Excitement was at an all time high in Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) in the Santa Cruz mountains as at least 200 mountain biking enthusiasts and project supporters turned out for the Sunday, June 1 opening of flow trail segments #3 (sponsored by FOX) and #5 (sponsored by Epicenter Cycling). The highly anticipated opening was put on by Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC) in conjunction with land manager and project partner California Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), and held on the 1-year anniversary of the opening of MBoSC’s last trail project, the Emma McCrary Trail, created in collaboration with the City of Santa Cruz.
Sunday’s celebration kicked off with Verve coffee and breakfast treats from Red House Bakery served up in the SDSF parking lot as riders, many from local mountain bike clubs, gathered to ride to the opening ceremony. Segment #5 sponsor Epicenter Cycling offered free bike demos and minor repair service.
At 11am, attendees gathered at the bottom of segment #5 for a few words from MBoSC Trail Construction Manager Drew Perkins and CAL FIRE Forest Manager Angela Bernheisel. Noting the cooperative spirit behind the project, Perkins praised the volunteer effort that went into these first two sections of what will ultimately result in a 4-mile trail consisting of six segments and a skills area. Bernheisel applauded the dedicated volunteer effort, recognizing the hard work of MBoSC and the Stewards of Soquel Forest. She also spoke to the crowd about SDSF’s role as a demonstration forest, explaining how CAL FIRE objectives of fire protection, sustainable timber harvesting, forestry education, research and recreation all work together to demonstrate the feasibility of public access in an intensively managed educational and research forest. Perkins and Bernheisel then ceremoniously lopped the ribbon crossing the trail, heralding riders to venture forth to experience the flow.
Back at the SDSF parking area, the celebration continued with snacks and soft beverages provided by Epicenter Cycling and BBQ ribs donated by Summit Store. As attendees enjoyed the post-flow refreshments, MBoSC thanked project volunteers with a raffle featuring a vast array of excellent product including a FOX DOSS seat post and 34 Float fork, plus Shuttle Smith Adventures 10-pack punch card, Mission Workshop field packs, and apparel from Epicenter Cycling, Ibis Cycles, and Adventure Sports Journal.
226 volunteers put in 2,400 hours to complete the two segments of trail that offer impeccably crafted berms, jumps, rollers, and other features. This massive volunteer effort coupled with the generous support of private donors, industry and community sponsors has positioned the flow trail project for an excellent start. But with another three miles to complete, MBoSC is already hard at work raising the additional funding needed to complete the project, and organizing volunteer forces for when construction resumes. With California experiencing its driest year in recorded state history, soil moisture is already inadequate for trail construction until the rainy season returns, but the break in digging will allow for an evaluation of how the completed segments will hold up to high summer use and the first winter after construction. Volunteers are needed year round to assist with communications, volunteer coordination, and fundraising; email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
MBoSC gratefully recognizes the support of segment sponsors Bontrager, Epicenter Cycling, FOX, Ibis Cycles, Specialized and Trail Head Cyclery; hospitality sponsors Mtbr, Stewards of Soquel Forest, Mick’s Automotive, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Verve Coffee Roasters, Red House Bakery, and Summit Store; donors Jeff and Marieke Rothschild and The Mark Reynolds Memorial Fund; plus contributions from Easton, Shimano, X-Fusion, Mission Workshop, Shuttle Smith Adventures and Adventure Sports Journal. Although all segments were sponsored in record time, opportunities to host work events are still available, and private donations are always welcome.
MBoSC also extends a very special thank you to project partner CAL FIRE for this much-needed recreational opportunity which will benefit our community on so many levels.