Trails, trails, trails

By Scott Winans
President, COPMOBA


Trails, trails trails – they’re what we’re drawn to, and what serve as the most basic part of this mountain biking experience.

Where did they come from? How do they get here? They don’t just happen on their own, of that you can be sure.

The great resource of trails that we enjoy in the Grand Valley has come about due to the efforts of a large number of people. The Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) is our local organization that promotes and coordinates volunteer mountain bike trail building and maintenance activities around the area.

We work closely with many partners — public land agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, local municipalities, and various other entities, to create as many and as varied an array of new routes as possible.

It’s not a quick process — most times, as there are many steps and requirements that must be met to get a trail from the idea stage to on the ground. But this is a process that COPMOBA is committed to.

This “Ride” publication highlights the local mountain biking opportunities ranging from beginner to the most advanced skill level trails we have available. COPMOBA is proud to have aided in the creation of many of these trails, and we invite you to get involved in the process.

There are many ways to participate in creating new trails. For 2012, we will begin holding regular group meetings to help make clear the activities that are already planned, and give everyone an easier opportunity to take part in current and future efforts. Visit our webpage, http://www.copmoba.org, to find up to date information on trail activities for the coming year, and to join COPMOBA as a member.

Looking back over 2011, and forward for this year, there have been many projects completed and many more beginning this spring. This past year saw the completion of new routes all across the valley.

The Palisade Rim Trail was completed to the first phase, with a second and longer loop to be constructed this year.

The North Fruita Desert (NFD)received its first new trail in many years. The town of Fruita has jumped on board with COPMOBA to promote new trail construction in the NFD area, and three more routes are in the planning process and will be started this coming Spring.

A new skills development trail at the NFD campground area is also slated, with generous support from our local REI and the Junior Service League.

A new route on the Grand Mesa, the Mesa Top Trail, was started, and this year will see its completion by connecting to the Flowing Park trail.

In the center of the valley, the Tabeguache area saw the completion of a connector in the Gunny Loop trail network.

But perhaps the most unique project occurring in the valley this year is the Three Sisters Park project, spearheaded by the Mesa Land Trust. COPMOBA is partnering in this project, with the aim of aiding in raising funds for the property purchase as well as creating beginner-oriented trails on the roughly 130 acres of land.

This special property, adjacent to the Lunch Loops area, will be a tremendous addition to our community. Please take a moment to visit the Mesa Land Trust site at http://www.mesalandtrust.org/ThreeSisters.htm to learn more about this effort.

COPMOBA also has chapters and associated groups in communities outside of the Grand Valley. In the Montrose and Ridgway areas this year we received a visit from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Trail Care Crew — which shares trail-building information and skills. The Ridgway Area Trails (RAT) group, with the support of the Montrose COPMOBA chapter, sponsored its first RAT Fest and completed the new McCloud Nine Trail in Ridgway. This enthusiastic Ridgway group also established their own COPMOBA chapter this year. In Montrose this past year, the chapter created the new Cerise Pump Track, and continued work on the Buzzard Gulch trails into 2012.

Considering the broad range of trail users of all types in the Grand Junction area, and looking forward toward future trail planning needs, COPMOBA is partnering this year with the BLM in the creation of a new trails organization.

This will be called the Grand Valley Trails Alliance (GVTA), and will focus on aligning broad support among the larger community for trail development, as well as establishing a support structure for shepherding new trail ideas to completion. This group will assist trail user groups of all types, including motorized users, so a new stage in community trail development is on the horizon.

Many new mountain bike trails are already planned. However, these trails won’t get created without volunteer work. Take the initiative, join COPMOBA, and add your efforts to the process.

There are many aspects to creating a new trail, and not all of them include digging in the dirt. No matter what your strengths, we’re happy to hear from you if you’re interested in creating mountain bike trails.

See you out on the trail!

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