Seven years ago, mountain biking at Fort Yargo State Park was restricted to sewer lines and old maintenance roads. But, a lot has changed since 2004 thanks to Steve and Randy Gordon, two local mountain bikers who wanted to see better mountain biking at the park. With their leadership, YABA, the Yargo Area Biking Association, has developed a model relationship with Georgia State Parks and the rangers at Fort Yargo State Park.
The Gordon brothers and their YABA crew started by asking park rangers like Doug Chambers how they could help. They offered their services and pledged to work together with park managers to consider environmental concerns and different trail users, and promised that singletrack trails would bring new users and much needed revenue into the park.
Over the last seven years, the partnership has resulted in almost 20 miles of new, super flowy singletrack trails. Because of this effort, Fort Yargo State Park has moved from the bottom of the list to the top as one of the top revenue producing parks in the state of Georgia.
While the majority of the trail that YABA has built is sustainable, well constructed, and has a groomed-like quality, there are a few older sections that YABA would like to improve. (The trail, though, is an incredibly fun ride. It's a 13-mile roller coaster through pines and along the lake -- highly recommended if you're in the Atlanta area!)
For the weekend’s project, we focused on improving a 400’ section of fall-line trail. On Saturday, February 19, YABA and Fort Yargo State Park hosted the Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilding School and successfully convened trail users from the Georgia Tech Mountain Biking Club, SORBA Athens, and several other community groups. After our morning classroom session, we headed out into the field to turn 400’ of old fall-line trail into 700’ of new sustainable contour singletrack (that's the beauty of sustainable reroutes -- you end up with more mileage!). In three hours, 30 volunteers completed the project and created a fun, sustainable alternative to the old rutted and washed out trail.
The new section of trail was a highlight for all of the trail volunteers who came out for the Sunday group ride. Check out the slideshow below for some pictures of the project and one lucky volunteer who made first tracks on the new trail.