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February South Central Region News

Arkansas State Parks Moving Dirt

Arkansas State Parks—Lake Ft. Smith and Wooly Hollow–both have MTB trail projects in progress. Lake Ft Smith has completed 3.5 miles of a proposed 10-mile trail, set to open late 2014. Wooly Hollow Park has completed 3 miles of a proposed 8-9 mile trail. Both trails are being built using IMBA standards (recently adopted at State level) and follow other AR State Parks with MTB trails, such as Hobbs, Pinnacle Mountain, Devils Den and DeGray Lake, providing great riding experiences for park visitors. Even more State Parks are coming on board in the near future for trail development.

Mt. Kessler Trails Purchased for Regional Park

The City of Fayetteville, AR, has partnered with the Walton Family Foundation to purchase more than 300 acres next to a proposed regional park, at a cost of about $3 million. This property has been in foreclosure from a failed Southpass Development Project through Chambers Bank. Trails have been built over the years by IMBA chapter Ozark Off Road Cyclists (OORC), consisting of 9-10 miles of sweet, technical, hand-cut singletrack, considered some of the best grassroots trails in this region.

Throughout negotiations for this 50/50 matching agreement, the City of Fayetteville has worked behind the scene to solicit OORC to build additional trails, including a beginner-friendly system tying into the adjacent regional park being developed. This "saving" of Mt Kessler has been a collaborative effort between Frank Sharps, Mt Kessler Greenway, OORC, Fayetteville Natural Heritage Society, City of Fayetteville, and now the Walton Family Foundation. A huge victory for all parties involved, and the community, which can enjoy this trail system for future generations.

Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Trails Nearly Complete!

Phase 1 and 2 of the Upper Buffalo MTB trails on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land next to the Buffalo National River has been completed. This project partnered the Walton Family Foundation, IMBA chapter Ozark Off Road Cyclists (OORC), Progressive Trail Design and the USFS. The trail system consists of 19+ miles of fresh cut contour flow trails, plus 12-13 miles of refurbished singletrack built by local homesteaders and OORC members in years past. A recent OORC members only-ride drew 95 participants and showcased this incredible, lush trail system. Contractual agreements have been met for phase 1 and 2, planning is on the table for phase 3 in the near future, which will consist of trailheads, parking, and potentially, additional trails, hopefully pushing the Upper Buffalo towards IMBA Epic status. Public access should open in mid-2014.

Syllamo Benefits from IMBA Trail Care Crew Love

The Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew (TCC) of Jesse and Lori, along with South Central Regional Director Steve Schneider, converged on IMBA Epic trails in Mt View, AR, the weekend of Feb. 1 to bring love and volunteers out to the Syllamo trails (photo above), which were decimated by a recent ice storm, logging and a lack of attention. IMBA RD Schneider helped form the new Friends at Syllamo Trails volunteer organization (soon to be IMBA Chapter), and solicited help from many Mt View businesses, County Judge Stacey Avey, USFS District Ranger Jim McCoy, Syllamo Ranger Jay Swafford and others to pull together more than 80 volunteers to give some love to Syllamo.

The three days on site went smoothly; more than 50 people participated in the TCC classroom presentation, while others donated time to cook food, provide support, work on more than 15 miles of trail, and provide bluegrass music and massages for weary volunteers. All of the new, area IMBA chapters were represented: OORC, CATA (Central Arkansas Trail Alliance), MORC (Midwest Off-Road Cyclists), FAST (Friends At Slaughter Pen Trails), as well as Wes Wright, Denny Hess and Andrea Wilson, key members of Friends at Syllamo. Syllamo will have monthly scheduled work weekends to help keep these trails "Epic."

--- Steve Schneider, IMBA South Central Region Director

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