Segments 2,3 and 5 will open late August or early September, and Segments 1 and part of 4 will be constructed and open this Fall. However, we discussed and decided on names for all the trails to make sure the right names got on the right trails. Here they are:
Seg 1: [Kids Trail]: Quality Time. Trail description will make clear that intended for beginners and kids. Will have skills features intended for those groups as well as more advanced riders.
Seg 2 [Green Trail Out of Parking Area]: Primary Goods. John Rawls was a famous philosopher who penned A Theory of Justice in the early 1970s. Rawls conceptualized primary goods are those goods that are most representative of citizens’ fundamental interests.
Seg 3, 4, 5 [Green Loop]: Bimini. Juan Ponce de León and his search for the Fountain of Youth included references to Bimini. Native South American peoples, such as the Arawak, told him of a land called “Bimini” where the fountain could be found.
Seg 6 [Green Climb]: Doughboy. Homage to Fort Benning and the term’s usage in reference to members of the Army.
Seg 7 [Green Gravity]: The Bug. A popular form of gambling when Phenix City was Sin City. As in, “catch the bug.”
Seg 8-11 [Inner Blue Loop]: See See Rider. Homage to Columbusite Ma Rainey, who originally recorded See See Rider in the 1920s.
Seg 13-16 [Outer Blue Loop]: Lonely Hunter. Homage to Columbusite Carson McCullers and her work, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
Seg 12 [Blue Connector]: Tie Snake. Chattahoochee’s Loch Ness Monster
Seg 17 [black; after the tornado this trail may become a bit more handcut/traditional trail. Picturing hand built, exposed, and steeper where we can do it.]: Stockade. Stockade Blues is famous song by Columbus native Thomas P. Darby; picked up by soldiers across the world.
Seg 18 [blue; flowiest, we will ultimately strive to have a trail with little pedaling and plenty of air time available, though it won’t be a full-on jump trail]: Swavey’s. Swavey’s was the first flight school in Columbus in the 1930s.
Seg 19 [blue; enduro, rocks, some climbing; keep it narrow and lots of rock booters and drops]: Ironclad. Homage to ironclad ships and Columbus’ place in the naval history of the Civil War.
Seg 20 [black; same as Seg 19 except black]: Bless Your Heart.
Seg 21 [black; the one that gets all the pics, a short run with hopefully big options]: Sittin’ Pretty.
I feel like I need to address what’s going on at Standing Boy the next month or so (hopefully we’ll be open by early September and the worries contained in this post will be behind us).
As you probably saw in the paper, RJ Ripper (see here) is riding out there this weekend with some NICA kids and the people that have most consistently come to trail workdays. I asked some people to give me input on who’s invited, but I’m sure the list is not perfect. I apologize for that.
In order to do the ride, I had go back and forth with DNR and get a permission letter that stipulates the conditions of the ride (including a limit on the number of riders). I also had to work through things with Trail Solutions, who had concerns. I’m also really nervous about parking (cause there ain’t hardly any right now). But, Trees Columbus (who puts on the film festival) has had my back on this project for years, and now it’s my turn to have theirs. I’m more than happy to do that for them, because that’s how partnerships/friendships work.
Beyond that, I have an understanding with DNR and Trail Solutions that I can take people out there to ride for the purpose of helping raise the rest of the funds we need to complete Phase 2.
The goal for phase 2 includes, in order of importance, segments:
- 13-16 (portion of outer blue loop)
- 6, 7 (climb and green gravity)
- 8, 9, and 12 (some of inner blue and rest of outer blue)
- 18 (blue gravity, but we have to get a team of sawyers to deal with tornado damage first)
Total cost for all that is $800,000 (not including the sawyers).
I’m currently signing a contract for 13-16 only. We’re going to have about $300K left after Phase 1, and segments 13-16 alone cost about $450K (it’s a lot of mileage).
Committing with only a $150K shortage is less of a pinch-squeeze that I’ve run on this project in the past, but I’m trying to decrease rather than increase the amount of sleep I lose over this project. While I think we can raise a lot more than $150K this fall, I don’t want to make a promise to my friends at Trail Solutions that rests on raising more than that.
The main purpose of the contract is to go ahead and get on their construction schedule before they get booked up. It will also allow them to achieve some costs savings by planning further in advance. Hopefully, we will keep amending the contract to add more trail as we raise more money. The green climb and green gravity are $150K, and I really, really want to get those done in early 2020.
All that is to say that I’m not out there joyriding and treating it like my own personal trail system. I’m normally taking people that have not mountain biked very much at all, but that can help me find the money for Phase 2 if they get excited about the project. Often, I’m not even on a bike. I’m walking the trails with people that don’t ride and aren’t yet ready to try it out.
