Coldwater Mountain is a 4000 acre tract of land owned by the State of Alabama's Forever Wild organization and managed by the State Lands Division of the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Forever Wild was created in 1992 by a statewide vote that garnered 83% "yes votes" from Alabamians and has been very successful in the years since. It is a program dedicated to preserving Alabama's most beautiful land, while expanding the recreational opportunities available to the public. The Coldwater tract was purchased by Forever Wild in the late 90's and is presently being developed into a world class destination trail system for mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers. Sixty miles of trail have been designed by IMBA's Trail Solutions team and construction will be performed in phases over a 3 to 5 year period. To date, it is funded primarily through a Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant with the help of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). The Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) is the SE Regional Division if IMBA and is the grantee coordinating the funding with ADECA. Our club, the NEABA, coordinates all local efforts with civic leaders, politicians, local citizens and the media. Note: Forever Wild is up for reauthorization when Alabamians vote in the November elections. Please vote YES for this worthwhile project that will bring millions of dollars in tourism revenue to our region and state.
Coldwater General Trail User Information:
How do I get to the Trail Head?
Take Exit 179 (Coldwater/Munford Exit) off of I-20. From the direction of Birmingham, turn left at the end of the exit ramp onto Hwy 202. From Atlanta, turn right on Hwy 202. Travel 2.1 miles (crossing Hwy 78) and turn right onto Coldwater Pump Road. Travel a few hundred yards and turn right onto new black-top paved road and travel 1 miles to new parking lot. From downtown Anniston, travel 6.5 miles out 202 and turn left onto Coldwater Pump Road.
Special thanks to NEABA member Bobby Phillips for creating a map to the Trailihead! Click Here to view/print the map.
What's at the Trail Head?
There were portolets at the trail head for opening weekend. We are not sure how long they will be there, though. So to be sure, prepare for no restroom facilities. There is no water source at the trail head.
Bring your own. There is no shelter. There is a fairly large gravel parking area with shade trees and a kiosk with trail map, etc. At this point, we do not have trash cans at the trail head. PLEASE pack out all trash.
Is there a fee?
No. The trails and parking area are free to the public thanks to Alabama's Forever Wild Land Trust.
When do the trails open/close?
The Anniston Police Department will open the gate at the bottom of the access road 1.5 hours before sunrise and lock the gate 1.5 hours after sunset. Please do not get locked in. If you do, there is a number to the Anniston Police Dept on the gate to call. Anniston Police do patrol the parking lot. Thank them if you see them! Soon we will have a card and secure box at the kiosk for users to fill out (basically your name, tag number, and cell number). If the police come to close the parking lot and a car is there, they will open this box and search for your tag number on your card and call you to get your status.
Is there cell service?
Yes, we have found that at least Verizon has excellent cell service not just at the trail head, but at most locations on the trails themselves. We have posted pictures to facebook, etc. while on our rides!
What if there is an emergency?
Call 911. As mentioned above, cell service is pretty good on the mountain. Trail Solutions/IMBA has done an excellent job of coordinating with Calhoun County 911, as well as Anniston Fire Dept, Anniston EMS, and Anniston Police Dept. to respond to emergencies. If you are on the trail you will notice trail markers with red "CWM"
alpha-numeric numbers. These are trail locators. If you have an emergency call 911. If you can provide the "CWM" number nearest you, emergency responders will know your exact location and they have emergency routes established to enter the trail system.
What user groups are allowed to use the mountain?
Non-motorized use only. This is mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. The State Lands Law Enforcement Division have stepped up efforts on the mountain to ensure that these are the only users on the mountain. Also, there is no hunting on the mountain at any time during the year.
Are the trails open year round?
Yes, the trails are open 365 days per year!
What if it rains?
While Coldwater Mountain drains really well, these trails have been constructed by moving dirt from one place on the mountain to another--- creating a packed, smooth surface in many places (of course there are many rock gardens too). Excessive rain combined with mtn bike traffic will not be good for these areas of the trail--including the 4 ft berms in the banked turns. If there have been excessive rains or if they are forecasted during your planned trip, please check our facebook page (search "NEABA") for the latest trail conditions.
