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SWMMBA — the Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association

You may have heard that your Southwest Michigan Mountain Bike Association has gone through some recent changes on the board and perhaps even heard rumors of new projects. I invite you stop by our next monthly meeting and get an update on what we’re up to. In the meantime, let me introduce our new (and some familiar) faces and a quick note on where we are heading.

New Board
First off, we have Megan Zapalowski as our Vice President. Not only does her name sound fast, she can back it up too. Meg is very active in the racing community both on a bike and on skis. She’s the equivalent of cranking up this club to 11! Her enthusiasm is contagious, so be careful around her.

Charlene Orwat is our Secretary and brings with her a whole bunch of great ideas and experiences from her work with the Western New York Mountain Bike Assoc. Having served as their Secretary and Bike Fest director, Char is an organized force to reckon with and is ready to make her mark in Kalamazoo’s mountain biking scene.

Rick McIntosh and Gordie Allen are graciously continuing their terms as Treasurer and State Board Rep until we can find some help. If you would like to be part of some very exciting changes and be on the board, please send me an email.

Pat Bagi is now in our mentoring board position, the Past-President spot. He is helping with this transition and guiding us through the quagmire we must follow to maintain the association and set things in motion for our new focus and renewed vigor.

Finally, rounding out the new board is me, Travis Bell. I have been involved with the mountain bike scene in Kalamazoo for many years and lurked in the shadows so-to-speak around the SWMMBA. I’m the guy you recognize at the bike shops, but probably don’t know by name. I’m ready to help the SWMMBA transition into a regionally based club with attention to new trail development and member value.

Renewed Focus
We have a wealth of county, city and municipal parks with wonderful terrain and land managers looking for self-sustaining activities to offset dwindling management budgets. Our club happens to have trail building expertise, tools and lots of labor resources. Sounds like a winning combination to us! In fact, we will soon have an update on a proposed trail the SWMMBA has been working on for the last two years! Its finally coming together and we are very excited by the recent progress. Stay tuned.

It’s All About YOU
Your SWMMBA is focused on what you want. We will be rolling out a survey soon to help prioritize our activities. We need your help. We need YOU to complete the survey, stop by our open monthly meeting (now held in Kalamazoo), say hi at an event and volunteer when you can. We are your Association; your chance to make a difference, build a new trail, leave your mark. We are up for the challenge. Are you?



Attention Everyone - MSTAC/DNR Suervey


This is our opportunity to let our voices be heard! Please read the following information and fill out the survey.


The Michigan Snowmobile and Trail Advisory Committee (MSTAC) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are committed to better understanding trail user interests, needs and concerns. The MSTAC and the DNR are developing a plan for a statewide trail network that will address snowmobile, ORV, hiking, biking, paddling, and equestrian needs. The plan moves the state toward the goal of becoming known as “The Trail State”. The plan will identify priorities for improving the system and constraints for implementing those priorities. It will also serve as a marketing piece showcasing Michigan’s incredible trail network and the opportunities expanding this network presents to Michigan’s quality of life and economic prosperity. As we plan for the future of the state’s trail system, we need your help.


We would like to know your membership’s opinions about the state’s trail system, how you use the system, and ways the system could be improved. We ask that you electronically forward this entire note to your members or to other trail users. The link to the survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7H2SCSJ. The completed survey will not be sent back through your organization, but will be available to the DNR for analysis. The DNR will not have access to who filled out the survey or their email address. We are asking that the survey be completed by August 31.


The information collected from this survey will be compiled, analyzed and provided to the MSTAC members and to the DNR trail planning team. The trail plan is required to be completed by the spring of 2013.The draft plan will be submitted to your organization for additional input.


This is the first step in improving communication with trail users. In the future, we will inform you about trail events, opening of new trails, and seek your opinion on a variety of subjects. If you are not the right person to receive these emails, or your organization is not interested in being on this list serve, please send the corrected information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


SWMMBA acts as the primary trail developer for the Fort Custer State Recreation Area located in Augusta, MI. The Fort Custer Recreation Area currently has 18 miles of dedicated mountain bike trails, with 5 additional miles of multi-use trail. Future goals include increasing both membership and mountain bike trail mileage, working with land managers in partnership to achieve this goal, and building relationships with government and business organizations to inter-connect trail systems in the region.

TRAFx Counters

We have exciting news! The SWMMBA is now installing invisible counters that will assist us with keeping track of the number of mountain bike riders that visit our trail systems every day. This will assist us in gathering data about trail usage. It will assist us to better understand and manage our trails and can also be used when applying for grants and other funding as well as assist us with working with the DNR.

To learn more about the trail counters we use, please click this link.

Next SWMMBA Meeting


SWMMBA Meeting

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Time - 6:00 pm
We will be meeting at KRESA in Portage off Milham Road

Next Trail Day


SWMMBA Trail Day

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Meet at trailhead at 8:00 am

Special Announcement


Markin Glen Park

As many of you have already heard we are working with the Kalamazoo Parks department to get mountain bike trails on Markin Glen Park!

We are in the fundraising mode now, so we need your help to raise funds to make this dream a reality!

Donate Now!


In order to better serve our members, the Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association board has commissioned this survey to better understand your interests, needs, and perceptions of the organization.

Take Survey

Report Volunteer Hours


Report Volunteer Hours

It's very important to us for everyone to record their volunteer hours. Both trail work as well as administrative. So if you could please click this link and log your hours it would be greatly appreciated.

Report Your Hours


Markin Glen Update

Markin Glen Update NEW TRAIL APPROVED!!!!

Your SWMMBA leaders have been very hard at work, meeting with the Kalamazoo...

Markin Glen Master Plan Meeting

Markin Glen Master Plan Meeting, Aug. 27th KALAMAZOO COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION:

Your SWMMBA leaders have been...


Attention Everyone - MSTAC/DNR Suervey   This is our opportunity to let our voices be heard! Please read the following...
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Support the SWMMBA


Become a MemberRegister to be a SWMMBA Member NOW.


Donations Donating money allows our group to do trail maintenence at the park.


Get Involved We have scheduled trail days, volunteer your time.
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