A wonderful example of the many work done by mountain bikers in the Netherlands to develop and maintain trails that are feasible and attractive for a broad audience. Research from IMBA Europe’s Dutch member organisation NTFU shows that there are about 2.750 volunteers in the Netherlands that are part of a trail maintenance group. Together they spent more than 105,500 hours maintaining their local mountain bike routes and trail networks. A big compliment for all those mountain bikers who contribute to their sport.
About 180 signposted routes and trail networks can be found in the Netherlands. The last 5 years, volunteer work by mountain bikers has been promoted heavily. Not in the least because the forestry commission and other (private) land managers faced huge budget cuts and maintenance budgets almost evaporated. With a growing interesting in purposed built, more challenging trails, the willingness of mountain bikers to give back and contribute to the development and maintenance of these ‘new school’ trails grew rapidly.
NTFU, IMBA Europe and trail building company Tracks&Trails recently used this momentum to organise a national trail conference, supported by and hosted at the Specialized HQ’s in ‘s Heerenberg. Trail crews from all over the country participated in sessions about fundraising, water management, trail inspection, volunteer management, trail etiquette and many more. A huge step forward as it comes to knowledge sharing and better collaboration between trail crews. After the event, NTFU was able to publish the first figures on volunteer hours spent on trail maintenance in the Netherlands.