September 2021 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s September2021 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, September 9th 2021 at 7:00pm at the Spring Hill Trailhead at River Bends.

Meeting was called to order by Wade Robbins.  In attendance also Vito Manzella, John Knight, Brian LaVoie, and Marc Padin.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Massive Fall Out – Saturday October 16th

General Membership meeting to be held October 19th – Rivers Bends Pavilion

River Bends Pump track – Park has requested that the proposed location for the pump track be moved to the Ryan Rd. entrance next to the baseball diamonds.  American Ramp Co. to evaluate for feasibility.

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August 2021 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s August 2021 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, August 12th 2021 at 7:00pm at the Spring Hill Trailhead at River Bends.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Jeremy Verbeke, Wade Robbins, and Marc Padin.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

River Bends:

  • Invoice received from TrailSense for Phase 1 of the Spring Hill trail
    • Next Phase will be approximately $39,000 – approx. $18,000 donation funds remaining
    • Private matching donor has stepped forward, offering to match up to $10,000 to cover the remaining difference
      • Brian moves to meet the proposed donor match
      • Marc seconds, motion passes

General Membership meeting to be held October 19th – Location to be announced

Massive Fall Out – Saturday October 16th

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Addison Oaks Race Cancellation

CRAMBA has decided to officially cancel the Addison Oaks race for this year. Because of all of the rescheduled events from the springtime, we have been unable to secure a timing company for the event. Due to the importance of accurate timing for a series race, we decided against attempting to do it ourselves. We are already working on things for next year. Next year’s race will be held on Saturday September 10th, 2022.

The good news is we have more time/energy to focus on our Massive Fallout event. We’ve pushed it back to October 16th this year. Yes, this is much later than we usually hold it, but there were other conflicting events for other weekends and decided this would be our best option before it starts getting to be too late in the season. If anyone is interested in assisting with the MFO event, running an aid station, placing signage, etc, please let us know!

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July 2021 Membership Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s July Membership Meeting was held on Wednesday July 28th at 7pm at Stony Creek Metropark. There were 48 members in attendance.

River Bends

  • “Far Side Trail Project”/flow trail
    • Phase 1 completed – dubbed Spring Hill Trail
      • Cost $23,000
      • Raised so far $27,000
      • Considerations being made to build a kiosk at the trailhead to prevent vehicles from obstructing the path
    • Phase 2 will be approximately 1 mile of many elevation changes
      • Approximate cost $30,000
    • Phase 3 likely to be constructed by CRAMBA volunteers
    • $8620 donation from KLM as proceeds from their raffle
  • Pump Track
    • Approximate cost $225,000
    • Planned location: horseshoe pits at the 22 Mile Rd entrance
    • Currently pursuing grants and corporate sponsors
      • Permissions received to feature logos on the track surface
    • $30,000 commitment from Shelby Township

Addison Oaks

  • Currently in process of getting an MOU in place
  • Trail closure from 6am-2pm for trail work the week of August 1st

Bald Mountain

  • Approval for the Addison connector finally received, looking to start construction in the fall
  • CRAMBA has pledged to financially support a study conducted by Trail Sense on the southern area for possible development
    • Targeting an area near the swimming hole to develop a skills course, which will likely need to be hand-built
  • Lake Orion Township/Friendship Park – currently pursuing construction of mountain bike trails, possibly tie in with Lake Orion HS trail system
  • BM North – trail conditions: overgrown/trees down due to recent storms
  • Massive Fallout – potential to connect north and south, working with the township to see if they can provide a flashing intersection

Clinton River park trail

  • Mostly underwater the last week due to recent storms

Columbus

  • 2 miles of new trails built during the last year, approval received from the park to mark out additional trail
  • Flooding from the river has made maintenance difficult; multiple trees down but unable to reach them

Pontiac Lake

  • Trees recently cleared, new features installed
  • New changing station to be installed near the bathrooms
  • Memorial benches to be installed around the park

Stony Creek

  • New Trail Coordinator – Aaron Barla
  • 2 additional sections of trail with wooden features to be finished before a “soft opening” can be held in the next few weeks
    • Grand Opening – TBD, to be coordinated by the park
    • Signage concerns – current indicators are too small to determine if it’s hiker/biker/2-way from a distance