CLICK HERE to add your name to the list of those interested in volunteering to build mountain bike trails at Coldwater Mountain!
Monday, May 9, 2013
For those who have ridden the blue "Bomb Dog" loop, recall that at the of the climb there is a section where the trail diverts to an old roadbed that is very steep. The single track section has been completed that takes you off of this road. It takes you through the epic Rock Slot section. Click HERE for an updated map (special thanks to NEABA Secretary Bobby Phillips for creating this awesome map!).
Monday, April 29, 2013
IMBA Trail Solutions continues to move dirt. Since the last post several new trail sections have been opened—one opened just two days ago on Saturday afternoon. There are now two gravity trails off the parking area. One is green and one is blue. Both are about a mile long and empty out onto the paved road leading up to the parking lot. This road is VERY steep….so plan on some good hill climbing training to get back to the start, or plan on a shuttle. Both of these gravity trails are sure to bring a big grin to your face. Huge swooping turns and a few places to get air if you have the speed (and skill).
Also new……those of you who have ridden Bomb Dog know that there is a short steep section that utilized an old roadbed at the top of Bomb Dog. Well, now the connector trail is opened that takes you off that road in through an awesome rock garden with pretty amazing rockwork creating a cobblestone-ish tread. This section is referenced in this blog WAAY down toward the bottom of this page. Well, it’s now open. NEABA hosted a work party this past weekend to put the final touches on this section. We are developing a long-term work party schedule with pre-set dates so that you can plan your schedule. Stay tuned to this page and also our facebook page. If you have not already, sign up to be on our Coldwater email list here.
The trail builders continue now to work their way toward downtown Anniston—travelling the length of the Coldwater Mountain range footprint to the other end of the mountain. We are told this section of trail will end with a 4 mile downhill that exits into this new parking area. This new trailhead will have temporary parking for a year or so while the entire 5+ acre area is developed into a cutting edge bike park. Stay tuned….and see you on the trail!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Coldwater Mountain trail project keeps rolling along. Since the last
post below(June), the Trail Solutions IMBA trail building team is back on
the mountain laying more trail on the ground. In November and December, the
crew completed approximately 4 miles of green (easy) trail to attach to the
existing 1.5 mile of green trail off the parking lot. This new trail also
connects to the existing blue trail, creating an approximate 15 mile loop if you join them all together.
This new section of trail has a fun flowy downhill minus the big jumps that
are on the 3.5 mile Bomb Dog downhill on the blue trail. Trail Solutions
took a few weeks off for Christmas/New Years, but they are back on the
mountain now adding more miles of trail. The goal is to construct an
additional 9 miles of trail before June, bringing total mileage to around 24
miles. This 9 miles will include a 4 mile downhill that will dump you into
a new access point/parking lot for the system near downtown Anniston. This
parking area will eventually be a 10 acre bike park, complete with pump
track/skills area, rest rooms, changing rooms, bike washing stations,
pavilions, walking trail, and more.
This vision is to have a
destination-quality access park owned and managed by the City of Anniston
where the family can play while mom or dad is on the trail. The City of
Anniston will vote this month on funding $450,000 toward trail construction
and it is expected to pass. That funding will make this 9 miles possible.
Our club, NEABA-SORBA, has applied for a $30,000 Bell Helmet grant to
construct more flow trail, as well. The usage of the existing modest
amount of trail on the ground continues to excite local government, civic,
and corporate leaders.
The parking lot today was overflowing with vehicles
from multiple states and we expect that will only grow-- especially as more
trails are open. The Coldwater project manager for Trail Solutions will be
speaking at our next club meeting on February
12 at 6pm at the Anniston Star building. He will have slides with updated
master plan maps and video. He will also answer questions from the floor.
