Thursday, April 11, 2013

Join SWIMBA Saturday to work on trails in Avimor; consider a donation for ST-240

On the way to Sheep Rock at Avimor with Kenn Hardin 
Mountain biking at Avimor ... lots of elbow room.
Scott Perryman of SWIMBA gives a thumbs up to the ST-240 trail-cutting machine. 
Hi all,

This week I'm giving a shout-out to the Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association (SWIMBA). They've got a trail work day planned on Saturday at Avimor, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and they're also working on a capital campaign to purchase a trail-cutting machine for building more singletrack trails in SW Idaho.

I'd encourage mountain bikers to throw your support behind SWIMBA as much as you can. That's because SWIMBA has been very effective in creating new mountain biking opportunities in SW Idaho for 20+ years, and the organization is only getting stronger over time! Now that's a really good sign for a nonprofit group.

As a disclaimer, I must tell you that I'm totally biased in my support of SWIMBA because I was the founding president in 1992, and I am a lifetime member. OK, nuf said on that.

Anyone who wants to volunteer for the trail work day on Saturday should wear closed-toed shoes (preferably boots), bring gloves, a hat and water. There's a 40% chance of rain on Saturday, so it'd be a good idea to bring your rain gear. SWIMBA will have a BBQ for volunteers after the work day, and if the weather cooperates, some people may go for a ride.

How to get there: Trail-volunteers should drive to the main entrance of Avimor off of Idaho 55, drive toward the main trailhead straight ahead, and then look for the SWIMBA banner. That'll be the meeting place. SWIMBA's Scott Perryman said they will be working on some improvements to the "Shooting Range" trail and also starting on "Upper Bovine," if enough volunteers show up.    

SWIMBA has adopted Avimor as a place where they're doing trail development because the community has been supportive of hiking, biking and trail-running since Day One, and they've always indicated that their trails are open to public use, no matter if you live in the community or not. In addition, Marc and Gina Grubert, who have been active with SWIMBA for a number of years, were some of the first residents to build a home at Avimor. Marc showed me around on their trails a number of years ago, and things just keep getting better.

I'll include a couple of maps of mountain bike rides that I really like at Avimor from the latest edition of my guide, Mountain Biking in Boise. Here's a link to a comprehensive trail map created by Avimor and SWIMBA.
Everyone loves the downhill singletrack along Spring Valley Creek 
The hills and mountains surrounding Avimor are key because someday, the trails there could be linked to trails at Stack Rock near Bogus Basin, and they also could link to the Dry Creek Valley and Hidden Springs. The area is very strategic from that perspective.

Now, about SWIMBA's capital campaign for a new trail-cutting machine. The group has been working on raising $105,000 for a ST-240 and trailer. It's a mini-bulldozer of sorts that is perfectly designed for rough-cutting singletrack trails. "ST" stands for singletrack, those sinewy dirt trails that we all love to ride. Here's a brief video about the machine.

As SWIMBA points out on their web site, they have 30 miles of new trail that needs to be built at Avimor, more trails on the drawing board with the Forest Service in the Lowman District, and potentially many other trails in the future. It would be a HUGE asset for SWIMBA to have a ST-240 to do all of the hardest, back-breaking work involved in cutting a trail tread, and then volunteers come in to do the final upslope and downslope dirt work to polish the tread.

SWIMBA is still working on raising about $30,000 of the project's cost. Go to this page on SWIMBA's web site to donate. Any amount you can afford would be helpful.

Looking back over the years, SWIMBA has been involved in building or funding trails such as Trail #1, the singletrack connector from the Motorcycle Parking Lot on 8th Street to Bob's Trail and Corrals Trail, Sidewinder, Redtail Ridge, Maholo, Watchman, Fat Tire Connector, Eastside, DB Connector, Mr. Big and several new trails at Avimor. SWIMBA is serious about adding new trails to improve our riding experience and increase the fun quotient.

At the most basic level, you can help by becoming a member of SWIMBA if you're not already. Go to the SWIMBA web site and sign up and join the fun! It's pretty neat when you go out on a ride and tell your friends that you had a part in building the trail you're enjoying. It gives you a measure of pride that you're put some sweat equity into making your community a better place. Thanks!

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