Recently Montgomery County has announced that it may have to take drastic measures to close its budget. By closing all of the parks and trails this will include maintenance and law enforcement needed to keep these facilities operational. At a meeting on December 7 over 50 people spoke in opposition of this measure and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia expressed the views of 1500 people who sent e-mails to the Montgomery County Commissioners.
The implications of this are very serious, park employees will lose their jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial grants will be at risk. If this does happen the parks and trails will be subject to vandalism, crime, litter, and overgrown with vegetation. These spaces are used by hundreds of thousands people every year and generate millions of dollars for businesses along the trail.
So what would I do?
While I do not have a solution for the budgetary issues that Montgomery County faces, I do have a challenge for the 1500 people who sent e-mails through BCGP, the over 50 people who spoke at the meeting, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and all of the bicycling clubs through out the region. It's time for their actions to speak louder than their words.
I challenge bicycle clubs and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to commit one day of service to provide needed maintenance along the Schuylkill River Trail, Perkiomen Trail or one of the parks in Montgomery County in the Spring of 2012. Since these places are important and bicycle clubs have benefited them, then it is time to give back. You can find more information about volunteer opportunities by using this LINK.
Parks departments have a list of things they would like to do that go beyond what can be normally handled by the park employees. Over the years I have volunteered with various groups to help clear brush, clean out illegal dump sites, and remove litter from heavily used locations.
So which groups are going to step up and commit to a date this spring? Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Bicycle Club of Philadelphia, Suburban Cyclists Unlimited, Quaker City Wheelmen, and Sturdy Girls Cycling. Five days of service would accomplish lot.