The public is invited to this meeting, so we hope you will attend--even if
you are from out of town and want to drive over.
We also hope you will
consider joining our club, NEABA. Your membership/affiliation with our
club helps support the efforts at Coldwater. Go to www.neaba.net and follow
the Join Now link and follow instructions.
Finally, we have scheduled regular volunteer work parties at Coldwater from
now through the spring. They will be Sundays at 1:30pm at the existing
Coldwater Mountain trailhead. Check our face book page
and also this page. Thanks and hope to see you on the trail!
Monday, June 11, 2012
Click the link below labeled "Phase I Trail Map" to view and print the trail map for the Phase I trails completed so far (1.5 mile green beginner loop and 10-mile blue trail ). Keep in mind that Phase II is coming fall/winter of 2012/2013 with 10 more miles of epic trail. Also note that we are using the snow ski trail system of difficulty---green is easy/beginner, blue is intermediate, and black diamond is expert. We are appreciative of any feedback the public will give us on Phase I trail. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments---good experiences, suggestions, general feedback. We will forward to the land manager, funding sources, to IMBA, and other stakeholders at we gain support to continue build out of future phases. There is also a link below labeled "Master Trail Plan for Entire Mountain" showing you the entire property and future trails planned. Note that these trails are not constructed yet and very likely will move around some as construction begins. Note also that the left side of the map contains the originally planned Phase I trails in solid lines. You will see that not all of the solid lines are built yet. Phase I took more time and energy to construct than first thought, so not all of the intended trail completion took place. Phase II will get some of the Phase I that did not get completed. If you have not visited Coldwater yet, we hope you will do so soon. If you have, we'd like to get your feedback as we build out more trails.
The Grand Opening ceremony on Friday at noon and the rest of the opening weekend at Coldwater was a big success. The weather at the ceremony was a little rainy, but once the ribbon was cut, the skies turned blue, humidity began to drop and optimal conditions existed on the trails. Sort of a fitting sequence of weather patterns on the opening day of the trails--the early years of developing this project were cloudy and rainy...however, the closer we came to the opening, the sunnier the project became and here we are.
Several dignitaries from the Forever Wild Land Trust the State of Alabama spoke, along with Rich Edwards of IMBA/Trail Solutions (designers and builders of the first phase) and Tom Sauret of IMBA/SORBA (instrumental in bringing the trail system to Coldwater Mountain). Rich relayed that this first 11.5 miles is only the beginning of an eventual 60-mile system of trails. His team will be back in the fall to begin Phase II, which will include 10 more miles of trail--mainly green and blue trails (but the blues will have black diamond features).
He also relayed that this first 11.5 miles was intended to provide a "taste"
of the various types of trails coming, including the downhill sections. This first phase contains a 3.5 mile downhill. Rich says coming in Phase II (or maybe III) is a 5-mile downhill! We welcomed our local bike shop in attendance, Wig's Wheels, as well as Cahaba Cycles and Bob's Bikes out of Birmingham. Several IMBA board members were on hand, as well.
After the comments from these folks, there was a formal ribbon cutting and then the trails were open!
There was a line of riders waiting to hit the dirt. Saturday saw PERFECT Colorado-type weather and approximately 150 riders on the loop, packing it nicely. Alot of smiles came back out of the woods after completing the loop with the inevitable question..."who's up for another lap?" Feedback was generally "I've never ridden anything like that before..." Riders
came from NC, TN, GA, and of course AL for the opening weekend.
Dirtrag Magazine was on hand and Mark Cleveland, owner of Swiftwick, along with his business partners and friends
were spotted Sunday afternoon in the parking lot after their ride. Mark was all smiles, as well, and declared that he had obtained "clearance" from his wife to load up his Swiftwick-mobile and friends and make the special trip to Coldwater from Nashville to check out the new trails. His comments?
"We've followed the development of this system on line and through IMBA. Wow. We'll be back for more...and bring a ton of folks from Nashville. It's definitely worth the trip."
