As part of our ongoing Subaru Support series, Peltier Subaru in Tyler is shining a spotlight on a non-profit organization each month. As April begins, we are learning about East Texas Trail Advocates, and how they help preserve and create sustainable, multi-use, purpose-built trails in East Texas.
Founded in 2014, East Texas Trail Advocates are a chapter of IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, and were founded to help expand, improve, & maintain trails in East Texas using the expertise and experience of IMBA. Initially, the East Texas Trail Advocates worked primarily to foster relationships with mountain bikers and trail users in Tyler State Park. As their experience and knowledge grew, they were able to expand their reach to other trails, such as Mineola Nature Preserve, and with the cities of Kilgore & Longview.
“We use clinometers to read the incline and make sure you’re not going where it’s most going to erode. You want to have it sustainable and sustainability in trails is the key factor in building new trails,” said Lynnette Wood, President of the East Texas Trail Advocates. “Especially when you have sandy soil or even a lot of the clay that’s going to hold water, you want it to drain properly and and really work with Mother Nature and not against it.”
With the biggest goal being sustainability, they work to build sustainable trails that work with the terrain and natural features, minimizing the need for ongoing repairs and maintenance. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or taking your horse out on the trails, you’ve most likely benefited from what the East Texas Trail Advocates have been doing.
As of 2021, Wood started organizing some events for mountain bikers, such as their ‘Summer Ride Series’, and even started doing a popular ‘5x5 Event Series’, which as Wood says, “I chose five local trails, rooted a trail map that was five miles or less, and the objective was to complete five laps or less on that trail. So some riders, if they’re a beginner rider, might come out and do one lap and then some of the more advanced riders might do five laps on that trail.” There were raffles for those who completed at least one lap, and is a way to introduce visitors to the trails available around East Texas.
“It may be kind of a soft entrance for a lot of people that just might be curious to get out there because, I mean, not being an avid mountain biker, it can be very intimidating to actually to approach a bunch of, you know, kind of pros, you know, that aren’t at a level,” said Ryan Button, Secretary of the East Texas Trail Advocates. “Making it tiered like that really brought out a lot of people that just felt curious about it.”
When large storms pass through East Texas, it is also this group that gets together and invites the public to help cleanup the trails and keep them maintained for future use. "
“We invite people to come join us and although we do build and maintain the trails in a sustainable way, sometimes those older trails like Tyler State Park do still have significant erosion and so we do need to do a couple of reroutes, but we’re going to do them in a way that we map the mountain and bench cut them in,” said Wood. “Hopefully they’ll last another 20 years.”
Another way to support is by becoming a member of IMBA, where you support the East Texas Trail Advocates and find resources, tool, & workshops to help you learn more about trail development & preservation.
Peltier Subaru Supports is the latest initiative at The East Texas Weekend created to highlight local non-profits around East Texas. Each month we will feature a new organization in our region to highlight their importance within our community. If you have an idea for our next feature, let us know by emailing us here.
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