Many years, people, and contributions contributed to the building of Florida’s largest mountain bike trail. In my first blog about the history of The Swamp Mountain Bike Club, you learned that 200 foot drops and hills were formed through years of mining that had been done in the middle of a swamp and is now the largest mountain bike trail in Florida for people of all levels. Now let’s find out how and why motorcyclists and biologists got involved in the construction of many, many acres and state preserve properties into an amazing we-didn’t-know-all-this-existed-in-flat-Florida trails.
So back in 1992 The Swamp Club worked on extending their mere six miles of single track to twenty miles. They started the process in 1993 by approaching property owners with their idea to expand. They spoke with biologists to insure that these trail expansions would not interfere with the natural habitat and made sure that the trails would be built properly and be approved. Biologists were called in to make sure that there were no endangered species on the land where they would be working. Nowadays everyone knows to protect endangered species and to be aware when cutting new trails so to know that The Swamp was concerned with these matters back then is quite impressive. The National Park Service encourages people to protect endangered species and it’s good to know that The Swamp Club has been doing their part from the beginning.
In the years 1993 and 1994 the system kept on expanding. Meetings with the Withlacoochee State Forest (Florida’s third largest state park) began and at that time, their trails were segregated for walkers, equestrians, and motorcycles but not for cyclists. It was then suggested that the cyclists share the trails with motorcyclists. Motorcyclists laid a track and The Swamp offered to maintain the trails every other year and this coop worked very well. The motorcyclists used the trail one week out of the year for their annual event and cyclists maintained and used it during the rest of the year.
And that was how motorcyclists, cyclists, equestrians, walkers, biologists, government officials, property owners, and a group called The Swamp Club (who provided 100% of the funding) became involved in such an amazing project to build Florida’s largest mountain bike trail for all levels including a place for walkers and picnikers.
Photos courtesy of theswamp.org and www.lenahunt.com