Sunday, November 29, 2009

Successful November Workday

A hearty group just shy of twenty workers tackled a lengthy reroute on T-N-T from the intersection of the Northside trail to the top of the Prairie Grass field. By 1 pm the corridor was cleared, de-staubed, benchcut (where needed) and 4 vertical armored creek crossings were completed. With temperatures in the 60s it didn't take long for the trail tread to start getting lots of traffic! A great big THANK YOU to all our volunteers that contribute to the success of the Smithville Lake MTB and Hiking Trails!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trail Workdays

Here are a list of the workdays scheduled for the mountain biking and hiking trails at Smithville Lake for the time period of October thru April. All workdays will be from 8 a.m until noon, unless otherwise noted.  If you plan to attend for the first time, you can get more information by emailing


The Corps of Engineers has some special (ADA and youth) hunts throughout the year. The hunting/park closed dates are:
11-21 & 22
12-12 & 13
5-8 & 9

Dress appropriately for the weather (layers!) including boots. Bring eye protection, gloves and water for yourself. We will typically have enough tools, so just bring yourself and a friend!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Work date Correction

All: The Stocksdale work date has to move to 10/31. It will not be on 10/24.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SpiderFest a great Success

The head count was very close to 100. We didn't get an exact count with people still out riding, changing, milling around smartly, etc. If didn't make it up, you missed a good one. Wow pretty much sums it up.

We raised $386 for ERTA. THANK YOU!

I've got a lot of people to thank which is always a great problem to have. The people that volunteer to make this type of stuff happen is just amazing.

Just a quick shout out to:

Clay County Parks - Thank you so much for allowing us access for trails as well as letting us host events every year

Platte Valley Bank - Lynn Horner Thanks for the HUGE grill and grilling since I was running around probably more than I was helping. Thanks Geoff for stepping up for the last round of burgers. Mmmmmm cheese!

In-A-Tub - Aaron Beeman Thanks for ALL the meat, stuff to go on it, cheese, napkins, utensils, I'm sure there was more

Paci's Cafe - Joe Thanks for some excellent beverages (around 140 some). Holy cow!

Paceline Products - Chris Thanks for the Chamois Butt'r and some other give aways

Smithville Trail Crew - You know who you are and you know what you have done to make it all happen. A special shout out to Steve Rice for the tractor time to mow the fields/trail. He still keeps coming back even with all the thorns in the tires he has to have repaired. Tim K - awesome salsa and trimming. Many others from the group that brought food and worked last week to make the trails awesome for last night.

The Trail Nerds - Bad Ben & Company Thanks for the homebrew and making it more than just an MTB ride. Glad to be able to partner up with trail runners and have both groups involved with the trails.

Earthriders MTB Club - Without members this stuff just wouldn't happen. Memberships help fund fun stuff like this, volunteer to make it happen and promote the sport.

I'm sure I missed something or somebody. Shout out if you can think of any I missed.


Friday, August 7, 2009

SpiderFest 2009!

Be Sure Not to Miss SpiderFest!
Mountain Biking, Trail Running,
Good Food and Good Folks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Unauthorized trail changes.....

The Pulpit trail is one of the more difficult (black diamond) trails at Smithville lake. We do not have a lot of technical features at SMV so the few we have are very important to maintain the "dignity" of the trails. Someone has been modifying the rock stairs that you cross over on the Pulpit trail (removing the lower step, creating a ride/walk around). Yes, this is a bit of a challenge to ride a bike over, but it is supposed to be! If you can not ride the step, keep practicing, you will get it. If you are too nervous to try, get off and walk, that's okay too. But please do NOT modify the trail and "dumb it down", we like to have a little challenge out there!

