TMTC First Trail Cleaning
By Alan and Mimi Dobbs

 Gilmer, TX 1st official trail cutting took place over the Thanksgiving weekend 11-26 ~11~28 .

 This is the land that our tax dollars have bought through a government grant specified for ORV use.  Since the funds were found the deadline to submit was very short on time to select land in Texas and to make an organization/ corporation for TMTC.  This was formed officially by several attendees in New Braunfels, TX 7-17-99.  There was close to 1 million dollars available from the government grant but it had to be a 80/ 20 split for the grant to go through.  As it turned out the landowner gave the 20% share to make it happen.  If not it would have had to been documented sweat labor to make up the difference.

 Mimi and I went up the evening of the 25th after a quick turkey meal at a friendís house.  It took about 4 hours to get to the Gilmer Inn there was good easy parking for our car trailer and the rooms were adequate given the small population of Gilmer.  We met up with Clyde Stanford from FWD-FWD and several SHR members around noon and drove about 5 miles east of town to the location atop a hill where an existing gravel company is.

              

It is the tallest point in east TX and at that time of year the fall colors were visible for miles in all directions. Without a map or GPS a person could get easily lost with the rolling hills and no landmarks, besides a large radio-transmitting antenna on the top of the hill.  Clyde a local from that area and the gate keeper of the land for TMTC had his eye on a certain hill that had some steep slick rock and a long path up to the main trail.

                                      

  Many of us cleared a path up the hill removing small trees and overgrowth to make it fit a vehicle.  After spending most of the afternoon clearing the small section of trail we all tried to convince Clyde to drive it first. Since his recent rollover in Clayton he was a bit gun shy so I engaged both ARBís and went up the loose hill with a fear of loosing momentum and not having a winch.

  We made it to the top and there after others tried but had to be winched because the topsoil was starting to get loose from the attempted tries.  Afterwards Clyde took us a tour of the property line.  We all drove on the top plateau for over a mile according to our GPS until we drove to the backside of the property.  And along the side that was heavily eroded.  This is the place where everyone flexed our suspensions.

The next day there was more club members from SHR, Fun Country Four Wheelers and FWD-FWD. While grouping together that morning at the entrance the local city council man stopped by to check up, after seeing he was very impressed on the involvement with outsiders from as far as Houston to come to a small town of Gilmer.  He was very happy knowing that it is going to bring more revenue to the town.  Afterwards we all drove to the backside of the land and searched for the steepest & most non-destructive to nature area to drive a vehicle trough.  Then we marked out and cleared the brush and small pine trees.  As we progressed down and through the heavily forested hillside we drove our vehicles through and making it challenging enough to keep you on your toes.  It started as a # 2 rated trail and at it progressed through the ravines cut through the hillside some areas ended up being a 4+ with mandatory winching.  We made bypasses for the rough areas some areas had to be widened for our Defender to get through since we were wider than a Jeep.  By mid-afternoon Mimi and I headed out and packed the trailer and came back to Houston.

Is the TMTC in Gilmer worth the 4-hour drive and then to pay to drive off-road.  It all depends on how serious you are with the sport and involvement with land management.  Places like Ft. Hood and Frederickburg, TX have been closed due to uncontrollable reasons.  The land owned by TMTC is our land and if well maintained no one will take it away.  Yes it needs maintenance done, fence lines, gates, etc.  But with the support of individuals and clubs it will look as nice as some national parks.  Of course there will be other areas throughout Texas opening second possibly being in Uvalde (west of San Antonio) in 2000. This is a new club that in the groundbreaking stage it is a good feeling to be a part of.

Alan & Mimi Dobbs

www.yellowdefender.com