Our experiences during Covid-19 are without a doubt a crazy time for any of us; we are adjusting to social distancing and changes to almost every aspect of our lives, shared and solitary. Schedules have been thrown to the wind, whether at work, during social outings or public activities in shared spaces.

But here in Prescott, AZ most of know that we have the best of so many worlds! We can “isolate” as recommended, yet we have an outdoor world of beauty and peace and health of thousands of miles, right outside our doors. The cooperative efforts by the Prescott National Forest, our local City Parks and committed groups of volunteers have created and maintained hundreds of miles of shared-use trails! We have Spring weather that is largely second to none. For me, my mountain bike has brought me great joy despite the changes we have made these past few months. And I give my thanks, more than ever, to the organized efforts of groups like Prescott Mountain Biking Alliance (PMBA) and IMBA for their contributions to what I get to enjoy.

I mountain bike, as do others, to experience the joy that the sun and the green in the earth gives to us as outdoors’ people, whether individually or with my friends old and new. And, I am thankful that I can share these assets with all kinds of other outdoor enthusiasts – fellow MTBers, horseback riders, hikers and runners – all smiling and waving and saying “thanks” as we enjoy this open space.

Despite the importance of social distancing, our trails provide us with an opportunity to see and interact, albeit from a safer distance then we might consider otherwise. Groups can still meet, keeping their space with respect for others needs. My observation is that trail etiquette has gone up rather than down, and that we have come to be more aware of our shared position in the forest and on city trails. Lots of smiling, lots of hellos – some wearing masks, some turning away – yielding trail space between the variety of users. Largely everyone I see shares the camaraderie!

If you, a fellow mountain biker, enjoy this shared outdoor world remember that it is the efforts, backed by contributions of time and money, of your local community that have made this work. The planning and organizing of space, money and volunteers is a continuous effort; it doesn’t stop when the ribbon is cut and a new world of wonder becomes available to all. This year – 2020 – is a metaphor for seeing clearly what we share! Please consider renewing, or perhaps joining for the first time,  through Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance (PMBA). Thank you to our wonderful community of planners, builders, users and supporters. And stay safe, well and happy. I look forward to sharing the trails with you in 2020!

Joyce van Walsum

Prescott, AZ

PMBA Member since 2013