The weekend also saw lots of families and kids on bikes--many experiencing dirt trails for the first time. The 1.5 mile green trail is perfect for the beginner and we heard many kids at the trail head after their first lap proclaiming, "dad...can we do that again????!" One kid did 9 laps!
So the trails are open...and Phase II is flagged and on the way this fall/winter. Plan to make the trip to Coldwater!
Sunday, May 30, 2012
As the Grand Opening weekend approaches this weekend, we are getting several emails with questions from out of town riders. We hope this helps you as you plan your trip to Coldwater:
There will be no riding of the trail Friday morning before the Grand Opening ceremony. The State of Alabama will be doing alot of last minute things and will be setting up the parking lot for the ceremony, so they ask that you plan to ride AFTER the ceremony. The Grand Opening ceremony starts at noon Central time. Bring your own water, as there currently is no water source and no restroom facility at the parking lot. The trail head is located 2.1 miles off of I-20. Take the Coldwater/Munford Exit (exit #179) and turn toward Hwy 78 in the direction of Anniston. Drive 2.1 miles (crossing Hwy 78) and turn right onto Coldwater Pump Road (this turn is located immediately after the brick Coldwater Pump Station building on the right). Go about 2 miles on Coldwater Pump Road and turn right onto the newly paved road leading 1 mile to the parking lot. If you are traveling from the direction of downtown Anniston toward I-20, travel about 6 miles out Hwy 202 and turn left on Coldwater Pump Rd just before the Hwy 78 intersection. We hope to have a large crowd out for the Grand Opening Ceremony to show the State and local politicians the support the sport of mountain biking has in the SE. The ceremony will last about 45 minutes and then the trails will be open. The gate to the parking lot will be locked at sunset, so plan to be off the trails before then so that your car doesn't get locked in. The next morning on Saturday the trails will open at 8am. We expect to have some beginners and a few first-time locals who are curious about the trails and the sport. We are excited about that and want to help them have a great experience on the trail and help them move from first-timer to beginner to intermediate over time. So our club will be hosting group rides for these folks from the parking lot during the morning. I expect these riders will stick to the 1.5 mile green trail just off the parking lot. Beginning Saturday evening, the parking lot gate will be locked at sunset and will open again at sunrise thanks to the Anniston Police Department! See you this weekend!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
The grand opening for Coldwater trails will be Friday, June 1 at noon at the new trailhead off of Hwy 202 in Anniston (take Munford/Coldwater exit off of I-20 and take Hwy 202 toward Anniston. After abt .5 mile cross Hwy 78 and travel about .5 mile and turn right on Coldwater Pump Road. After about 3 hundred yards, turn right on new 1-mile blacktop to top of the mountain and new trailhead parking lot).
This grand opening press conference is being organized by the Alabama Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources and Forever Wild. Politicians and Dignitaries will be on hand to open the trails and riding will be available immediately afterward. Trails will close at sunset. NEABA will host group rides beginning at 8am Saturday morning and will also provide lunch beginning at 11am for the first 100 or so there to eat (Mellow Mushroom Pizza!).
After riding the trails for the first time yesterday, I can attest that Coldwater is going to be worth the 12 year wait. Currently about 11 miles of trail are compete, including a thigh-throbbing, calf-crushing 3.5 mile downhill where I could not wipe the grin off my face. Over and over on the decent, just when I thought it couldn't get any better, a 180-degree 5 ft. banked turn waited around the next rock outcropping. In this first 11-mile phase, IMBA set out to create a taste of all types of riding that will be showcased at Coldwater's eventual 60-mile stacked loop system. Stephen Mullins, the Trail Solutions local Project Manager, led my tour yesterday and explained that their objective was to provide riders a sample of cross country trails, flow trails, beginner trails, rollers, small jumps, launching pads, rock gardens, and more in this 11 mile first phase. Mission accomplished. For those who have never been on Coldwater Mountain, it is a rocky, rugged place in most sections. IMBA moved literally tons of rock and dirt to create a ribbon through the forest that anticipates the rider's every need for embankments, optional lines, and berms, as gravity and inertia take their toll.