Woodsong County Park

  • Info is up on TrailForks
    • Currently approximately 2 miles of trail, working on another ½ mile

Oakdale

  • Within the last week, trail map was posted
  • Group rides to be held at 6pm on Wednesdays

Bike Patrol

  • Vito Manzella has replaced Jeremy Verbeke
  • 62 active members (2nd largest chapter in the National Ski Patrol)
    • 10 new members
    • ~30 members refreshed their first aid skills
    • ~15 events currently on the calendar to provide support

Massive FallOut

  • Need to consider other events to make sure we are not overlapping/trails in use

MiSCA

  • Race to be held at Addison Oaks on 9/12

Membership

  • 424 active members

Finances

  • $66,684 (before payment to Trail Sense for River Bends Phase 1)

Trail Conditions

  • Reminder to Trail Coordinators – if you’re going to host trail days, please let us know so they can be more widely advertised
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Chapter Meeting – Wednesday, July 28th

Join us for our group ride and Chapter Meeting Wednesday, July 28th at Stony Creek! This meeting is open to all members and non-members.

We are also looking for new members to join our Board.  Basic requirements for being on the board are attending a monthly meeting, being a current CRAMBA member, and participating in discussions via email. Your involvement outside of that is up to you.

We are looking for individuals that want to get actively involved, are passionate about mountain biking, with a focus on enhancing the biking community, promoting and maintaining mountain biking trail access, and guiding responsible mountain biking. We want you to step up and help guide the Chapter and the future of mountain biking in our area. Please consider joining the CRAMBA Board if this is you!

A second option if you want to become involved, but do not have time to sit on the Board, is joining one of our committees. We will have sign up sheets at the meeting for the following committees: Communications, Membership, and Events.

Event Details:
Where: West Branch West Picnic Shelter, Stony Creek
When: Group ride starts at 6pm sharp

Meeting will start at 7:00pm
Burgers and hot dogs will be provided, but please bring your own after ride “refreshments” if you desire

Email the existing CRAMBA Board if you have any questions at board@cramba.org. We look forward to seeing you there!

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July 2021 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s July 2021 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, July 8th 2021 at 7:00pm at Stony Creek.  The June Board Meeting was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Michael Green, Marc Padin, Wade Robbins, Steve Vigneau, and Aaron Barla.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Board Items:

  • CRAMBA has purchased a plate compactor for use for trail building and maintenance.  Currently being stored at River Bends.
  • Discussion regarding planning of Addison race and Massive Fallout

Stony Creek

  • Aaron Barla will be replacing Pete Kresmery as the Trail Coordinator for Stony Creek.  Pete, thank you so much for all your years of service and hard work!
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May 2021 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s March 2021 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, May 13th 2021 at 7:20pm at River Bends.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Michael Green, Marc Padin, Wade Robbins, John Knight, Michael Benigni, Jeremy Verbeke, and Chris Westerlund.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Board Items:

  • With updated CDC recommendations, group rides will be scheduled to start up again:
    • Tuesdays at River Bends
    • Wednesdays at Stony Creek

River Bends

“Far Side Trail Project”/flow trail
  • Phase 1 completed – dubbed Spring Hill Trail
    • Donor Preview Day – 5/14
    • Opening Day BBQ – 5/23
  • Steampunk Tap Room in Utica hosting a fundraiser on 6/12
    • Sponsors: Griffin Claw, Uncle Peter’s Pasties, and Paramount Electric
  • KLM hosting a raffle, tickets available for purchase at either location, proceeds to go to CRAMBA

Pump track
  • American Ramp Company – 3D design and quote received
    • Pursuit of fundraising opportunities continues, considering sponsorship from businesses, possibly feature their logo on signage near the sites
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April 2021 Board Meeting Minutes

CRAMBA’s April 2021 Board Meeting was held on Thursday, April 8th 2021 at 7:00pm via Zoom.

Meeting was called to order with Brian McPherson.  In attendance also Wade Robbins, John Knight, Pete McCreedy, and Ken Markiewicz.  Minutes recorded by Rebecca Padin.

