My name is Dillon Osleger. I am an earth scientist, an outdoor athlete, and a trail builder. My day job entails running an environmental trail stewardship nonprofit out of Santa Barbara, California: Sage Trail Alliance. I am also often found moonlighting at races and events as a trail runner, cyclist, and backcountry skier.
Much of my passion for the outdoors comes from the years I spent in academia, slowly studying changes in ecology and geology. This relationship has only been strengthened by the years I have spent interacting with nature as an athlete. If quarantine has taught me anything, it is discovering the magic and importance of those places closest to home. Whether these are the trails I am fortunate to have in my local mountains or the city parks out my front door, I have found an equal amount of tranquility and enjoyment in observing and being part of their nuances and patterns.
As I have pivoted in my lifestyle, I have observed not only my work, but my personal objectives change from broad academic environmental goals towards local changes that empower individuals and communities towards activism. Working with both cyclists and trail runners through Sage has provided perspective not only with regards to how much both communities care about taking care of their trails, but also how well the outdoors community as a whole can work together to create change.
If anything, I hope to instill a bond between all outdoor user groups to facilitate working together towards positive changes and public land protection. Much of this bond can be found in our common values as outdoor athletes, even more so this bond may be reinforced by finding common respect for our environments. Seeing every adventure outdoor as a chance to experience a story of environments gives us all the opportunity to shift focus from ourselves to the world at large. Every trail, path and track provides an opportunity to experience more than ourselves. Looking for the chapters of these stories — cultural shift, indigenous ownership, geology, ecology and climate effects among others — connects us to the land and our community at large, slowly providing impetus to create change.
Staying local may not have been a choice, but the opportunity to truly understand nature close to home has imparted a direction that will drive me far longer than this pandemic may last. Head to the below to learn more about trail stewardship, environmental activism, and how to get involved.
Sage Trail Alliance: http://www.sagetrail.org/