There is only one proper way to start this post and thats the biggest THANK YOU I can muster to anyone that has ever picked up a trail building tool and spent an honest day in the woods. You guys/gals/kids rock. As most know, trails don't go out and build themselves (although somedays I wish they would). The level of volunteer involvment in trail building is really an incredible thing to witness. From the behind the scenes of land access and policy, to the nitty gritty of swinging a tool, the process is riddled with unpaid volunteers. Overwhelmingly, the trail systems you are riding were probably first started by volunteers (and may still be). Over the years the faces may change but the postivie impact remains.
Everyone can be a trail builder and maintainer. Now I'm not saying a monkey could build trail, proper trail design and building is a literal science. Soil composition, grade percentages, and water flow are just some of the things taken into account when building trail. That said there is always a task to be done and if we didn't start somewhere we would be nowhere. Just take a look at Camp Bluedog where we teach kids anywhere from 6 years old to 18 about trail building and mountain biking.
Don't ever let a lack of expierence keep you from getting involved in your local trail crew. A desire to learn, build community, and have fun is all it takes to lend a helping hand with most trail crews. If you are interested in getting involved in Vernon Trails start here
If you are not from our area go find your local trail crew and get involved! Building or maintaining trail is a great way to spend a day in the woods while having a positive impact on the community. Not the hands on type? Trail building isn't just about getting down and dirty. Trail crews need people from all walks of life to get involved, from web developers to grant writers it takes a diverse group to run a sucessful trail crew.
Building trail will make you a better rider. No joke. The more time you spend building trail the better you will understand how to ride it, why it's built the way it is, and possibly how it could be improved. Dirt can be moved. If you build a corner and it doesn't ride well, assess the situation and build it again. Trail building will make you stop and think about why somethings work and ride well, and some do not. It helps you have a wholistic understanding of the sport.
So long story short. Get involved.
I did and found a passion for a lifetime, and I'm not the only one. Becoming an activist for your sport is one of the most important and rewarding things you can do. Without these trail crews and all these volunteers where will the trails go? How will kids and adults alike get to learn what sustainable trail is? We all have to live on this big greenish blueish rock together, why not work together to make it an even better place to be.