Organizing Trail Work and Events

This page contains a Hand Book for Park Representatives and describes responsibilities and suggestions for running a vibrant and successful volunteer group with JORBA.

Advocacy and Organizing

Familiarize yourself with IMBA's Advocacy and Organizing Page. There's a plethora of great information there.

Minimum Requirements for Chapters

By Laws
Please review the By Laws of JORBA specifically the minimum requirements for a chapter of JORBA. You can view our By Laws here.

All Chapter Leaders and Park Reps must be paid members of JORBA.

Not only is it proper to support the mother-ship for her support, it's required by our insurance carrier (JORBA maintains insurance which includes liability coverage for trail work days).

Leadership Structure

All parks should have a Park Rep leader and a co-leader (or an alternate), as well as other capable people that are willing to take on some responsibility (trail bosses, organizational needs, etc.). The Park Reps must be paid members of JORBA. The reason for this is many:

• Monolithic organizations eventually fail due to boredom and burnout by the "larger than life" leader. JORBA and the chapters should have a leader with many people trained and ready to step in and lead at any time. What is a "monolithic organization"? You've seen it before... this is the organization where one person does all the work and volunteers are not (intentionally or not) given and opportunity to lead. As a chapter leader, you NEED someone to help you get through the ups-and-downs that come with this game. If you do not have someone that can help you out, either when you need a break, or you have a conflict, you need to make this a goal this season.

• A chapter leader may not be able to attend and run trail crews every time a trail work schedule is announced. Instead of canceling when the chapter lead cannot attend, let the alternate take the task. as a leader you should feel ok with delegating this task to a trusted individual, once that person is identified.

• Separation of concerns: A large chapter may want to have specializations in trail work bosses and social or ride leaders. Have people ready to step in take on a trail work day, and have other run the social rides. Do you need to do it all? No! Surround yourself with bright passionate people and let them lead and share in the satisfaction of a job well done!

Publicizing Trail Work Days

Trail Work Announcements:

What to say, and how to say it

The most important points to remember about getting out message is: be as brief as you can, BUT make sure that all of the important items are in the announcement, AND that you are having fun doing it. These may sound like conflicting goals but it can be done.

Set the right tone

Be sure to not only include all the basic facts but also "Lay out the project" in brief terms and do it in a way that "explains how much fun we're having doing it". This is often omitted and is a big mistake.

Think back: have you ever been excited to come out to volunteer just because the announcement got you excited to be involved? Keep this in mind when you craft your announcements. Here's some tips to help you achieve that:

First make sure that you relay how much fun you're having building trails! Sometimes we forget to say this: it may be your 6th announcement of the year but if your announcement reads dry, don't expect a big turnout. Selling the fun can make all the difference, especially for folks that have not participated in the past. That said, don't feel like you have to be a comedian; you don't. Instead, focus on keeping an upbeat tone.

Make the announcement "project" oriented

By project oriented, announce what is on the agenda and how its all fits into a long term project to improve riding in the park. For example, if you are working on a project that represents an exciting new re-route of a muddy or eroded section of trail, make sure you announce these facts and explain why its important. People want to be part of a project and be part of the bigger picture that ultimately leads to better trails and more trails to ride.

In contrast, a less effective tone is to simply state: "We're doing trail work. Meet at the gate at 9am." That tone may only get a few hardcore regulars (if that) to get up early, miss a ride, and drive to a park to do trailwork. People want to know why they are doing this work and how it will give them and their riding buddies have a better trail experience later.

Remember back to when you were just getting involved in trail work and what jazzed you up about getting involved. Recreate that feeling!

Don't forget the facts, Jack!

An upbeat tone, check! A worthwhile project, check! But, make sure you have all the facts in your post, don't force people to wonder, guess, or make it hard or complicated to make it to the event. Usually, these are the normal must haves:

• Identify JORBA as the event organizer

• Park Name: this is the easy one!

• Date and Time, and duration: duration is important so people can determine if its appropriate for them. 4 hours is typically the max that IMBA recommends.

