May Field Trips: Palmer Woods Work Bee, Arcadia Grit & Gravel

FlowTrack Palmer.jpg

Your May challenge? Hit Palmer Woods. And help, if you can.

Palmer Woods is rolling into its first full season in action, and we want to challenge you to get out and see if for yourself. The new trail is a the product of grassroots support and advocacy from Leelanau Conservancy, pushed by Bike Leelanau and bike-lovers all over Leelanau County. The first phase of construction has already given us one of the most unique places to ride in the state!

Flowtrack Mountain Bike designed the trail and opened things up for riding last fall. Closed for winter, spring has given Palmer Woods its first chance to impress locals and riders visiting our region. We want to make sure everyone gets to experience the trail in prime shape. That’s why the Conservancy, Bike Leelanau, and Suttons Bay Bikes are hosting a trail day on Thursday, May 16. We’ll be looking to address trail debris, clear face-slappers, and make some minor repairs from a long, soggy winter and spring.

At the same time, volunteers from the Leelanau Conservancy will be tackling a spreading nuisance. Garlic mustard is an invasive species that’s been a huge problem in the area, and they’re calling on as many hands as they can muster to stop the spread at Palmer Woods. They’re looking for at least a dozen willing, strong-armed people who aren’t afraid to get dirty. That effort will run in conjunction with the bike work bee, which means Palmer Woods will be swarming with do-gooders. Make sure you bring your bike, too; there’s a very high chance a bike ride will break out after the trail work!

This weekend is also a great chance to go explore Arcadia. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy manages Arcadia Dunes and has worked hard to developed the trail into one of the most fun, exciting, and flowing mountain bike trails in the area. This Saturday, Endoman Promotions hosts the Arcadia Grit & Gravel, a half gravel race, half mountain bike race that puts riders on 10 miles of dirt roads before tossing them into 11 miles of singletrack goodness. It’s one of the most unique events in the state, and one of the most beautiful. The race weekend always seems trillium in peak bloom; riders blur past hillsides and ravines covered in a blanket of brilliant white flowers over a vibrant green undergrowth.

A portion of the proceeds from the race go to GTRLC, helping preserve both the Arcadia Dunes and the many other ambitious conservation projects Glen and the gang have cooking. For riders in northern Michigan, who are so spoiled to have trails like the Traverse City Trail Network, Palmer Woods, Cadillac Pathway, and Glacial Hills right in their backyard, races like Arcadia Grit & Gravel are the perfect excuse for a field trip!

How You Can Save The Day, Every Day, In Just Five Seconds...


This one goes for anyone on the trails. And that’s any trail. Please, pick up a stick.

While we host a number of trail days, most of the trail work that make the woods fun to bike, run, walk, and explore happens by our own trail volunteers. They spend hours each week heading deep into the forest to make structural changes or clear big, dangerous issues. Clearing downed trees, carefully pruning face slappers, fixing damage to trail, marking and recording future trail plans…they have a lot to do, and they squeeze all of it into daily life. They’re already sacrificing saddle time (which is dramatic enough), but they’re also missing time with family, friends, even work time to make sure we have a place to ride!

Can’t make that commitment? You don’t have to. You can join NMMBA, and you can trade those five hour work days for about five seconds per ride. How? Pick up a stick.

No, seriously. Picking up sticks, gel and snack wrappers, or any trail debris that you can address with your strong, bare hands is a huge help to our trail volunteers. Especially this spring, strong winds and a few weeks of ice and rain have brought down a lot of sticks, limbs and branches. If you can kick those clear, you’ll not only save our volunteers a ton of time, but you might also save one of your pals, too. Those sticks are rear derailleur killers, and if everyone can help out, we might be able to save a few of our friends a very long, sad, and expensive walk back to the parking lot.

Get out and ride! With the Cadillac Pathway almost completely clear and 90% of the unmarked trails in Traverse City ready to roll, this is a great week to sneak out and put in a few miles. Take a hot second each time to pick up a stick or two, pocket any stray wrappers, and let’s get things in pristine shape for the rest of spring and summer.

