Trail making & financial presentation in Boyne Aug. 14 & 15

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Beth Gohs

Staff Writer

A presentation by the Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association (TOMMBA) will give a presentation to the community about the importance of trails and a workshop where people can help hand-build a trail.

All are welcome to attend the presentation at 2 p.m. on Friday Aug. 14, and the trail-building workshop 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 15; both will occur at the Boyne City Hall auditorium, 319 South Lake St.

“We are just a chapter of IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association), they go around and they phase trails,” said Bobbie Liegl, board member of TOMMBA…. “What Boyne City is looking to do is connect a bunch of spots but make it so they are built correctly, because a lot of the trails that people go and build are rogue trails that fall apart—they are not sound.”
She added, “There are rules to building those, and that’s why IMBA helps.”

The presentation on Friday will focus on the benefits of being a trail-friendly town, chiefly how to grow the local economy by using pristine trails as an attraction to tourists.

“The participants will learn how to turn a quality community trail system into a destination trail system and learn how to effectively market a trail system,” said Liegl. “This presentation is a great way to show the community how to help the local economy.”

Saturday will feature trail-building school at 9 a.m. on Saturday. During the four-hour class, instructors will teach participants how to hand-build a biking trail.

After lunch, participants will be able to apply what they learned in building part of the trail TOMMBA is currently working on—property donated by Boyne City Public Schools located on Erickson Road in Boyne City.

“They are given a rogue hoe and specialized trail-building tools to use,” said Liegl…. “You kind of learn how to use those tools and how to remove organic material (and) how far down to dig so that it doesn’t erode.”
She added, “If you don’t go down to a certain level, the water can destroy it, too. It blew my mind, all of the stuff involved.”

Leigl noted that many think the state is responsible for the upkeep of community trails but she clarified that the trails are maintained by groups like TOMMBA, and trail users who help with upkeep on the trails they use.

The property TOMMBA is using to create a nine-mile trail system in Boyne City is part of that donated land from Boyne City Public Schools’ 120-acre piece of forest.

“It has all been done with volunteer labor—there’s not a huge cost involved,” said Bo Mayfield, owner of North Country Cycle Sport in Boyne City, and board member of TOMMBA. “We did have to raise money to purchase tools and what-not. All that totals probably $1,000.”
He added, “And, we actually just raised enough to build a little mini excavator … everything that has been done has been done by hand.”

After two years of volunteer work, a three-and-a-half-mile loop has been completed.

According to Mayfield, they are beginning the second loop while the first part of the trail is ready to be used by anyone.

“Any help in terms of additional volunteers that are interested in working, financial help—it’s certainly welcome,” said Mayfield.

To help, you can contact Mayfield or John Cowan at 582-4632.