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December 2017 Board Meeting Minutes + November Activity Reports

Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) Board Meeting

Wunder Garden, Washington DC

December 11, 2017

7:00PM-9:18PM

Board Members Present

  1. Ernie Rodriguez, President
  2. Rob Lowe, Vice-President
  3. Greg Dwyer, Operations Director
  4. Carlos Alfaro, Activities Director
  5. Dave Magill, MD Advocacy Director

MORE Staff, MORE Members, and Guests

  1. Steve DonTigny, MORE Executive Director
  2. Jonah Meyers, Assistant Treasurer
  3. Ryan Delaney, member
  4. Steve Harper, Trail Liaison
  5. Austin Steo, Trail Liaison

 

Item #1: VA Trails Update (all)

Loudon County Trails (Steve):  Evergreen Mills Park.  Surrounds the county landfill.  Adjacent to additional parkland the county wants to see developed.  An opportunity for MORE to build trails and show the type of work we can do.

Mount Vernon (Carlos):  The County is sponsoring a “walk the park” project this upcoming Friday, December 8th (Carlos will attend).  There is an opportunity for MORE to advocate and promote our work there since the trails were built and maintained by MORE.

Fountainhead (Ernie):  Some internal confusion within MORE regarding changes to Fountainhead trails.  This reroute was conducted as an official trail work day with input from the trail liaison.  MORE supports trail liaisons, work days and sustainable trails.  Additional training is needed for liaisons and staff so we can provide quality, sustainable products.  MORE can do a better job educating and communicating trail reroutes and this should help to avoid the confusion we recently faced with Fountainhead.

ActionJeff and Dave to produce input for trails liaison meeting.  Eric, Mike and Joe Whitehair ready to conduct work-days training session. 

Item #2: MD Trails Update (Dave)

Bacon Ridge:  Mike K. working on Phase III, which could be an additional eight miles beyond the current six miles of trail.

Severn Run–a MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Park: Worked w/Steve Harper, new liaison.  Approximately 5-7 miles of existing trails that could be connected w/no road.  Steve is working on developing a signage program, organized rides, workdays, and requests to DNR for re-routes and trail additions.  Focus on a beginner-friendly trails system.

RTP Grants Status:  MD State Highway Administration (SHA) is being audited by the Federal Government/US Dept. of Transportation. MORE is having difficulty and slowdowns in getting our RTP grants approved and finalized by MD SHA.

Ryan Delaney.: Same issues w/grants on the VA side.  VA is retroactively applying constraints to the grants process.  There may not be a CY18 grants process in VA.

Austin Steo: The Recreational Trail Program (RTP) is a federally funded program administered by individual states. Maryland’s current slowdown in administering the program results from an internal review of how to more accurately follow the federal guidelines, which seem more tailored to much larger projects than the rather small awards typically awarded to Maryland recipients.

Brunswick:  selected by NICA as a future race venue. MD SHA has yet to sign the 2016 $30K grant MOU to allow procurement to begin for the Brunswick trail expansion.

MoCo: Dave met w/Dan Hudson to discuss improvements to Seneca Greenway trail to potentially allow mountain bikes on the section next to Game Preserve Road.  Also looking at improvements to Schaeffer Farms trails.

Item #3 Elections Update (Rob, reading message from Brad Hawk)

Voting will open Wednesday, Dec 13th and close on December 24th.  Finalizing the candidates this evening.

New Board members will be the announced Friday 29 December.

Item #4:  Board Transition Meeting (Ernie)

Meeting will take place in Silver Spring, MD on Sunday, January 7th from 10AM-4PM.  Dave Magill will host at his office.  New and current board members will attend and staff is encouraged to attend.  All MORE Board meetings, including transition meetings, are always open to members.

Item # 5: Winter Membership Meeting (Carlos)

Meeting is February 3rd, 6PM-9PM in Silver Spring at the Gwendolyn Coffield Recreation Facility (same location as last year).  Awards—will we give a Scott Scudamore award this year? For the Scudamore award, we need to have serious justification.  The Board votes on the awards for the Winter Membership meeting. Action: Carlos will work on actual awards, categories, and will work w/the Board to finalize by December 25th. Also, Carlos will inform the Board at the Transition Meeting the categories and whom the awards will go to.  The challenge and ultimate vision is to move award voting from the Board to the membership.  Board votes b/c so few members actually vote for award categories and individuals. Potluck format.  Volunteers for set-up and clean-up.  Two hours for set-up (4PM), need to be out by 11PM.  Action:  Board to vote before December 25th.

