Download pdf version of the MORE-April-14Minutes for offline reading.
Wakefield Nature Classroom W. Braddock Road Annandale, VA 22003
Board Member in Attendance:
Ernest Rodriguez – President
Jason Ashmore – Vice President
Kevin Adams – Treasurer
Jason Miller – Members Representative
Dave Magill – Advocacy Director
Board Members Absent
Martin Fernandez – Operations Director
Melanie Nystrom – Activities Director
Officers in Attendance:
Ryan Delaney – Associate Regional Director
Pete Beers – Bike Shop Coordinator
Members in Attendance:
Tom Newton – Seneca Creek State Park / Seneca Ridge Liaison
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM when a quorum was achieved.
Bike Shop Program Update – Pete Beers
The meeting began with Pete providing a Bike Shop Program Update for the Board. Pete has reached out to seven local bike shops “LBS” – 2 each in MD/DC and 3 in VA – managers/owners to get a feel for how the LBS’ viewed sponsorships in general going forward, how MORE sponsorship has worked historically, and then solicited feedback on how LBSs and MORE sponsorship would work best. Bottom line is LBSs are enthusiastic about sponsorship, but as MORE has grown, LBSs have found the value proposition of their sponsorship diluted. MORE needs to think like an entrepreneur to figure out new and novel ways to deliver customers to the LPBs in return for mind share, swag, the increasingly difficult to get check, and their ability to deliver new members to MORE.
Ideas to accomplish this included, in shop MORE presence (during sales/promotions, business cards, flyers, etc.), regular organized contact with MORE, programs for LBS sponsors, offerings for LBS non-sponsors to entice them to become sponsors; and changes in web visibility (promoting LBS sponsors; local shopping blogs, etc.)
Next steps – Jason Ashmore to work with appropriate board members/officers to develop sponsorship value proposition incorporating suggestions from Pete’s update. Pete Beers to work to recruit LBS Liaisons who will be MORE’s primary POC with LBS sponsors. The liaisons will be responsible for monthly visits, collateral delivery, LBS event attendance at annual sales/special event. Pete to develop training on event do’s and don’ts to maximize event attendance return on investment for the Liaison, LBS, and MORE.
Upper Patuxent River Trail Update – Tom Newton
Next, Tom provided the Board with an Upper Patuxent River Trail Update. Dave Magill and Tom, as representatives of MORE, along with Austin Steo of Trail Conservancy and Ron MacNab of TROT, met with Dave Powell and Dan Hudson of DNR to in late February to discuss trails in Upper Patuxent. Patuxent is going to be a multi-year process, with activities by various user groups. This will be a huge undertaking with up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how much volunteer vs professional work is done. And it’s much bigger than MTB, it’s equestrians, hikers, hunters, fishermen, trail runners, and yes bikers. Patuxent is a much bigger and more important project to DNR than anything in the Seneca or even Potomac watersheds as it is centrally located to an under trail served area. To put Patuxent on the State Trails map, DNR recognizes that development must occur to improve user experience as 80-90% of the current trails should be closed due to sustainability issues.
Since that February meeting, Tom has reached out to various user groups – Izaac Walton League (hunters/conservationalists), PATC (hikers), Trout Unlimited (fishermen), TROT (equestrians), MCRRC (trail runners) and LBSs pulling together a coalition in support of DNR’s efforts with MORE as the lead.
DNR requested that MORE seed field work and produce a concept study and conceptual trail design due to DNR’s backlog with the understanding that if MORE can deliver study documents by the fall, DNR will run it through its internal processes and approvals so that construction could begin as early as the spring. The study will be for the area between Route 27 in the Damascus/Mt. Airy area downstream to Route 97. The initial phase will be 25-30 miles of multi-use trail, upstream of Route 94 (Annapolis Rock Road). A future phase would provide a plan to traverse the state-protected wildlands downstream of Route 94.
MORE has received a quote from Jeremy Wimpey of Applied Trails Research, recommended by Dan Hudson (DNR) and Rich Edwards (Vice President, Dirt Builders Association), to perform the concept study/conceptual trail design for $5,700. Dave Magill has raised $4,900 in private donations to date and has received concurrence from the MoCo Epic® committee for an $800 loan from the MoCo Epic® Reinvestment Fund, if required, to pay for the study while fundraising continues.
Tom requested that this project be promoted on MORE’s website. Jason and Tom agreed that if Tom provided the content, Jason would take care of getting it posted.
Trails Committee Update – Dave Magill
Please refer to Exhibit 1. Dave Magill offered to entertain questions on Exhibit 1. There were no questions.
Membership Committee Update – Jason Miller
The committee, Clay Deming, Ken Lohr, Brad Hawk, and Jason reviewed MORE’s strategic plan and recommended that MORE should prioritize the club goals to ensure we fulfill the most important first. They caution these goals are lofty and may turn into work for volunteers. The committee believes that each MORE event – trail work days, rides, member benefit (winter party/summer picnic/fall camping trip), Epics, etc. should have a standard established and be held to the standard. They recommend separating Club from Member rides with the former being fewer in number but to a higher standard and the latter more informal with minimal standards (waiver being mandatory). Echoing Pete’s comments, the committee feels that LBSs may be unaware of MORE’s activities and more outreach is required. Additional recommendations on ride leader status – leader, expert, master – boot camps, training series, and trail signage as well as a larger MORE presence at Events were offered. Some are in work – signage/presence at events/new member benefit events in work for 2015 – and others were proffered without anyone stepping up to take ownership.
