This post is long, but please take the time to read it. It’s taken almost four years, a couple thousand hours of time, and a lot of generously donated funds to get here. Before you enjoy the fruits of this labor and funding, I need you to take ten minutes to read this. The opening of the trails is definitely a time to celebrate, but there are some things all of us need to remember to help it be successful. Some important information is intentionally buried in here to encourage you to read.
If you feel that other users are interfering with your experience, please be patient. I don’t want people to conclude that multi-use trails don’t work when the real problem is a regional population of several hundred thousand and only 5-ish miles of trail. If the trails are too crowded, we should all be ecstatic that many people are using them. And, the solution should be to build more trails – not argue with each other.
There is going to be a learning curve for those who have not spent time on multi-use trails. As a mountain biker, whenever I come across a hiker or runner that reacts like I’m a charging bull, I know they haven’t spent much time on multi-use trails. With experienced hikers, runners, and riders, passing each other is almost always smooth and quick. Please be patient and open-minded as everyone learns. Multi-use trails work all over the world, and our trails were carefully constructed to facilitate usage by hikers, runners, and riders.
Beyond that, I don’t have all the answers. We may have to tweak management of the trails to optimize user experience. Maybe Bimini will ultimately need to be directional travel? Maybe we’ll need to consider some additional foot-traffic-only trail? We’ll figure out those sorts of things together and as we go, but I’ll be very hesitant to reach firm conclusions until the entire 25 miles is constructed and we see how it functions as a carefully designed system.
Whether you’re a hiker, runner, or rider, please take out your earbuds. You cannot be aware of your surroundings and considerate of other users if you can’t hear anything. Instead of music or podcasts, try listening to the sounds of the forest, your breath, and the sound of your feet or tires on the dirt.
We are working on getting the trails into commonly-used databases and apps, but all the trails will be signed and the kiosk will have a map by Sunday. Using 1706 Old River Road in googlemaps will pretty much get you there. Go north on River Road, turn left on Old River Road, cross Standing Boy Creek, and turn down the next gravel road on your left. The parking area, kiosk, and start of Primary Goods will be obvious.
This Website is not intended to help you figure out how to ride the trails. The map depcited here is the master plan map. This website is about getting the trails built. Use the typical resources (e.g., MTB Project or cvasorba.org for mountain biking) to see trail maps, etc. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel here.
The trails are closed for hunting until 10:00 AM each day until January 15th.
We’re working to get more parking, but in the meantime please bring some awareness to the parking situation. If the parking lot is filling up and your vehicle allows it, please look for a good place to park other than the graded spots. But, please don’t block the access road or get anywhere near the shoulder of Old River Road. Also, please send me pics of the full lot and overflowing cars.
Perhaps most importantly, DO NOT USE WET TRAILS! This applies to hikers, runners, and bikers – everyone. To begin with, we’ll post trail closures on Instagram and Facebook. Please go ahead and get in the habit of checking social media if it’s rained recently or we’re in freeze/thaw conditions. Closure of the trails is not a polite request; it’s in our Land Use Agreement with DNR. If you use the trails when they are closed, you will be trespassing. Note that we do not have the capacity to respond to messages about trail status. Please look at Instagram and Facebook.
The trails will be closed when they are wet enough that we’ll leave footprints or tire ruts – in other words, indentations in the trail surface. The reason is that the footprint or rut will collect water, which will make that portion of trail will stay wet longer, which will cause more footprints and ruts, which will lead to a big puddle in the trail, which will lead to people avoiding the puddle, which will widen the trail, which will just create a bigger puddle, and it will end up a big mess. Using wet trails is an incredibly selfish act that is disrespectful to all the effort and resources that have gone into constructing the trails as well as the time and energy of the volunteers that will have to clean up the mess.
Please do not take it upon yourself to “improve” the trail. However, please do help by taking the time to stop and clear limbs and branches off the trail. But beyond that, please leave the trail alone. If it’s not in the Master Plan, we don’t have permission to do it and it’s not right to do it. The time to do things beyond clearing the trail is on organized trail workdays (and we hope you’ll be willing to participate).
Everyone who has been involved with this project would love to hear your feedback. I’m happy to explain how the blue and black trails will compare to the green/beginner trails (e.g., they’ll be very different). And, I certainly want to know if mountain bikers aren’t making use of the site lines or if runners are using earbuds with the volume up so high they can’t hear anything. Please let us know your experiences and your thoughts.
If you are already an avid hiker, runner, or biker, please remember that the green trails are not about you. Personally, I too am most excited about the blue and black trails. But, we’re doing it right – which means building true green trails and building them first. Intermediate and advanced trails are coming.
I’m really, really excited about everyone seeing and using the trails. I hope you think they’re as fun and wonderful as I do. If you do, please donate using the “donate” tab at the top of the page so we can build the rest of the trails.
Thanks and I look forward to seeing you on the trails!