WMMBA: Merrell Trail

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WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby c0nsumer » August 30th, 2012, 5:46 pm

This topic is for the discussion of trail conditions and comments at Merrell Trail.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby RickPlite » August 30th, 2012, 6:32 pm

Merrell Trail is a multi-use trail system. Unique to Merrell Trail is that the trails are one way traffic assigned by the day of the week. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays the bike riders must follow the yellow arrows. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday the bike riders must follow the red arrows.

Please yield to hikers and trail runners who may be going the opposite direction. There is a total of 6 miles of trail with an additional 1.5 miles planned for 2013. The mountain bike trail is part of a larger park system that will eventually include ball diamonds, an archery center, soccer fields and a bmx park. The trail is built through an old growth forest unlike any other trail in West Michigan. Beautiful beach trees, giant oaks and maples. Large ravines, marshes and huge side slopes.

The trails were mechanically built by Spectrum Trail Designs and included over 3400 volunteer man hours of hand building! Expect to encounter fast rolling downhills, long climbs, berms, skinny log rides, cedar bridges, boulder roll overs and jumps. The trail is closed to all user groups when wet or during the spring thaw. This trail system is closed to hunting but open to biking, snowshoeing and hiking all year long, including night riding.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby RickPlite » August 30th, 2012, 6:33 pm

The trails have been open three days and are still bumpy in areas. The soil is also very dry, we need rain to help pack it down!
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby c0nsumer » August 30th, 2012, 6:45 pm

RickPlite wrote:The trails have been open three days and are still bumpy in areas. The soil is also very dry, we need rain to help pack it down!


I imagine you already know this, but I'd suggest leaf blowing it before winter, then allowing it to get muddy in the spring. We did this at River Bends and it prompted new sections of trail to self-level and pack soundly. Stuff that was put in last November is already dirt-road-hard dry clay this year.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby G.R.XC-MTNBKR » August 30th, 2012, 6:57 pm

Nice trail well done to the crew that built it. Love finally having some obstacles that can be ridden with a xc bike. Have to say that it seems almost a carbon copy of luton though, terrain and skill level wise. Also have seen some serious signs of erosion in some fast banked corners, no doubt due to the newbs riding to fast for there bike and abilities. Not a good sign if the trail has only been open to the public for a few days, just letting the builders know, I think it makes it even more interesting so no complaint from me.
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So is this public property or a county park or what?
Dont know who rates the difficulty of these trails for the trail guide but there is nothing in this trail that requires advanced skill level. At least I hope not, unless I missed something in my first 4 laps trying different routes.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby rwright » August 31st, 2012, 9:03 am

I heard talk about a connector to the white pine trail, is that in place or a future segment? It would be nice to be able to meander over to Luton via back roads without riding down 10 mile.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby RickPlite » August 31st, 2012, 3:44 pm

rwright wrote:I heard talk about a connector to the white pine trail, is that in place or a future segment? It would be nice to be able to meander over to Luton via back roads without riding down 10 mile.


The current landowner will not allow us an easement so for now it is a no go.. :(
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby ignition16 » August 31st, 2012, 9:24 pm

G.R.XC-MTNBKR wrote:Have to say that it seems almost a carbon copy of luton though, terrain and skill level wise.


I would disagree with that - Luton is far more twisty, whereas Merrell has far more elevation change as well as the rolling trail that can't be found anywhere else in the area. The long downhill sections are built to pump, and they flow very nicely. The rocks and wooden features also bring a challenge not found at Luton. It's a fantastic addition to the local repertoire!

I will agree, though, that the trail is in great need of a rainy day! Thursday night the first mile and a half of the trail was one large dust cloud.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby LuckyCharm4x4 » August 31st, 2012, 11:46 pm

I do agree that parts of this trail reminds me of Luton, but there are way more hills, way more banked turns, and lots of fun features (bridges, skinnys, log rides, etc.) Also, I'd expect them to share some traits, they're like 3 miles apart.

As for this trail not being "Advanced" I'd have to disagree. There are several things that my gf is not able to do and she's a pretty decent rider. No, it may not be the hardest trail out there but there are some features that aren't for noobs.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby monkeyevil » September 1st, 2012, 11:27 pm

The nice thing about the trail is that most of the advanced features are optional, and the ones that aren't are setup well enough to promote gradual skill development.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby Scotty » September 3rd, 2012, 8:23 am

If it resembles Luton at all it's only in that some of the terrain is similar. Very different trail design between the two.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby AllMountin' » September 3rd, 2012, 10:49 am

Scotty wrote:If it resembles Luton at all it's only in that some of the terrain is similar. Very different trail design between the two.


Agreed. They both utilize a lot of IMBA spec bench cuts into the side slopes, but beyond that they are quite dissimilar. The sustained downs/ups, the use of rollers, the frequency of grade reversals, the opportunities for jumps, the extensive use of berms, the degree of difficulty of the tech, the loop structure, non-bypassable skinnies(Sawtooth), rooty/technical trail tread(also Sawtooth), the use of boulders, and other items I'm missing, give this a completely different look and feel from Luton.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby cramer » September 4th, 2012, 6:56 am

Finally some much needed rain today. Last night trail was as dusty as I've ever seen a trail. Was covered with powdered clay / chalky substance after the ride.
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby RickPlite » September 4th, 2012, 8:20 am

The trail should be great today, less than a 1/2" of rain last night. If it rains too much today or tonight watch here for updates
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Re: WMMBA: Merrell Trail

Postby aarontriton » September 4th, 2012, 11:14 am

Me and my wife and kids drove from Jackson on Sunday. to check out the Merrell trial (my 8 yr old son's idea) and Im glad we did had a great time trail was in need of rain . but should improve with use. also since we drove all that way's we went to Luton trail and had a great time there as well . Me and my family loved the black loop. My son is begging me to plan a trip back this fall.
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