SORBA Meeting with Croft Officials- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SORBA Meeting with Croft Officials

    Jay Koehn, Eric Turner (Bikeworx), and I had a very productive meeting with officials from Croft State Natural Area and other officials from the State Park Service, including Irvin Pitts, Chief of Resource Management. Tom Sauret, SORBA director, was also in attendance.

    Tom was very helpful in explaining the role of SORBA to park officials. I believe that we were able to impress upon them that SORBA can be a valuable partner in helping establish and maintain a sustainable trail system. We are going to work on establishing a MOU with Croft similar to what we have with Paris Mountain which will establish SORBA as the official liason between Croft and the MTB community. We will also work with them to try to establish a master plan for the trails at Croft.

    As to the subject of the Dairy Ridge Rd. trails, which was the main reason (at least for me) of the meeting, I believe that we made the first steps towards getting those recognized as official trails. Mr. Pitts seemed very helpful in this regard. There are some things that have to be done, but no one at the table seemed to think that it was not something that could be accomplished in the long run.

    Croft is already in the process of trying to open a connector trail that will allow bikes to go from the end of the Palmetto Trail at the pool road over to the park office area, where we can connect in to the Southside section. I offered SORBA to help with a trail day to help speed up this process.

    One thing I had not previously realized is that they do eventually plan to re-build the bridge on Dairy Ridge Rd. and to re-open that road to traffic. As part of this project, they are planning on putting in a parking lot for bikers somewhere near the new bridge.

    One thing they strongly emphasized is that they really hate seeing unauthorized trail building.

    I walked away with the feeling that we will be able to work with Croft officials to gain more access for bikes over the coming months and years. Stay tuned for further developments and when a work day for Croft come up, please come out and show them how much support SORBA can give.

  2. #2
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    Congrats!

    Congratulations on a successful meeting, and thanks for sharing it here--it's much more enjoyable to read success stories than whine sessions!
    TZ
    Geriatric mountain biker and trail maintainer... ...with digital braking!

  3. #3
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    Thanks Mike for going to that! and thanks for your help! hug & kisses

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by brado1
    Thanks Mike for going to that! and thanks for your help! hug & kisses
    You're welcome. You can keep the kisses though. Give Jay the hugs.

  5. #5
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    Nice work and thanks for getting the word out!!
    BS'ing less, riding more.

    Supporting PAS
    Upstate SORBA
    SORBA

  6. #6
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    Do as I say not as I do.

    Its funny that they worry about outlaw bike trail, but there is plenty of outlaw horse trail and there is never any mention of that. The reason being that one of the park rangers is a horsemen. Croft is a horse park and that is the bottom line. Mike you can take over from here, but I have been out there for twelve years and I will keep doing what I do. If not for some people there would not be any trail to begin with. Dont lose sight of that.

  7. #7
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    Irvin Pitts is cool in my book. I've known him for years (at least 10+). He was the biologist who walked the proposed trails at Baker Creek and Hickory Knob with us back in the day. These walks were cool, as he would write down every plant and animal he saw or heard. I was amazed at the list!

    When he was promoted a few years back I was thrilled for him and for park users. Irvin does not come across to me as a bureacrat (sp?) but someone is easy to work with on a good idea/plan.

  8. #8
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    Connector trail

    By the way the connector trail they want to give us bikers is the biggest nightmare in the park. I wonder why they would want to give up that trail? Not because it is in horrible shape and it will never be ridable because every time it rains the horses will turn it into a big mess. There are other options out there and I personally discussed them with the head ranger. Hope you guys have fun trying to fix a trail that can not be fixed due to the high volume of horse traffic.

  9. #9
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    Actually the trail they are now proposing as the connector trail is the old trail that leads to the boy scout hut that "someone" recently reopened, not the one they were previously proposing that IS a nightmare and is completely unsustainable. It's fortunate for us that this trail was unofficially "rediscovered" or we would be stuck with the nightmare trail. Funny how that worked out huh... I think the meeting accomplished one thing, it got the people that can actually do something up here to listen to our concerns. Although I will say it sounds like the same old song and dance that we have been hearing for the last 10 years, but at least it's coming from the decision makers and not the horse and pony show that the rangers have been presenting to us.