Item #6: Action Items From November 2017 Strategic Retreat (All)

Board reviewed the action items from the November retreat.

 

Membership

  1. Jeff Niner and Dave Magill will work w/their respective trail liaisons to discuss improved signage for our trails.Ryan Delaney will work w/MTB Project to get more synced-up on improving signage.  IN PROCESS
  2. Tom will continue reaching out to new members w/specific events and will work w/in current MORE membership to identify individuals willing to assist him to organize happy hours, rides, meet-ups, work days, clinics, etc. for new members.  IN PROCESS
  3. Ernie, Rob, and Jonah will work on a survey for membership. Membership survey: could we do a focus group or have trail liaisons interview/connect w/individual members?  COMPLETE:  Survey will be sent out to membership in 2nd/3rd week of January.
  4. Ryan and Carlos will reach out to the gravity community to organize an event sponsored by MORE in 2018.IN PROCESS
  5. Can we get someone to assist Martin w/the Archivist/Historian function?  IN PROCESS

MORE’S Organization Structure

  1. Greg will work w/the Board to develop specific duties for the new Board “Director of Communications” position to replace the current “Operations Director.”  GREG WILL UPDATE THE OPERATIONS DIRECTOR POSITION DESCRIPTION ON MORE’S WEB PAGE.

Web, Email, and Other IT services used by MORE (Constant Contact, Track it Forward, Website, etc.)

  1. Should we put out a position description for an intern?  Specifically, to get more of our trails into MTB project and also develop a business model.  Jonah will lead with support from Ernie and Dave. IN PROCESS

MoCo 2017 Debrief and Plans for 2018 MoCo

  1. Steve will meet w/the MoCo Committee week of 18 December to discuss 2017 epic and plan for 2018 epic. IN PROCESS.

MORE Communication

  1. Rob, Greg, and Tom have action to push out next Trail Head news by Thanksgiving.  Rob will assign tasks to Board and staff via email for next Trail News.  BEHIND SCHEDULE.  BOARD AGREED TO PUSH NEXT TRAIL NEWS TO Q1 OF 2018. 

Community Building

  1. Trails Liaison Guide. Motion passed to re-circulate it to liaisons, Board members, staff, and members. Dave, Jeff, and Jonathan to email Trails Liaison Guide before 7 January 2018 Board meeting.

MORE’S Ride Program(s)

  1. Carlos and other Board members should be directing emails to Family Ride Program Coordinator and specific trail liaisons to lead rides. Focus is now on 2018 rides.  Looking to have one MORE Discovery Ride per month starting in spring until late fall 2018.  IN PROCESS

Fundraising and Sponsorship (Jonah)

  1. Jonathan to explore ways to reach-back to corporations for donations and sponsorships when they reach out to MORE for volunteer work days and projects. IN PROCESS

Miscellaneous Actions

  1. MORE’S Spring Ride event—last week of April 28/29, 2018.   Wakefield, Accotink, and possibly Lake Fairfax ride: Adults, kids, groups, etc.  It will be a four to five-hour event modeled on MORE’s Summer Meeting ride.  Carlos to work on organizing this event. IN PROCESS
  2. New Communications Director will also be responsible for following up/tracking action items and will report to the Board during the monthly Board meeting. IN PROCESS
  3. Social Media: Greg, with input from the Board and MORE staff, will draft a social media policy for review by the board for the December Board meeting.  IN PROCESS
  4. Government Relations:Continue the OA model that Jonah and Ryan have established.  Continue working w/the VA mountain bike alliance. Dave Magill will reach-out to MD clubs to gauge interest in forming regional group to reduce membership processing fees and enable regional support model proposed with IMBA’s new chapter program.  Dave Magill, Jeff, Jonah, and Ryan D. will work together on leading MORE’s government relations work.  IN PROCESS   
  5. Strategic Partnerships: Action:  Dave Magill, Jeff Niner, and Steve Harper to organize a survey to liaisons before the spring 2018 trail liaisons meeting.

