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Theme: Giving Back to the Parks

The Edgewood Preserve Docent Training Program

Docents: Sharing Nature with the Bay Area Community

Meeting the Land at Fairfield Osborne Preserve

Other Features

A Brief History of Bay Area Parks and Open Space
   Pt. 2: From the 1960s through the Present Day

Names on the Land
   Pt. 2, Santa Cruz County

Education Stations "Smooth" the Trails

"Dish" Argument Continues on New Terrain

Sudden Oak Death: New Victims


Letter from the Trail Center

Park News

Trail Center Notes

Upcoming Events

The Trail Companion

Winter 2001

Education Stations "Smooth" the Trails

By Rod Brown and Jim Owen.

Multi-use trails provide many benefits for responsible users: they give all users a reason to support our parks and preserves, they foster positive relationships between user groups, and they minimize environmental impact by dispersing users as widely as possible. But, these benefits can be upset when ignorant or irresponsible users break park rules, disregard other users, or act unsafely or impolitely. Though usually only a small fraction of any user population, a few such actions can cause bad relationships between user groups, evoke restrictive measures from land managers, and cause stereotyping of user groups.
      ROMP, the Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers, a mountain bike advocacy organization for the Peninsula and South Bay, has taken up the challenge of changing these behaviors where they exist in the local off-road cycling community. One of ROMP's primary goals is to promote responsible cycling, and ROMP has actively pursued this through the use of trail education stations. Awareness is the first step toward increasing knowledge and changing behaviors, and education stations are very helpful in creating awareness of trail issues and starting the previously unaware user on the road toward knowledge and responsible behavior.
      Our process is pretty simple: after getting permission from the land manager, we set up a table near a parking area or trail head, staff it with a few volunteers, hang a banner to draw attention, then start chat-ting with different users as they walk by. The volunteers may talk generally of good trail etiquette and safe cycling, distributing literature to those who want to learn more, or they may focus on specific issues related to an area, such as wet trail conditions, proper passing techniques, or appropriate riding speed. In general, working at a trail education station is fun: the worker gets a chance to meet a variety of trail users of all types, to participate in some interesting conversations, and usually a few hours to enjoy the park or preserve after his or her work is done. Although directed at cyclists, these stations usually generate interest and positive reactions from all users. Furthermore,this technique has been used by cycling and non-cycling groups in margr other areas to support other environmental goals.
      During the prime recreational season, ROMP generally holds education stations at least monthly. This year, we had booths at Stevens Creek County Park, Alum Rock County Park, Purisima Creek Open Space Preserve, St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve, and Fremont Older Open Space Preserve. If you would like to help with future education stations, learn more about local cycling advocacy, or learn more about ROMP, please visit the ROMP website at or contact us at 408-380-2271, ext. 2171 or by email.

Rod Brown is the President of ROMP, and Jim Owen is ROMP's Trail Education Coordinator.

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