As a local supporter of the Maple Hill Trail project, a few guys from the shop and I had a fantastic opportunity take a guided tour of the constructed bits of the Maple Hill Trail at Markin Glen this afternoon.
Lemme tell you a little bit about it. For starters, there’s a good amount of elevation. If there’s a signature style associated with the guy building the trail it is that he tries to connect the highest point of the acreage with the lowest to make a long, wonderful run. And in this regard he has succeeded nicely. There are features foreign to those of us weaned on Custer and Yankee, specifically berms and table tops. When they’re ready for us, it’ll take a bit of riding (by, you know, bicycle riders) to beat down the earth and create the good line, but holy smokes! The groundwork is terrific.
One misunderstood or unknown fact about this trail is that it is it is almost entirely machine-built. Through significant fundraising efforts SWMMBA was able to hire a company to build the trail with some pretty darn heavy equipment. This is decidedly *not* a bunch of dudes (which, in my lexicon, is a gender/sex/whatever inclusive term) with shovels and picks and whatever. It’s a few highly trained dudes with some expensive machinery doing detailed work. Yes, there is plenty of work for SWMMBA volunteers, but the majority of the build will be performed by Alex Stewart from Spectrum Trail Design.
So what can you do to help? I’d suggest a few simple things:
- Become a SWMMBA member and throw a couple of bucks at SWMMBA. Professional trail builders don’t work for free, or for beer money.
- Don’t bandit the trail. Please. The Maple Hill Trail at Markin Glen is the first, and hopefully not the last, cooperative effort between SWMMBA and Kalamazoo County. Let’s not screw it up from the inside.
- Have patience. Yes, we’d all like this done six months ago, but it’s a big project with a big budget and many stakeholders. SWMMBA is working on it.
- When the time comes, ride the trail. It’ll need to be ridden, and you (I all but guarantee) will enjoy the experience.