01 September 2020

The best trails are Trash Free Trails

Trash Free Trails and Take Care of Your Trails : Become a mountain bike citizen scientist

Today we kick off a full month of volunteer trail work events across Europe. Activities range from trail repairs, trail maintenance work, re-routing or even dig and shape new trails. But we should not forget about some of the basics. A litter free natural environment. Let’s make sure we have Trash Free Trails and that we, as mountain bike community, take action to help solve the problem of single use plastic trashing our trails.
That’s why we’d like to highlight one of the projects of our highly valued colleagues at Trash Free Trails,  a community focussed non-profit organisation that exist to protect our trails and wild places and aims to reduce plastic pollution by 75% by 2025. An initiative we embrace as IMBA Europe.

(photo by Chris Goodman)

State of Our Trails Baseline Study

Trash Free Trails is working alongside academics at Banger University on the first phase of the State of Our Trails Report, the first ever peer reviewed research project to investigate plastic pollution across trails and wild spaces. From huge, citizen science powered trail clean-up activations, to purposeful adventures focusing on nature connection, the efforts and insights of each volunteer participating in those actions will generate vital data for the report.

MTB trail crews that have signed up for the September edition of the Take Care of Your Trails campaign can also contribute to the State of our Trails baseline study. While working on your local trails, consider to add some trail clean up activities and don’t forget to fill in the Litter Log afterwards. By doing so, you become a mountain biking citizen scientist. The more data collected, the better.

We have noticed during our previous TCoYT campaign that in some countries it can be difficult to gain permission from local governments or landowners to do volunteer trail maintenance work. In those cases, it is probably easier to start with a trail clean up event. It will help to inspire the MTB and wider trail user community to recognise a collective responsibility toward the ecological health of our trails and it is a great opportunity to connect people with nature in a sustainable way. So sign up for Take Care of Your trails and contribute to the State of Our Trails report at the same time!

IMBA Europe member organisation NTFU also recognised that mountain bikers consider litter in nature as one of their biggest annoyance. ‘Natuurlijk Opgeruimd’ is NTFU’s call for action towards trail crews to host trail clean events on the 12th and 13th of September in the Netherlands.

Graphic by TrailsFreeTrails, featured image by Paul Box
For more information, visit trashfreetrails.org