I am hopeful that I am just preaching to the choir here and it is actually not a person that frequents these boards. I normally find these type of things are done by people who think they are "helping" us out by "fixing" these places. All of the trails are designed and laid out with specific end goals for the intended user groups. Black Diamond trails are designed to be difficult.Unauthorized modifications to any trail can be considered vandalism so PLEASE don't do it. If you feel something is dangerous (yes, riding a mountain bike,running trails or hiking, on or off road, is an inherently dangerous activity!), PLEASE contact me or any ERTA representative. We take great pride in our trails and have a VERY dedicated group of volunteers that put in hundreds of hours every year to offer you a quality riding, running or hiking experience! Please help us out by not modifying the trails.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beautiful sunsets from the trails

Following the storm this past Wednesday evening there was a beautiful sunset to be seen. One of the trail volunteers captured it.

The trails are absolutely gorgeous right now. Get out and enjoy them on foot or by bike. The canopy provides some great shade in the intense summer sun.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Smithville Lake Trails Day - Saturday June 6

Along with the events that Clay County Parks will be hosting, EarthRiders Mountain Bike Club will be out with a display of trail building tools, bikes, as well as information on other trail systems and volunteer opportunities. We hope to see you out for this event.

Critters slated for Smithville Lake Trails Day event

SMITHVILLE, Mo.: National Trails Day is June 6. To celebrate at Smithville Lake, special guests will greet trail users on the Smoken’ Davey Trail from 8 a.m., till noon. The Smoken’ Davey Trailhead is at the W Highway parking lot about two miles east of the W Highway/US 169 intersection, north of Smithville, Mo.

Special guests include a variety of snakes, turtles and other critters along with a touch table with animal furs, hides, and turtle shells, among other items. “When people use the trails, they may encounter wild animals. By helping people get to know those animals on a more personal level, they can deal with animal encounters in the wild more effectively,” said Mike Kaullen, Deputy Director of Parks and Chief Park Ranger. “Programs like National Trails Day gives us an excellent opportunity to teach people how to be good wildlife stewards. We are able to teach people how these and other animals benefit us and how we can benefit the animals.”

A one-mile trail hike will be marked for anyone interested in participating in National Trails Day and water and trail snacks will be available. Clay County Parks will also be teaching visitors how to deal with critter encounters in the wild such as ticks, snakes and other wildlife. The Park Department, Park Rangers and Smithville Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services will also display various pieces of equipment information about the prairie restoration project. Park Rangers will also demonstrate the department’s automatic external defibrillator, a device that shocks the heart in the event of sudden cardiac arrest or heart attack. All Clay County Park Ranger vehicles are equipped with AEDs.

National Trails Day is organized annual by the American Hiking Society. For more information about National Trail Day activities or other park information, contact Clay County Parks at 816-407-3400 or visit

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thank you Volunteers!

A great big THANK YOU to all those who put the time and effort to keep our trails trimmed and mowed for our riding pleasure! If you would like to join "the crew" to help keep the weeds and grass beat back, please drop us an email!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Heavy rains wash out crossing

The heavy rains that came through on Friday May 15 washed out the concrete cylinder crossing on Happy Jack's trail. The trail volunteers have been repairing this section as it washes out after heavy rains, but don't have a permanent fix for it . The trail volunteers are working on a different solution to fix the problem.
Please be cautious on the trail system after weather events. Mother Nature is in charge out there.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spring has sprung

Spring time is upon us and the trails are just beautiful right now. The vegetation is starting to fill out all over the trail system which also means that in a few weeks we will probably need to get the string trimmers out and trim back the tall grass to keep the trails open for hiking and biking. These trails are created and maintained by a 100% volunteer effort. If you enjoy these trails and have the desire to give back some of your enjoyment in volunteer labor then please send an email to the Volunteer Coordinator via the link on the right hand side of this blog.

We appear to have a pair of owls living in the area this year. There have been several sightings and some photos of them. What a neat sight to see!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bone Bender 3/6 Race is a GO for Saturday, April 18

I want to confirm that the scheduled mountain bike race, that is also a benefit race for Earth Riders Trail Association, is a GO for Saturday April 18. The single track trails will be full of bike racers from 12pm until about 7 pm. Please be watchful at the asphalt crossings where the dirt trails enter and exit. There will be cones marking them and a few crossing guards and critical crossings. The trails will not be officially shut down like they are when the deer hunting is conducted, but please be watchful for the excess traffic if you are planning on heading out to the trails. It is highly encouraged that people stay off the single track dirt trail system during the event.

