A Sustainable Trail Building and Stewardship Community
We've been getting things done.
CATA Has Quickly Produced Remarkable Results on Arkansas Trails
The Central Arkansas Trail Alliance (CATA) was formed in early 2014 by a group of stewardship-minded hiking, trail running and mountain biking enthusiasts. CATA’s mission is to establish and maintain multi-use trails in central Arkansas that are open to mountain bikers and to link all trail users for this purpose. As a Chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service, CATA is dedicated to creating, enhancing and preserving great mountain bike, hiking and trail running experiences.
When was Central Arkansas Trail Alliance (CATA) founded? What was its goal at founding? CATA was founded in late 2013. What is CATA's primary mission? How many folks currently work with the organization? The goal upon founding was to create a sustainable support platform for multi-use trail systems in the central Arkansas region. We wanted to support mountain biking, as well as runners, hikers, and horse traffic. What projects has CATA completed in the state? What are some current and upcoming projects? We maintain the trail system at Camp Robinson, as well as some work at Wildcat Mountain. We also.... (more)
In 2015, CATA members: • Restored 8 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails at Wildcat Mountain on the Ouachita National Forest. We have invested over 75 man-hours to date, with final completion of the 10 mile trail network slated for late winter/early spring of 2016. (We are waiting on the Forest Service to clear two sections of trail heavily damaged by a tornado before we can finish our trail restoration work) • Constructed approximately 3.5 miles of brand new singletrack trail and two trail bridges at Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts in west Little Rock. This project is being accomplished in full cooperation with the Arkansas Master Naturalists. CATA members contributed over 100 man-hours) on this volunteer park improvement project. • Developed a comprehensive plan to introduce mountain biking to high school students at Academics Plus Charter School in Maumelle, Arkansas. Efforts included introducing the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) youth mountain biking program to educators, administrators and parents in central AR. • Did an unbelievable and awesome amount of trail work - maintenance, reroutes, bridge building and bridge replacement at Camp Robinson! Basil might be able to flesh this out with specifics, like the extensive reroute of Ball of Nails and Flatwoods. • Built a solitude bench in memory of Laura Wooldridge on the Dogwood trail at Camp Robinson • Welcomed 100 mountain bikers and runners to the first All A Carp recreational rides at Camp Robinson • Conducted the 2015 Big Rock Mountain Bike Festival for the whole family, especially kids. This year CATA offered a series of fun recreational bike rides for kids and parents. • Conducted two unique Kids Trail Love n Ride stewardship events at Boyle Park and along the AR River Trail, focusing on introducing kids and parents to different types of trail maintenance challenges on different area trails. These events will also include lessons on cycling skills development and bicycle maintenance.
At the present time, CATA is forging ahead with: • Developing a pilot recreational mountain bike program for middle school and high school students at Academics Plus Charter School in Maumelle, Arkansas? • Planning the 2016 Big Rock Mountain Bike Festival for the whole family, especially kids. • Planning a series of unique Kids Trail Love n Ride stewardship events, focusing on introducing kids and parents to different types of trail maintenance challenges on different area trails. These events will also include lessons on cycling skills development and bicycle maintenance • Continuing to work on improving and upgrading the trails at Camp Robinson plus improving access to the trails. • Working with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association on bringing Junior High and High School mountain bike racing to Central Arkansas.
