Oh boy. Are we about to find out how long a comment you can post on Disqus*? Maybe. Apologies for the lack of structure and organization in this mishmash.
A few thoughts and ideas, from your local (if you happen live where I do), friendly mountain bike advocacy organization's Director of Advocacy. Important to note that this is me speaking, not necessarily the NSMBA's official opinions.
Yup. Almost all of us could do 'more' to support the trails. Unless you happen to be an altruistic forest gnome who does nothing but carve out spectacular trails, clear drains, and remove deadfall 24/7.... sure. We could all do more.
I'd like people to leave this article (and this comment) with a couple main takeaways -
There's lots of ways to give back, contribute, and support the trails. They don't all involve getting dirty.
Permitting. It can be a b*tch.
To address Point #1, Dave, lets talk about your commitment issues. Its ok to be afraid of commitment. Its OK to not want to spend a day out in the woods, enjoying physical exercise, chatting with friends....er.... wait. I'm doing the 'guilt' thing. Sorry. Its OK to not want to spend a day doing trail work, and there's thousands of legitimate reasons/excuses not to. But if a day or evening out on the trails with a shovel isn't something that fits in to your life, maybe there are other ways to give back that require less 'commitment', or fit better in to your lifestyle and schedule? One of the reasons I volunteer to be on the Board of Directors is just that; its a way for me to give back to the trails and community in a fashion that fits my time constraints and plays to my skillsets. Fortunately for you, Avid Mountain Cyclist, there are lots of ways to give back that don't require getting dirty. And it all boils down to this :
just find out what your local trail organization is up to. Give 'em a call. Shoot them an email. Facebook message. Carrier pigeon**. Whatever you need to do to communicate.
Odds are they have LOTS of small or large ways to give back, either by donating time, money, or a combination of the two. Perhaps they need an hour of assistance here and there to run a local race series? Have you looked at their corporate sponsorship opportunities, and thought about whether or not the company you work would be a good fit? What about that friend of yours who owns a local business, or sits on the board of a large regional corporation? Maybe they're having a bit of a drive to get membership cards out, and need a few people to sit down, write letters, and drink beer for an hour and a half some weekday evening? (note: none of these are hypothetical....).
*Yes. 3000 character limit.
** Please note the NSMBA currently does not accept carrier pigeons. We have no where to keep them.