Mountain bike team made of area schools to maintain trails at Boyce Park
School mountain bike racing teams in the area will participate this month in a project aimed at involving youth with trail maintenance by sprucing some up at Boyce Park.
The Pittsburgh East Composite MTB Team — made up of around 30 middle and high school students from Monroeville, Plum, Murrysville, Hempfield and Greensburg —wants to work on up to 10 miles of trails at the Allegheny County park throughout the day.
The event Sunday will be one of three trail projects happening in the state that day, said Jim Pottinger, head coach for the Pittsburgh East Composite MTB team. His team is part of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League, which was founded in 2015 and now has 31 teams and hundreds of racers across the state.
“We're all trail users, so we want them to be safe to use and sustainable,” Pottinger said, who also serves as a trail steward for Trail Pittsburgh, a nonprofit aimed at maintaining trails and advocating their safe use.
“We want (the youth) to have a better appreciation for the trail system and the work that goes into keeping them clean and native plants that overgrow the trails that make them impassable,” he said.
The trail cleanup day, he said, is required for his team to attend in order for the riders to earn a “Serve” badge from the Teen Trail Corps — an initiative started by the International Mountain Bike Association and National Interscholastic Cycling Association that aims to involve youth with trail stewardship.
But anyone – whether hikers, bikers or horse riders — can be involved in the trail cleanup day, Pottinger said.
“The more people show up, the more we can do,” he said.
The work involves clearing debris that obstructs trail passages, like tree limbs and bushes. Pottinger said the work includes some trail surfacing, which could be placing gravel or dirt in spots the trail has eroded.
“But there's no major physical work,” Pottinger said. “It's just a cleanup.”
Pottinger's team will head out to Boyce Park to maintain trails every other Sunday starting in June. Everyone is welcome to help, he added.