To me, maple sugaring is the first sweet taste of spring. Weeks before the snow melts and the first leaf buds, maple trees begin to shake off their winter dormancy. As winter ends, the cycle of night time freezing temperatures and daytime thawing temperatures triggers the maple’s sap to begin flowing.
For mountain bike riders in Southeast Michigan, one of the classic places to ride — a favorite where many of us first learned to ride off road — are the trails at Stony Creek Metropark. Since its inception, CRAMBA — the Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association — has worked hand in hand with the Metroparks to maintain and enhance these trails, keeping them fun for everyone from mountain bikers to hikers, from trail runners to families out for a stroll.
Stony Creek is a classic mountain bike destination where we all love to ride, but frankly, the trails are getting old… and it’s showing. With the project to redevelop the Shelden Trails, CRAMBA and the Metroparks are continuing their partnership but with a bigger goal: making the trails fresher, longer, and better. We are working together to enhance the trail experience with more single track, easier to follow trail routes, and improved, modern design that is both fun, exciting, and sustainable. With the huge number of riders looking to fat bike in winter we are also pursuing ways to allow all trail users access, year-round.
For years, CRAMBA (formerly the MMBA Metro North Chapter), an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit, has worked with local parks and towns to maintain and expand mountain bike access to natural surface trails. We represent our ~500 paying members when working with land managers from Shelby Township to Oakland County, from the Huron-Clinton Metroparks to the Michigan DNR. Our Mountain Bike Patrol helps trail users through education and trail-side assistance as they ride. Our volunteers get together and lead trail days, fix problem sections, build new trail, and put our time into ensuring that we all have excellent places to ride. Visit us at CRAMBA.org and find information on how to join, group rides, and our trail work days and other events.
We look forward to seeing you on the trails, and especially at Howlin’ at the Moon this October 27, where we’ll be leading a variety of group rides on the Shelden Trails.