Donate to MBOSC to help fund Sawpit Trail construction in Soquel Demonstration State Forest and get entered to win a Santa Cruz Bicycle
Press Release // mbosc.org
SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), a non-profit trail stewardship organization, has announced that they are ready to begin construction on the Sawpit Trail reroute in Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF). In order to fund this project, they have launched the “Trees, Trails, and the Return of Sawpit” fundraising campaign, and one lucky supporter of this campaign will ride away with a new $10,000 mountain bike from Santa Cruz Bicycles. Donors receive one entry for every $5 contribution between now and January 13, 2020, when the winner will be chosen. The winner then gets to pick the production Santa Cruz bicycle of their choice as the prize. Donations can be made at mbosc.org/sawpit.
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’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.
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.
“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.”
The Sawpit Trail reroute will only happen if the community decides it wants it and steps up 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.”
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 Trees, Trails, and the Return of Sawpit campaign is open until 11:59pm on Monday, January 13, 2020.
For more information, visit mbosc.org/sawpit.