Board Items:

River Bends

“Far Side Trail Project”/flow trail
  • Construction broke ground on 4/1
  • Fund raising in progress via DonorBox, but enough funding has been received to begin construction.
  • KLM hosting a raffle, tickets available for purchase at either location, proceeds to go to CRAMBA
  • Preview event for donors and official Opening Day event to be held

Pump track
  • American Ramp Company – initial spec received, additional photos being provided to help finalize designs
  • Pursuit of fundraising opportunities and applying for grants continues, considering sponsorship from businesses.

Bald Mountain

  • DNR looking into connecting with the Lake Orion high school trail system (original trails were encroaching on DNR property and were rerouted)
  • DNR pursuing master plan for connector trails – CRAMBA pledges up to $3,000 to the connector trails

Pontiac Lake

  • Grant received from Panasonic to build a changing station, Wade reached out to the PLRA Trail Coordinator regarding construction
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Spring Hill Trail at River Bends Grand Opening May 23rd

Grand Opening Event, May 23rd, 2021

On behalf of CRAMBA, its Board of Directors, and our members we would like to express our gratitude for those that have donated to the Far Side Trail Project at River Bends Park. Thank you!

This project is completely user funded and with your help, to date, we have raised over $22,000 towards the goal of $80,000. The first of three new trails, Spring Hill Trail, has just completed professional construction by Trailsense LLC of Holly, Michigan. The Spring Hill Trail comes in at just under 1 mile and has 10+ constructed features including, banked turns, rollers, doubles, tabletops, lips, single and waterfall drops. This intermediate-level trail has been constructed to be a progressive and skills-building trail where all features may optionally be rolled or safely bypassed.

Please join us on Sunday, May 23rd, 2021 11 am – 3 pm at the Spring Hill Trail for the Grand Opening  Event. This trail is located off of the Ryan Rd. entrance of River Bends Park, starting at the Patriot Field parking lot. (See the map below.) We will have the CRAMBA tent at the start of the new trail and will have maps printed highlighting the trail. Come on out, be one of the first to ride, and let’s talk and celebrate the new trail and what is planned for the next two phases

KLM Bike & Fitness, who is hosting a raffle to raise funds for the Far Side Trail Project, will be on-site with raffle tickets available.  Tickets for $10 each or 5 for $40 for a chance to win a $6,000 gift card to their bike shop.

There will also be a fundraising event at SteamPunk Tap Room on June 12, 2021, starting at 1 pm.  This Fundraiser is to help fund the next phase of construction of the new Far Side Trail at River Bends Park. Great tap list of Griffin Claw Brewing Company (GCBC) beers and Matthew Ashley of Uncle Peter’s Pastie Shelby will be serving some fantastic food. Most importantly, Steampunk AND Paramount Electric will each match donations made during the event dollar for dollar up to $1000 (still looking for additional sponsors to match!) Your $1 donation now becomes $3! Reps from local bike shops, including Fraser Bicycle, will be at the event and supporting this cause, as well! This is a great opportunity to multiply your donation while enjoying great beer, food, and company!

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A Letter from your Chair

CRAMBA Members,

There has been some consternation and confusion about the updates being done to existing trail areas at Stony Creek.

CRAMBA has gotten a lot of requests for trails that are more difficult, have more variety, and to have areas where you can jump your bike and get air. This desire was reflected in the survey that we had requested our Membership complete prior to the work beginning at Stony Creek. Of the trail systems in our area, Stony Creek’s rolling elevation and terrain is rather unique and best suited to these additions. It is also one of the oldest single track trail systems that was developed long before modern mountain biking suspension systems and modern trail design. One of the biggest complaints from new riders is that Stony Creek was easy to get lost in due to the spider-web mostly linear design of the existing trails. People that have been riding there for many years tend to forget how they felt about that on their first rides, especially if they went out alone. Once completed, the entire trail system will consist of a series of connected loops, making it much easier to return to the trailhead.

It has been suggested to me that the D loop, in it’s currently unfinished and unsigned state, is dangerous for new riders. Having ridden it, I understand your feelings with this assertion, but there are caveats. It is not currently completed, nor designated as “open”. There is a plan for signage that has not been implemented. Generally the most difficult trail is placed as far back into a trail system as possible. I believe that is a goal that was accomplished here.