Item #7: (Budget)

Board will finalize MoCo reinvestment figures by end of December.  Action:  Dave will circulate final numbers by December 15 and request vote from Board by Monday 18 December.

Item #8: IMBA Wilderness Position–Sustainable Trails Coalition (Ernie)

A lot of discussion on this topic among members and Board.  MORE’s geographic footprint does not cover “Wilderness” areas in our jurisdiction; they are in PA and Shenandoah, VA.  It was the sense of the Board that IMBA’s message was not at all effectively communicated to members and member organizations.  Ernie has been contacted by several IMBA chapters and is listening to MORE member comments.  The Board agreed to further discuss if a formal response is warranted to IMBA and what form that response will take in addition to some type of outreach to MORE members who have shown concern w/IMBA’s position.

Item #9:  Miscellaneous Business/Issues

Austin Steo asked how to make the MORE website the hub for mountain bike information in the MD/VA/DC area? Role of the MORE site and social media to be addressed in our communication strategy and actions.

*The next MORE Board meeting will be held January 7, 2018 from 10AM-4PM in Silver Spring, MD.    

November 2017 Activities for the December Report

President – Ernest Rodriguez

  1. Attended Land Manager recognition event for Frederick Watershed Trail Liaisons and Team
  2. Purchased MORE flags and EZ-up frame and cover
  3. Completed REI grant status report – Due December 2017
  4. Worked with Dave Magill on IMBA Ride Center application and visit
  5. Provided funding reports to Bacon Ridge and Patuxent Dig-In teams
  6. Social media communications; elections, Running on trails, Fountainhead, Wilderness
  7. Worked on membership survey – ready to send out upon approval by BoD’s
  8. Submitted application and fees for 2018 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) funding for MORE
  9. Completed and distributed Silver Spoke award category survey to BoD, ED, Ride Coordinator, Trail Boss and Assistant Treasurer
  10. Created Emmitsburg donation page
  11. Worked with Martin on new trails mapping interface for trail information/descriptions/downloadable maps
  12. Collaborative work with Fairfax County Park Foundation –
  13. Collaborative work with Cub Run Stream Valley volunteer group – advertise for FCPA volunteer position
  14. Set-up trail walk through with FCPA at Mount Vernon Park from 10 – 12 December 15

Executive Director – Steve DonTigny

  1. Transform I 66 Public Meeting
  2. Loudoun County PROS meeting with Mark Novak
  3. CTC Trails Symposium
  4. IMBA All Staff calls
  5. Evergreen Mills Park Trails assessment walk thru
  6. MTB LoCo meeting, Erik S and Phil Rohrer
  7. PWC Meeting with Supervisor Lawson-Rollins Ford Park public meeting
  8. Webinars
  9. -MTB eBike Land Manager’s Handbook
  10. -Build a Sustainable trail that lasts 100yrs
  11. Bikenetic CX event
  12. PHTA calls
  13. Web/FB communications, updates, Events/Calendar postings
  14. Gtown shed re-stocking

Vice President – Rob Lowe

No input provided

Treasurer – Aaron Richter

  1. November bookkeeping

Operations – Greg Dwyer

  1. Various Social media postings throughout the month
  2. Attended November MORE Board Retreat
  3. Drafted and posted November Board meeting minutes and Strategic Planning minutes to webpage and FB page.
  4. Drafted Communications Director duties and cleared w/Board
  5. New Board recruitment emails

MD Trail Advocacy – Dave Magill

  1. Met with Steve Harper to review the trails at Severn Run, help develop action plan to upgrade and promote them
  2. Working to roll out trail building training sessions in 2018 led by liaisons
  3. Fundraising emails for IMBA Dig In campaign for Patuxent
  4. Helped organize Cabin John Discovery ride (cancelled due to snow and wet trails)
  5. Negotiating/marking up trail maintenance agreement for the Pepco trail with MoCo Parks
  6. Field review with Dan Hudson of Schaeffer and Seneca Greenway Clopper to 355 for possible professional upgrades
  7. Frederick watershed trail work, and attended City of Frederick lunch to recognize and award the MORE watershed liaison team

