It was some kind of nightmare.
Which isn’t there.
Next thing you know, you somehow find yourself riding JEM, looking to hit More Cowbell, Deadringer, Goosebumps, and Crypto.
What the . . . ?
They’ve disappeared, except for what looks like a bunch of cow trails.
You then decide to go check out the new trail, Wire Mesa, which you’ve heard is super fun. You drive past the Gooseberry turn-off. And drive. And drive. And drive. And the next thing you know, you’re headed down Crybaby Hill and into Grafton.
What. Is. Going. On?
You startle awake, wondering if that was really a dream. Or was it the reality of mountain biking in Southern Utah only six years ago.
Where did all the latest trails go?
Where did all these trails even come from?
Our local organization, the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association (DMBTA), a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), is a key reason Washington County is such a great place to ride!
Started in 2009 by Cimarron Chacon, the DMBTA was a response to the Travel Management Plan–which has the BLM assessing all 2100 miles of trails (of any kind) in our area. Cimarron, president of the DMBTA for its first three years, also wrote the non-motorized trail proposal that was submitted to the BLM (with over 100 support letters from the Wilderness Society, local bike shops, business people, individuals from our county, and visitors who come here to bike). Cimarron says, “This plan . . . has helped make it possible for the continued partnership [with the BLM] to make new trails.” Thank you Cimarron!
When Lukas Brinkerhoff (Red Rock Store Manager) became president of the DMBTA in 2011, the DMBTA adopted the slogan “Build. Maintain. Ride.”, which will continue to be DMBTA’s focus going forward.
And in the last six years, the DMBTA has built many trails, including Deadringer, More Cowbell, Goosebumps, Cryptobionic, Kentucky Lucky Chicken, and Wire Mesa. Many of these trails have been created by volunteers, too many to name, who’ve put in 100’s of hours. They don’t just magically appear.
For example, Kentucky Lucky Chicken took a year to build, completely volunteer, with Lukas often spending up to twenty hours per week on the trail: pick axing, shoveling, digging, moving rock, and other types of heavy labor to get that trail done.
Another hard-working volunteer is Mitch Curwen (Red Rock Inventory Manager), who has been working on Barrel Ride for the last while, as well as putting in massive hours on other trails in efforts to make them more fun, more rideable, and stay maintained.
Kevin Christopherson, who will be president of DMBTA starting in July, has also volunteered hundreds of hours to build and maintain trails, including being instrumental in getting our latest trail–Wire Mesa–built, from the embryo stage to its full adult status. He spent hours on trail design, planning, flagging the trail (5-6 hours per day of weeks), helping figure out the archeological and biological impacts of the trail on the locale, supervision of trail crews . . . in fact, while the trail was built by ACE crew (paid), the DMBTA had someone out there (often Kevin) supervising the crew 8-10 hrs per day for two months (volunteer).
And Wire Mesa is a perfect example of why we need to pay people to build and maintain trails.
Wire Mesa—about 7 miles of trail—took about two months to be built, after the initial flagging process (and they stopped counting flags after 5000 went in, most of which were moved at least once). And while they used 100’s of volunteer hours to flag, flag, and flag again, the BLM paid a crew to do the actual building of the trail in two months: the digging, shoveling, sawing, pick axing, and other labor that goes in to a good trail. All of which required more hours of volunteer time for supervision of the awesome trail crews.
In comparison, Kentucky Lucky Chicken—about four miles of trail—took a year of hard labor with a small volunteer crew, including many local riders and even a crew from The Flying Monkeys, but more often just a crew of one—Lukas (thank you, Lukas!).
So the trail, which was slated to be an advanced-intermediate trail, became an expert trail, because the DMBTA just didn’t have the volunteer power to build KLC as originally planned.
By now, you may be asking how our area compares to other mountain bike destinations in Utah with building and maintaining (because clearly: we’ve got the riding)?
Not so great: Moab has two full-time build/maintain people; Park City has four full-time build/maintain people. We have . . . zero. And that just isn’t doable anymore, according to Kevin, especially for the long term.
The DMBTA has some big plans for our area’s future. And Lukas and Kevin are super stoked about the support for new trails, from both the county and cities, the BLM, locals, and visitors to our area.
But the DMBTA needs you:
- They need your skills
- You write? They need a newsletter!
- You love Facebook? Update DMBTA’s page with photos and coolness.
- You love to dig? Come out and build or maintain something during DMBTA work days.
- You like calendars? Update our calendar.
- You like parties? Throw a DMBTA party.
- They need your money
- They need your input
- When the Travel Management Plan goes through, the DMBTA needs you to give input on the plan and mountain bike trails.
Those of us who benefit from the mountain bike trails in Washington County (and surrounding counties like Iron, Escalante, and Kanab, which all have DMBTA chapters), need to step up and help build and maintain them. It’s valuable to all of us to make sure the trails are maintained, and that we continue getting new, rad trails. DMBTA is the way to make that happen.
As Kevin says, “We are in a mountain biking renaissance in Washington County.” More and more people are riding our trails as word gets out that Saint George is a great place to ride, and we have gotten to the place, really, where we cannot be a volunteer-only trail building and maintaining organization. Not only that, he says, “We need to make sure everything is in place going forward, for the future of mountain biking in our area.” Our future!
You wake with a start, realizing you just had a nightmare, a nightmare where all the trails built by DMBTA in the last six years had disappeared! Thankfully, that’s not the case.
Thanks for the DMBTA you think, as you load up your bike, get all your gear, fill your Osprey with water, stash your Pink Lemonade Stingers, and head out to Kentucky Lucky Chicken.
Written by Summer Barry