Chris Schmidt (CSCHMIDT@DISNEY.IMAGE.KODAK.COM)
Tue, 16 Aug 1994 09:51:33 -0400
To My Fellow Scouters,
I have noticed a couple of references to Mountain Bikes at Summer Camp
in the past few posts and wanted to bring up a couple of thoughts.
First, A Mountain Bike used PROPERLY causes no more damage to a trail
than a backpacker with a fully ladened pack. I would like to site a Research
Report by Joseph Seney that was presented to the Association of American
Geographers Meeting in Toronto Canada. I do have a file that contains a
summary of the Study.
The Adirondack Scout Reservation started their Mountain Bike Program
this past summer. We had many people work on this program to ensure that it
was safe and would cause little impact on the Enviroment. We had to get
approval from New York State to run this program and had their Inspectors in
camp many times.
I will be one of the first Scouters to agree that a Mountain Bike
ridden improperly can cause trail damage. I have seen it and had to repair it.
The real is to have a STRONG program that teaches proper trail riding
techniques. This is difficult to teach and have the scouts understand.
Myself, I have been a Mountain Bike rider for over 10 years.
I think a well run Mountain Bike program can teach the Scouts more about
proper trail maintenance and conservation than they current recieve. If
we give the Scouts something that is REAL World to them, ie. Mountain Bikes,
it will relate more to them. There is so much you can teach centered around
Mountain Bikes. Everything from Soil Conservation, Map reading skills,
Orienteering, Nature Hikes. It really lends itself well to many camp
The main problem with any program is the lack of trained volunteers
and paid trained staff. Our Council Camp had these problems this past year
and are making recommendations to correct this. But one thing that Scouters
can do is encourage the use and application of the Mountain Bike in their
troop programs as well as the Council Camps. We have enough problems trying
to keep our older boys interested in our programs, this could be one way to
keep them interested.
Case in point. We had a 16 year old scout that went to camp for his
fifth time this year. He really didn't want to go but he had the funds
available to go so he went. He enjoyed himself so much with the Mountain Bike
program that he wants to come back next year with the troop again and maybe
even work on staff on this program!
We need to encourage and support new program creation of these.
We as volunteers can lend so much to any new camp program, but
we have to support and be enthusiastic about them. I know this is difficult
for some Scouters. Many of us are NOT atheletic types. Even if we are,
there may still be problems due to lack of riding skills and endurance.
We can also look outside of our current troops and Councils for assistance
in these new programs.
Sorry I have been so long winded on this subject. I just really think that
Mountain Bikes are a GOOD way of keep our scouts in the program and enjoying
ASM TRoop 90, Chili, N.Y.
MB Committee, Otetiana Council
Eagle Class of 1969
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City