Michigan Trails Week: Vasa Singletrack


Michigan Trails Week rolls on with a Traverse City landmark!

Ask nearly any local mountain biker where they learned to love mountain biking, and it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll smile and tell you about their first time on the Vasa Singletrack. Located on Traverse City’s east side on Supply Road. The trailhead serves as a gateway to the Pere Marquette Forest, with a marked trail offering riders a place to twist and turn on natural, well-maintained trail that seems to magically appear through every turn.

That marked trail also connects to the Vasa 25km Pathway in two locations, as well as ties into untold miles of unmarked trails, many of which also connect to gravel roads and the K to TC Trail. The 12 mile marked trails are a sort of spine from which any number of other nerves spread out!

The VST you ride today is a far cry from the state of the trail even two years ago. Our reViSiT project, just completed this fall, has refreshed a trailbed that had taken decades of abuse without necessary work to fix and improve it. Working with the DNR, we were able to make re-routes and add changes that breath new life into the trail experience for bikers, runners, and hikers.

Of course, a huge part of what’s changed the VST and NMMBA over the past few years has been our ambitious winter grooming program. Our grooming has offered fat bikers an unparalleled chance to ride all year long, and thanks to NMMBA members, badge supporters, and partners like Short’s Brewing have allowed our volunteers to put in hundreds of hours to make the trails simply amazing, every single day.

Work with winter grooming has also played a part in our partnership with the Michigan DNR to offer floating trails and put on what has become our keynote event, the Traverse City Trail Festival. The TCTF is a chance for mountain bikers of all abilities to come together and explore 25 and 40 miles of trails that are marked just one day per year! The TCTF has become our biggest fundraiser of the year, and the success of the event and the course has increased our design work for events like Mud, Sweat and Beers, and now, the Iceman Cometh Challenge.

The VST was the trail that really started it all, for individuals and for NMMBA. We can’t wait to see what this trail can offer our community for generations to come!

June Board Meeting Minutes

NMMBA Board of Directors Meeting

Date and Location: June 13th, 2018, Keen loft

Board present: Chad Jordan, Tom White, Kim White, John Roe, Tim Reicha, Steve Mentzer, Michele Andrews and Coti Sprattmoran

Board absent: Mike Walters, Dustin Webb and Don Clewley

Guests: Cody Sovis and Kasey Mahoney

Chad opened the meeting at 6:34 p.m

Previous meetings minutes were approved.

Also noted was the email vote to proceed with the Consumers Energy Foundation Grant.

Chad opened it for both discussion and a vote.

Majority yea votes. Tim to proceed.

Master's project Update:

Kasey as part of her grant writing class in her Master's program has offered to write a proposal with NMMBA in mind.

This proposal would create a sub contracting position that would be funded for 2000 hrs. at an hourly rate ranging from $17-$20/hour.

The position would be of a grant writer. This position would be responsible for creating capacity building grants for NMMBA that would keep the flow of dollars coming in.

Kasey is lacking NMMBA's  financial info to complete her grant. Kim to provide the missing pieces.

Specific duties of this position were discussed. They would be responsible for writing grants to fund our communications and outreach capabilities.


Kim presented the organizations financials for review/discussion.

She indicated that Glacial Hills(G.H.) had been set up with a checking account much like Bike Leelanau(B.L.)

Total checking/saving balances for the association equals $32,503.86


Tim presented the report on mechandise sales/inventory to date.

T-shirts are coming in. Done in three different colors; Red,Blue and Green.

Had samples of stickers and water bottles to show. Both of these items will be added to the webstore. At this time all sales are logged into one account. Down the road a percentage of sales will go back into that particular trail account. This way when marketed it can be stated that proceeds go right back into trail maintenance, etc.

Plan is to have merchandise at all three races; TCTF, Glacial Hills and Bear Claw Epic.

Merchandise will be marketed in two phases.

