It’s been nearly three years since the Cache Trails Alliance formed as a nonprofit organization with a mission to unite trail users and improve the experience of everyone on local trails.
Since its beginning, the group has helped to raise thousands of dollars for the new Bridger Bike Park, given approximately 10,000 volunteer hours to the United States Forest Service trail adoption program and spearheaded multiple special trails projects, including building the Bjorr Trail at Beaver Mountain.
“The underlying premise is we wanted to make sure we collaborated with all the user groups to advocate for more access, better access and new systems,” said Paul Richins, one of the co-founders of the alliance.
Richins and the two other founders, Paul Gibbons and Brent Thomas, are all mountain bikers who live in Cache Valley. The three men wanted to facilitate a way for everyone who used local trails to work together to preserve the networks already in the valley and to expand trail networks.
Once the alliance formed, they began holding board meetings to bring stakeholders together, from forest service and local government representatives to hikers, horsemen, ultra runners and bikers.
“We are successful because we have such a wide user group that is able to put all their passion and energy together,” Thomas said.
Lisa Thompson, a volunteer coordinator with the forest service, said alliance members provide important support when it comes to accomplishing forest service projects.
“They are all experienced trail people, so if we don’t have a staff member who can provide support for that particular project, they have enough experience that we trust them to lead that trail project,” Thompson said.
According to Thompson, this not only makes her job easier but ensures that the trails are being worked on correctly.
The trail adoption program has existed for about seven years, Thompson said. Since the alliance began in 2016, members have been participating in the adoption program. Of the approximately 80 trails in the area, the alliance said about 40 trails are adopted, which includes the majority of the most highly trafficked ones in the area.
Of the many positive outcomes the alliance seen from their efforts, one of the most impactful is the unity it has built between different trail user groups.
“Just getting people involved creates an atmosphere where more people are willing to accommodate other users on the trail,” Gibbons said.