The 1.5 mile green beginner trail is wide and welcoming to even the most beginner novice rider. It contains several rollers that are pump-track-ish and even a spot where the more adventuresome beginner can take an optional line through some rock armored sections. The longer 10-mile blue (intermediate) loop branches off of the green trail about ..5 mile in. It contains classic cross country windy single track and eventually begins a long relentless climb (not too steep, though----and is forgiving with several flat spots to give the thighs some reprieve). The top of the climb presently takes you onto an old road for a short distance. This section of singletrack is not complete (it will be completed as part of 12-mile Phase II, which will begin in the fall, 2012). This incomplete section contains what will be one of the signature sections of the trail system---a rock outcropping at the highest point of the mountain with meticulous rock armoring and other stone work that will provide riders about 3 different lines to take through this section (easy line, intermediate line and insane line with drop-offs). Ferns growing on the rocks, moss everywhere, mountain-top vegetation. A Narnia-like experience.
Anyway, once up the small section of road, the singletrack turns right and the 3.5 mile downhill begins soon-after--a section now nick-named Bomb Dog after a local old Lab named Floyd that lived next to Coldwater Mountain and that was retired from bomb-sniffing dog school. He came up missing during the time Trail Solutions was laying out the trail and the owner asked the IMBA guys to keep an eye out for Floyd. Floyd was never found, but the Bomb Dog decent keeps his memory alive. Lower your seat and ride in control on Bomb Dog. The 5 foot high berms--many of them double berms, combined with the 1000-foot elevation loss can prove bloody if you let it get out of control. The decent offers many optional lines containing rock launching pads and drops. There's one banked turn in particular that is epic, as the opening in the trees reveals a panoramic view of the valley below and Cheaha Mountain in the distance as you feel gravity whip you around this 6-foot high embankment. Again, no matter your level of riding, take it easy on this entire downhill section the first couple of times you ride it and scout it. There's room for alot of error here. But again, IMBA sculpted this section to create an amazing experience for you and your bike. So ENJOY!
The trail bottoms out at a stream bed armored crossing followed by a gravel road crossing and then you have a mild climb back to the green trail and the parking lot. The trail system parking lot will open at sunrise and close at sunset beginning June 3rd. Hope to see you on the trail!
Monday, April 2, 2012
Construction on singletrack continues at Coldwater by Trail Solutions and crew. The date for the opening of the first phase (12 +/- miles) was set for May 4th weekend, but it appears it may now be pushed back further into May. The access road remains unpaved (waiting on Alabama DOT) and Trail Solutions and Forever Wild/State Lands want to make sure all is in place before public access in granted. This includes signage, kiosks, etc. Stay tuned for the official date of public access.
Friday, March 23, 2012
We met today with the Mayor of Anniston and several city personnel (City Manager, Finance Director, City Planner, City Councilman), Rich Edwards of IMBA, several from NEABA, Chamber of Commerce Manager and Tourism Director, Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, an official from Solutia, and representative from the State Lands Division also representing Forever Wild. The purpose of the meeting was to update all stakeholders on progress to date and to discuss opportunities related to the system. All were in agreement that all groups working together are committed to creating a one of a kind destination system and surrounding community. One item of interest to readers of this post is that the opening weekend date has been delayed to May 4th. Forever Wild, State Lands, and all other stakeholders will hold a press conference at the initial trailhead parking lot and the trails will be open for riding at that point. This date is fluid and could change, so please keep checking back. IMBA says there will be 12 miles of trail to ride in this first phase and it will include a 3+ mile decent that will be jaw-dropping. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Work continues on the trails, with a full crew of IMBA Trail Solutions trail designers creating and constructing more miles of trail. We have had many inquiries about the status of the trails--for example, are they open for riding. The answer at this point is no. IMBA is actively using machinery on the trails and there is no public access point at the moment. The State of Alabama, IMBA/SORBA and NEABA ask that you cooperate and do not attempt to ride the trails yet. It will only slow the progress. Our goal is to have trails open for riding by April 21/22 weekend. Watch this page for any further info. Otherwise, start at the bottom of this page and read up for updates to this point, along with photos and cool video!