• Meeting Point: a parking lot name, or a street address. If possible include a Google link to the meeting spot.

• Description of the work: see Tone above. This is where you make you case why you need to be involved.

• What to bring: usually this includes work gloves (if you can budget it with your stipend, please have extras on hand), water (if you're not supplying it), food (if you're not supplying bagels, etc), sturdy shoes, and your bike (if you're riding to the work site).


Example 1: This is a great example of an announcement by JORBA's own Bob W, who conveys a sense of excitement about a new trail almost completed and covers every last detail.

We had a great session in September at Allamuchy. We armored three sections of the Green Trail close to the
Cranberry Ledge Rd Trailhead. The following folks came out to to the August TM:
( list of volunteers here )
Here is the info for the October 17th TM session:
When: Saturday Oct 17th starting at 8:30
Where: North Section of the Park, meeting place will be on Cranberry Ledge Road at the "Yellow Gate"
Directions RT 206 to North Shore Rd to Cranberry Ledge Rd, make a right turn and go approx 1/2 mile to gate.
What: We will be working on Lumpy Bumpy. This new trail is close to completion and hopefully we can get
it finished. We have some rock work to be completed, and general corridor cleaning.
What do you need to bring? Bring your favorite gloves (we will bring extra for those without).
The event will be rain or shine (barring a torrential downpour), please dress accordingly.
We will have a Pay "its not just for racers" Dirt sign up sheet to keep everyone in the running for the
bikes that will be given away at the end of the season, and for race points!!!
If you can shoot me a quick email so I know how many people will be there (
Also, if you would like to bring someone along, please do so. Thanks to everyone for showing interest in helping out!
Karen and Bob

Example 2: This is an excerpt from the Stowe Mountain Bike Club in VT just so you can see that this is not just a Jersey thing. They're adding a personal touch and including all the right information (this is an example on how you can be brief yet effective and make that personal case):

Trail Work – Alex’s Trail – Saturday October 17th 9AM – Meet at the stump dump in Moscow.
The stump dump is at the end of Adams Mill Road. Take Barnes Hill Road - the turn by the empty building.
Go about ¼ mile and make the right turn onto Adams Mill Road. Follow that to the end.
Wear work clothes, bring gloves, water, food or a snack.
It would be interesting to get a kiosk or a sign built and installed. Any carpenters willing to take that on?
Let me know or call me at xxx-xxxx
We would like to see a lot of people show up for this as a way to honor Alex’ memory and thank the Roberts family
for putting up with us all these years. Anyone that knew Alex, please be ready to share some thoughts.

JORBA Forums

Post the details of the event in your park specific forum, usually this is a Trail Maintenance forum. These posts will appear on the main page of the website in about 30 minutes once the RSS feed updates. The forums are located at this link.

Other Forums

You are free to cross post your event on (our partner), or (in the NJ Forum) or other bike sites you are aware of. Ideally, you want to keep the details brief and include a link to the JORBA forum post which contains full details. Why? If you have to change details, or cancel, you can update one post (the one on JORBA) and it will trickle down to all other cross-posts, saving you time. You don't want to post a time, date and location and then have to update all those specifics on 3, 4 or more sites. Cross posting allows you to change it once and it takes immediate effect.

Note: Because is committed to NJ's Trails, they've RSS linked posts from JORBA to their site. This does not mean you can't post your own personalized post. Shaggz would like that. :) But please, make the JORBA post the first post in the chain of events. If you don't its unlikely that its going to appear on the JORBA calendar below, and that it will get mentioned in our monthly emails and newletters. (We skim our forums and calendar to gather content for these, and if you've only posted the information on a site outside of, we're going to miss it).

JORBA Calendar

The new google calendar is a powerful tool. Users can add the JORBA calendar to their own calendar, copy events to Outlook and even synchronize. In addition, you have the Google Maps feature automatically wired in if you enter a valid address for the event.

Its fairly easy to add events but there are some gotchas. A "how to" is located here.

