Mountain Biking Association Reaching New Recreation Heights

Mountain Biking Association Reaching New Recreation Heights

The Sweetwater Mountain Biking Association is expanding trails and membership numbers in southwest Wyoming. (Photos courtesy of SMBA Facebook page)

When Brent Skorcz and former Green River bike shop owner Tom McIntosh started cooking up the idea about forming a local mountain bike association, they had no idea how far they could take it.

The bike enthusiasts approached the Green River Chamber of Commerce in 2010 to discuss developing a trail system in the Scott’s Bottom recreation area that was mainly being used for fishing and off-road vehicle use.

The Chamber agreed to let Skorcz and McIntosh begin their work on what is rapidly growing into one of the most popular mountain bike areas not only for residents but travelers alike.

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“From there we started going to mountain bike association summits and getting information about how to get more people involved,” Skorcz said. “Then we built the bike park in Green River and a few people would ride it but there wasn’t a whole lot of interest like we thought there would be.”

The bike park eventually gave way to the new BMX track at the same location, but by this point it was becoming clear that terrain around Green River offered some of the best trail riding in southwest Wyoming.

The Sweetwater Mountain Biking Association (SMBA) worked hard with landowners of the grazing association and the Bureau of Land Management to improve existing trails and develop new ones in the area. The next step was critical in both the expansion of the SMBA and the Green River trail system.

“We wanted to be able to sign (the trails) and get them on a map so other people from around the country traveling the interstate would know they’re here,” Skorcz said.

Hopefully they stop off and ride, grab a bite to eat, get some gas, maybe spend the night and help the economy around here.

Brent Skorcz, SMBA Treasurer

The BLM gave SMBA posts and drivers to plant the signs and the association added the stickers that guide mountain bikers through the trails. Skorcz said the grazing association gave SMBA its blessing to expand the trail system as long as the group promised to be good stewards of the land.

“The grazing association said you guys take care of the trails, you take care of the environment and we really like the way you’re doing things. You clean things up,” he said. “So they gave us permission to add another 25 miles of trails out there.”

Skorcz and Bike and Trike owner Jason Medler then set out to GPS all the existing trails in the area. At first the BLM did a fly over and determined that there were too many two-track trails in the area. The motorized trails were too steep for mountain bikers. Skorcz said he and Medler gave the trails some names, but “no way were we ever going to put signs out there anyway.”

But in 2019 after the trails were all mapped out on GPS, Skorcz and Jim Dunks presented their work to the BLM which eventually agreed to let them sign the trails.

“The state wants us to have more tourism too, so that was part of the reason they allowed us to do this,” said Skorcz, who is currently the SMBA Treasurer.

Keep on Growing

SMBA currently has 22 paid members and they’re encouraging anyone who loves to mountain bike to come join the fun. There are about 15 non-paying members but the group has expanded to riders from Rock Springs and even the Bridger Valley.

Membership fees are just $25 per year and includes insurance, SMBA swag, voting rights at all the association meetings participation in the club’s annual Trail Days summer event.

Association President Charles Whitaker invites everyone to check out the club’s website, Facebook, and Instagram pages for all past current club events. The group also encourages all other non-motorized activities like trail running, hiking and horseback riding to join the association.

Brent Skorcz (left) and Charles Whitaker have been instrumental in growing the SMBA and working with landowners and the government to expand trails in the area.

“If people want to come to any of our meetings, currently that is every second Thursday evening of the month at 6:30 at the Green River Chamber of Commerce,” Whitaker said. “And we’ve been riding every Monday night since the beginning of the season.”

Whitaker says the association hopes to start scheduling “fat bike rides” on winter weekends and “try to make it year-round if possible.”

We get 300 days of sunshine around here and the snow doesn’t get that deep.

Charles Whitaker, SMBA President

Whitaker said SMBA is currently working with the Green River and Big Sandy livestock groups to expand the trail system. He said “the big one” is dealing with the people who recently bought up all the land that Anadarko used to own.

“Once we work out an agreement with (Sweetwater Royalties LLC) we’ll talk about other trails on their land and on BLM land,” he said. “BLM would like to build a campground on (the Rock Springs side off Little Firehole Road at the base of Wilken’s Peak) and then we’ll bring trails down from this side to that campground.”

Whitaker said if BLM puts in the campground riders will have trail access from Green River to Rock Springs with Rock Springs riders being able to tie into a trailhead system along WY Highway 191 South near Wilken’s Peak.

Some BLM studies still need to occur before the campground is approved, but once those are completed, Whitaker says work on the expansion can begin.

Skill level is not an issue with the SMBA and the club encourages any mountain biking enthusiast to become a member and join the fun.