VA Advocacy – Jeff Niner

No input provided

Activities Director – Carlos Alfaro

No input provided

Member Representative – Tom Howe

  1. Membership emails and outreach
    1. December email reminder to renew for lapsed and expired members
    2. Thank you emails to each renewing and new member
    3. Working with Ernie to clean-up the membership rolls
    4. NOTE: I’ve discovered that I can email from our Office 365 Outlook Online account up to 500 recipients per email
      1. This makes it much easier to send out the reminder to renew for lapsed and expired memberships
      2. More details on the limits may be found here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/exchange-online-limits.aspx#RecipientLimits
  • This should not replace our other methods of communication (e.g. Constant Contact or Sending from CiviCRM)
  1. New Member Outreach
    1. Working on a plan to solicit help from our different regions
    2. Ideas include
      1. Happy Hour and New Member Rides rotated across our different regions
      2. Piggy back on existing rides and events
    3. November BoD Retreat

Jonah Meyers:  Assistant Treasurer

  1. OA DMV emails to legislators
  2. OA DMV ride/meeting
  3. Woodstock Takeover ride leading
  4. Fairland trail work
  5. Donations tracking
  6. BoD recruiting emails

Brad Hawk:  MORE Ride Coordinator

  1. -Trail work at Accotink
  2. -Set up MORE Board Nominations via Facebook / MORE Website (nominations close today)
  3. Voting will be open on the MORE Website on Wednesday and run till December 24.
  4. -Emailed each of the 7 candidates who submitted a nomination and short personal bio for the open board positions…. candidates as of noon today –
  5. President- Ernie
  6. VP – Rob Lowe 
  7. Treasurer – Mike Hillstrom, Adam Wegner, Mike Stoll
  8. DOC – Steve Harper, Jonah Myers

Trail Boss – Jonathan Kidwell

No input provided

MORE’s Strategic Planning: 2018-2023

MORE’s 2018-2023 STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSION

11-12 November 2017

Hedgesville, WV

Board Members Present

  1. Ernie Rodriguez, President
  2. Rob Lowe, Vice-President
  3. Greg Dwyer, Operations Director
  4. Tom Howe, Membership Director
  5. Carlos Alfaro, Activities Director
  6. Dave Magill, MD Advocacy Director
  7. Jeff Niner, VA Advocacy Director

MORE Staff, MORE Members, and Guests

  1. Steve DonTigny, MORE Executive Director
  2. Jonathan Kidwell, MORE Trail Boss
  3. Jonah Meyers, MORE Assistant Treasurer
  4. Ryan Delaney, MORE member
  5. Michael Hillstrom, MORE Member
  6. Steve Harper, MORE member and Severn Run trail liaison

MORE’s Five Year Strategy (Ernie)

Ernie:  What’s MORE’s long term vision? Where do we see ourselves in five to ten years?

Broader audience.  Becoming a Trail-Focused Organization—planning, building, maintaining, standards, educating, establishing trails in every community in the region, creating diverse trails, ride centers/epics, establishing community—5,000 members and why do we want this? We have a deficit in outreach to political/community leadership and in our advocacy to them–we need to establish and maintain positive interactions and collaborations w/elected officials and land managers in our region.    With respect to community, we need to build this in each jurisdiction’s “own back yards” b/c trails build economic opportunity. More volunteers and mobilization of volunteers. More women and Kids.  We want to be known as THE voice for trails through strong advocacy—MORE will be a voice for trails.  Creating fun, positive experiences for all trail users. We want to maintain focus on “Riding Bikes and Building Trails since 1992”.

Survey to members:  MORE delivers four basic items of value to members:  Advocacy, Building Trails, Riding Opportunities, and Events, + other. Then rank-order these.  Action: Ernie, Rob, and Jonah will work to get a survey on this topic out to members in the next 60 days.

If we bring runners into MORE, they may actually take over the organization in 10 years; we should be prepared for this possibility.