Bike Shops

Do not hesitate to approach your LBS with a JORBA flyer and a trail work schedule for your entire season. This will help raise awareness about parks that we're working in and how to contact folks to get involved. If you have questions on how to make this happen contact seebeck at jorba dot org.

Maintain a Mailing List

The Pay Dirt Sign In forms contain an email box. Please add these volunteers to your monthly emails that announce your event. Ideally, you should compose the email with basic details with a link to your forum post below. This will familiarize your volunteers with JORBA by asking them to visit the site.

Organizing Trail Work Days

Pay Dirt
For each chapter, JORBA needs you to record volunteer hours using the Pay Dirt Sign In form. Please use this form to sign everyone in prior to beginning trailwork. The clipboard with this form can be passed around while you give a safety talk and review the plans for the trail work day you are about to begin.

Prior to the event

Print out Monthly Pay Dirt Sign In and have them on hand prior to your event

Print out Waivers, located here: Waiver Of Liability

Publicize (see above)

Pre-plan your event by:

• Attain written landmanager permission

• Walk the work site (alone or with your lieutenants) and review and plan the day's agenda; track this time as "Trail work prep" using this Sign In for Recurring Individuals form

• Plan for more volunteers than you expect, just in case. if you are expecting 15 people, plan for 20, or 25. Have enough tools on hand and have enough proposed work areas to keep everyone busy for the event. If you have less people, no worries... you were well prepared. You'd rather be looking at extra tools than looking for them.

• Don't overwork the volunteers; limit the work to 3-4 hours depending on the project and the terrain.

Day of the event

• Be early, be positive, be friendly

• Pass out a clipboard and pen with the Monthly Pay Dirt Sign In forms and a second clipboard with copies of the waivers for signing as early as possible. Note: our insurer requires that we have a signed waiver on file for each volunteer/participant, so if you have repeat volunteers, they do not need to sign every time, just once per calendar year.

If you are a state park, you might need to also have NJDEP Volunteers in Parks (VIP) forms available here. More about VIP here:

• Offer water and food (your stipend covers this)

• Do your safety talk prior to beginning work - sometimes the parking lot is the only place you'll have a chance to do this.

• Discuss JORBA's insurance policy and the liability coverage it provides to our members. Non-members are allowed to volunteer after signing a waiver, but assume their own liability for their personal actions.

• Manage the trail work. If you head is down and you're digging all morning, you are probably not managing the volunteers well. You need to make sure they're not hurting themselves, they're having fun and you're available for questions. If you ignore volunteers, they tend to "dig trenches instead of benches" and they may not feel their being mentored, and may not return. Nurture your volunteers, they are the work horses. Ensure new volunteers are supervised by crew leaders.

• Do not conduct chainsaw/heavy equipment work on volunteer days. Our insurance policy does not provide liability coverage to you for this type of work. You should only conduct this type of work with the permission of the land manager and outside of JORBA TM days.

• Thank everyone for their time, remind them of the next date for trail work.

• Never pressure volunteers to to return, or "guilt them" for missing a work day.

After the event

• Send your sign in sheets to Pay Dirt Committee

• File your waivers, hard copies are required to be kept for 10 years

• Start thinking about next time!

IMBAs recommendations

IMBA has excellent suggestions on running successful volunteer events:

Attracting and Keeping Trail Volunteers

How to Organize Volunteer Workdays


Organizing Social Events

JORBA is strong on the Trail Work but historically weak on the social aspects of a club. You are JORBA's local expert in your area, be proud of it! Publicize group rides and post-trail work rides when possible.
Group Rides

JORBA will be organizing a number of group rides and beginner's rides throughout NJ. These rides will be publicized on the website and calendar.

JORBA Ride Series

Our group ride schedule is on the Calendar. If you wish to put your park on the group ride list, please contact

Beginner's Rides

Allaire State Park has been doing beginner's rides for a number of years with great success. The power of the beginner ride is:

• You introduce new people to the sport

• You are able to make them responsible riders, aware of the rules of the trail, from the beginning.

• The beginners enjoy riding with the "crew" and hear about trail maintenance and join those sessions as well.