The race will be starting from the south side of the trail system at Sailboat Cove.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bonebender Race Postponed

Well folks, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this latest round of rain just put us over the top on soaking the trails and making them un-rideable for this coming weekend. Sorry but we will have to postpone the Bonebender MTB race until the scheduled make up date of April 18th comes around.

I am just as bummed as you are about this but the volunteers who build and maintain all these sweet trails will appreciate your respect of the trails by not wanting to damage them with a race in muddy conditions.

Thanks for your understanding and I look forward to seeing all of you at the Bonebender MTB race on April 18th!

John Harter,
ERTA Volunteer Trail Manager, Smithville Lake Trails

Friday, March 6, 2009

Warm, But Not Dry!

As the temperatures warm and our thoughts turn toward getting outside and enjoying nature, sunshine and warm breezes please remember that the singletrack trails still need more time to dry out! Please stay off of muddy and/or soggy trails!

See John's recently article for a more details.

So, yes... do get out and enjoy the weather, but please stay on the paved trails until the singletrack trails dry out and are ready for traffic!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Phat or Skinny???

Two new features were added to the trails today! Two skinnies, one along Posson Trot just west of the 4-way with T-N-T, Happy Jack and Old Granddad and the other as a lollipop offshoot on Old Granddad west of the same 4-way.

The skinny on Posson Trot is pictured below to left, which parallels the existing trail. The other two images are on the Skunky in progress and the other the first ride. Is it just me or does it look like Harter is making everyone lean to the left!?!

Bone Bender Race Just Around the Corner!

At the time of this writing, the Bone Bender 3-hour and 6-hour race is just short weeks away! This will be an exciting and fun day of racing. Be sure to add it to your calendar! If you haven't looked at the race site you can do so here....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Winter sun and warm temps=disaster

Well this past weekend saw a lot of trail damage, you just expect it when you have temps in the upper 60’s and low 70’s in the first week of February! It is hard to grasp the fact that it has not rained or snowed for about a month but the trails are a muddy mess! It happens every year, the ground freezes over periods of extreme cold and stores what little moisture there is in that frozen ground. Then as the temps start to rise that frozen tundra begins to thaw and the moisture rises to the surface creating a “bottomless pit” of muck. The frozen soil was down a couple inches so it took a bit of warm weather to get it out but MAN DID IT COME OUT! Hopefully we will not have any more extended cold snaps to create another mess the rest of this winter. This next weekend we will get out assess the damage. A lot of times just getting some traffic back on them can repair some of it but other parts we will have to go in and fix by hand. It could cost us lots of man hours doing repairs instead of building sweet new trail…………Think about it next time you see or hear of someone walking/running/riding muddy trails, remind them it IS NOT COOL!

Sunday February 8th was an opportunity to finish up the reroute on Old Granddad that we had started a month or two ago. We have had the corridor cleared for a while but the ground had been too frozen to do the necessary bench cutting. The ground finally thawed enough that we were able to get in there and finish it up. We took out a few hundred yards of old trail that came down toward the old pond and rerouted it to try and stay on higher ground and hopefully eliminate some really bad wet spots and badly eroded trail. We reclaimed the old trail tread a bit by breaking up the surface of the tread, pulling deadfall onto it and transplanting some small trees into it. Hopefully in a few years it won’t even be noticeable.

Trail building is an in-exact science for sure; slope, soil types, vegetation, rocks and exposure all have a huge affect on trail sustainability. ERTA has come a LONG ways learning about trail building over the years and we will continue to fine tune our skills as we look at our successes as well as our failures. They can only get better from here. Remember we need your help to make these trails great. Be an advocate, encourage new users, whether they are hikers, runners, birders or bikers. Educate yourself and your friends, if you have questions about getting involved, drop us a note.

Thanks and here’s to drying trails and warming temperatures!


Saturday, January 31, 2009

2/21/09 Workday

Our next workday will be Saturday February 21st at 9:00 a.m. As always bring gloves, study shoes, eye protection and dress with layers for the variable weather conditions.