President Eric Epley and his fellow members of Flagler Area Biking (FAB) know what it feels like to take their lumps along the way in vying for access for mountain bike trails. It takes a great deal of planning, foresight, dialing, door-knocking, meeting-attending, negotiating, researching, proving, and sweating to do all it takes behind-the-scenes to get sanctioned, well-built trails on the ground. Most of us who enjoy the fruits of such labor are completely unaware of the level of commitment and hard work a few dedicated individuals put in so we can have great trails to ride.
On the other side of that effort are the land managers responsible for the properties on which we want to put trails. FAB has been working with Flagler County for the past year to get to this weekend, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Mala Compra Trail. FAB signed a memorandum of understanding with Flagler County earlier this year, in which each party outlined their commitments and responsibilities for making the trails sustainable and successful. The club has provided planning, man hours, and education, and the county has provided infrastructure, materials, and signage. They have created a great partnership that we hope will continue to flourish and we are confident will prove to be mutually beneficial.
To help kickoff the grand opening event at Mala Compra, FAB arranged for a Trail Care Crew visit, which included a land manager training session and an all-day Saturday trail building school. Attendees of each session learned about sustainable trail design and construction, maintenance, user management, and how to contend with the sandy soils in the area. On Saturday afternoon, for the field portion of the trail building school, volunteers worked on rock-armoring 3 sections of the black-diamond Cloud 9 loop. Check out pictures of the project here.
Of course, keeping things fun and social is important to a successful club and cycling community as well. The club held social dinners throughout the weekend, as well as a cookout and raffle for the grand opening on Sunday. The mountain biking community really came together and rallied around this great weekend.
We had a great time being a part of this event, and we look forward to hearing about progress in Flagler County’s mountain biking and ecotourism scene. We know that Flagler Area Biking will continue to make very worthy contributions, and we commend Flagler County for recognizing the value mountain biking trails add to a community.
Special thanks to Dominic’s Deli for sponsoring lunch for Saturday, CVS for providing water for volunteers, Bicycle Doctor for providing items for raffle and other support, and Florida Family Dentistry for providing breakfast for Saturday’s class. We would also like to thank Josh and Lory Frankenberry for opening their home to us.
FAB would also like to thank the following supporters:
Hopefully, we haven’t left anyone out!
See our picture slideshow below. Click on it to open it in Flickr! and view it outside of slideshow view in order to see captions.