    It seems that they are asking for the same things that they asked for several months ago which have already been presented to them. They want a map proposing what trails we want open, (which they already have) and a MOU which they already have. These were given to the park rangers months ago and either were not presented to the group in Columbia as we were told or we're just getting the run around from a new set of officials. TC is right, it is a horse park and the rangers told me so personally, "Croft has always been an equestrian park and always will be" is exactly what I was told. I think there is a lot of politics going on in the background with the equestrians that we are not privy to, a lot of smoke is thrown up to us to disguise whats going on in the background. TC is also right in that every bike trail in the park was built "unofficially", a few at a time over a period of 30 years, most of them old dirt bike trails from the 70's, there is not one bike trail in that park that was approved before it was built, they have just slowly become a part of the trail system. That's the only way it has been able to happen because they will never make a step to approving a "new" trail, this is very unfortunate because it has created so much conflict.

    I think Mike made a big step in actually getting the Columbia official's up here and by getting Tom and Sorba to make a presentation. It gave credibility to what we are trying to do by showing the officials that we are an organization with many members that has it together, not just a bunch of individual bikers that they don't really want to deal with. Although why they can't see that we have been maintaining the existing trails for the past 10 years is beyond me. If we want the trails to be officially open, I don't see any choice but to continue to jump through the hoops they keep presenting, but it's very frustrating when you do jump through the hoops and they just ignore it and ask you to jump through them again. I'm just glad it's someone else doing the jumping for a change, it's kind of nice to just ride and watch the show. Hopefully with Sorba now involved and the Columbia officials in the loop things will start to happen, but I'll believe it when I see it. Great job Mike and I hope you have more patience than I did.

  10. #10
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    I just realized how crazy it is the way things get done at Croft, I don't know if it's just this park or if they are all this way but here is the way things get done there. You basically have 4 groups,

    1 is the park rangers that control the park, they listen to your ideas, but don't take any action because that's what they have been told to do. They are mostly interested in the equestrians and providing for them, not because they dislike bikers, but because that's the way it's always been. They don't really have the authority to open new trails easily so they just try to wear you down and hope you will go away. They really, honestly would like to help the bikers but they are more worried about making waves than anything else.

    2 is the very small group of serious mountain bikers, those few that ride every day, they are always looking for something more difficult and challenging to ride. This is the group that has no patience for rules and politics, the group that builds the trail and rides it everyday not worrying if anyone else is riding or not. They are the reason we have any trails at all to ride.

    3 is that other small group that is concerned about the sport and the general public, they ride a little but not much, partly because they are too busy dealing with all the politics, this is the group that makes up the bike club workforce, the ones that are willing to deal with all the politics and BS, to do trail work instead of ride. This group comes in and tries to deal with the officials in Columbia, the real decision makers, to tell them everything is OK, that we can fix it, that we will maintain everything, do the trail work and make them ridable for the general public. This is the group that does the everyday work of putting on clinics and keeping the trails ridable for the general public.Before, this was UMBA and now it's Sorba. They tend to sanitize the trails a bit but that's the price we pay so everyone can ride and keep the officials happy.

    4 is that group that contains 99% of the riders, the ones that ride once a week or twice a month, they don't have a clue how the trail got there, they don't do any trail work, they ***** about it when a tree is down, but they aren't willing to get off the bike to move it. They stand around in awe when they happen to run across one of the hardcore guys that blow past them like a bullet. They don't get involved in anything because they are in a hurry to get home and cut the grass before it gets dark. They benefit from the labor of the other three groups and don't actually do anything.

    It's interesting to see how these groups of completely different agendas and mindsets ever get anything done. The hardcores continue to ride the new trail everyday, the others fret about whether they should they ride it or not and hopefully don't get run over by the hardcores. Eventually, even though it takes about 5 or 6 years to accomplish, the trail finally gets inducted into the official trail system and it all starts over again. That's the way every trail out there has gotten on the map. Our tax dollars at work... who would really expect anything different...

  11. #11
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    I will believe when I see

    I'm glad everyone is feeling warm and cozy on this subject but I would like to point out that nothing has changed. This crap just makes a person want to . I will believe change when I see it.

  12. #12
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    Any updates on Croft? It's been almost 3 months or should I check back in about 3 years.

  13. #13
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    Go buy yourself a horse

    My advice is go ride. If you want to check out some trail, post up and somebody will show you around. Croft is officially the most ill managed park in the state. Which is good and bad if you get my drift.

  14. #14
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    I'm glad everybody is still waiting for something to happen. Just like mt. bikers to wait and see if something happens rather than to make something happen (except or the one's that built it and maintain it).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4000psi
    I'm glad everybody is still waiting for something to happen. Just like mt. bikers to wait and see if something happens rather than to make something happen (except or the one's that built it and maintain it).

    whaaaaaaa
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