Singletrack Mind Initiative
In 2004, SORBA-Chattanooga reviewed the state of mountain biking in the greater Chattanooga area and found there was less than 7 miles of singletrack trail open to mountain bikers. To remedy this SORBA Chattanooga developed its Singletrack Mind Initiative. Through the Initiative we seek to increase the quantity and quality of sustainable singletrack trails. The goal is to access (open or build) 100 miles of trails to mountain biking in the greater Chattanooga area by the end of 2010.
The goal is a lofty one, but with the help of volunteers like you we can prove to land managers that mountain bikers are conservationists, and are concerned about preserving the environment while making low-cost, high benefit use of the land. By engaging land managers and volunteering to maintain the trails, SORBA-Chattanooga has been opening up mountain bike opportunities.
Not only are we opening up existing trails to mountain biking, but we are securing permission to build new trails, using the latest trail building techniques to ensure the trails will be sustainable for generations to come. SORBA-Chattanooga has already achieved great successes and through various agreements with land managers was able to open approximately 20 miles of mountain bike accessible trails in the Chattanooga-area since our initiative began.
Success at Booker T. Washington State Park
- SORBA-Chattanooga continues to improve the trails at Booker T. Washington State Park.
Before SORBA-Chattanooga entered into a trail maintenance agreement with Booker T. Washington State Park, it had two short trail totaling about 3.5 miles in length. Both trails had sustainability issues, and the nature trail had been closed for months due to the amount of downed trees across the trail. After adopting the trails SORBA-Chattanooga set about rehabbing them by clearing all of the downed trees and fixing or rerouting sections of trail that were not sustainable. At the same time the trails were connected into a single unified loop. The final project saw the addition of two miles of trail to the loop and construction of five new bridges. The costs of the entire project, including several thousands of dollars needed to construct the bridges and lease trail building equipment was covered by SORBA-Chattanooga.
Success at Raccoon Mountain
- Raccoon Mt Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, opening 17.5 miles of new singletrack.
On July 17th, 2005, SORBA-Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) entered into a land contract allowing SORBA-Chattanooga to build and maintain mountain bike accessible trails on Raccoon Mountain. Phase I of the project called for the construction of 15 to 20 miles of trail to be built on the top of the mountain, with the possibility of constructing additional trail during future phases. Our volunteers have completed Phase I opening 22 miles of new singletrack. The trail system has already achieved great praise and was featured in Bike magazine. TVA just approved the construction of the Phase II trail, which will add and additional 7.5 miles of trial. It is expected, when all Phases are completed the trial will contian approximately 40 miles of mountian biking trail that will also be open to hiking. All of this was accomplished without costs to TVA.
Success at Harrison Bay State Park
- SORBA-Chattanooga turnpiked a mile of trail at Harrison Bay State Park. For before and after pictures see: b&a #1, b&a #2, and b&a #3
For years the trail at Harrison Bay State Park has been plagued with major mud issues as a result of the relative flat topography, the park’s attempts to “fix” muddy areas by applying wood chips, which exacerbated the problem, and continued trail use during wets condition. To address the worst mud puddles we opted to construct several turnpikes to raise the trail bed above the surrounding area, so water could drain off the trail bed following rains. This was accomplished by digging drainage ditches to allow the existing puddles to drain and then using wheelbarrows to bring in crush-and-run to create the turnpike. SORBA-Chattanooga plans to meet with park officials in the future to discuss the possibility of board walking the remaining sections of trail in areas where it is either impossible or not practical to turnpike.
Success at Enterprise South Nature Park
SORBA-Chattanooga recently reached an agreement with Hamilton County to construct 10 miles of trail at Enterprise South Nature Park. Construction began in January 2009 and continues as the County continues to build additional amenities for the park’s projected opening in early 2011. After SORBA-Chattanooga completes the initial 10 miles of trail it is hoped that we will be given permission to construct up to an additional 20 miles bringing the total potential miles of singletrack to 30 miles at this site.
We have had some outstanding trail successes in the past year, however our volunteers continue to seek out additional trail opportunities. Presently, our volunteers are working with Outdoor Chattanooga, the Lula Lake Land Trust and Georgia DNR to re-open the currently closed 5-Points trail system near Cloudland Canyon. Additionally, our volunteers continue to meet with area land managers to discuss constructing new trails on public parcels throughout the region, including; Enterprise South in East Chattanooga, North Chickamauga State Park in Soddy-Daisy, and land throughout the Tennessee River Gorge.