Scotland before it got adopted and spread over Europe. One of the reasons we believe DMBinS deserves this title is because Graeme and his team managed to continuously launch new programs, campaigns and regional development projects, doing justice to the dynamic world called mountain biking. Challenges are there to put into opportunities. Addressing tough and unpopular issues like unauthorized trail building and finding solutions for it by working closely together with Forestry & Land Scotland is just one example. – Mark Torsius, General Manager IMBA Europe
Supporting informal groups becoming official trail associations and creating a trail fund to support their work is another. And don’t forget all the advocacy work behind the scenes, hours and hours of talks with policy makers and politicians to be sure all parties continue to support the National MTB Strategy and allocate sufficient funding to make it happen. Brexit, covid, climate change resulting in huge storms destroying thousands of acres of forest ánd trails, team DMBinS definitely seen some setbacks lately. But none of this discouraged the team. There’s more to come, ranging from the World Championship in 2023 to the planning of a new MTB Innovation Center in Innerleithen, another Trail Therapy program and more trails across the country. And even though Scotland is not a EU member state anymore, we don’t mind calling DMBinS Europe’s Outstanding National Trail Association.
The story behind Take Care of Your Trails
TCOYT is an initiative that DMBinS started in 2015 in Scotland as a pilot to showcase the quality and quantity of trail repair work that was happening across Scottish mountain biking and to get more people involved in helping out with the maintenance of their local trails. The pilot highlighted the demand for greater support for mountain biking trail repair groups and understand if mountain bikers could play an active part in protecting, and enhancing, the path network which they enjoy.
In April 2016, following on from the success of the pilot, the Scottish mountain biking community joined forces as part of the first nationwide, coordinated weekend of volunteer-based trail maintenance and build events, TCOYT!
The campaign took on a pan European slant as in 2017 DMBinS worked with IMBA Europe to organise the largest ever concerted voluntary trail repair, maintenance and build effort.
Over a weekend in April the first ever pan European ‘Take Care of Your Trails’ weekend took place with trail repair groups from Scotland to Poland, Denmark to Czech Republic and Sweden to Spain, engaging in a friendly competition to see which country could get the most amount of volunteers to work on paths and trails per head of population. Centrally co-ordinated by IMBA Europe, thousands of volunteers took part and this set the precedence for the initiative moving forward. The Campaign has grown in impetus and is highly regarded across Europe. Take Care of your Trails now spans a month each year, ensuring that there are maximum opportunities for trail crews across Europe to get involved.
Words from Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland – “We are proud to receive this award for ‘The Most Outstanding National Mountain Bike Association’, on behalf of riders and trail crews across Scotland. Part of our role nationally is to ensure that the right trails are in the right place and built and managed by the right people to develop and sustain Scotland as an amazing riding destination.”
“Scotland has some of the best mountain biking trail provision in the world and those who spend time on these trails are keen to ensure that it stays that way. The Scottish Mountain Bike Strategy 2019 – 2025, tasked DMBinS with initiating a culture change to encourage and support riders to set up trails associations across the country, each with the responsibility for the stewardship of trails in its local area. With methodical and strategic support, we have been delighted to help the number of trail crews across Scotland grow from 4 to 19 and witness the benefits to the trail network, nationwide. Although we have helped, we really wouldn’t be getting this award if it wasn’t for the passion, dedication, commitment, and expertise that those who have set up trails associations across Scotland have for what they do. We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every rider who gives up their time and energy, or financial support to help with the trails.”
“We also work across a wide variety of trails and with a large number of partners to ensure that the growth in mountain biking is sustainable and delivers quality riding experiences. We do this by ensuring public resources are effectively deployed and help mitigate against any environmental impact from the location and construction of trails. We also play an important part in advancing the arguments and rationale for strategic projects across Scotland”.
With the growth in riders accessing the trail network and the impact that inevitably has, we will need more riders to get involved and help where they can. Whether that be giving up their time to help at a dig day, volunteer to be part of a trail association committee, or donate financially to their local group or to the national Scottish Trail Fund – riders support going forward in this way will help sustain and grow the most precious resource in mountain biking – the trails.”
Thank you to Developing Mountain Biking for their words on the importance of the TCoYT campaign and insight into their success as an association.