I desperately want to get the trail system open to everyone, if only for selfish reasons. Right now, there is nothing more fun than seeing the smiles and hearing the comments when people see the trails.
Trail Solutions is building back towards the parking lot. I am pushing hard on signage, kiosk, etc. so that we can open the trails as soon as they connect to the parking lot. I am really anxious and excited for everyone to be able to ride. The second I am able to do so, I’ll put out the word to come ride.
Unfortunately, until then there are a number of reasons I have to insist everyone stay off the trails. DNR has not given us permission to open the trails, and we don’t want to damage the relationship and trust I’ve worked so hard to build over the past few years. Those trails are still a construction zone, and Trail Solutions has OSHA and insurance issues they have to deal with (that’s why the guys wear hardhats while cutting roots with clippers in the 95 degree heat). Also, there is no parking currently.
Small game season is getting ready to open, which means DNR and hunters are going to be out there at even more random times. And, DNR is walking the trails pretty regularly to monitor construction and progress. I really, really don’t need a DNR officer coming across you illegally riding the trails or a hunter snapping a picture and sending it up to Atlanta. Also, if you’re parked on Old River Road (or in back of Green Island) I’m going to get a text from the neighbors (I’ve asked, and it’s going to include a tag number). Not only is it going to be really unpleasant to have to call people out, it’s also going to take time and energy away from raising the funds for Phase 2. Please, please, please don’t make me get these texts and phone calls.
I expect a lot of people will think this post was a bad idea, but I prefer being transparent and hope that transparency will encourage people to stay off the trails. Once the trails are open, there’s going to be a lot of ways for everyone to pitch in (and everyone is going to need to pitch in). However, until the trails are open, by far the most important thing you can do to help me make all this a reality is to stay off the trails. I know it’s tempting, and I really appreciate your discipline and patience.
The Trail Solutions guys have been hard at work building trail since early June. We are still on schedule to open segments 1 – 5 this year, with a portion opening sometime in early September. I am really, really, really excited to have some completed and open trail.
UNTIL THE TRAILS ARE OFFICIALLY OPEN, PLEASE STAY OFF THE TRAILS. They are still a construction area, using uncompacted trails can damage them (longer until completion; more costly to construct), and DNR has not officially sanctioned opening of the trails (please don’t damage the relationship we have worked so hard to build by being selfish and impatient). Thank you!
I took a bad fall off the bike May 30th and ended up having surgery on my leg. I’m pretty healed up now, but it slowed down some of the “administrative stuff.” The final, 100% approved Master Plan is up on the website and the trail map has been updated (no significant changes). I am waiting on a contract to build more beginning January 2020. I have several fundraising meetings coming up over the next few weeks. More on that soon.
Thanks for everyone’s continued interest and support!
My apologies for the long silence. I promise you we’ve been working. As we head into construction of the trails, the final fundraising push, and activating users, we’ll provide much more frequent updates here and on social media.
Trail Solutions came down shortly after the tornado damage. While it was bad in some areas, it’s thankfully not going to require any substantial reroute of the trail corridors that had already been flagged. A few weeks ago, DNR closed on a salvage contract with a timber company to come get all of the downed timber. This is a very positive development, as much of that downed timber would have been expensive and dangerous to remove with chainsaws as part of trail construction.
We’re pretty much there on the environmental and archeological surveys. Trail Solutions was in town this past week for the Georgia Trails Conference and looked at the only small reroute that will be required for the beginner trails (moving a small, couple hundred yard segment of trail a little bit uphill). Other than that, the only issue worth mentioning is some sensitive habitat at the end of segment #17. That can be rerouted as well, and we’ll address it in the fall.
I have the contract in hand for the construction of segments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. #1 is the kids/super-beginner trail and then #2-5 will form what is known as a lasso or lollipop. It will be around 6 miles of beginner trail.
I’ve got the contract out to the Steering Committee, Fund Advisors, and DNR for comments and hope to sign the middle of next week. Trail Solutions is in Anniston, AL right now and will be coming down after they finish there. They should be here end of this month or early June, and hopefully these segments will be complete by early- to mid-July. The Fund has the money to pay for the construction of these segments.
It remains the goal to build the other 19 miles of trail this fall and early 2020, but that’s going to require more fundraising. We need $1.75 million and have around $750K (many thanks to those that have already contributed). Once I get the Master Plan this coming week, we are going to begin the final fundraising push (and we’ll start updating the thermometer on the homepage). The Master Plan will not affect the layout of the trails. It is essentially a 30 to 40ish-page document that addresses technical specifications, maintenance, and management. I’m confident it’s going to be an impressive document and help with fundraising.
Thanks for everyone’s continued interest and support.
More green trails like this, except a lot more and even better. And lots and lots of kids and beginners riding them. These little riders are pre-k and 1st grade.