Phase 1: Stickers, bottles, hats and shirts

Phase 2: Arm warmers, buffs and beanies.

Different options regarding shipping costs were discussed.


Tom brought all up to speed on the progress of TCTF.

Tom had a handout outlining duties associated with the event. Everything from Race director to Safety coordinator to Event site, sponsorship, aid stations, etc.

A digital version of the list will be put out to all. To allow for editing.

Discussion as to food. If food is donated we can realize a few dollars from this.

Also discussed was location of tent in proximity to merchandise table, etc.

Tim to coordinate the kid's race.

Chad to get with Paul Britten re: tent graphics. New logo.

Mentzer report:

Steve stated he was contacted by the Rotary in regards to possibly developing some mtb trails in the Greilick Outdoor Recreation Center.

Contact person is Nick Killian.

Some discussion as to events, layout, etc.

John to contact Nick and report back.

Steve also brought an idea to the board regarding a show of support for Dan Morley.

He indicated that McLain's Race team had purchased shirts in support of Dan's fight with recent health issues.

The idea being that we could purchase shirts to sell or ask for donations with the proceeds going to the Morley family. These would be marketed at TCTF.

Discussion ensued regarding marketing. Suggestion was that a story about Dan would go far in helping to market the shirts.

Steve made a motion to budget $350.00 towards the purchase of the shirts. Coti 2nd. Unanimous vote.

Cadillac pavilion update:

Michele brought the board up to speed on this project.

Discussion as to who had 1st preference in regards to use.

She also had several copies of the Gift & Acceptance agreement.

Chad motioned to accept the Gift & Acceptance agreement in it's present form.

Coti 2nd. Unanimous vote.

Michele also talked about the particulars in regards to construction codes of the pavilion.


Nothing new to report


Mike was absent but did submit a written report.

Built and opened the re-route between 10-11.

Built and soft opened the re-route around lake S-hole.

Strombolis Lake connector has been completed with a mini loop back to the saplings section.

Continue to massage the VST in certain areas.

Grooming/Badge sales:

John led a discussion as to grooming for this upcoming winter.

He also had emailed to all a few options for badge sales for the coming season.

Option 1:

TC WST $60

CadillacWST/Leelanau/Glacial each $40

$10 Discount for each add'l badge

Work on combining TART and Timber ridge

Option 2:

One combined badge for $100. All monies goes into one kitty. Committee decides on a minimum standard for equipment needs based on trail mileage. All trails draw form the kitty for operations.

Work on combined badge for TART and TR.

Trail Series:

CPS:Championship Point Series. Do we pursue this?

What does it entail? Restrictions? More questions to consider.


Committee has been formed.

Discussion as to what software platform would be used to manage it.

Options discussed were Wild Apricot, Sales Force and Kim to look into Square Space.

CCCC Grant:

Pavilion slated to be built in 2019. Need to pursue other funding this winter.


Women's Grit clinics coming up on July 7th & 8th. Need at least 11 people each day to make it happen. Find ways to get the word out.

Pride ride sponsored by Suttons Bay Bikes takes place this Saturday in Suttons Bay at 1 p.m. 9 Beans Row providing food. Slow ride out to Tandem Ciders.

Family rides from 45North winery on Sunday June 17th.


And Bike Lelanau is happy to report that Palmer Woods is happening!

Tim finished off the meeting discussing the recent improvements at the Vandermark trailhead at Glacial Hills.

Meeting adjourned at 9:04 p.m.

Submitted by Steve Mentzer, secretary

eBikes on DNR Trails

It is within the mission of NMMBA to respect our DNR land managers, follow the best practices for trail design/maintenance and to sustain trail user harmony/safety to the fullest possible extent.  To that end, we are following the guidelines put forth by the Michigan DNR to not allow the use of eBikes on our single track trail system as they are currently not legal for use on unimproved dirt trails.  We ask that you please help us by enjoying our trails using pure pedal power.  Those with disabilities are always welcome to access our trails with eBikes.