As President of Friends of DuPont Forest, I would like to explain the reasons why our Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the Fall 2017 Tour de Falls.
The Tour has been our signature event for over ten years, and has served thousands of residents who are not able to walk or ride to the waterfalls. We appreciate our hundreds of dedicated volunteers who have generously given their time over the years to make this happen. Clearly, this is not a decision that could be taken lightly.
The Friends of DuPont Board is fully committed to our public service goal that people unable to walk to the falls are given an opportunity to visit them. However, we decided that we needed to stop and re-examine the most efficient way to make this happen.
The first Tour was held in 2003 during my first term on the Board, at a time when Friends of DuPont was trying to promote visitation at the Forest. Within a few years, demand surged to see the “new” waterfalls. But there were still few people on the trails to compete with the buses.
Today, demand has dropped significantly, the trails are teeming with weekend visitors, and the event stretches our volunteer capacity a bit tighter each year. The Spring Tour consumed 400 volunteer hours, and consumed approximately two months of our Executive Director’s time in planning and preparation.
Friends of DuPont leadership is working on a large number of new projects that will provide outreach to new audiences, collaborate with the newly hired staff at the Forest, and establish new forms of fundraising. As President, I realized that we needed our Executive Director focused on these important goals over the next three months.
In July, the Board of Directors made the decision this summer to defer the tour to make time for all these important projects. We are forming a sub-group to discuss ways to rework the Tour and meet our service objectives in the most efficient way possible.
If you have questions or comments about this issue, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, Board of Directors
Friends of DuPont Forest
Speaking as past president of Friends of DuPont here is my two cents on canceling the fall Tour de Falls.
There are many exciting changes in the Forest this year. New staff hires, managing the newly-acquired “donut hole”, and Friends of DuPont’s hiring its first Executive Director (ED) are among the changes. Declining attendance at the last few Tours has forced the Board of Directors to take a hard look at the tour. Perhaps it is time for something new or different? Sara Landry, our ED, is working on some new projects.
The Tour was begun as an event to offer access to DuPont for those unable to hike, bike, or ride a horse. FRIENDS OF DUPONT WILL CONTINUE TO OFFER SUCH EVENTS. A version of our popular “Bring Your Own Bus” (BYOB) is in the works. So, faithful, hard-working volunteers, enjoy your break this fall. Much thanks for your continued support of Friends of DuPont and DuPont State Recreational Forest.
Former President, Board of Directors
Friends of DuPont Forest