These new trails are all safe when ridden appropriately, no different than any other trail I have ever ridden. If you are unsure about any obstacle, you should take care to look things over before you ride them hard. The long sight lines on the D loop make this relatively easy to do without needing to stop unexpectedly. These features do take an element of skill in order to be optimally enjoyed. The D loop makes much better use of the reversing grades and elevation changes of that section of the park than the Back Nine did. It also now has a lot of jumping features and drops that do not exist elsewhere on any of the sanctioned CRAMBA trails. It’s now a full loop of singletrack that ends approximately where it starts, avoiding the need to use the dull two track trails to return to the start.

Newer riders will spend more time on trails closer to the trailhead, and thus the difficulty there is much less. The portions of A and B loop that are actually difficult are completely optional, and obvious, and give riders a chance to improve their skill before moving on to the harder trails. Observationally, the oldest of the new trails have already started to become skinnier due to the natural tendency for plant growth to encroach on open spaces. This is a fact that is often overlooked because the process takes a long time. Over time, even the new trails will become skinnier as they are more worn in. The less erosion issues there are in a trail, the more they maintain a singletrack feel. In the areas of the Roller Coaster that have severe erosion issues, those sections no longer maintain that feeling.

All of the changes for the Back Nine and D Loop were detailed in the plan that was originally distributed a few years ago. Yes, the Back Nine trail that used to be there is gone. I personally will miss it, but I feel the D loop is exactly the sort of trail that was lacking in CRAMBA territory, and had been asked for the most. My goal as Chair is to provide an opportunity for every type of rider, and I believe that Stony Creek’s updates will ultimately accomplish that. The GROM loop is short and has a lot of rider skill features that I feel make up for the removal of the Skills Park that was falling into disrepair.

Loop C, that will consist of the existing Roller Coaster trail, and the Snake trail is NOT seeing this same type of “wipe clean and start over” work. The existing difficulty and terrain usage follows a lot of what would be created if it were to be created from new. Yes, there are some significant reroutes that are being done on the Coaster and Snake that are to avoid areas where the terrain could not simply be reshaped to fix perpetual erosion issues, and to enable a more cohesive looping trail. I believe the new trail will still have much of the same feel as the original when it is completed, worn in, and the plants have encroached.

Some of the work on Loop C will be done that doesn’t follow these original plans because of erosion problems that have gotten much worse from when the original plan was devised several years ago. These problems will continue to get worse if they receive no attention. The goal is to reduce the amount of necessary annual work to keep the trails in good shape, something that has overwhelmed CRAMBA’s ability to accomplish due to the accelerating nature of erosion. Yes, there are many spots where the surface of the trail will become widened during the course of the work being completed, but it will not stay this way. If there are troublesome aspects of the trail once it has been completed, I am confident the Metropark will continue to listen and allow us to make corrections and repairs.

Having ridden the Coaster last night, I can say without a doubt in my mind, that even before work has started, it is not the same trail it once was. Even compared to last year. New lines have been thoroughly worn in, and old lines I used to take are completely covered and gone. Lines to avoid rocks, and roots, and sandy areas are prevalent throughout the trail. There are lines that did not used to exist before the rocks and roots became uncovered from wear and erosion. The people I observed riding were mostly avoiding the rocks and roots, and following these less difficult lines that end up widening and changing the trail.

As a member of CRAMBA’s board, I am very grateful that the Metroparks have listened to our efforts to communicate requests and desires of what our membership has been asking for. As I’m now in my fourth year on the board, I know as well as anyone that there are some who will not be pleased by any of the changes. Your voices are not lost on me, and I wish that we were able to accommodate everyone. I remain hopeful and confident that once the entire project is completed, it will overall be a very positive change for the park, and our membership. That the Metroparks are seeing the mountain bike trails as infrastructure that should be improved and invested in is an enormous win for us all.

There is a petition that is being circulated that runs counter to what I believe are the desires of the majority of the CRAMBA membership. I disagree with the premise of this petition, as it leaves out many of the critical details, and misrepresents the actual work being done on the trails. I feel it is not in the best interests of our membership, and our mountain biking community as a whole. If you have any specific questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me directly. My Email is cramba@dark-fx.com.

Thank you,
Brian McPherson
CRAMBA Chair

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