TOMMBA started in 2012 with a group of mountain bike enthusiast who wanted better trail experiences in Northern Michigan. We originally aligned with IMBA (the International Mountain Bike Association), and became a local chapter. By being a local chapter we were covered by their 501(c)3 non-profit status. TOMMBA members were also IMBA members, and we would receive a share of their membership fees.
In late 2016, IMBA had difficulties, and lost the support of one of their major sponsors, Subaru. This caused a number of major changes, and we took a closer look at the value of being a chapter. The TOMMBA board realized that our group of volunteers were becoming the predominate advocates of trail maintenance and building in our region, and that we needed help as an organization. We applied for a grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation to pay for a professional non-profit organizer to work with us to develop a strategic plan that would guide us through the coming years. That reorganization has made us a much better and well-managed group. We also decided that it was better for us to be our own 501(c)3 non-profit, and have completed the process of making application for that status. We also now handle our own memberships, and 100% of our dues go towards the maintenance and construction of mountain bike trails in our region. Our membership may still choose to be a members of IMBA and support their larger initiatives.
Our marquee project has been the new trails at the Avalanche Preserve in Boyne City. This was a $200K+ project that paid for a professional trail building company to design and build over 7 miles of exciting and sustainable trails at that City of Boyne City property.
While the Avalanche project was underway, we were also finishing over 7.5 miles of new trails at the Boyne City School Forest property off of Erickson Road near Walloon Lake. This project was completely built by our volunteers and equipment. Our volunteers and equipment have also built a trail system at Browns Creek in East Jordan.
We announced in November 2018 that we were entering into a cooperative project with the Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy. In the spring of 2019 the WLTC finalized the purchase of a 40-acre parcel next to the Boyne School Forest property. TOMMBA has entered into a partnership agreement to build additional trails on that property. That parcel connects to another 80-acre parcel that is owned by the City of Boyne City, and they have agreed to additional trails being built on that parcel. This could potentially give us 20+ miles of great and varied sustainable trails on 160 acres of connected parcels.
Our presence has mainly been in the Boyne City area, and a major component of our strategic plan is to build trails in the Petoskey - Harbor Springs area. We have established a partnership with Little Traverse Conservancy, and have plans in 2020 to work with them to build trails on their Tanton Preserve property. The trails on the Tanton Preserve will be built by Marquette, MI based Rock Solid trail builders. LTC and TOMMBA are in the beginning stages of funding this project, with LTC providing the responsibilities of being the fiscal agent.
In the past, our sponsors, along with other donors, have played a major role in the purchase of our trail building equipment. We now have a Hitachi excavator to do the heavy trail building work, along with other hand tools and equipment necessary to build high quality sustainable mountain biking trails.
TOMMBA is the premier mountain biking advocate and trail building organization in our region of Northern Michigan. As a non-profit, we depend on the generous support and donations of our members, sponsors, and community. We hope you will consider joining our team.