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The Cheaha Trail Riders is a group of volunteers and their families who work in a cooperative effort with the U.S. Forest Service, the State of Alabama, and other organizations to support trail riding and off-highway vehicle parks in Alabama.
The Cheaha Trail Riders (CTR) was formed in 1988 by a handful of like-minded individuals who saw the future of off-road recreation being threatened. This group of people had seen the U.S. Forest Service close the National Forest in Alabama to motorized recreation. The group originated as a nonprofit club chartered with the State of Alabama, AMA, and ATVA.
A group of Cheaha Trail Riders
After two years of flagging, measuring, surveying, and clearing pathways, the construction began. The Kentuck ORV System opened with almost 9 miles of trail. With the help of the original trails funding program (SYMM's Trail Program) the volunteer group signed on as partners with the Forest Service. Now funded to expand the system and with the help of the Forest Service, the construction of a 6 mile loop across Kentuck mountain began. This trail is now known as the yellow loop.
As the years have passed, there have been further additions and improvements. The first was the Orange loop, which added another 9.5 miles of trail. The Kentuck ORV System now has 23.5 miles of trail open to the public, a Kiddie loop, bathroom facility, campsites, loading/ unloading dock and some great riding.
CTR members are also involved working with Federal, State and County officials in designing, developing, planning and supporting existing and new OHV Parks and Trail Systems in the State of Alabama and across the USA. Most all of their members have full time jobs, families, as well as other responsibilities but they nevertheless devote countless hours to making Alabama a better place to live.
The Cheaha Trail Riders have been heavily involved with the development of Minooka Park, Alabama’s first publicly owned OHV park. CTR worked with Chilton County officials and Trails Unlimited beginning in 2003 to transform a derelict and inaccessible parcel into a beautiful park. CTR continues to hold workdays at the site throughout the year.
AT the Make-A-Wish Event and Moonshine Ride
The Cheaha Trail Riders are also very involved in convincing an Alabama government agency to develop over 2832 acres of land into an OHV and Recreational Complex. Due largely to efforts of the Cheaha Trail Riders, momentum is gathering for this park to become Alabama’s newest trail attraction, even going so far to apply for a $400,000 Recreational Trails Program grant to develop motorized trails on behalf of the park.
But the Cheaha Trail Riders aren’t just about developing and enjoying Alabama’s trails. They also have consistently demonstrated their willingness to help those who are less fortunate than themselves.
Every year, usually in the fall, the Cheaha Trail Riders hold a weekend event to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Members and guests alike converge on the designated motorized trail site (it is held at different sites each year on a rotating basis). The evening before, usually a Saturday, a “moonshine” run is held, where entrants fan out on their ATVs and trail bikes, looking for bottles of “moonshine” (actually just bottles of water).
They must then make it back to the “delivery point.” The one that delivers the most wins first prize. But lurking along the way, “revenooers” are waiting to shoot you with high-powered water guns! The next day, there are trail rides throughout the day, a cook-out, and lots and lots of door prizes are given out, courtesy of many OHV manufacturers who have been solicited for their assistance in making the event a success. And each year, it is more successful than the year before!
TOP TRAILS Clean Up Project brought 150 volunteers from all over
the state of Alabama as well as Georgia
Recently the Cheaha Trail Riders organized a community-wide clean up day at the 2,832-acre park that was mentioned earlier. Over the years the park has not been maintained or controlled, and as a result it had become a dumping ground for household garbage and junk. This event was a resounding success, not only because several dump truck loads of trash were removed, but also because the community had an opportunity to view this property’s beauty and potential as a family outdoor recreation site. Many local community leaders attended and pledged their support to continue efforts to clean up and develop this area. This would have not been possible without the initiative of the Cheaha Trail Riders.
The Cheaha Trail Riders have also made themselves available to local law enforcement agencies for volunteer search and rescue incidents or when severe weather strikes. Unfortunately, they have been called out on more than one occasion and sometimes there is not a happy ending. Nevertheless, the Cheaha Trail Riders have never refused to help their fellow citizens when the need has arisen.
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