After a couple years of not having a summit in person we gathered together in Tallahassee, FL, for the 2022 SORBA Summit. With thanks to our partners TMBA, Visit Tallahassee, and The Holiday Inn Tallahassee, we were able to provide our members with the knowledge and skills to continue to grow mountain biking throughout the Southeast.
The week began with our Trail Crew Leader training taught by Walt Bready of Trails B-Ready. The full class came away from the two days of training with the knowledge to successfully lead volunteer crews on new trail construction and maintenance. The participants varied from city and county employees, Forest Service, and SORBA volunteers. The diverse group is proof of how important trails are to communities as well as show how mountain bikers are on the forefront of trail stewardship.
Thursday evening our early arrivals were welcomed by a mini social at the host hotel sponsored by the Florida Bicycle Association. Participants were treated to free beer and snacks and could pick up their informational packet for the week.
Our Friday sessions, geared more towards land managers, was well attended by volunteers and land managers alike. Starting the day off with a welcome from Visit Tallahassee Executive Director Kerri L Post. Following our welcome, Samantha Brown of the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails gave a presentation about the current status of trails in Florida as well as what is planned for the future. Florida is one of the best states in the country when it comes to paved paths, and is gaining steam on all forms of natural surface trails.
Steve Kasacek of IMBA Trail Solutions presented part one of his two part presentation on Where Great Trails Come From: Planning. This was an excellent in-depth look on the importance of planning and designing a trail project long before any dirt is moved. The value of planning was a continuing theme on following presentations as well.
Following Steve, a round table discussion about risk management on state lands led to a great conversation on the responsibility of mountain bikers, volunteers and trail builders alike. Former Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper brought a great perspective that only a land manager can bring. The other panelist Steve Kasacek, and Todd Addicott from SORBA Jax represented the trail builders and volunteers respectively.
Friday’s final presentation was centered around a trail project in Knoxville, TN, at Hastie Park. Presenters Matthew Kellogg of AMBC, Chris Kehmeier of C2 Recreation, and Valerie Naylor Trail Specialist reiterated the importance of planning and design when it comes to implementing an exceptional trail project. They spoke about specifics of the park, the importance of communicating with the public, and keeping communication positive.
After our sessions a group ride was hosted at Munson Hills, just south of Tallahassee. Following the group ride participants were treated to a social at Proof, a local brewery near downtown Tallahassee. Proof’s atmosphere encouraged SORBA members and land managers to casually talk about bikes, trails, beer, and whatever else came about. A big thanks goes out to TMBA for sponsoring the social at Proof!
Saturday we began our day with the bi-annual SORBA Board of Directors Meeting. There we covered organizational topics and set the ground work to form strategic planning moving into the next 5 years. With the current environment for trails, SORBA’s future is looking really bright.
Just after the board meeting Deb Caffin of the US Forest Service gave a great presentation on the current state of the Forest Service, trails and plans for the future. There is a lot to look forward to with our National Forest!
To round out the weekend Steve Kasacek brought part two of his presentation on Where Great Trails Come From: Design. Building on the planning portion of the presentation, the design segment talked specifically about designing trails with a purpose. He showed many great examples on the importance of good design and how design can either make or break your overall trail project.
Unfortunately the planned rides were cancelled due to wet weather but everyone made the most of the situation. Some participants went to ride Munson Hills again, while others went to Tom Brown Park to take advantage of Tallahassee’s paved pump track. Post ride refreshments were held at Ology Brewing hosted by Visit Tallahassee. With a much appreciated large tent in the parking lot, DJ, free beer, Visit Tallahassee continued to show amazing support for our group and mountain biking in general.
We want to thank all the supporters, speakers and participants for making the 2022 SORBA Summit great! We could not continue to have these successful events without the support of so many! We will see you all in Knoxville for our Fall Board of Directors Meeting.
Below you will find a link to all the presentations from the Summit.PRESENTATIONS