If you organize any group rides please review these Ride Leader Responsibilities.

Annual Reporting

Annual Activity Reports

An annual report for JORBA will be compiled in January each year to summarize the previous year's activities. In order to complete that we will need to have the following reported:

Total volunteer trail work hours (this is the hours spent on trail doing volunteer trail work). The standard paydirt sign in sheets can be used to tally this total.

Total chapter leader trail work prep hours (these are field-related hours that usually entail, surveying new trails, taping and flagging, unloading your tools, etc.). This needs to be tracked separately (I tend to write the prep time hours on the reverse of the standard paydirt sign in sheet, but you can use your own system).

Total chapter leader administrative hours (this is paperwork hours, please track it in a spreadsheet or a paper form)

Submit this the Executive Director as soon as you can in January of each year.

Annual Affirmation of Trail Work Activity

If your chapter totals are being counted towards a recreational trail program grant match of volunteer hours (usually Mick will have asked you for this), you will need to download this document and have it signed off by the Land Manager. The state of NJ requires this sign off to validate your hours for the RTP grant match.

Document: Annual Affirmation of Trail Work Activity Page

New Jersey State Volunteer Application Form

For our chapters who steward a NJ State Park, these forms should be filled out by each volunteer prior to performing any work. The original should go to the park and a copy should be kept for your records.

Document: Volunteer form

Getting Reimbursed for Chapter Expenses

JORBA will reimburse chapters for some or all of your expenses incurred. Please review the details of the Chapter Stipend Program

Chapter Stipend Program

Each JORBA chapter in good standing (i.e. the chapter has met the Chapter Minimum requirements for the previous year) will be entitled to reimbursement of up to $250 for legitimate chapter expenses related to the fulfillment of JORBA's mission. In general this includes:

•trailwork expenses: tools, food and drink for volunteers, promotional expenses, etc. note: if its related to the getting trail work done, or keeping the volunteers fed and coming back next time, its probably going to be reimbursed (kegs and pole dancers will probably be exempt, sorry).
•social events (clinics or group rides): food and drink, promotional expenses, etc.
We will judge expenses on a case by case basis, and we'll expand upon the list above as we go along, but in general if it meets the above requirements, you're going to get reimbursed. If in doubt, contact the treasurer for the validity of the expense.

How can you get reimbursed?
You will need to retain receipts for any valid expenses and submit them to our treasurer Mick Tormey. Please staple the receipts to a Stipend Reimbursement FormStipend Reimbursement Form remembering to fill out the form and briefly describe what the event was (e.g. Food and drinks for trail work volunteers at Ringwood State Park on 1 June 2009). Mail to:

PO Box 7589
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Sales Tax Exemption

JORBA is a registered non-profit with New Jersey and legitimate purchases made on behalf of JORBA are exempt from NJ State Sales Tax. Typically you will provide an ST-5 Form to the retailer and they will exclude Sales Tax. These forms are available in our Board Only Documents area,

You must be logged into the forums to access this form.

Insurance and Liability

Bad things do happen to good clubs! This is why we purchase liability insurance for JORBA for trail related activities such as Trail Work, Skills Clinics and Group Rides, et. al..

What does this mean to you as an event organizer?

You have a responsibility to run a safe event. Have your participants sign our Waiver Of Liability, and adhere to some basic rules when promoting the event so that the liability insurance terms will be honored. In short:

The event must be promoted as a "JORBA event" in order to adhere to the terms of the agreement; you must not promote the event using a chapter name

JORBA or Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association presents:

Event Name
Event Details

Sponsors are allowed on the event flyer, and are encouraged. The reason why there is no need to be concerned about a sponsor is because of "assumed negligence". In other words, its not possible to name a sponsor of a skills clinic and prove negligence. The park and JORBA are the entities that can be named as negligent and the Park has insurance for that, and we do too (via ISU).

Again, the problem that arose in 2008 was this: if you make mention of a chapter name, you will be breaking the current arrangement with our insurance carrier and a claim against JORBA, a chapter named and individuals involved may not be covered by the insurance carrier, this is not under our control but its a fact of doing business.

