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Mountain Biking Continues to Grow in Mississippi

Petal River ParkSouth Mississippi Trail Alliance (SMTA), one of the newest SORBA chapters, formed from three local clubs; Hub City MTB, MZ Racing, and Broke Spoke Cycling.  SMTA was voted in by the SORBA Board of Directors at the March 2016 SORBA Summit in Bryson City, NC. The chapter’s 50 members focus on trail building, trail maintenance, group rides, trail education and genuinely having fun in the process.

SMTA manages the Golden Eagle Trails in Hattiesburg, the Mount Zion Trails in Brookhaven, and the Petal River Park Trails in Petal, MS. The Golden Eagle Trails include 10 miles of single track on University of Southern Mississippi property in and around the Lake Thoreau Nature Center in Hattiesburg. The Mount Zion Trails feature 10 miles of awesome wooden features, flowing berms and technical climbs in the hill country of Brookhaven, MS.  The Petal River Park is their newest urban trail system built through a partnership with the City of Petal on 90 acres of flood plain land along the Leaf River. This trail offers 4 miles of tight, technical single track that will get your heart pumping.  SMTA and the Petal River Park Board are working with Piney Woods Land Trust and Southern Company to double the size of the park and extend the trail system.

SMTA’s latest project is at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, a 30 mile trail system that will be built over the next three to five years. The trails will be built in and around some of the most challenging and beautiful terrain in Central Mississippi, the Ragland Hills. The partnership between SMTA and the State of Mississippi Military Department will not only benefit the Soldiers and civilian employees on the post, local riders from Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt area, but also provide an incredible destination for mountain bikers from New Orleans, Gulfport/Biloxi, and Mobile. Camp Shelby already has ample parking near the proposed trail heads, including cabins, camping, and a bar and grill at the All Ranks Club. Two beautiful lakes, Dogwood and Walker offer picnic pavilions.  SMTA is still in the early stages of planning and is actively fundraising for a professional build plan through events and a GoFundMe site. To find out more about this project, or how to get involved, visit rideSMTA.org.