Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working It Out: Ready To Ride At Camp Robinson

Bryan Shipman and I did some trail work at Camp yesterday and discussed the fact that the trails need more riders. There are a few reasons behind the usage drop off, but folks, this is a great trail system and we need to use it. Among the impediments are the transition to the Sportsman Pass system for entry, the logging operations, and the heavy leaf cover on the trails. Here's my assessment of those factors:

Sportsman Pass: Camp has transitioned away from the system that requires a C.A.R.P card, photo ID, auto registration and proof of insurance. They now require Sportsman Passes, which cost $10.00 and are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00-6:00. You will need to present your ID and auto information, but getting the card takes only a few minutes and the system makes check in much easier. You no longer need a C.A.R.P. card (but should support the club, anyway), and you still may need to display your photo ID at the gate. Go get your pass. This Thursday would be a good time. Don't wait until the first pretty Saturday or you will be S.O.L.

Logging Operations: The timber harvest is completed, but some areas are a bit of a mess. Continue to park at the winter parking area, which provides access at the Airport Loop.

Leaf Cover/ Trail Conditions: Dave London has done a lot of trail raking and I've been out there along with Bryan Shipman clearing several miles of trail. We tried to concentrate on the trails that had the heaviest cover. Several miles of Airport, Buddha, Ball of Nails, Advanced Trig, and Helter Skelter have been cleared of leaf cover and are in great shape! Check out the video of our operation below. I hesitate to share our rapid trail raking system, but here you go!



I just heard this morning that word was being spread at a local bike shop that mountain bikers are less welcome at Camp Robinson. That is not correct. We are still welcome. The change to the Sportsman Pass system was not to discourage mountain bikers, but to make the system for entry easier for the folks at the gate and consitent with the one that has been in place for other users.
Camp Robinson remains the best trail system in Central Arkansas so don't overlook it when making your plans to lay in the dirt.

19 comments:

Joe Jacobs said...

Wondering, if you have an out-of-town guest do you need to get them a pass or is the pass per vehicle?

fgadfly said...

UNOFFICIAL answer: Anyone who rides, hunts, fishes, or participates in any other activity covered by the sportsman's pass, must have a sportsman's pass. Today an out-of-town guest is required to purchase the $10 sportsman's pass.

Chris Randle said...

That part blows. Even for people who are in town who just can't reasonably find the time to get the pass. At least you could get the CARP card mailed or print out the receipt once you paid for it online. My opinion is that if we really want to get more people back on the trails at Camp Robinson, someone is going to have to do some serious "policticking" to make it less of a pain in the arse to ride there. The fact of the matter is that it is on a military base and there are rules surrounding that. Most avid riders I have talked to just don't want to be bothered and would just rather ride one of the other many trails in Central Arkansas. Personally, I miss riding Camp, but I find it more and more difficult to justify going out there to ride. :(((
I will be there Sunday though.

chad said...

The sportsman's pass isn't too much trouble to me, and I don't mind the $10. My biggest problem with the Camp trails is their availability to out-of-town guests. When we used the CARP card system, someone from out of town could go to a shop, buy the card and go ride. A pain for sure, but still manageable. You can't do that with the sportsman's pass. This effectively bars anyone from from out-of-town from riding Camp. I realize it is a military base, and I understand that the rules have to be there. I just think is is a shame that the trails we work most on can't be ridden by everyone; especially when we can ride the trails that others work hard to maintain. Just my two cents.

RMooney said...

in years past I have spent many hours at camp ridding, this year I haven't been there, most in part to how great shape burns is in, in the past burns is muddy by now and I will not ride it muddy, I am starting to miss advanced trig and merlin so I will be back

Anonymous said...

Thanks for y'alls hard work cleaning trails.

- Clint Gray

JBar said...

Moondog, looks like Burns Park is over for you! It should be plenty muddy about right now.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a "rumor" has been spread, but I *personally* feel like it's time Central Arkansas Riders look for other venues to ride that are more user friendly. I once purchased my home by Camp, but, like Robert, I haven't been out there in 2010. It's hard to argue, with the logging and new regulations, (not to mention to issues with holding races out there), that it's more difficult for users to access Camp. For me, again *personally*, I feel less welcome, hence the talk of rehabbing more user friendly trails out west.
Happy New Year!
Sarah

JBar said...

There is some merit to that. I don't feel less welcome, but it's just less convenient. I rode woth a couple of relatively new mtb'ers today and felt very limited in my efforts to keep it fun Granted, it was wet, but the loss of Ten Bridges, Yucca, etc, leave the easy trail options slim

fgadfly said...

personally, there are a few (literally) riders who maintain or even use the trails at camp. If these riders quit, the trails will disappear and eventually there will be no need to maintain a sign-in log at the visitor center. Who knows what the future holds for cycling on camp?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there are few people who do trail work at Camp. My efforts this year have been at Burn's, Womble, and the OT- the trails I use most. Until the new regulations and change of hands on base, I did quite a bit of work at Camp. I remember a couple seasons ago when there would be easily 20 cars in the parking lot on Sunday afternoons- Now though, I hear fewer and fewer people talk of going out there.

There's a movement to rehab Wildcat stirring, The new trail at Pinnacle is breaking in nicely, and the fireroads at Sylvia are making a comeback. It's really an exciting time to be a mountain biker.

Enjoying the dialogue!
Sarah

JBar said...

The resource it too valuable to abandon, but I think we may have a tipping point in the rehab of the logged areas. I've been doing a little work out there, but I'm still a roadie in seasonal mountain bike mode. I think it ia important that a plan is delevoped that will at least allow us to get through the harvested areas and reclaim as much as possible of the affected trails. The access protocol, added to the damage to beginner trails and difficulty in getting around, could leave us without a critical mass of users and a lost resource. That said, if the trails don't pull in riders, then it's not valued enough to maintain. I hope that's not the case, but things are trending that way.

Justin Ray said...

My thanks to the folks working on the trails at Camp Robinson. I had a great ride today on clear trails. Definitely worth the effort to ride there.

fgadfly said...

One other little known/used benefit of having trails on Camp Robinson is access to the MWR Complex at 6th and Missouri. The sales tax there is about as good as it gets and you can buy your favorite beverage on Sunday.

JBar said...

Whoa! Is that open to all Camp users or is a military ID required?

fgadfly said...

Probably need an id of some sort to write a check, but you should check it out sometime. They have scopes, gum, gatorade, wool socks, beef jerky, and other whatnot. http://mwrcomplex.com/

Anonymous said...

One of the posts stated, "This effectively bars anyone from from out-of-town from riding Camp." Is there some residency requirement to get the Sportsman pass?

fgadfly said...

no, just the hours to get one are limited to Tuesday and Thursday 1000 to 1800 (6pm) and the rare Saturday.

Marianne said...

Thanks for info. I need to get a 2011 sportsman pass and wrote it on my To Do list! m