Written by Mike Connors of Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group
This was really cool of you to help put this together. I live right next to the park and had no idea how many trails were here. Where do I sign up to help out?
was heard over and over again by Mike Connors, a board member of Pittsburgh Trials Advocacy Group and the host of this year's 2nd Annual Allegheny Mountain Bike Festival. The same positive attitudes abounded at each ride @ Boyce Park, Hartwood Acres and South Park. The Deer Lakes ride was cancelled in order to minimize any negative impact with the rain that fell there later that day.
Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group or PTAG works with local land managers to build and maintain local trails used by cyclists, hikers and equestrians. The group was started in 2000 with just a few people. David Biber, Nancy Trun and Don Olson were the founders of the group. They work as a team to help share their collective passions of mountain biking, hiking, trail running and horseback riding.
“This year's rides showed an average increase of about 20% which is fabulous considering that our media exposure was not as extensive this year” was quoted by Connors'. “I started a new job in the winter and wasn't able to kick it into high gear like I did in 2006. Next year's event will blow everyone away because we will have a full year to plan for it. The 3rd annual event is slated for late June 2008.”
The tribe, as they like to call themselves, has shown a tremendous amount of growth in the past 12 months. They grew their volunteer base after last year's festival by almost 100% and logged in over 1200 collective hours working to build and maintain area trails.
PTAG continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The Board of Directors has gone from five to nine members and the financial support has gone through the roof. “Last year, if someone had an idea, they had to pay for it out of their own pocket. With the word of our mission spreading, we have received more funding, both personal and corporate, in the past 9 months than we did in the 1st six years combined,” said Connors.
This has happened, in part, to the way that they structure their Board of Directors. Each Board Member takes on a role that utilizes there personal strengths in order to enhance their goals. This takes the form of mechanical know-how, communications, fund raising, environmental savvy and community outreach events to name a few.
To get involved with their Big Work Days, Ride of the Month or to make a donation, check them out at www.ptagtrails.com.