The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has given the Red Trail at Oak Mountain State Park EPIC Status, a distinction that highlights a compelling ride of 25 miles or more. The announcement was made during a dedication ceremony for a new section of the Lake Trail on Wednesday November 3, 2010. The addition to the Lake Trail includes a new 65-foot metal truss bridge that spans the spillway dam at Double Oak Lake.
The expansion is part of a long-range partnership between Alabama State Parks, the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP), Shelby County and the City of Pelham, Ala. Plans to develop new trails and improve on existing trails include more than 30 miles of single-track bike trail and a series of organized events to promote various local and regional attractions in the Shelby and Jefferson County areas.
Speaking at the dedication ceremony, BUMP project manager Mark Richman highlighted the benefits of Oak Mountain’s new EPIC status. “It was our hope to encourage all trail users including hikers, walkers, runners as well as cyclists to get out in the great outdoors to enjoy nature,” Richman said. “This project has paved the way for our trail to take center stage on the national stage of mountain bike tourism. The Lake Trail and bridge represent the very best of when government and private citizens work in a cooperative effort to create something special for everyone’s enjoyment.”
Oak Mountain’s trail system includes trails of various difficulties. The expanded Lake Trail winds around Double Oak Lake, offering beautiful views of the lake and surrounding forest and is rated as an easy trail. The IMBA suggested route of the more difficult Red Trail begins with a challenging, technical climb that rises 600 feet in less than three miles to reach one of several ridges in the park. The demanding descent will challenge riders to navigate a series of rocky, often slippery turns.
Speaking in Montgomery, Ala., Mark Easterwood, Alabama State Parks Director, thanked all the partners that made the trail expansion possible. “The construction of the new trail segment and bridge would not have been possible without the assistance from Shelby County, the City of Pelham, BUMP, and various public and private individuals,” Easterwood said. “We are also grateful to the IMBA for giving us EPIC status and look forward to showing riders from across the country what our trails have to offer.”
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.