Hoosier Mountain Bike Association

HMBA Trail Information => General Trail Information => Topic started by: David Kuehnen on September 25, 2011, 01:18:04 PM

Title: Difference?
Post by: David Kuehnen on September 25, 2011, 01:18:04 PM
This may be a silly question, but what is the difference between a "HMBA Trail" and the "Other Great Indiana Trails"?
Title: Re: Difference?
Post by: deanarammalamma on September 25, 2011, 01:24:44 PM
Please see this topic... More to come

Title: Re: Difference?
Post by: Paul_Arlinghaus on September 25, 2011, 03:32:53 PM
This topic came up for HMBA primarily due to insurance.  IMBA changed insurance carriers a few years ago, and they asked us to list the trails that are formally HMBA trails.  This sounded easy, but turned out to be hard.  While there are trails like Brown County State Park which is clearly an HMBA trail system, there are also trails like Nebo Ridge, that HMBA has very little to do with.

One specific issue was the teeter totters up at Range line.  Our insurance coverage specifically prohibits articulating trail features.  So if Rangeline was an HMBA trail, then we would have had to have them remove any articulating trail features. 

As we thought about which trails are officially HMBA trails and which are not, we focused on the trails that HMBA formally has agreements with land managers.  These are typically called MOU's (Memorandums of understanding).  These documents clearly define HMBA's role with the Park system and are legally binding documents.  MOUs, almost always require HMBA to carry liability insurance, which we have.

So the trails that are offical HMBA trails are trails that HMBA has formal MOU's with that Park System.  HMBA has MOU's with the Department of Natural Resources (State Parks, State Forests, State Recreational Areas), Indy Park, Lafayette City Parks, The City of Carmel, and The City of Avon.

There are many trails where the local mountain bikers work directly with the Park Staff, with out any formal involvement by HMBA.  Rangeline, Westwood, Muscatatuck, Wapahani, and Scales Lake are examples of such parks.

This distinction doesn't really impact riders much.  It has more impact on the trail builders.  If the guys at Muscatatuck want to build a new trail, they work with the Park Manager and if he approves it, they go build it.  They don't have to ask the HMBA board for permission. But if the local trail builders want to build a new trail or feature on an HMBA tail, then the project needs to be done with the approval of HMBA. 

Please do not read too much into which trails are formally HMBA trails and which are not.  It doesn't mean we like any of them less or that we will not support them.  In many cases the volunteers leading efforts at non-official HMBA trails are HMBA members and they have access to the same support from HMBA as volunteers at official HMBA trails.

The concern is that people get worked up over this when it really isn't a big deal.  If your local trail is an HMBA trail, it just means the Park System wanted to have a formal MOU.  If your local tail isn't an official HMBA trail, it just means the park works with the local mountain bikers in a less formal way.   Quite often there are a lot of advantages to being less formal, so HMBA doesn't try to encourage parks to ask for an MOU.

Title: Re: Difference?
Post by: Patrick Weller on October 30, 2011, 12:20:01 PM
There is some impact on riders.  Westwood, for example, can be closed due to wet trails by some local authority.  They do not always communicate to HMBA webmasters to update the trail status to red.  I drove out there once from Indy when the status was yellow and said "Need report from the ground".  I was informed at the gate the trails were closed.  They recommend calling the gatehouse if there is any doubt. 
Title: Re: Difference?
Post by: Paul_Arlinghaus on October 30, 2011, 07:13:57 PM
That could happen anywhere.  If you see yellow and  a request for info from the ground, then you are accepting the risk in driving to a park.  You must check actual conditions before riding and be prepared to bail if the trails are too wet.
Title: Re: Difference?
Post by: Patrick Weller on October 31, 2011, 12:54:30 PM
Yea, I always bring my hiking boots when it is questionable.