In 2014, CATA members contributed over 500 man-hours of skilled volunteer stewardship for multiple land managers in Arkansas: Restored 7 miles of hiking & biking trails and built two trail bridges in Boyle Park, City of Little Rock Parks and Recreation Dept. Maintained and improved over 25 miles of singletrack trail at Camp Robinson, North Little Rock, Arkansas National Guard by constructing sustainable reroutes, removing fallen trees and encroaching woody brush and vines, and clearing winter leaf accumulation to promote drying and drainage Participated in Little Rock's Great American Cleanup Day at Western Hills Park by removing unwanted woody brush and debris from the bank and levee of a park fishing lake, City of Little Rock Parks and Recreation Dept. Maintained, improved, and repaired drainage problems on trails at Burns Park, City of North Little Rock, Parks and Recreation Dept. Maintained and improved over 6 miles of singletrack trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Arkansas Parks Created bermed turns and improved the overall flow of many sections of the new Enders Fault Trail at Woolly Hollow State Park, Greenbrier, AR
In addition, CATA conducted our first: CATA Kids Trail Love n Ride for kids and their parents, a “hands-on” trail stewardship and active trail work experience. The kids, under adult supervision and with instruction, armored the approaches to a trail bridge and chronic wet spots on a section of the Yellow Trail at Burns Park, North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Dept. After the trail work was completed, the kids and their parents enjoyed refreshments and a guided mountain bike ride on “their” trail Big Rock Mountain Bike Festival for families, which incorporated IMBA's Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day! The Festival was strategically conducted in Little Rock’s Boyle Park as part of a focused strategy to “bring back” this city park and draw citizens there for recreational purposes. The Festival featured guided mountain bike rides for both kids and women, a cyclocross demonstration, contests and a skill-building obstacle course.
CATA Has Been Dedicated to Coalition Building
Since being formed in early 2014, CATA leaders have fully recognized the strategic importance of building strong alliances and effective working partnerships with allied recreational organizations, government agencies and a variety of land managers.
Successfully lobbied land managers and military management at Camp Robinson to make access to the 40 miles of hiking and biking trails easier by offering a new 3 day Sportsman’s Pass, in addition to the annual Pass Provided support for trail maintenance and advocacy group building at the Syllamo Trails on the Syllamore District of the Ozark National Forest in Mountain View, Arkansas by actively participating on the Friends of the Syllamo Trail Board of Directors. These coalition-building efforts resulted in the creation of a trail maintenance partnership between FOST, the USDA Forest Service and the Calico Rock state prison (North Central Unit, Arkansas Dept. of Correction). The entire 50 mile trail network, including mountain biking, equestrian and hiking trails, was cleared of brush and improved during the 2015 winter season by state prisoners, resulting in the trails being in the best condition ever for recreational users this year. Quickly proved our worthiness as a reliable and qualified trail stewardship organization to a variety of land managers, including: •USDA Forest Service, Ouachita National Forest (Wildcat Mountain) •Arkansas State Parks (Pinnacle Mountain State Park) •City of Little Rock Parks and Recreation Dept. (Western Hills and Boyle Parks) •City of North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Dept. (Burns Park) •Arkansas National Guard (Camp Robinson) Recruited members of the Ouachita Mountain Hikers and Arkansas Master Naturalists to cooperatively work on trail maintenance and construction projects Developed initial plans that have been presented to the City of Little Rock’s City Manager and Director of the Parks and Recreation Dept. for creating trails and a bike park at Western Hills Park. A CATA Board member presented a Arkansas Parks and Tourism presentation at the International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit in Steamboat Springs, Colorado to promote Arkansas’ wonderful recreational trails
Accomplishments in Promotion and Education Related to Trails in Arkansas
Active use of social media to promote and educate trail users, potential trail users and the general public, including the promotion of events and trail workdays oCATA website, www.centralartrail.com oCATA Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CentralARTrail oBurns Park Mountain Bike Meetup Group, www.meetup.com/Burns-Park-Mountain-Bike-Group oCATA monthly e-newsletter oBlog postings on Arkansas Outside, www.arkansasoutside.com
2014 Big Rock Mountain Bike Festival Presentation to an international audience at the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s World Summit in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Active participation by CATA Board members in the Arkansas Trails Council 2014 CATA Kids Trail Love n Ride for kids and their parents, a “hands-on” trail stewardship and active trailwork learning experience CATA’s membership of trail stewards has grown in one year from 25 to 85 members in central Arkansas
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