President Update – Ernest Rodriguez
Ernie brought up that MORE is receiving various solicitations from promoters and requested that board members/officers present a unified front by supporting our sponsors, not acting on these requests, and referring these promoters to Jason Ashmore for future sponsor development.
Ernie will be leading a meet up ride this coming weekend with Rob Lowe, and Kyle Bondo.
Loch Raven Special Purpose Fund Change – Dave Magill
In late 2012, MORE conducted a fund raising campaign to raise funds to advocate for better access at Loch Raven. A $20,000 fund raising goal was established of which approximately 75% would be used to hire an outside firm to educate the Baltimore City Council on the benefits of sustainable multiuse trails at Loch Raven. The original goal was to reach an overarching agreement through the Baltimore City Mountain Biking Task Force, of which Bob Compton was the co-chair, which would then be endorsed by the city through help from this outside firm. $9,109 was raised but as time went on, the negotiations stalled, and the task force was dissolved. Ryan Delaney subsequently took the lead that culminated in MORE and DPW reaching a more low-key verbal arrangement late in 2013 regarding the establishment of official multi-use single-track trails at Loch Raven.
MORE is currently in the process of getting a new trail approved on the Merryman’s Mill Road section of the reservoir. Ryan is working with both DPW and various private property owners to get all the necessary easements for this new single-track trail. While we do not control the timetable, we do think we could get the necessary signatures soon. Once this trail is approved, built and opened, we will shift focus to other project areas identified in the 2012 Loch Raven Trail Plan. DPW has been helpful in this process; however, once these new and rebuilt trails are officially sanctioned there will be some costs for improvements. These include projects like bridgework, design and approval of re-routes to avoid sensitive headwaters or wetlands, or machine work in heavily eroded sections of trail, plus food, drinks and collateral for volunteers at work days.
Since the original purpose of the raised funds wase to hire an outside firm to reach an overarching agreement, we feel we owe it to the original donors to obtain their consent to repurpose these funds. Dave made a motion that the board approve his contacting each donor, provide the Loch Raven status, and seek their input on the disposition of their funds by offering to:
- Refund their donation in full.
- Reserve the money for use at Loch Raven over the next 24 months to permit construction, improvements, mapping, and signage when the trail plan described in the above status is approved, and if not approved in the next 24 months, apply the money to MORE’s General Trail Fund which is used to support other worthwhile projects.
- Re-purpose contribution to MORE’s General Trail Fund now.
The motion was seconded and passed 5-0.
Summer Picnic – Ryan Delaney
Summer picnic-Fountainhead has been reserved for June 14th to hold the picnic. The park wants to have a ribbon cutting of the black trail that day, Anne Mader is willing to organize the sponsors. We were able to secure permission to have beer sourced through NVRPA as alcoholic beverages are normally prohibited at Fountainhead. The cost, unfortunately, is prohibitive due to set up fees, service charges, and bartender requirement, not to mention the $3.50 per beer charge. The options were to have a beer free picnic this year – no personal low profile beverages – or find donors/sponsors willing to underwrite the set up fees, service charges, and bartender costs and notify those attending that the beer is on them. Ernie agreed to help secure sponsorship with agreement and coordination with Melanie to make alcohol available at the summer picnic.
Financial Update – Kevin Adams
MORE weathered the winter – its slow period – and finished Q1 with $66,864.04 in cash of which $8,385.97 is available for operating expenses. Big expenses in Q1 were insurance as well as upfront Epic Series costs.
Q2 will see increased general revenues as Epic Series registrations are paid to MORE, sponsorship $s arrive, and the NoVA Epic® and Tour de Fat are produced.
Q1 membership activity will also be paid to MORE in May. In Q1 2013, MORE processed 130 memberships resulting in $4,985 in dues received. Based on the CiVi report, in Q1 2014, IMBA processed 210 memberships resulting in MORE receiving $4,672. The full time position MORE obtained as a result of becoming an IMBA Chapter cost MORE $312 in Q1.
Risk Management – Kevin Adams
Tabled due to time constraints
SharePoint and Google Calendar Migration – Jason Ashmore
The Google Calendar Migration is completed thanks to the efforts of Julie Guy and Rob Lowe transferring trail work days and rides from the previous Event calendar. Jason is working to implement the Sharepoint migration from DropBox and produced a how-to video.
The meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM
Jason Miller – turn the Who is MORE presentation that Dave Magill brought to the meeting into a one page hand out.
Dave Magill – work with the Trail Boss (and Holly) to produce Trail Work Day Calendars for the 1) Spring and 2) Fall for dissemination to LBS and other sponsorship activities.