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Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists Gary Sjoquist Who is Sjoquist? Director of Advocacy, Quality Bicycle Products Director of Government Relations, Bikes Belong Treasurer, BikesPAC Co-Founder of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists Mountain bike racer and trails advocate past 15 years MORC ’ s Evolution

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who is sjoquist
Who is Sjoquist?
  • Director of Advocacy, Quality Bicycle Products
  • Director of Government Relations, Bikes Belong
  • Treasurer, BikesPAC
  • Co-Founder of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists
  • Mountain bike racer and trails advocate past 15 years
morc s evolution
MORC’s Evolution
  • Started in early 90s with mtb “problems”
  • Focus in mid-90s working with city, county, and state agencies
  • Turning points for MORC’s growth:
    • 1999 – MORC re-established
    • 2001 – MORC partnership with 24 Hours of Afton
    • 2002 – MORC partnership with Erik’s Spring Cup
    • 2003/4 – MORC’s work at Lebanon Hills begins to pay benefits
    • 2005 – MORC leverages federal funding for high profile project in Northern Minnesota
highlights of 2005
Highlights of 2005
  • New president Scott Thayer provides spark
  • Philip Keyes provided inspiration and guidance
  • MORC able to land a seat on MRTUA (Rec. Trails Program committee)
  • MORC broke through with Three Rivers Park District project for new single track trail
  • Congressman Oberstar provides funding for Cayuna Range project in SAFETEA-LU
  • MORC partnership with IMBA to secure part-time Director position
things morc has learned
Things MORC Has Learned

1. A signature trail can be heavily leveraged

2. Agency contacts are invaluable

3. Recreation Trails Program opportunity

4. Events have anchored growth

5. Like trails, non-profit organizations require maintenance

1 the value of a signature trail
1. The Value of a Signature Trail
  • Lebanon Hills the gift that keeps giving:
    • Trail Building Schools provided education
    • Master planning process gave opportunity
      • What do mtb’ers want at Lebanon?
    • Lebanon became a model:
      • Partnership with MORC’s voluntary workers
      • Proper design and maintenance techniques
        • Heavily used, yet maintenance costs decreased
      • Always busy, not crowded, technically challenging but also really fun to ride
      • “Best practices” for other land managers
2 contacts with agency folks invaluable
2. Contacts With Agency Folks Invaluable
  • Early pattern of working with city, county, and state organizations
  • Success with trail building and conflict resolution meant establishing trust
  • MORC the answer to keeping mtb trails open during decreasing budgets
  • Agency folks good PR tools
  • Nearly lost this trust, but rebuilt and enhanced it
3 benefit of rec trails program
3. Benefit of Rec. Trails Program
  • MRTUA is MN Rec. Trail Program
    • Minnesota Recreational Trail Users Assn.
    • 4 motorized/5 non-motorized user groups
  • MORC gained seat at decision table
  • Process took 5 years
  • MORC’s reputation pivotal to gaining MRTUA seat
  • MORC in position to “steer” mtb development in Minnesota
4 events have anchored growth
4. Events Have Anchored Growth
  • 24 Hours of Afton/Erik’s Spring Cup perfect revenue generators
    • Weekend timeframe limits commitment
    • Annual take substantial and consistent
    • MORC visibility to large captive user group
    • Great partners provide different audiences
  • Use of events for revenue require caution
    • Burnout often a result
    • Limited liability a key
    • Balance investment with return
5 beyond mtb morc is a non profit
5. Beyond MTB, MORC is a Non-Profit
  • Non-profit management a key component for sustainability and growth:
    • Strategic planning
    • Financial management
    • Board development
    • Diversity of funding
  • You need people as interested in helping build non-profit as interested in building trails
  • Attend a Non Profit Management course if possible