History of SMART

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History of SMART

Postby jorba » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:44 am

The History of SMART

Autumn of 1999 - Hurricane Floyd damages trails and bridges in Mercer County Park. Conversations with Mercer County Park Commission officials reveals that all off-road trails in Mercer County Park were illegally made and not recognized by the MCPC.
Discussion starts amongst local riders regarding formation of a trail maintenance group to work in the park. SMART is formed.

January 2000 - SMART submits a proposal to the Mercer County Parks Commission to accept responsibility for maintaining the off-road trail at Mercer County Park. In exchange, MCPC agrees to recognize the existence of the trail network. The proposal is accepted by the MCPC.

Spring 2000 - SMART holds first organized TM Day. The membership grows to about 25 members.

Autumn 2000 - SMART arranges to bridge a muddy trail section using wooden pallets. The pallets are installed with the permission of MCPC. Afterwards, MCPC conducts an assessment of the bridged area, and requests that SMART remove the pallets. The area is in fact designated by the DEP as wetlands, requiring special permits for construction. Another TM Day is organized to remove the pallets to the trailhead near the East Picnic Area.

December 2000 - SMART racks up 165 trail maintenance hours with a membership of 21.

March 2001 - SMART institutes a "pay to join" membership plan. Funds collected go towards paying for group insurance and IMBA membership.

Spring 2001 - SMART forms the Mercer County Bicycle Patrol, a volunteer patrol to assist and educate park users. All 5 patrol members undertake first aid/CPR training and a National Mountain Bike Patrol training course. The patrol includes the first ever female patroller in New Jersey - Michele Bull.

April 2001 - two SMART representatives attend an IMBA trailbuilding class at Wissahickon Park in Pennsylvania, hosted by the Jersey Action Riders.

August 2001 - SMART's chief coordinator meets with MCPC officials to discuss issues at the park. Issues discussed: access to the golf course, erosion of trails near the tennis courts, cooperation between Park Rangers and patrollers, mapping and marking of trails.

September 2001 - SMART has a TM Day to build rolling grade dips on eroded trail sections.

December 2001 - SMART posts a preliminary map accurately showing the off-road trail network at Mercer County Park. SMART accumulates 152 trail maintenance hours. Membership is at 23 members. The Mercer County Bicycle Patrol (now with only 3 members) has accumulated 71 patrol hours.

January 2002 - SMART announces a restructuring. SMART is to become a mountain biking advocacy group, expanding its focus from trail maintenance only. Group rides, riding clinics, and family rides are planned. The unsightly pallets are removed from the East Picnic Area trailhead by 3 SMART members.

April 2002 - SMART members begin marking the trails in Mercer County Park. A preliminary map is posted on the website.

November 2002 - SMART receives conditional permission to maintain and mark the trails within the Van Nest Tract, which falls under the jurisdiction of New Jersey Fish and Wildlife. On the last scheduled TM day of 2002, SMART finishes marking the trails. Unfortunately, the trail markers are vandalized (for the 3rd time) within one week.

December 2002 - No group ride or riding clinic events were held during 2002, due to low interest and the continuing effort to remark the trails after each round of vandalism. SMART has accumulated 181 person-hours of TM time and the five members of the Mercer County Bicycle Patrol have accumulated 81 patrol hours.

January 2003 - A meeting is held to discuss the status of SMART and the vandalism of the trail markers in Mercer County Park. The meeting is attended by 7 SMART members and Chief Haines of the Mercer County Park Rangers. The meeting results in the issuance of a statement from the Mercer County Parks Commission and the Mercer County Park Rangers regarding vandalism at MCP and its consequences to those apprehended.


    - David Niemierowski and Michael Tormey join the Mercer County Bicycle Patrol, bringing the number of patrollers to 7. Knapp's Cyclery sponsors the MCBP for another year

    - The "garbage bridge" on the blue trail is rebuilt and repaired over several TM days.

    - The effort to remark the trails with new blazes begins, to be completed by mid-summer. The new blazes feature the Mercer County Park "3 trees" logo. The NJ Fish & Wildlife logo is used where the trails fall within the Van Nest Tract. A 4-color scheme is chosen for simplicity and ease of maintenance.

    - SMART completes trail marking project and posts trail map signs in 4 parking areas.

    - SMART hosts the IMBA Trail Care Crew's Trailbuilding School. Two new trail sections are completed near the Tennis Complex, bypassing severely eroded trail sections which will be reclaimed. SMART racks up 257 TM hours and 85 Patrol hours in 2003.

2004 SMART builds a second bridge on Blue trail at stream crossing west of "garbage bridge" in sector M-7.

    - The "garbage bridge" on the blue trail is again rebuilt and repaired after flooding over several TM days.

    - John Jans the founder of SMART and MCBP relocates to Florida. Mick Tormey assumes Director positions for respective groups. The NJDEP approves a grant for bridging in the park for the sum of $15,000.00. This is John's parting gift to Mercer County Park .

    - The "garbage bridge" on the blue trail is again rebuilt after flooding from Hurricane.

    - SMART members contribute 90 TM hours and 77 Patrol hours in 2004.
2005 - SMART membership grows by 17!!

    - 4 bridges on the blue trail are built or rebuilt

    - SMART members contribute 230.5 volunteer trail maintenance hours in 2005

2006 - SMART membership grows by 5

    - SMART members contribute 241.0 trail maintenance hours in 2006

    - 2 new bridges on the blue trail are built

Mick Tormey - SMART Director
January 1, 2007
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