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Great Lakes MTB Summit, the beginning of something big!

Great Lakes, Great Trails

Our region is known for many things like large bodies of freshwater, dying steel belt cities, and iconic sports franchises.  Those who live here know of the hidden gems, some that were formed millions of years ago and many are in the works as we speak.  The IMBA Great Lakes Region, comprised of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan (lower), formed in January 2012, is on the verge of being know for one more thing, Great Trails!

At least that is our vision, which you must have guiding you into the future.  The 2013 Great Lakes MTB Summit in Nashville, Indiana focused on how we elevate our current trails, build new destinations, and grow the capacity and power of our local groups in order to get closer to that goal, being known as a region with great trails.

The weekend was not only a complete success but proved that the power of getting like minded individuals in the same room sharing successes and best practices can inspire and ignite action back home.   With key guests from across the region and North America supporting the effort we discussed fundraising strategies, effective land manager agreements, destination trails, advanced trail building, riding skills, and building better clubs.  IMBA Trail Solution’s Chris Bernhardt and Aaron Rodgers, in addition to numerous other professional trail builders were on site to assist as well.  Most of all, we rode some awesome trails, met some great people, learn a lot, and had a lot of fun. That is why we are in this game right?

Brown County, Indiana is becoming a hot bed for outdoor recreation in the Midwest and the entire community is embracing it making for a great location to host this year’s event.  We can thank enough the support from the local sponsors and stakeholders like the Seasons Lodge, Spectrum Trail Design, Upland Trail Design, Dirt Artisans, Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Big Woods Brewery, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Sub 9 Productions.

Thank you to everyone who attended, including the 25 land managers who came on Friday from across the region.  Your efforts, energy, and passion are what make this sport, these trails, my job, and IMBA so great.

While we may not be there just yet, the Great Lakes MTB Summit brought us one step closer to our goal, Great Lakes, Great Trails.  Be on the lookout for some big projects coming soon!

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