-- meeting organized by Quality Parks to reopen the Pine Barrens Trail Center
This past week CLIMB met with Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, along with the Long Island Sierra Club, Quality Parks, and Open Space & Trails Advocate, Ken Kindler, to introduce ourselves and let them know that we feel under appreciated by the county. We informed him of all the things we do to benefit the public by creating a resource the county would never be able to do on their own yet they don't return our emails or phone calls in a timely manner. Should it really take six months to return an email reporting a neighboring property owner bulldozing the woods within the park to make his own personal ATV track? Like Rodney Dangerfield I tell you we don't get no respect!
One of the basic problems is that the county doesn't value the recreational trails we have created and currently maintain.
One of the basic problems is that the county doesn't value the recreational trails we have created and currently maintain. I decided to put a value on our volunteer hours to frame the topic in a language they can understand. I pointed out that a volunteer hour equal about $20 per hour if you consider a minimum wage plus benefits.
We keep track of our volunteer hours on various trails and a typical pattern develops when you keep track of things so based on our records we determined the trails in Suffolk County require approximately 20 hours per mile to maintain annually, which equals about $400 per mile. Since we maintain about 60 miles of trails within the county park system that equals about $24,000 per year we are saving taxpayers. (western trails require 40 hours per mile due to rampant invasive plant growth)
Since we maintain about 60 miles of trails within the county park system that equals about $24,000 per year we are saving taxpayers.
The county also benefits when race promoters utilize our trails, which generates revenue from event permits. There is also the local economy that benefits because trail users, rent hotel rooms, eat at restaurants and buy gasoline etc.
Parks departments did not contribute any money or resources towards our trails. We use members dues, grants and corporate donations to fund our work. The parks departments spend over $120,000 for a new dog park but spend nothing to promote bmx and mountain biking?
So dogs are higher in priority than kids on bikes? How about a BMX Pocket Park? Are the park planners looking to increase or decrease obesity and juvenile diabetes?
This is the start of a long process, let's see where it goes, our next meeting is in January.
The more volunteer hours we have the more value we are adding to the county coffers and we can gain more respect so be sure to lend a hand when we have a trail work event. The more members we have the more clout we have too. We can do more if more people help out.