We try to tell stories on this blog, so here’s the story of your next vacation.
Come to Arkansas and do like us...ride over 60 unique miles of Arkansas singletrack in a week's time, and try your darndest find a foot of that trail that's not worth the rubber on your tires. Technical trails that whimper along limestone spines, milk gallon-size rocks jutting out of deciduous forest litter forcing you into an unwelcome game of Gopher, long-distance rolling contour singletrack accessible just far enough from civilization to make you double check your food supply. Why don’t more people think of Arkansas as one of the best mountain biking destinations in the US?
Not to mention successful advocacy, a reason why the trails even exist, and why we found ourselves at Devil's Den State Park this past weekend. Arkansas is home to some killer advocacy groups, notably the Ozark Off Road Cyclists (OORC) out of Fayetteville and Friends at Slaughter Pen Trail (FAST) out of Bentonville. These organizations are leading the way to develop Northwest Arkansas trails as community assets and tourist attractions. And the people are nice to us, and will very likely be nice to you too. In scientific terms, Arkansas has the highest concentration of nice people and sweet singletrack in the country. Look it up.
We got to work with OORC for the second time in two years, last time at Slaughter Pen. They have had ups and downs like every organization, but their key to success mirrors any other good organization’s best practices: capitalizing on incredible opportunity with a reasoned approach, growing partnerships, developing members, and keeping the focus on fun.
We’re already plotting our next vacation to Arkansas, the draw being the sum of the people, the trails and the landscape. We’d hit up IMBA Epics like The Womble and the Syllamo, but also revisit some of our new favorites like Bentonville’s Slaughter Pen system, Bella Vista’s Blowing Springs, Lake Fayetteville, Mt. Kessler trails and Devil’s Den’s Fossil Flats, trails at Eureka Springs’ Lake Leatherwood, not to mention the 30+ miles in the Buffalo River Headwaters, set to open to the public this summer.
Any other great ones to check out?