The BIRMINGHAM URBAN MOUINTIAN PEDALERS (BUMP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Pelham, Shelby County and DCNR to develop and build a multi-use trail around the swimming lake at Oak Mountain State Park. This is the first step toward realizing a trail first proposed years ago by the park naturalist and advocated by BUMP as part of a proposed “Epic” off road trail system at Oak Mountain State Park.
The MOU provides that the city of Pelham will apply for a Recreational Trail Grant on behalf of the project, and that Shelby County will also support the project with additional funding thru its Parks Grant program, subject to BUMP meeting the applicable grant requirements.
The proposed trail will be a relatively level two mile long trail and will provide a much needed pedestrian and bike link around the lake and over the existing dam. Walkers and recreational off road cyclists will be able to do a three mile loop around the lake. The trail is being designed as a beginner trail for off road cyclists and an easy walk for those seeking a walk in the woods with out the climb up Oak Mountain required of most other trails in the park. It will feature panoramic views of Oak Mountain from across the lake and from the top of the dam.
As part of the project, an additional single track trail (18” to 30” wide) will also be constructed from the existing Red trail near the South Trail head to connect with the new lake trail. This and the lake trail link will close the existing gap in the Red Trail that now requires mountain bikers to ride about a mile on Terrace Drive to do the entire off road loop. This will provide a 100% off road experience to mountain bikers for the first time at Oak Mountain State Park. These two trails are the first phase of an extended off road trail system proposed by BUMP to DCNR in 2006, but not yet fully approved. To date, BUMP has raised $40,000 toward the cost of this project from private donations and a grant from Bikes Belong, an industry advocacy group.
The goal of BUMP’s overall plan is to eventually obtain an “Epic” trail designation for the Oak Mountain Bike trail system from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). Such a status is expected to greatly increase the attraction of the park to those who participate in the fast growing recreational activity of mountain biking, attracting more out of town recreational tourists and trail events to the park. Currently in the US, there are twice as many mountain bikers as golfers and the numbers are growing annually. This project is a step in that direction, but additional trail will need to be approved and built to reach the “epic” designation.
The work on top of the dam, including a 60 foot long weathered steel truss bridge, will be constructed by a licensed contractor. The rest of the trail will be constructed by volunteers from BUMP and other interested groups. The trail was designed by BUMP in accordance with the sustainable trail design standards of IMBA.
Construction is projected to begin soon with a hope for completion date of the first leg by May 30, 2010. This will allow the lake trail to be used for the 16th annual Bump and Grind Cross Country Mountain race.