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IMBA Great Lakes Chapter Summit 2012 at Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center!

The IMBA Great Lakes Summit was held on June 8th 2012 in Crosby, MN.

We had 28 folks attend.  The Chapters that were represented were, MORC, CUYUNA LAKES, COGGS, COPPER HARBOR, CAMBA, SUPER CYCLING and WOOLLY.  In addition we also had LAMBA (from Cedar Rapids, IA) who just applied to become a Chapter and also a prospective club from Grand Rapids, MN attend the Summit as well.  The stated goal for attendance was quality not quantity and my original number in my head was 20.

Chapters that were not able to attend were.  CITA, METRO, Southern Kettles, KORC and Central Wisco.

The Summit opened up much as it did last summer in Copper Harbor.  We had each club that was present, stand up and report on what they are up to and what they are focused on this season.  As usual it was pretty astounding to hear about all the great work that is going on across the region.  We also had open questions for each Chapter at the end of their presentations.  To end this session we had Ride Center Reports from both the Copper Harbor Trails Club (Aaron Rogers) and the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Club (Aaron Hautula) as well.  Both these clubs and their trail systems exemplify quality mountain bike destinations in our region and it was really cool to hear how they are leveraging the Ride Center designation to both keep improving their systems and in maintaining them.

Perhaps the most important session of the Summit was moderated by IMBA RD Andy Williamson.  We literally asked our Chapters what they wanted to accomplish in the next five years in the Midwest Region.  Each participant was asked to jot down their ideas on a slip of paper and we then broke into small groups and prioritized them, aggregating them into a solid list at the end of the session.  I (as RD) was also able to present my ideas to the group.  Interestingly enough each group and myself included, had a lot of constructive overlap.  I can honestly say that this session started with a room full of individual clubs, but finished with a unified room of IMBA clubs that were galvanized as a team to accomplish some big picture goals in the region.

The final session of the Summit was on how to use professional contractors to build sustainable mountain bike trail systems.  We had a great panel to do this, including Aaron Rogers of the Copper Harbor Trails Club and also an IMBA employee.  We also had Reed Smidt who is both a MORC board member and also a Land Manager for the city of Woodbury.  Lastly we had Ryan Lieske who is MORCs current leader.  Pro-Trail builder Tim Wegner was also invited but was unable to attend due to some last minute schedule changes.  This was a great panel as it had a pro builder, a club leader who has used pro builders and also a land manager who has used Federal RTP funds to fund his project.  A lot of good questions were asked and a lot of great answers were given and I felt the goal of the session (to educate clubs on the process of using pro trail builders) was achieved.

We ended the day with a group ride on the awesome Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center Trails.  Then we mobbed Ya Betcha's in Crosby for dinner and drinks!  Home of the 8pm happy hour 2 for 1 specials!  Beware!

Thanks to all those IMBA Chapters that attended and I look forward to working for you in the future!




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