In 2011, Alabama’s Lake Guntersville State Park was among the regions hit by the historic three waves of twisters to touch down that spring, causing billions of dollars in damage. Three years later, IMBA Trail Solutions is on the ground, working to cut a gateway trail through the tornado-devastated area, adding to the park’s extensive network.
In a partnership with the state park, SORBA and IMBA have coordinated over 400 volunteer hours toward constructing this 3.5-mile loop that will be ride-ready this coming spring. There are over 30 miles of trail already in in use at Lake Guntersville, but as Trail Solutions’ lead on the project, Rich Edwards notes, “the current trails don’t provide great opportunity of a challenging nature.”
The new gateway trail is in its first phase and aims to bring in intermediate- to advanced-level features using rock, wood and the steep terrain while adding traditional singletrack elements as well as flow. It’s all accessible from the main lodge, and once complete, it will provide a way to circumnavigate the golf course via trail, as well as link to a bigger day’s adventure. But it’s got some hidden “features,” too.
Through this project, the Trail Solutions team has been working to help mentor local volunteers and state park staff. This way, the proven techniques on trail cutting, machine building, and hand finishing will be spread throughout Alabama and beyond. IMBA is pleased to be hosting two trail-building interns from Argentina — Alejandro (from Córdoba) and Daniel (from Patagonia) — and training them in the art of trail design and construction. They travelled a long way to be here, driving 24 hours just to reach their first flight. They are with IMBA for four months, learning as much as they can about trail building and advocacy so they can go back to Argentina and start digging. They have been a big part of this project, Duck River, and Coldwater Mountain.
This is a great example of a strong mountain bicycling community coming together to build something now, while investing in the trails of the future by igniting the imaginations and passions of the trail builders in its own backyard. IMBA is proud to partner with these amazing volunteers and the dedicated staff at Lake Guntersville State Park.