Friday, March 16, 2012
(Start at the bottom and read up if you want background info) Last weekend's activities were a huge success thanks to the work of many folks in NEABA, the Chamber of Commerce, the Subaru Trail Care Crew, Trail Solutions, and others. Friday's "Better Living Through Trails"
presentation by Jake and Jenny with the Trail Care Crew was hosted by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce with about 30 attendees representing local businesses, politicians, media, civic leaders, interested citizens, and of course mountain bikers. Info in this presentation was geared toward the business community, focusing on economic impact of existing trail systems, statistics related to number of cyclists in the US, avg household income, etc. It also touched on how quality trails can impact local quality of life--even to the extent of helping to attract industries who value such community assets for their employees. All who attended were even more excited about the project and Jake and Jenny presented the program in a very professional, efficient and effective manner. The Anniston Star ran a story on the event.
Saturday morning found us bringing out more tables and chairs than what we had originally set up. We ended up with 50 folks who attended the morning classroom session of the Trail Building School!
Folks travelled from as far as Montevallo, Birmingham, and Scottsboro, AL. Lots of great info on building sustainable trails and again, Jake and Jenny did a great job with transferring this wealth of info to the group. We had a quick box lunch and it was off to the mountain! About 10 folks travelled to an area where grooming of a green beginner trail was needed. The rest of the folks headed to another more remote spot to do some rock armoring at one of the highest points on the Coldwater property. The area where the group worked was at a spot where the trail will finish a long gradual climb to the top of the ridge-line, make a turn and then begin a 3 mile decent. The first part of this decent is along a rock face where a pretty significant drop occurs and the trail will run through a cool slot in the rock (see photos below). This is the area where we gathered lots of rock of all kinds, and with the help of Jake with TCC and Joey Klein (Trail Solutions senior trail designer and longest running employee of IMBA), we began to piece together what amounted to a flagstone/rock winding "sidewalk" path through the rock garden. This trail is a blue trail (intermediate), so the objective was to make it fun, but not intimidating to the point that the avg cyclists would feel the need to dismount and walk. This rock-work involved not only detail work, but also filling large "holes" with huge boulders so as to create a gradual decent rather than huge drop- offs from car-sized rocks. Being the creative folks that IMBA professionals are, they will have alternative lines for the more advanced folks to create black diamond (advanced) lines along the same trail path. So an intermediate rider can enjoy the trail along with a more advanced rider who can take different lines that result in rock ledge drops, launching pads, etc.
At about 4pm, we tore ourselves away from this incredibly fun rock work to walk the 1.5 miles section of trail that is basically complete. Our goal was to walk to the big embanked turn that might eventually be called "The Abyss" where the trail takes a turn with the help of a 6 foot high berm. The back side of the berm is a cliff, which allows a view of the valley and Cheaha Mountain range in the distance as you approach the embanked turn (see photo below). It would be very difficult to roll over this berm and miss the turn, but if you did, you'd plummet into The Abyss. Actually, there are two huge almost perfectly round sink-hole type geologic formations on Coldwater Mountain. They are significant in size at about 800 feet across and several hundred feet deep. They have been there a while, as there are huge hardwood trees covering the floor and walls of the holes. One of the sink holes is below the banked turn described above (and thus part of The Abyss).
The 1.5 mile walk to this banked turn was awesome, as we got to see some finished product. A downhill trail that can be ridden by the beginner to intermediate rider without intimidation. But also with features/alternative lines that can be taken by the more advanced to make it an incredible and epic riding experience (rollers, launching pads, boulders, etc.).
