Massive volunteer efforts are underway to get area mountain bike trails back in operation. Nearly all North Texas trails have been closed because of the spring rains and flooding. Some are just now starting to open.
The cleanup work is led by DORBA, the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association. In partnership with local governments, DORBA builds and maintains the trails at no cost to taxpayers.
“In 12 years of working there,” says DORBA’s Erwin Trail Steward Rich Szecsy, “this is the worst damage I’ve seen.”
54 DORBA volunteers were out in force on June 20th, and will continue to work in the weeks ahead. They used chainsaws to clear away four fallen trees. There was even a Bobcat to clear out mounds of flood debris. The City of McKinney is planning to haul in up to 100 tons of dirt so volunteers can fill in eroded trail areas. Szecsy says some of the work will take well into the year to finish.
The South Loop of the Erwin Trail is expected to reopen soon, when it dries out. Access to other areas may be limited for a while. “I suspect that with a little dry weather we will reopen all but a one mile stretch,” Szecsy says.
In Frisco, the Northwest Community Park trail has required a lot of work by DORBA workers, with the help of local Eagle Scouts. Trail Steward Bill Woodard says 40 volunteers spent several weekends reinstalling a washed out bridge, and cutting new trail around and above flooded areas. He said they even had to resort to “armoring” some areas.
“The armoring included laying several hundred brick on one of the steeper slopes to keep the slope from washing away in the next rain. It’s held up well in the rain since it was repaired,” Woodard said.
The Frisco trail had actually opened a couple times in the spring, but kept getting closed by all the rain. Woodard says a new section of trail has been added, which makes the total trail length about 8 miles. The trail is currently listed as “open”, but conditions are still muddy in some areas.
The massive volunteer effort by the mountain biking community isn’t lost on local park officials. The trail work is done at no cost to the cities, and the cycling community brings visitors into the city. Mountain bikers are major users of the campgrounds at Erwin Park, accounting for a big share of the park’s camping revenue.
“With our limited maintenance staff, we would never be able to maintain the trail as well as the volunteers from DORBA do. They are a wonderful organization and we are thankful for their support”, says Ryan Mullins, Assistant Director of the McKinney Parks Department.
For the latest trail conditions at Frisco, McKinney and other North Texas trails, check the DORBA website. Click on the trail name on the left side of the page.