Here is kind of a blow by blow description of how CAMBr South chapter came to be. Today we enjoy a great relationship with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County as we work in partnership to develop an ever improving trail system in the Southwest Suburbs. Certain individuals in the FPD have really stepped up to help us develop our trail system.
No, we don't always get what we want but as long as we develop our vision in line with that of the FPD's missison statement (To acquire lands, to protect and preserve their flora and fauna and scenic beauty for the education, enjoyment and recration of the public), we stand a pretty good chance of being able to continue to grow this trail system. We all have to remember that these lands that we enjoy are a preserve and not a park. As such we need to respect them by riding on open trails only and by not damaging the trails by skidding or riding wet trails.
Today we have over 200 members in the Palos chapter with more joining every day. Over the years we've donated over 10,000 volunteer hours maintaining, designing and building singletrack trails in the Mount Forest Island Area. And we need your help to continue our success.
CAMBr Palos Highlights 1986 - 2007
- Local riders discover the trails in Palos and Swallow Cliff Area.
- Off road riding is completely unrestricted.
- Number of riders increases.
- People start riding game trails and building new trails.
- Equestrians and hikers begin to complain about rude cyclists.
- Habitat restorationists begin to complain about ecosystem destruction.
- With the advent of durable, affordable bikes, numbers of riders increase rapidly.
- Complaints about off-road cycling increase rapidly.
- Local riders start reading about trail closures around the country and start organizing in the event it happens here – the Trail Users Rights Foundation is born (TURF).
- In response to complaints about mountain bikers Cook County FPD announces it is considering a moratorium on off road cycling.
- TURF enlists the help of IMBA. IMBA helps TURF collect 20,000 signatures which are presented to the county commissioners. The moratorium is dead.
- The FPD starts a trail committee to deal with off-road cycling.
- TURF hosts the first Palos Poker Ride.
- Public hearings are held at which hikers, restorationists and equestrians complain about mountain bikers.
- Monthly trail committee meetings continue through the year without reaching consensus.
- TURF hosts the first trail work day with 50 people in attendance. 70 bags of garbage are hauled out of the creek along Dynamite Road.
- Trail committee meetings continue without reaching consensus.
- Cyclists and equestrians put aside their differences and join forces. The FPD now has to deal with a common agenda for both groups. Things start to happen.
- After discussing every trail in the Palos Area, consensus is reached in which some trails are closed, some remain open, some remain open as study trails, and some new trails are proposed. All Singletrack is closed at Swallow Cliff.
- Illegal Zip trail is built by non-TURF members.
- Illegal Out n Back Trail is built by non-TURF members as FPD refuses to add any of the proposed trails.
- FPD recognizes the legitimacy of singletrack trails agreeing to permanently open the study trails and sign them “open when dry”.
- Three Ravines is officially recognized as an open trail.
- Design work begins on TURF1.
- TURF changes its name to the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers (CAMBr).
- CAMBr continues to push for the proposed trails without success.
- Approval is finally granted to build a new singletrack.
- 110 volunteers put in 1200 hours building TURF1.
- CAMBr requests approval to continue building the proposed trails. The FPD management stops returning phone calls.
- CAMBr publishes a white paper that details the obstructionist attitude of a specific FPD official at a time when the Gen Supt is under the gun for budget overruns. The Gen Supt is fired.
- An acting Supt is named.
- The FPD is reorganized and CAMBr begins to develop relationships with the new Dept of Resource Management.
- CAMBr agrees to do habitat restoration within 15 feet of any new trail. The doors open.
- Mountain Bike Staging Area is moved to Pulaski Grove #2. A new singletrack is built to allow access.
- CAMBr proposes building a bridge to span the ravine north of the staging area. As CAMBr provides engineering plans and cost estimates and a revised trail plan, the FPD agrees to build a bridge.
- CAMBr builds a new singletrack extension from Gravity Cavity to Three Ravines.
- FPD agrees to sign the canal trail open.
- 2.7 total miles of singletrack added in 2004.
- In anticipation of the bridge, FPD agrees to build new singletracks along 95th Street and along Willow Springs Road. CAMBr adds an additional 1.75 miles of singletrack connecting Willow Springs Woods with Maple Lake East.
- CAMBr receives $5000 Grant from REI for trail improvement.
- In an effort to finalize a master trail plan for the Mount Forest island Area, the FPD requests a list of possible trails. FPD announces that CAMBr will be able to redevelop the Cemetery Hill system. The design process begins.
- FPD receives Senate Bill 83 money a portion of which is slated for trail improvements.
- FPD agrees to build three additional bridges on the MFI system.
- CAMBr meets with FPD to discuss plans to add more proposed trails to the master plan, a number of which will be considered.
- The bridges receive funding.
- CAMBr builds a singletrack connecting Maple Lake South to Maple Lake East.
- The FPD begins bridge construction.
- FPD Trails Committee is reinstated with CAMBr representing the mountain bikers.
- CAMBr builds another singletrack connecting the staging area to Maple Lake South.
- CAMBr builds the final link to 95th Street.
- Design work continues on Cemetery Hill system.
- Design work begins on a connector trail to link Burrito Hill to Old Country Lane.
- The partnership between CAMBr Palos and the FPD continues to strengthen as the trail system grows.