We backtracked, met up with the IMBA guys and hiked back to the vehicles and arrived at about dark. An afternoon of trail/rock work, hiking, and fellowship with like-minded folks who want to see good things happen in our community (and ride great trails). Doesn't get much better than that!
Friday, March 9, 2012
Both Subaru IMBA Trail Care Crews, IMBA Trail Solutions, the State of Alabama Lands Division and many volunteers have invaded Coldwater Mountain! The past few weeks have seen these groups working together to begin creating some incredible singletrack flow trail. Almost two miles of flow trail have been created, adding to the approximately 3 miles of existing trail at Coldwater (check back very soon for some video footage of the machine construction AND one of the Trail Care Crew carving the new flow trail section on two wheels). What are we hearing from Stephen Mullins, Rich Edwards, Aaron Rogers, Joey Klein, and their fellow IMBA folks? "Man, you guys have alot of rock in Alabama!" And of course, these guys, with the help of the machines, are being very creative with the rock with lots of armoring and optional trail lines containing rock drops and air-inspiring obstacles! At the end of this post is a link to the blog of some of the Trail Care Crew and their observations (and photos!) at Coldwater just a couple of days ago. Today was a great day, with Jenny and Jake Trail Care Crew presenting two excellent programs in the community.
The first was at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. It was attended by approximately 40 citizens, including a councilperson, the editor of the Anniston Star (along with a reporter), business owners, hotel managers, interested citizens, the director of a local foundation, and others. The presentation outlined the economic and quality of life benefits of trails and cycling in local communties.
The presentation did an excellent job of informing the average citizen of what is coming. It appeared that all who attended were elated to see the genuine excitement of the IMBA Trail Care Crew regarding the scope and size of the Coldwater project for our area and also the economic impact it will have. Jenny and Jake then presented a "Club Care" presentation at Wig's Wheels bike shop in downtown Anniston this evening for our NEABA chapter. It was also very informative and helpful for our club, with about 25 in attendance. Tomorrow we will attend the Trail Care Crew classroom experience related to sustainable trail construction. We will all then grab a box lunch and head to Coldwater Mountain to see the progress and get some hands-on experience in the woods. We were told there is a large rock armoring project for volunteers to tackle--rock armoring is sort of like being a stone mason without mortar. Rocks are wedged in a tightly arranged manner to create a cobblestone-like appearance. We were told there is a long slot between two huge rocks. The trail will travel through this slot and armoring is needed as a trail surface. Another post will be here later in the weekend, complete with photos and how much progress we made. Check back! Here is the link to the Trail Care Crew blog and photos from a few days ago: http://www.imba.com/blog/morgan-and-steve-lommele/building-trail-coldwater-mountain
Saturday, January 28, 2012
It's time to move some dirt! We have received confirmation that the IMBA Trail Solutions team of trail professionals are arriving this weekend to begin the construction process on the first 14-mile loop at Coldwater Mountain. Rich Edwards of Trail Solutions is the project manager, supported by Stephen Mullins and a host of other IMBA folks. They have rented a house locally and will be with us until May or June. This 14-mile loop is scheduled for completion by the end of April, 2012. Both IMBA Trail Care Crews will be at Coldwater Mountain in early March. We will be scheduling a few trail work parties leading up to and including the time the Trail Care Crews are here. After completion of this loop, IMBA will begin flagging the next loop to be constructed later in 2012 and early 2013. When completed, Coldwater Mountain will have 60+ miles of world-class purpose-built mountain bike trails and two Gravity Zones for downhillers. The access park for the entrance to this trail system will ultimately be located near historic downtown Anniston (within easy riding distance). The park is projected to have an IMBA designed and built pump track, skills park, bike washing stations, changing rooms and restrooms, and much more. Stay tuned for more updates...
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Actual trail construction at Coldwater is finally about to begin. All state and federal agency environmental clearances have been received and IMBA Trail Solutions arrives in January. Recall that approximately 15 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trail have been flagged and this loop will be what IMBA and volunteers will tackle beginning January (this is the first 15, of what will be a total of 60 miles when completed).
