The Movil Maze has Bemidji’s only real singletrack mountain bike trails. A lot of volunteer work, mainly by Tom Damen, has built four miles of trail for just thousands of dollars. For comparison, Cuyuna’s 25 miles of trail cost 1.5-2 million dollars, or $80,000 per mile, so you can see how incredible an accomplishment the Movil Maze is.
Tomorrow, (Saturday, July 20) Tom will be looking for volunteers to help put in quite a bit of new trail. Brush has been mostly cleared on four new sections and a mini-excavator has been rented that should allow pretty dramatic development of trail. At 6am, work begins, and we’d love to have as many volunteers as possible helping out. Bringing rakes and square shovels is helpful, but not required. There will be tools to go around and work to be done that doesn’t require any tools at all. Most of the work will be clearing small amounts of fallen brush and raking behind the excavator.
Most important is to bring appropriate clothing, water, and a snack. Long sleeves and pants made from a light material should keep bugs off. Work gloves and closed-toed shoes are necessary. The area we’ll be working in is buggy, but not insufferable. Bring bug spray if you usually use it.
Water is important as the trail is dense and the labor isn’t always easy. Bring at least a liter. A small snack can keep you going.
If Saturday morning doesn’t work for you but you’d still like to help out, stay tuned for more opportunities to participate in work parties and also, don’t be afraid to take initiative and work on your own. Even maintaining the existing trail helps put new trail in. Every hour you spend raking or picking up branches is an hour that someone else can spend building new trail.
The impact of a few of us can be quite large. One of the largest funding sources for the project is a $5000 dollar, matching-fund grant. Using all of that money is important to securing future funding, and volunteer hours count toward the matching funds. One hour of unskilled labor is worth $15, so six volunteers working an average of an hour per week (and an hour isn’t much) would cover $4500 dollars of the matching funds in the course of a calendar year. A little bit of help goes a long way.
We all like to ride, here’s a chance to pay it back.