Insurance and Liability FAQs:

Q: What is covered? Does the insurance cover our parks, trails, volunteers, work days? What about our trailwork volunteers?

A: Our insurance covers JORBA members in good standing ONLY. Trail volunteers that are not JORBA members are not covered under our general liability policy and assume all risk for their volunteer activities.
The volunteer crew leaders **must be current members**.

Our trail work is covered as well as our trail work sessions, but we do NOT insure (indemnify) the parks or trail systems. The liability for the park falls on the land manager when the park is named in a lawsuit. In contrast, if we construct a feature with permission of the land manager, then liability falls on JORBA and JORBA is covered as long as it falls within safety guidelines.

Events require a separate rider that must be handled separately. Contact one of the JORBA officers to arrange for a rider through our carrier.

Q: Are signed waivers all that important?

A: Yes, they mandatory and must be kept on file for 10 years. Waivers are here: Waiver Of Liability

Q: Why are "teeter totters" forbidden?

A: Teeter totters (also referred to as "articulating structures") are not allowed by our insurance carrier. This stems from a lawsuit that has been filed in Florida. First, in this particular case, there was no provision for multiple riders and a rider was severely injured after another rider entered the feature and launched the first off the feature. Second, they require a lot of routine maintenance and diligent record keeping which most clubs are not capable of fulfilling. Thus, the carrier is not willing to accept the risk and, *JORBA is NOT covered in a particular park if there is a working articulating feature within that trail network*.

Q: How diligent must we be with regard to our parks? If one is slacking on its maintenance can it affect the rest of the parks?

A: Yes; just like a weak link in a chain, our collective diligence forms the basis our overall strength. If there is one park that is pushing the limits, it can jeopardize insurance coverage and access to the park for the whole organization

Q: Can certain signs open us up to liability?

A: Certain symbols attract lawyers like bees to honey. For simplicity, we should use the commonly accepted risk indicators: the Black and Double Black Diamond indicators used by the ski industry are widely accepted (by IMBA for example) warnings and do not expose us to any additional risk. While tempting and humorous, signs that warn of certain death, or display the skull and crossbones, actually create a higher exposure to liability.

Q: If my park has rogue building going on, how do we cover ourselves?

A: It is very important to create a "paper trail" (electronic using email is OK) with regard to rogue trail work. JORBA park reps need to be in contact with the land manager notify them of their existence, that the rogue trails (or features) are not condoned by JORBA. Finally the land manager should be politely reminded that JORBA is NOT an enforcement entity and the dismantling of the structure or reclamation/closure of the trail is a task they must perform.

Q: How do I list our insurance for future proposals?

A: If a land manager asks for a Certificate of Insurance, one will be provided as proof of insurance. We no longer issue a certificate listing parks as "additionally insured". Please refer to the Executive Committee if you are requested to supply one. We must make clear that we do NOT indemnify their land or the Park system. We are only providing coverage for JORBA, its members and the work we have done.


A Links page is being built up now which will contain links to various resources, such as Advocacy, Trail Building, and other literature. Please keep this page handy and feel free to add links to it if you find something appropriate that should be shared with JORBA.

Helpful Forms

Pay Dirt Monthly Sign In Sheet
This form is used for Trail Work Day sign-ins

Waiver Of Liability
This waiver is for general use, including Trail Work Days, Group Rides, etc.

US Forest Service Documents

For those of you maintaining bridges or other structures, the USFS has some resources for you. They have a reference page here Trail Bridge Catalog but specific documents of interest are:

Trail Bridge Inspection 101 PowerPoint
Trail Bridge Inspection Procedures PowerPoint

individual_volunteer_2007.pdf229.54 KB
inspproc.ppt3.26 MB
insp101.ppt5.4 MB
imbafaq1108.pdf134.75 KB
PayDirtMonthlySignIn.pdf100.4 KB
JORBAWaiverOfLiability.pdf290.21 KB
JORBA Chapter Stipend Form.pdf1.08 MB