To preserve the legacy of trail stewardship in the White Mountains Region by supporting and enhancing sustainable care of our trails.
Why Are We Needed
Today, in spite of an abundance of quality individual efforts and projects, trail maintainers and land management organizations find themselves struggling in the face of a wide array of 21st century challenges. Though all trail clubs and trail volunteers face unique sets of obstacles, there are some common threads that many area trail clubs share. Most significantly, there is an increasing scarcity of volunteers as well as paid trail staff through existing organizations. This makes it very difficult to maintain existing infrastructure. When rebuilding deteriorating trails is achievable, it becomes more sustainable and requires less long-term maintenance. Without a dedicated workforce, maintaining existing trail conditions is extremely difficult and improving trail conditions becomes impossible. Further, many volunteers lack the necessary expertise to complete this work. Clubs and trail volunteers struggle to obtain the funding necessary to hire paid trail crews and acquire the proper tools to do the work needed. Similarly, they sometimes lack the knowledge, contacts, and skills to find and obtain available grant monies. While one solution for funding may lie in public support through individual donations or legislation, not all the clubs and none of the individual volunteers have an effective way to reach the public and/or public officials for support. Compounding these challenges is the fact that trail maintainers (including the Forest Service) in the White Mountains Region are currently competing against one another for the same resources to achieve a common goal.
We propose a solution that uses a collective impact strategy to overcome the common challenges ubiquitous to trails in the White Mountains. This can be achieved by uniting trail supporters into a collective and creating a strategically designed backbone organization with paid staff to perform essential functions. Some of the needs this organization could fulfill would include streamlining internal communications to keep trail maintainers in-contact and informed, establishing external communications to raise public awareness and obtain funding from all available sources, managing data entry and administration to measure results and provide data necessary to make intelligent and effective adjustments to the collaborative strategies, and orchestrating project and volunteer management for on-the-ground efforts. This infrastructure will help focus individual and club maintainer’s efforts thereby compounding the overall efficacy of their work as well as reducing competition over funding. By freeing clubs of some portion of the administrative burden, providing a more strategic allocation and interface with resources, and speaking with a unified voice, trail stewardship in the White Mountains can continue to thrive for generations while protecting the trails and preserving the legacy .