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For a good cause
24 August 2016

The sausage-sizzle at the Opotiki Dunes Trail planting day during August scored a “well-above average” ranking thanks to grainy bread, nicely fried onions and a better brand of tomato sauce.

It was a great pay-off for the hour or so of labour we contributed on an overcast and cool day, and put some fuel in the bellies ahead of a couple of hours riding sections of the Motu Trails Great Ride and associated Explorer trails.

In years to come, the trees we planted (well, those that survive) will bring a new majesty to the trails which will give me both a nicer riding experience and a sense of satisfaction.

For me, contributing in this way is a straight-forward value proposition – the more I invest in the venue, the better it gets and the more I enjoy playing there.

But discussion around the “well-above average” sausage sizzle suggests that I might be an odd fish in that regard.

According to one of the planting day organisers, trampers and members of established care-groups are usually the backbone of these efforts; while others who access the facilities for recreation are much harder to recruit.

A straw poll of the 25 or so present supported that opinion with only a handful of us being active riders.

It is an interesting anecdote that flies in the face of my feeling that adventure sportspeople have a strong connection with nature, a well-developed environmental ethic and want to give something back to the places and sports they are active in.

Certainly for Tauranga kayaker Mike Dawson that’s the case with our Olympian going well beyond just turning up to compete, by also doing good for those who live in Rio’s poorest districts.

On the organisers’ side of the sport, I have been told that having a worthy cause is almost a necessity these days with potential competitors having plenty of choice and looking for a point of difference to swing their decisions.

Both the Dawson full immersion and the charitable cause methods of giving help make a difference so I’m fully in favour.

But I do wonder just how much the adventure sports community as a whole sees itself as a force for good as much as a force for fun.

Maybe you guys could vote in this simple poll or post your thoughts on our Facebook page.


This post was written by

Steve Brightwell - who has written 17 posts

Steve Brightwell is a partnership ranger with the Department of Conservation.

He has been a part of the Virtually On Track team from the project's inception.

Steve lives in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, has a communications background, and is a weekend warrior of modest multisport ability.

The views he expresses for this blog are his own and do not necessarily reflect or imply official policy of the Department of Conservation.

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