The goal is to have this first section completed by April 21, 2011 - which is a lofty goal. The access road has been partially paved (first few hundred yards is asphalt). The remainder of the 1 mile roadway is ready for paving, but the wet weather has delayed getting the crusher run on the surface and then the asphalt. State DOT hopes to have the crusher run down in January and the asphalt completed sometime in February or early March.
There will be many trail work parties coming up, so if you have not already, please click the link at the bottom of this page to sign up to volunteer. We will be in touch via email as soon as we have some dates. Our club (NEABA) has purchased and outfitted a large tool trailer to help with the work parties, but we hope other clubs will bring their tools as we have larger work parties. There is a chance that both IMBA Trail Care Crews will be at Coldwater in March to help meet the April goal of completion. This will be an excellent opportunity for area clubs to get TCC training AND help us at Coldwater. Read below for more general project info from the last update. Stay tuned for more information...
Saturday, July 30,2011 - After 11 years of efforts, the Coldwater Mountain mountain bike trail development is underway! Construction coordination and design is being directed by IMBA and SORBA. We have received a total of $600,000 in RTP grants and local matching funds to date thanks to great help from ADECA and SORBA/IMBA. The efforts are coordinated locally by our Association, NEABA, but we will need the support of cycling Associations across the region for this exciting project on this beautiful and mountainous 4,000 acre tract of protected land. The trail system will be designated an IMBA Ride Center and trails will be open only to mountain bike recreation (and hikers/runners). Coldwater Mountain is located less than one mile off of interstate 20, and is 90 miles west of Atlanta and 60 miles east of Birmingham. Recently the IMBA Trail Care Crew visited Coldwater to demonstrate sustainable trail design and construction. Click here to see photos and read the TCC summary. To date, a few miles of trail have been constructed, but are not ready for riding yet. The roadway leading to the parking area is a little less than a mile long, but has proven very challenging to build! What started as a 3 mo project has turned into a 10 month project for the State of Alabama Lands Division, who is building the road. The roadway was originally planned to be gravel, but will now be paved due to it's steep gradient. But it's a few months from being ready for driving (and thus is closed). In the meantime, IMBA's Trail Solutions has spent much time in the mountains of Coldwater scouting and laying out proposed trail routes. Approximately 10 miles of trail have been flagged and we have been waiting for the State of Alabama biologist and archeologist to "clear" the corridor for trail construction (they are ensuring there are no rare plants or historic sites in the trail corridor to be protected). We recently have received word that the biologists have given the green light and we are now hoping for the green light in the next few weeks from archeologists. Once this occurs, we are ready to accept bids from specialized trail building companies to start building trail! We expect actual trail construction to begin late fall, early winter, 2011. While the trail construction companies, with the oversight of Trail Solutions, will do much of the work, volunteers are vital to make sure the singletrack is sweet! And the more volunteer labor we have, the further our grant dollars can be stretched to get the most trails possible from this $600,000 grant. We have had many folks (from all over the place) click the link below and send us their contact info to be placed on the list of potential volunteers. If you have signed up, but not heard from us, please be patient. Our "real work" will start this fall/winter as this first 10 mile section is built. So we WILL be in touch to notify you of trail work party days.
Trail Solutions meets once per year as a group for an "Annual Meeting." The 2011 meeting was at Coldwater. Their entire crew traveled to Anniston and spent over a week at Coldwater earlier this year--walking the property and surrounding area and collaborating on some of the latest trail building techniques. It was exciting to hear their enthusiasm for this project--especially coming from a group that has worked on projects all over the world. Late in 2010, Mike Van Abel, Executive Director of IMBA and Tom Souret, Regional Director of SORBA/IMBA visited Anniston and met with community leaders. CLICK HERE to read the 11/28/10 op-ed piece written by Bob Davis, editor of the Anniston Star, following the meeting.