Building Stewardship One Trail at a Time

Santa Cruz has long been a mountain biking mecca. In what is a $1 billion dollar industry, the City of Santa Cruz did roughly $10 million dollars in bike shop related sales last year alone. We are home to world-renowned mountain bike businesses like IBIS and Santa Cruz Bikes; and, according to people in the know, we have some pretty amazing local trails. Behind the creation and upkeep of many of these trails is local organization Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC). Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, MBOSC aspires to bring greater legitimacy to the local mountain biking scene.

Our reputation as a mountain bike mecca doesn’t always mesh with the fact that local land managers and the community have been slow to embrace the sport of mountain biking. It has been a bit of an underground scene, but that is changing and we are working to bring mountain biking into the main stream. We are working with land managers to provide more legitimate mountain biking access and to curtail elicit mountain bike use. — Matt DeYoung, Executive Director

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MBOSC formed in 1997 to help raise funds for the expansion of Wilder Ranch State Park with the purchase of the Gray Whale property. Following this initial action, they focused their efforts towards serving as an advocacy and social organization for the mountain biking community. In the last couple of years, however, they have really ramped up their trail building and trail maintenance efforts, partnering with land managers like the City of Santa Cruz on some major projects.

“We have transitioned away from being more of a social organization to more of an implementation organization. We are building trails and putting on races. We are growing to meet the growing opportunities for the sport.” - Matt DeYoung

Last summer, MBOSC partnered with the City of Santa Cruz for the construction of the Harvey West Pump Track, a project aimed at activating an underutilized portion of Harvey West Park and providing greater diversity in park users. Located in a shady spot under a canopy of trees, MBOSC collaborated with some local dirt jump designers to put together a design. Through coordination and collaboration with City staff for construction of the project, the pump track was up and running after just a few weeks.

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The MBOSC volunteer efforts are very well organized. Their staff and members are very knowledgeable in trail construction and maintenance and have been a dependable partner in constructing and maintaining mountain bike facilities throughout the City. The number of volunteer hours they have provided, demonstrates a solid commitment to the community and the residents of Santa Cruz. — Mauro Garcia, Director of City of Santa Cruz Parks & Rec

MBOSC also partnered with the City in the construction of the Emma McCrary trail in the Pogonip, which sees on average over 80,000 trips a year. MBOSC is aiming to create conservation stewards, and the first step of that is to get people outside, on trails, and having a positive experience. And, once people are invested in their outdoor spaces it is an easy next step towards advocacy and support of conservation.

On any given day you may see MBOSC volunteers out on the trails. In 2016, they had over 600 individuals doing trail work and since 2013 they have completed over 12,000 hours of volunteer work. Needless to say, they are a force to be reckoned with and an organization that can be counted on to get stuff done. With mountain biking being a relatively new sport, it will be exciting to see how the local mountain bike scene continues to grow.

MBOSC is a 501(c)3 non-profit funded through donations and fundraising. To learn more about Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz or to get involved visit

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