Spoke Talk: Meet you at a meeting
August 17, 2017
Take a look at your calendar or planner: see those huge pockets of free time? Me either. Yet every day people are demanding your time and involvement. There is always an event or a birthday or a meeting or dinner … the list is seemingly eternal.
How can you possibly prioritize and decide what is worth your time? I have heard people say that meetings are unproductive or a waste of time. Many meetings can feel that way, some actually are.
But looking at the bigger picture, these are the exact places where the dialogue and decisions are made. Communication is the transferring of ideas and goals and being receptive to what others have to say. Without taking the time to attend meetings or to at least give your input to those who can attend, your opinions and voice cannot be heard.
In the cycling world, trails are the often the central focus of our day. We plan them, build them and then ride them. Unfortunately, that first step often requires numerous meetings.
Before even planning a trail, the funding must be secured, land manager agreements and contracts must be made and public input needs to be received. It tends to boil down to the few, committed people who attend these meetings to represent your trails.
But maybe you do have time, so what should you attend?
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• 2A meetings: The 2A Trails Committee is your elected group to help distribute funds from the Accommodations Tax. They prioritize the trails outlined in the Steamboat Springs Trail Alliance proposal and determine which trails will receive funding to be constructed.
• Steamboat Springs Trail Alliance meetings: These are hosted by Routt County Riders, and all trail users are encouraged to attend. These are more causal meetings where the public can discuss trail questions or concerns with land managers and trail builders.
• Routt County Riders board meetings: Our board meetings cover a range of topics within the cycling community including trail development, advocacy, fundraising, events and more.
Another important place to provide your input is through the public comment periods that the U.S. Forest Service will have during its next environmental analysis. This is where you should express your opinions about what kind of new trails you hope to see in our community.
Here is the bottom line: you can affect the process of trail building. Your land managers and committee members listen to you, they want to hear your opinions.
Representatives are great, but your individual presence is even better. When you show up, it lets people know that you truly care about the future of your trails. I encourage you to pencil one of those meetings into your month. And if not, please send us an email so we can best represent you.
Kelly Northcutt is Routt County Riders administrator. Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling. Find us at facebook.com/rcriders, routtcountyriders.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.