The OMBA Epic

The following is a news article by the Florida Department of Greenways and Trails.

Spider

Santos Epic RideSANTOS - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Office of Greenways and Trails recently received the designation of "Epic Ride" for its Cross Florida Greenway Santos Trail System from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). One of only three sites designated in 2006, the Santos trails join an elite list of only 40 rides named as "Epic" by IMBA since 1999.

"The Office of Greenways and Trails is proud to be recognized for our unique trail system on the state's premier greenway, the result of hard work by many," said Jena Brooks, Director of DEP's Office of Greenways and Trails. "This award is a tribute to the volunteers, who have contributed almost 1,900 hours in trail maintenance and outreach just this year." 

Recognized in the Fall 2006 issue of "IMBA Trail News," the Cross Florida Greenway Santos Trail System is described as being "designed and built for mountain bikers by mountain bikers. Santos offers a model for the world to follow – it's that good." The Cross Florida Greenway contains more than 115 miles of trails for mountain bike riders with attractions for all levels of expertise, from an extremely popular skills development area to a new freeride area offering extreme drops and other challenges for more advanced riders.

Working cooperatively with the Office of Greenways and Trails, the Ocala Mountain Bike Association volunteers have contributed hundreds of hours in trail maintenance and outreach, and recently formed a bike patrol to help educate and assist trail users on the Santos Trails. Since the completion of the Freeride area in early 2006, visitor participation has increased by close to 50 percent.

"We are very excited about our ‘epic ride' designation from IMBA, and I consider it top honors for all the volunteers that have built Santos to what it is now," said Renee Blaney, President of the Ocala Mountain Bike Association. "The trail has been upgraded to suit all riders of all levels. Ocala has become a premier mountain bike destination." 

The Santos Trail System is near the Historic Santos Recreation Area on the Cross Florida Greenway, preserving a significant piece of Florida's African-American heritage. The Recreation Area commemorates the site of Santos, a predominately African-American community that was displaced by the Cross Florida Barge Canal in the mid-1930s.

Santos Epic RideThe Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway is a unique conservation and recreation project managed by DEP's Office of Greenways and Trails. Traversing Citrus, Levy, Marion and Putnam Counties, the 110-mile greenway occupies much of the land that was formerly the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Florida's premier greenway, the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River, encompassing a variety of habitats and ecosystems and offering an array of trails and recreation areas for visitors.

The Office of Greenways and Trails manages eight state trails, including the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, and five rail-trails, which are railroad tracks restored and converted to recreational trails for hiking, biking and skating. Through Florida Forever, the state's premier land acquisition program, $4.5 million dollars is spent annually to purchase land for future trail areas and build and maintain Florida's greenways and trails.

To learn more about IMBA, visit http://www.imba.com/. To learn more about DEP's Office of Greenways and Trails, visit www.FloridaGreenwaysandTrails.com.