Santa Cruz Bicycles - The PayDirt Fund - Partners


Stewardship Partners

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship

Downieville, California is the temple to which staff and riders retreat in order to get in touch with, as Greg Williams puts it, “big empty spaces full of empty trails.” The trails and the experience of being in that area are golden but it’s only possible because of the hard work of SBTS. 

From the SBTS website: “For 25 years, Santa Cruz Bicycles has been rallying down the Downieville Downhill right alongside us. Our partnership with Santa Cruz started back when the first Tazmon arrived. They are the Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race and Festival title sponsor and helped us kick start SBTS back in 2003.” 

Besides financial support we’ve spent time in the mountains shoulder-to-shoulder with SBTS and locals digging dirt. We’ve also partnered with them for the annual Five Bucks A Foot fundraiser. Since its inception, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Five Bucks a Foot fundraiser has generated nearly $400,000 for trails, helping fund everything from environmental studies to actual digging in the dirt, creating new ribbons of singletrack. In 2018 the Tower To Town bike (a one-off Bronson) raffle raised $79,118, which was used to leverage grant funding for trail maintenance and new builds around California’s Lost Sierra region. 

SBTS is at the forefront of advocacy efforts in wild spaces and revitalizing communities through sustainable recreation. Their work with decision makers in the Forest Service and other government bodies has positioned them as an outstanding example of how non-profit and volunteer organizations can operate to increase trail access. The future plans they have around opening up more trails and connecting communities throughout the Lost Sierra’s are worth paying attention to.

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Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz

Trail access in Santa Cruz does not come easy. Despite being the home to a lot of mountain bike companies and a lot of mountain bikers the number of legal and non-threatened trails isn’t that great. Of the 220 miles of official trail in the county, less than 40 are open to mountain bikes. Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC) works to support, preserve, and expand trail access and responsible mountain biking in Santa Cruz County. They promote legal and sustainable mountain bike access through trail building, races, events, and strategic partnerships with land managers, other trail users, the local bike industry, and enthusiastic volunteers.

MBOSC was founded in 1997 to raise funds for the expansion of Wilder Ranch State Park through the purchase of Gray Whale Ranch. Today they’re working towards a comprehensive vision for integrating trail recreation throughout Santa Cruz County. MBoSC is located just a stone’s throw away from the same building that our bikes are assembled in Santa Cruz, but the reason we have a solid and long-lasting relationship with them is because they share our vision for having even greater trail access on our doorstep.

Every member of Santa Cruz Bicycles is a member of MBoSC, we attempt to encourage as many of our staff to go out and dig alongside MBoSC, we’ve partnered on several fundraising programs in the past and we’re increasing our commitment to them for the future. Watch this space.

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San Vicente Redwoods Trails

In 2014, Santa Cruz caught wind of an exciting opportunity for a new trail system near the town of Davenport, California, just 10 miles up the Pacific coast from the company’s headquarters. Over the prior 10 years, a local conservation group called the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (LTSCC) led an effort to protect and purchase several parcels of land to create an 8,500 acre open space that extends from the Pacific Ocean to the top of the coastal Santa Cruz Mountain Range. Dubbed the San Vicente Redwoods (SVR), the park is slated to open to the public in 2020 and eventually feature 38 miles of trail.

When complete, the system will not only double the legal mountain bike trail inventory in Santa Cruz County, it will also serve as an example of how to go about preserving open space for recreation and conservation at a time when traditional government-backed projects are in severe decline. 

Also novel is SVR’s public access plan which was deftly developed to provide recreational opportunities while navigating the property’s many sensitive areas. The space’s northwest flank is home to one of the most productive mountain lion breeding grounds in the country, while the southern tip of the property is punctuated by a crumbling and unstable shuttered cement plant. Interspersed are numerous streams with protected salmon breeding habitats, and some native American archeological sites as well. By drawing on the collective resources the Land Trust and their partners bring to the table, SVR will likely be one of the most sustainable and sensitive trail projects ever built.

Santa Cruz Bicycles played a pivotal role in the SVR’s trail development process, having catalyzed local bike industry to fund the property’s recreational trail plan, which was developed by the local mountain bike organization, the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC), and Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS). With trail plan in hand, the next step was to fund the actual build-out and operation of SVR - functions that carry a price tag in the tens-of-millions. In addition to chipping-in a $500,000 cash contribution to the project, Santa Cruz also hosted a number of private donor events on behalf of the Land Trust that resulted in funding the trail plan at $7 million and putting SVR well on their way to the operations fund goal.

With a couple of legal hurdles cleared in late 2019, the project should break ground as soon as weather and conditions allow. 

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Factory Racing Dig Days

Santa Cruz Factory Racing is our in-house team, made up of people who work at the Santa Cruz factory, sponsors, friends, and family. We race everything from downhill to cyclocross in categories from Beginner to Pro. It’s not just about racing however. These riders go out and help with dig days across the western United States; they host our events; they volunteer with setup and clean up at regional enduro races; and we’ll match any race winnings they donate to charity. 

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