SDMB Year in Review 2019
As 2019 comes to a close and we welcome in 2020 (a new decade of riding!), we wanted to share a recap of the year and our accomplishments. Everything SDMB does is made possible through your support, donations, membership dollars, and volunteer hours, so this is really a recap of what WE collectively have accomplished over the last year. Huge, huge thanks to everything the MTB and trails community does to support SDMB in our mission to Build, Ride, and Protect trails in Tucson and Southern Arizona. To join or renew your membership or make a donation, please go to www.sdmb.org . To make a donation specifically to the bike park, go to www.tucsonparks.org (make sure to specify 100-Acre Wood Bike Park!).
Also, special thanks to the SDMB board, crew leaders, and others who have taken leadership roles over the last year!
Major 2019 Accomplishments
Enchanted Hills Trails Park
SDMB worked with Pima County to develop the new Enchanted Hills Trails Park adjacent to the 36th St. Trailhead, building more than 5 miles of MTB-optimized multi use singletrack and the first MTB-specific trail in the Tucson Mountains! Enchanted Hills is the newest addition to Tucson Mountain Park, and has great variety including beginner-friendly options like Lower El Grupo Loop and techy advanced trails like Wild West. In addition to coordinating and leading the majority of the volunteer events, SDMB brought an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team to Tucson assist with construction and restoration work and provided staff time for machine operation.
100-Acre Wood Bike Park
In 2019, 100-Acre Wood Bike Park took a bunch of steps closer to become a reality! In January SDMB held a press conference and ground breaking volunteer event in collaboration with the City of Tucson, Davis Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB), and REI Tucson. Over the past year we have coordinated more than 25 volunteer events, working not only with the MTB community but with with groups like Tucson Electric Power and the University of Arizona Blue Chip Leadership Program. Overall, in 2019 SDMB volunteers dedicated more than 1,800 volunteers hours to the bike park (at a value of more than $44,000!). In August we built the Flow Trail Skills Area, with beginner and intermediate jump lines, and then in December we completed the Green Flow Trail and began construction on the Green XC Trail (hopefully to be completed by the end of January 2020). In addition to construction SDMB continued to work on site cleanup and restoration, contracting with Strategic Habitat Enhancements as the restoration consultant for the project. Thanks to REI Tucson, Tucson Electric Power, Tucson Medical Center, and Hammel Dentistry for providing grant funding this year, and to all of the individual donors who contributed.
AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Teams
In 2019 SDMB was fortunate to bring not one but two AmeriCorps NCCC teams to Tucson, for a total of 12 weeks of assistance. The first team assisted with trail building and restoration efforts at Enchanted Hills in collaboration with Pima County NRPR, allowing us to build 5.3 miles of trail in just a few months.
For the second team SDMB collaborated with TORCA, the Arizona Trail Association, and Pima County NRPR. NCCC volunteers assisted with trail maintenance on Mt. Lemmon and at McKenzie Ranch Trails Park, helped build more than a mile of trail at Painted Hills Trails Park, and spent 2 weeks doing cleanup and trail building at the bike park.
SDMB provided project management and coordination for both teams, including submission of applications, location and funding for housing, and facilitation of training and schedules.
Be Cool Trail Etiquette Campaign
Now in its third year, SDMB’s “Be Cool” trail etiquette campaign continues to be successful in educating mountain bikers and other users about how to get along on the trails. In 2019 SDMB volunteers held 10 trailhead outreach events, handing out 800+ bike bells along with stickers and informational flyers about trail etiquette. To date, we have given out nearly 2,000 bike bells!
Fantasy Island is one step closer to permanent preservation! Efforts to preserve FI have been active for years, and in 2019 SDMB teamed up with TORCA and SAMBA to work with the City of Tucson and the Arizona State Land Department (AZSLD) to implement the 2006 Fantasy Island Trails Park Master Plan. In November Mayor and Council voted to approve the Planned Community Development (PCD) plan that designates most of the Northern part of FI as permanent open space, effectively preserving it even though the land has not been transferred yet. SDMB is working with Tucson Parks and Recreation to develop an agreement that will allow us to maintain and improve the FI trails in coming years.
Honeybee Canyon Trails
SDMB continues to work with the Town of Oro Valley and other stakeholders to advocate for preservation of the Honeybee Canyon trails. In 2019 SDMB board members and supporters met several times with new Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield and staff to discuss Honeybee, and we presented to the OV Town Council in April to begin raising awareness about the need for preservation and active management. SDMB board members are planning a site visit with interested OV Town Council Members, hopefully in February 2020.
2nd Year of McKenzie Frenzy
For the second year, SDMB put on a mountain bike race! The 2nd Annual McKenzie Frenzy, p/b Hammel Dentistry on December 7th was a huge success, with 130+ riders enjoying perfect temps, a fast course, and Tucson’s awesome MTB community. In addition to having a great time racing, participants helped SDMB raise more than $6,000 to support trail projects! Thanks too to our Race Supporters: Tucson Endurance Performance Center, Ben’s Bikes, Sabino Cycles, Metal Works Precision Machine & Tool, and Catalina Brewing Co. We’re already getting stoked for next year and planning to make it a bigger and better event!
Tortolita Preserve was under threat of sale and eventual development until the Marana Town Council voted to extend its lease from the Arizona State Land Department through 2099. SDMB supported the preservation effort in a variety of ways, including board members and supporters submitting letters and comments and attending public meetings. Board member Kirk Astroth gathered one full year of rider data to present to the council, and is now serving on the Marana Parks & Recreation Master Plan Committee.
More bike park!
100-Acre Wood Bike Park will continue to be a major priority for SDMB. What’s next for the bike park? We’ll keep building as dirt and funding becomes available, with an upcoming priority development of 2 pump tracks near Alvernon. SDMB and the City of Tucson are working with DMAFB to renew and extend the lease on the land, and we hope to finalize the sponsorship package and begin major fundraising. And, of course, we’re going to ride a bunch!
Once SDMB’s agreement with the City of Tucson is finalized we will start regular maintenance days (may be limited to the Northern trails including Lone Cactus, Bo’s, Burro’s, and Christmas Tree as those will be the officially sanctioned trails) and begin planning for trail improvements, including installation of features. We will also continue working with Tucson Water to ensure that the Bunny Loop stays open as SHARP Project construction continues. SDMB is looking at some potential sources of funding to support trail maintenance and improvement.
The next round of planned trail development in Tucson Mountain Park should begin sometime in 2020. Mockingbird Trail will provide a climbing-friendly connector between Explorer and 36th St. trails, and the Explorer extension will provide a singletrack connection from the 4’ culvert under Ajo Way all the way to Kennedy Park. Pima County NRPR still needs to complete the biological and cultural surveys and then both trails will be shovel-ready! SDMB still has up to $75,000 of RTP grant funding waiting for this package of trails, and there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities.
We’ll continue handing out bike bells and spreading the “Be Cool” gospel through outreach and education. For 2020, we plan to continue the trailhead events, hand out even more bike bells, and are working with Pima County and other land managers on designing and installing trailhead signage. Be Cool out there on the trail!
© 2018 - Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists - SDMB - is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
PO Box 65075, Tucson AZ 85718