On October 27, 2022 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District presented the Corps Excellence in Partnerships Award to Berks Area Mountain Biking Association (BAMBA) for their exemplary partnership work benefitting Blue Marsh Lake.
This award was first given in 2001 with the support of the Corps of Engineers Natural Resources Education Foundation (Corps Foundation) to recognize outstanding contributions by a partner to the Corps national recreation and environmental stewardship programs across 493 projects.
Partnerships are vitally important to USACE, as they help leverage local resources, talent, and ideas to accomplish a wide variety of recreation and stewardship activities.
In fiscal year 2021 the total value of partnerships to the Corps was more than $111 million. However, numbers alone don’t really demonstrate the full value of partnerships, which is about building relationships and trust within our communities, fostering collaboration, and meeting the needs of the public. These concepts have become even more important given the challenges that the COVID 19 pandemic presented to the community over the past two years.
Since joining Blue Marsh Lake as a teammate on trail restoration and maintenance initiatives, BAMBA has become a vital and exemplary partner. Since 2019, BAMBA has provided about $400k in funding and over $65k in volunteer services to rehabilitate and connect 1.71 miles of trail, create 10.6 miles of new enhance trail experiences, build a developmental area for new riders, and an overall greater connection within the trail’s community of Berks County.
It is the mission of the Blue Marsh Lake and BAMBA partnership to work together to create a sustainable trail system with the development of high-quality trail connections, forging an integrated network of trail experiences for visitors from near and far.
“BAMBA has become an unstoppable force on improving the trail network,” said Park Manager Scott Sunderland. “This has helped us meet the increasing demand on outdoor resources in the aftermath of a pandemic.”
Without the help from BAMBA, its partners, and the surrounding community, Blue Marsh Lake would not have been able to make the leaps and bounds forward to accomplish its goals and missions regarding recreational development and sustainability. Blue Marsh Lake is considered a gem in Berks County, and now will continue to shine brighter than before thanks to the help provided by partners like BAMBA.