The already fantastic mountain biking scene continues to improve across Arkansas. Earlier last week I had the opportunity to ride out at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock with several friends and some of the Arkansas National Guard leadership. It was a great ride with a couple of bike shop owners, John Barton of JBar Cycling, Scott Penrod and Laura Wooldridge of the Central Arkansas Velo mountain bike team plus several board members of the Central Arkansas Trail Alliance. Bryan and Melissa Shipman organized the ride. Some fun riding on the great trails and interesting conversation leads me to believe that the hierarchy out at Camp Robinson is looking to partner with the mountain biking/trail running/hiking community to improve the trails on camp and access to them. Two days later word came that a major improvement was being made to the hours available for purchasing the sportsman pass needed to access the trails. Read more about it here. It was great news going into a big trails weekend.
Now for the New Trails!
Arkansas State Parks, a supporter of mountain biking in The Natural State for over 26 years, dedicated two new mountain bike trails this weekend as part of their observance of National Trails Day. The first happened around 10 am at Lake Fort Smith State Park where the Boston Mountain Multi-Use trail was officially opened. Currently, the trail is just over 4 miles long but a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service will allow for much more trail in the future. The trail was built by state park staff with some direction from the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists.
At 11 am the dedication of the Enders Fault Mountain Bike Trail kicked off at Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier, Arkansas. This 9.2 mile multi-use trails was built with mountain bikers in mind. Speakers at the ceremony included Park Superintendent, Steve Wilson, Central Arkansas Trail Alliance President, Bruce Alt and State Parks Director, Greg Butts. A crowd of over 50 listened attentively as the speakers covered park history, trail design and sustainability, volunteerism and preserving these places for future generations.
Once the speeches were over everyone walked the 40 feet to the trailhead where a ribbon was cut making the trail officially open. At least 30 or 40 mountain bikers then took off to enjoy the trails while others stayed back to enjoy the refreshments provided by the park.
It was a hot humid day on the trail but the rain held off allowing for some fun casual riding.
We are lucky to have these kinds of facilities in Arkansas and beside riding these trails you can support them by joining the International Mountain Bicycling Association today. A portion of your membership fees will go to the very groups that work to maintain these trails, Central Arkansas Trail Alliance (CATA) and Ozark Off-Road Cyclists (OORC). Also a big thank you to parks staff Darin and Kelly who along with some other local mountain bikers cleared debris from the recent storms on Saturday morning before the big ride.