What’s are our strategies to support our long-term vision?  Converting users to trail stewards, maintain and promoting open elections, creating and establishing strategic partnerships, supporting MORE’s liaisons and ride programs, supporting communities, top-notch communications to all stakeholders (members, staff, volunteers, land managers, elected officials, strategic partners, the community), transparency in what we do, better events and branding/signage and focusing on government relations (establishing, maintaining, and defending our brand—MORE).

What goals do we need to establish to support MORE’s strategy and vision?

  • Monthly, focused communication w/key volunteers: MORE Board, MORE Staff, trail liaisons to keep them in the know and in a position to best communicate with riding communities.
  • Quarterly Trail Head News must go out on a quarterly basis as a rule.
  • Social Media. Who in MORE should have access to the web page and the social media pages?  Website is for archiving and legal/administrative documents and FB is for posting events and communicating w/members and partners.  Martin has a 70-page document on strategy.  No current access for Jeff, Rob, Carlos, lets fix that.  Action:  Greg, with input from the Board and staff, will draft a social media policy for review by the board for the December Board meeting.
  • Transparency—board meetings are open to all members and non-members and minutes are always posted to the website.
  • Open Elections: we will continue to promote MORE’s openness and transparency with open elections for all.  Continue to recruit assistants for the Board on various committees and for specific events and activities.  Assistant volunteers help reduce workload and gain understanding of daily operations of the BoD’s.
  • Transforming trails users into trail stewards: Trail Building planning and maintenance.  Several MORE members (Eric and Mike in particular) have been on the front lines of this.  Q:  Is more education regarding trail building and maintenance a strategy to build the base for trail builders (trail knowledge)?  Empowering liaisons.  Educating our partner groups:  hikers, runners, equestrians.  “Educational Outreach”. Show our current and prospective partners that there is a technical aspect (engineering, landscape architecture, construction, environmental management) to the trail work that MORE does.  Ryan D. has some experience w/this in Prince William County, VA.  IMBA is implementing “Trail Labs”—an educational series w/land managers
  • Continue to build and strengthen the liaison community see more detail below
  • Events: We know that membership is driven by events, therefore continue the Discovery Ride Series, create vol. opportunities from events, and focus on both big and small events.  Summer Member Picnic vs. a one-time Discovery Ride.
  • Branding: branding at trails, (temp signs at Fountainhead and BROT) “this trail ‘BROT’ to you by MORE”, signs at trailheads, parking lots, etc.  Suggest we get some type of coordinator for the liaisons for this for each park.  This works well w/our vision for MTB Project and a volunteer or intern.
  • Government Relations: Continue the OA model that Jonah and Ryan have established.  Continue working w/the VA mountain bike alliance. Who can assist in MD? —Dave Magill has the action to reach-out to other MD chapters.  We want to strengthen our voice with Annapolis.
  • Strategic Partnerships: for example, hiking and equestrian groups, Outdoor Alliance, Friends of Patapsco, WABA, youth organizations (NICA and YMCA). Should MORE recognize these partners on our website and FB pages?  Q:  What about 2018—should the MoCo Epic team work w/MoCo runners to have a race or event on Saturday of the MoCo Epic weekend in 2018?  Who are partners for the Patapsco Trail Fest? —canoe club, running clubs, Friends of Patapsco, Patapsco Heritage, Mountain Club of MD, Heritage Org.

Expanding partnerships is time consuming.  Takes commitment.  We simply can’t talk about it and give this task to a board member.  Could we survey the liaisons to find out who they are partnering with—YES. Could we put a “partnership” news item in every edition of Trail Head News?  YES.  Action:  Dave Magill and Jeff Niner to organize this via a survey before the spring 2018 trail liaisons meeting. 

Vision and Mission of MORE’s Executive Director for 2018 (Steve)

  • Lead MoCo Epic 2018
  • Continue w/events management at MoCo, increase participation by volunteers and others.
  • Increase sponsors and fundraising
  • Saturday demo rides: Increase bike manufactures and vendor presence at the event.
  • Increasing membership through new memberships
  • MORE partnerships: serving as representative of MORE.  Trail runners.
  • Lead and facilitate fundraising efforts
  • DC advocacy—I’ve moved off this somewhat and handed this to the current team at DCMTB. Will continue to support local DC team.
  • Trail building opportunities in Loudon County; trials there are almost non-existent.
  • Support communications and operations

Events

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