Monday, August 31, 2009

More Fun on the CAMBA Trails

Beth Gauper has written about her travels throughout the Midwest for the past 15 years. Check out her account of her experiences on the CAMBA trails on her blog: .

Friday, August 28, 2009

All the Way from London!

Recently three of us drove from London, Ontario to ride the trails in your area. London is approximately a 12-13 hour drive. During our 4 day stay we rode the Seeley cluster (Makwa trail), Cable cluster (Ojibwa trail) and the Namakagon cluster (Rock Lake trail - complete). What we rode as incredible and the amount of work is very impressive. Some of the best riding we have done in a 12/13 hour drive zone from our location. During our rides we were fortunate to talk to crews working on the trails and clearing some of the downed trees, great people.

Everyone we met during our rides on the trails, off the trails, anywhere were very friendly. Recommendations from the trail crews included the Angry Minnow Pub, The Rivers Eatery and The New Moon bike shop, all of which we visited and supported. The Angry Minnow saw slightly more support.

We plan on visiting again in the future and will pass on this great ride to those in this area. Keep up the great work and thanks for the fantastic trails.


Gary Cambridge, Mark Wilkinson, Dave Harrison

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's mid August, and a long held vision of riding single track from Hayward to the Birkebeiner warming hut east of Seeley, is about to become a reality. Less than half a mile of tread remains to be dug. Two crews are working toward each other. The Golden Shovel Full of Dirt (spikes are a bad idea on a bike trail) should be tamped into place by the end of August. CAMBA's paid summer crew of 9 college and high school students, supervised by volunteer Steve Morales, have worked hard all summer pushing the trail north from Gravel Pit Rd., where the Makwa terminated at the end last summer's building season. A crew of volunteers from the Seeley area, supervised by Jeff Schmid, began working south in June. The new section of the Makwa trail will add a total of 7 to 8 miles of sweet new single track to the CAMBA system. The new trail includes a 3/4 mile loop starting and ending at the OO warming hut. The loop is signed for one way traffic only, and it intersects the two way Makwa at the southernmost point on the loop. The new loop was completed in July.

The Makwa was designed to be a great ride for all abilities. The rocks and roots have been removed to smooth the tread and enhance the flow. The climbs, descents and corners allow riders to maintain momentum. The trail has been open to riders all summer as the construction has continued, and from the positive comments the trail crews have been receiving from riders, the goal of creating an exciting, sweet ride has been achieved. The trail has been signed by volunteer John Saunders as the construction has progressed. The Makwa can be accessed at the Mosquito Brook Rd. Trailhead, the OO Trailhead, and several points between. It's a beautiful, sinuous ribbon tying the trails in the Hayward Cluster to those in the Seeley Cluster. In the Hayward Cluster, access it by vehicle on the Loop Descent Trail just south of H8, or at Gravel Pit Rd. just south of the Birkie Trail. Access it by bike at two points where it intersects the Bar Stool loop. In the Seeley Cluster, access the Makwa where it crosses the snowmobile trail south of OO. The Makwa crosses the Birkie Trail eight times as it winds through the county forest between the two trailheads, creating multiple options for riders to create their own loops.

Beginning the scouting process on snowshoes in the middle of last winter, Steve Morales and Darren Winchester took into account trail sustainability, timber type, and rideability in locating the route. It took a month of early spring hiking before they were sure the trail would meet the project goals. A .4 mile section of Birkie Trail on either side of the Birkie 28K marker will serve as a temporary piece of the Makwa until a suitable route off the Birkie can be located after the leaves drop in October. The entire 7.2 miles of trail was brushed and chainsawed by volunteers as the digging began in May. The loop at OO and the first mile to the south was dug by a mini-excavator operator CAMBA hired, then was finished by hand. Volunteer Butch Grainger used a CAMBA rented excavator to dig about 3 miles north from Gravel Pit Rd. This section was also finished by hand. The roughly 3 miles of trail between was dug and finished entirely by hand by the CAMBA crews.

The addition of the Makwa to the single track already built in the Hayward Cluster brings the total distance of trails to well over 20 miles. The Makwa alone will total almost 13 miles, making it one of, if not the longest continuous piece of point to point single track in the Midwest.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Next Steps in Namakagon

Namakagon Project Leader John Leighton recently submitted this report.

The logging operation east of FR203 is complete and we have started work on the trail to N17. From what we have seen so far the loggers were very careful with the flag line, placing their own flags to make it more obvious. They also removed slash from the vicinity of the flag line.

The Forest Service called me yesterday to confirm that going forward there will be a no-cut buffer zone maintained for our trails of 50 feet either side of the trail, and an additional 150 feet tapering from there. This is great news especially for the area of mature hardwoods that are so incredibly beautiful.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Trail Open in Namakagon - additional one mile section opened

An additional one mile section of easy riding single track was opened on June 24. It runs on the Patsy Lake Trail from N14 to the Namakagon Trail, and is now designated the Patsy Lake Cutoff. The intersection of the new trail with the Namakagon Trail has been designated N16. The old Patsy Lake Cutoff to FR 206, and the road ride to the intersection of FR 206 and FR 203 have been decommissioned. All Patsy Lake return traffic is routed onto the new trail.

This completes a total of 2.3 miles of new easy riding single track in the non-motorized area west of FR 203/206. Work has resumed on the difficult single track from N29 to N11. So far this year the total hours spent on trail construction and maintenance in the Namakagon Cluster exceeds 1,000 hours. Thanks volunteers, paid crew, and the National Forest Service interns.

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New Trail Open in Namakagon

A 1.3 mile section of easy riding single track from N23 to N14 was opened for riding on June 10. The location of N23 has been moved 50 yards west on Wilson Lake Road to the start of the new trail. N24, N25 and the use of snowmobile trail #3 have been decommissioned. All traffic on the Patsy Lake Trail south of N14 will be routed onto the new trail for the return. This eliminates contention with ATVs using snowmobile trail #3, and logging which is scheduled east of FR 206 this summer.

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Single-track trail from N29 to N11 on the Rock Lake Trail is open

Trail Opening

The single-track trail from N29 to N11 on the Rock Lake Trail has been completed and is open for riding (ribbons will be removed today.) The double-track going to N12 has been decommissioned. All traffic from N29 is directed down the new trail.

This trail has many long stretches of easy riding with some drama from time to time, e.g. Wall Street. All trail features on the trail are easily cleared with the chain ring on my hard-tail. This includes the Bactrian Backbreaker which I rode 5 times yesterday during construction.

We began work on this section almost a year ago. There have been many who helped in the construction. Thanks to all who have given a part of themselves to this trail, and the National Forest Service for making this trail possible.

John Leighton