PRESS RELEASE: Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz
Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), a non-profit trail stewardship organization, has begun construction of the Sawpit Trail reroute in Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF). That means more legal singletrack for mountain bikers! In order to fund this project, they have launched the “Trees, Trails, and the Return of Sawpit” fundraising campaign, and one lucky supporter will ride away with a new $10,000 mountain bike from Santa Cruz Bicycles. For every $5 you pitch in, you’ll be entered to win the production Santa Cruz of your choice–any model, any build. Enter now at www.mbosc.org/sawpit.
Cob Hyde is a Trails Specialist on the MBOSC professional trail crew, and he’s a great rider too. When he’s not building trails, he’s riding them on his Santa Cruz Megatower. You could get a Santa Cruz of your own by supporting the Return of Sawpit campaign. For every $5 you pitch in, you’ll be entered to win the bike of your dreams. (photo by Mike Thomas)
Dedicated in 1990, the 2,681-acre SDSF is one of eight demonstration forests in California managed by CAL FIRE. State forests, as opposed to state parks, host a variety of uses, including forestry education, forestry research, timber harvesting, and recreation. “Recreation has alway been part of the goals of state forests,” said Thomas Sutfin, who served as forest manager for 19 years. “The challenge is to achieve a balance of all the uses.”
MBOSC is a valuable partner to CAL FIRE, the land manager of Soquel Demonstration State Forest. MBOSC partnered with CAL FIRE to design and build Flow Trail, and the organization has managed SDSF trail maintenance on Flow Trail, Braille Trail, and Ridge Trail. (photos by Jay Melena)
MBOSC’s Executive Director, Matt De Young, says the organization is acutely aware of what it takes to manage these spaces in an era of shrinking budgets. “Demand for outdoor recreational opportunities continues to grow, however park and land managers lack adequate resources to create new trails and maintain the existing trail network. As a community, if we want more trails, strong public-private partnerships and investment are needed,” he said.
In 2017, CAL FIRE began the Meridian timber harvest where Sawpit passes through, and the historic logging road was restored and upgraded. That harvest is now complete and the area is not scheduled to be re-entered for at least 10 years. CAL FIRE has partnered with MBOSC to recreate Sawpit Trail as a narrow, technical, hand-built single track with a natural character.
The original Sawpit Trail was a historic logging road. The attributes of a good timber harvest road are different from a good mountain biking trail. The new route will reduce maintenance needs and environmental impact by using sustainable trail construction techniques while still being fun to ride.
Drew Perkins, MBOSC’s Trails Program Director, has been working with CAL FIRE to refine the Sawpit Trail route and ensure the trail is sustainable. Perkins will lead MBOSC’s professional trail crew along with the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who regularly pitch in to work on MBOSC trail projects. “We want to keep the character of the old trail as much as possible,” Perkins said, “make it a natural experience, definitely more advanced, with some steep sections and rock armoring in places.” He said several small bridges will be built using mostly locally sourced lumber.
The MBOSC Trail Crew has already flagged the Sawpit Trail reroute in Soquel Demonstration State Forest. They also are starting to mill and split locally sourced lumber to build several bridges on the trail. (photos by Bruce Dorman)
“We’re all pretty excited to see the Sawpit Trail coming back to life,” said Santa Cruz’s Katie Zaffke, who coordinates advocacy efforts for the company. “Five bucks is a pretty small price to ensure more and better singletrack in the area, not to mention the chance to win a sweet new Santa Cruz.”
Katie Zaffke coordinates advocacy efforts for Santa Cruz Bicycles, and she also puts in sweat equity. Katie has participated in many Dig Days with MBOSC on Santa Cruz trails.
The Sawpit Trail reroute will only happen if the community decides it wants it and works together to fund it because no public funding has been identified. “Now is the time to step up,” De Young said. “If funding comes through and construction goes as planned, the new Sawpit Trail will be ready to ride next spring.” If you’re interested in helping out with trail construction, click here to checkout the volunteer trailwork opportunities.
Through this campaign, MBOSC wants to raise a total of $300,000 to not only re-create the one-time logging road as a modern, advanced mountain biking trail but also maintain it and other multi-use trails in the forest over the next five years. All contributions up to $100,000 will be matched 2x by generous donors.
The Sawpit Trail reroute will only happen if the community steps up to fund it. To sweeten the deal, for every 5-bucks you pitch in to support this project, you’ll be entered to win your dream mountain bike from Santa Cruz. So what’s stopping you? Build a trail, win a bike, and get stoked for more singletrack to ride. Click here to donate and enter now!