The Oregon Mountain Biking Coalition (OMBC) is Oregon’s statewide mountain biking advocacy group, a coalition of regional trail organizations representing thousands of mountain bikers across the state. We advocate, create, enhance, and protect mountain biking experiences in the State of Oregon.
Our vision is to advance Oregon as a premier mountain biking destination, offering a diverse set of riding experiences in all settings from backcountry to urban, for riders of all types and abilities.
Mountain biking is quiet, human-powered recreation enjoyed by many
By connecting mountain bikers with the lands they own, sustainable recreation is a powerful conservation tool
Mountain biking is a positive economic driver in communities large and small
And we value:
The conservation of trails for sustainable use, now and in the future
Experiences that enhance our well-being and connection with nature
Equitable access to riding within all settings, backcountry to urban
On October 29th 2017, a group of thought leaders representing the majority of mountain bike stakeholder groups from around Oregon, gathered in Bend for a prolonged discussion regarding the creation of a statewide organization. The goal was to flush out if such an organization was needed, who it would serve and what issues and needs were most important for the mountain bike community.
This group conducted deep dives into many issues such as actual needs from a statewide organization, model of representation and potential goals. Out of this session, it was agreed upon that all organizations present wished to work together to form a statewide organization.
To establish Oregon as one of the premier places in the world to ride mountain bikes. Oregon will offer a wide range of mountain bike experiences from urban bike parks, to community trail systems, to backcountry trails that serve the needs of an ever growing population of mountain bikers.
Who We Are:
We are Oregon’s statewide mountain bike advocacy group—a coalition of regional mountain biking and trail advocacy organizations, supported by industry, and providing a voice for mountain bikers statewide.
What We Do:
We advocate at local, state and federal levels; we plan, design, build and maintain great trails and mountain bike experiences; we collaborate, we communicate, we inspire, we protect, we educate, and we ride.
Prioritized needs from a statewide organization
1) Professional Voice in Salem
Stakeholder groups desired to back a statewide organization that would provide mountain bikers a professional and consistent presence at the state-level to interface with governmental and outside entities. The desire was to have a consistent avenue of communication and collaboration with Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department and in particular the new Office of Outdoor Recreation. This was seen as vital to the success and continued development of mountain bike opportunities. All in attendance saw the benefit of a centralized voice creating greater awareness and education amongst state elected officials around the benefits of mountain biking.
2) Resource Sharing
As trail building and maintenance is a technical skill, and all stakeholder groups own varying amounts of special tools and machinery to execute this skill. Across all stakeholder groups there are varying levels of accountability and inventorying strategies with these resources. There was strong agreement around the concept of creating a centralized hub to share these equipment resources amongst groups.
3) Inter-organizational Communication
Most stakeholders expressed the desire for a statewide organization that would manage communication between the different organizations. As each organization is entirely volunteer led and powered, this often results in fluctuating time commitments to various projects depending on personal and professional demands. Since groups clearly prioritize local projects over statewide initiatives, a centralized voice for dispersing information, contact information, and bringing groups together (such as convening further Summits or trail schools) is needed.
4) Backcountry Labor
Stakeholders identified the need for additional labor support on backcountry projects as another high priority. With a renewed emphasis on these types of routes (the Oregon Timber Trail or Trans Cascadia for example), the need for stewardship on these trails has also risen. As these sites are often quite remote, the labor pool available for such endeavors shrinks due to a several constraints facing volunteers. These landscapes are often managed by the USFS, which is also currently seeing a reduction in maintenance and recreation resources. Therefore, volunteer stewardship is known to be essential in keeping these trails open. By facilitating or coordinating efforts in this realm, a statewide organization was seen has having a high value.
5) Storytelling Assistance
Many trail advocacy organizations do not have the internal capacity to help them tell the ‘story’ of who they are and what they do. This groups recognize that having this collateral will allow them to better communicate with existing and potential members, engage with land managers and also more effectively reach sponsors and supporters. This kind of work is often the work of marketing professionals. Having access to individuals with these skills will help many groups further their goals.
6) Statewide Wilderness Position
Stakeholders ranked this as one of the highest priority needs from a statewide organization. The desired statement would express the position of all groups on the closure of trails via changes in federal land designations. Over 150 miles of bike-accessible singletrack in Oregon has been closed due to Wilderness designations in the past decade, with over 300 miles at risk due to new proposals. In the face of this, most stakeholder groups sought the creation of a rallying point on this issue.
Many stakeholders steward trails on federal lands faced with this potential closure, but feature no single point of contact of position on these proposals. The convening members shared optimism that a mutually agreed upon position would help them preserve existing recreational access in the face of these threats and also better equip themselves to engage with elected officials.
7) Grant funding support
Most of the participating stakeholder groups have relied on sizable grants to fund construction, maintenance, outreach and equipment acquisition. These grants have come from a vast array of public and private sources both within Oregon and nationally. No matter the funding source, compiling, writing, and applying for these grants are a significant time strain on volunteer organizations. Many groups felt that having professional help identifying eligible sources and matching them with projects, along with preparing and writing the grants would be highly valuable. Several groups used examples of other recreation nonprofits that employ full time development/grant writing staff.
8) Strategic Planning Support
Multiple stakeholder groups identified the need for additional support in their efforts to develop long-range strategic plans as well as conduct organizational development training. They recognize that their current leadership structures may not have the expertise to accomplish this and view bringing in outside contractors as a way to execute this need. Specific guidance in non-profit governance will help stakeholders groups grow structurally and increase their efficiency and efficacy.