I am not on the SORBA Board, but attend a lot of meetings of the Board. Here is the skinny: Metro wants us (SORBA) to build a family friendly beginner trail at Bells Bend before we start on Percy Warner. As near as I can tell, it is kind of like the price of admission to the good stuff. Many of the SORBA Board members have visited and hiked over the Bells Bend property. It is a huge park, but mostly open fields along the Cumberland River. There is one area set aside for mtb trail (already in that park's planning document). I have worked with the topo maps and done a preliminary map design. It looks like it will be about 3.5 miles, gentle grade, mostly brush cutting, then rake and ride. Some of the trail will be out in open fields connecting some small wooded areas. This trail should go in fast, so I am not too concerned about having to do this one first. Once we get Bells laid out, we need to get in there and knock it out so we can get on to PWP. Have a meeting with Parks soon to receive formal feedback on the existing map route. After that we have to spend some time flagging the route.
As for PWP, Parks gave SORBA the digital topo for the area that they committed to letting us build on. It is about 140 acres, with setbacks from private property and other existing trail. If we put it in there at a density similar to Montgomery Bell, we could get between 10-14 miles of trail. Darryl is getting me a GPS track on the existing White hiking trail because that is not on my maps; and it impinges on our area. I have only started working on various trail routes on my AutoCad file map. My goal for this trail is to use all the land available, provide the longest trail sections as possible with the minimum of switchbacks so that we maximize flow, and get to the top of all the hills with two routes, so you can ride up one trail and down the other. There are 4 large hills and 1 small one. the tallest hills are about 120 ft high. Making two ways to the top on each hill will be a challenge with this constrained site. This technique also provides a paper trial and error approach to using all the property and maintaining a reasonable separation between trails. I want to get several possible alignments prepared so that when the IMBA Trail Solutions guy comes, we can show him our possible alignment(s). Then we can get in the woods and start to check out how the conceptual looks in the woods.
Many of the SORBA board, and other interested members along with Parks officials, walked over about 1/3 of the property back about 3 months ago. The part behind Cheekwood is all grown up in real huge honeysuckle bushes. These are 12+ ft tall, and large enough to build trail underneath. Parks wants all this invasive species out and they have a contractor that will be doing that over time. right now, it appears it will provide good insulation between adjacent trails. When it is gone (someday), the woods will really open up. We walked up one hill that had no honeysuckle and it was awesome. Large timber, and open woods. There is a drainage way that feeds that lake that you see on Highway 100. This could be a challenge as it is pretty wide and perennially wet. Might consider long board walks across if necessary. There will be a gravel parking lot built up behind the golf course, near the Cheekwood entrance.
I know everybody wants to get to work, but there is a lot of design that has to go on first. We should be flagging this fall and winter. Meanwhile, please be watching for calls for help at Bells Bend Park. As a club, we need to show Metro Parks that we will be willing to help them with a priority trail. And, even though it is not hard core, it will no doubt provide a venue for for future generations of mountain bikers to get introduced to the sport.
Last edited by kindacreeky; 08-07-2011 at 04:26 PM.
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