In the 13 years since Singletrack Trails has been in operation, it has worked in 18 different states building non-motorized, natural surface trails for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use.
Writer: Travis Poulin
The outdoor industry is still considered a new market by some, but gear is in high demand as communities begin to focus on outdoor opportunities. But there is another market booming that the industry is both financially and physically dependent on – trail builders.
Singletrack Trails is an outdoor recreation company that constructs hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails throughout the country. The company is based in Fraser, CO, but has crews stationed throughout the state that travel the country building some of the most well-known trails around. The company creates non-motorized, natural surface trails and works on some small surfacing projects using crushed rocks and soft material – no pavement. In the 13 years since Singletrack Trails has been in operation, it has worked in 18 different states and made large contributions to mountain bike communities. Two notable areas in which the company has built trails are Grand Junction and Fruita, CO – both destination mountain bike towns.
Greg Mazu, founder and president/CEO of Singletrack Trails, has a lifelong passion for biking and hiking and the communities that surround the outdoor industry. Mazu grew up road biking but switched to mountain biking in college, and has now been on a mountain bike for 20 years. He began building trails as a volunteer before working at a state park as a trail builder. “I woke up one day and realized I pretty much already had my own business,” he said. “I was getting paid more as a contractor on the side than I was at my job, so the path for the business was already created. The decision was easy. Construction of trails is how mountain bike advocacy takes place and I knew my contribution to the sport had to be through creating trails. Plus I didn’t want to work in an office.”
Singletrack Trail employees, like many trail crews, are avid hikers, mountain bikers and fishermen. Though it is not a job requirement to participate in such activities, Mazu said these type of people tend to fall into place because of their passion for the outdoor industry. Life for trail crew members requires a significant amount of traveling throughout the busy season, but employees have the opportunity to see many of the top outdoor recreation communities in the country. Singletrack Trails has three crews consisting of 10-12 members. A trail crew member position is not year round, as there are usually a few slow winter months, but Mazu said lately he has had crews working until December in parts of Colorado and warmer states nearby.
The company does not actively seek sponsors necessarily, but works closely with companies like The Raven Workshop in Golden, CO; Pivot Cycles; Transition bikes; Oboz Footwear; Dakine and Mountain Khakis. Mazu said the companies help each other out in unofficial ways, which is common in outdoor recreation communities.
As more towns focus on outdoor recreation as a source of capital, companies like Singletrack Trails are in high demand. “The future of the company is the big question,” Mazu said. “I am still trying to figure out how to make this a year-round business. The economy is rolling and there is more money from communities to build trails because they are realizing that outdoor recreation is a form of economic development with a large return.” Mazu is a member of the Professional Trailbuilders Association, who focuses on sustainable trail development, advocacy and resource protection for outdoor communities.
Photos courtesy Singletrack Trails