I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me. The result of my toil is not mine, and not theirs, but representative of the place that we all strived to travel through. The patch of earth I dig, the trees I hew in half and the streams I lay bridges across are marked on some maps, but not on others. And not all of the trails I build are of my own design or hand.
Like anyone else, I grew up and found bikes because they brought joy. I didn't care if the dirt ribbon I followed was built by human hand or by other means. My first mountain bikes were made of steel, had at best 100mm of elastomer suspension in the fork, and sure as hell didn't have a computer mounted to the stem.
Sustainable trail advocacy starts with a deep love for the land. Dillon Osleger knows this all too well. Between his day job as Executive Director of Santa Barbara’s Sage Trails Alliance and his work as a leading voice of mountain bike land stewardship, he still finds the time to move dirt – both as a skilled digger and a truly ripping rider.
Dillon is very much the mountain biker version of Seuss’ Lorax; a passionate and hopeful advocate for the lands we love to ride. In fact, it’s hard not to feel inspired about the future of trails – and the future of this Earth we all hold so dear – when reading his words. In his Forgotten Trails essay, Dillon explains how we needn’t always build new trails, just uncover old ones.