Welcome to SORBA-SMTA! The Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association- South Mississippi Trail Alliance (SORBA-SMTA) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) mountain biking organization with made up of local members from all over South Mississippi. We are one of twenty-two chapters of SORBA, which has a total membership of over 2,100 members spanning Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. Although we are extremely fortunate to have many miles of great trails to ride in this area, improper trail use in other areas of the country or sometimes vigilant environmental or hiking groups has led to trail closures (see www.imba.com or www.sorba.org for details). Consequently, our goal is to promote mountain biking through trail advocacy, trail maintenance, education, special events, and group rides.

We now have an official logo representing our passion for mountain biking and the piney woods of South Mississippi. You will receive a membership card and SMTA sticker soon.


Trail Use

What can you do to ensure proper trail use?

  • Try not to ride the trails when they are too wet, it causes erosion and damages the trail (learn which local trails were properly built to shed water – these trails can usually be ridden without damage after a light rain).
  • Ride in the middle of the trail and learn to pedal over the obstacles – fallen trees, roots, rocks, etc; riding around the obstacle will widen the trail and contribute to erosion, walk your bike over obstacles you cannot ride.Do not create additional trails unless we have the express permission of the land manager to do so.
  • Do not create a bypass trail around a fallen tree (a practice frowned upon by all land managers in the area) step off your bike if the tree is not rideable, navigate the downed tree and report the tree to the trail advocate, trail committee or to the local chapter president as soon as possible.




How do we promote education?

  • By sponsoring a free mountain biking clinic providing instruction in riding techniques, maintenance and proper trail etiquette for members and non-members alike.
  • By periodically offering beginner and ladies rides.
  • By promoting members active involvement in the National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP) –we have will attempt to have members trained as NMBP members in first aid, CPR, trailside bike repair and local trail information. They will make a commitment to patrol the local trails and provide aid to trail users.
  • SORBA-SMTA will offer a yearly comprehensive trail education series through IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association).



Trail Advocacy

We promote trail advocacy by –

  • Developing a good working relationship with local land managers who control the recreational use of the land: U.S. Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, City of Petal Parks & Recreation, University of Southern Mississippi, and Piney Woods Land Trust.
  • Advocating and then pursuing the development of new trails in our area
  • Providing feedback on trail use, conditions and improvements to the land managers
  • Conducting trail maintenance to keep the trails in good condition
  • Promoting safe biking and proper trail use



Trail Maintenance

How do we maintain the local trails?

    • By conducting regular monthly work parties and smaller emergency work parties as needed (storm damage, etc.).


    • By having a trail advocate for each trail who reports conditions every month and pushes for maintenance resources for that trail.


    • By having a trail committee of three experienced trail builders who make the major decisions regarding trail work.


    • By having members check with the trail committee before conducting any trail work other than routine work like clipping overhanging branches, moving debris, etc.


    • By having our members participate in trail maintenance work days whenever they can (approximately 30% of our members are actively involved in trail maintenance)


    • By having ten members who have been U.S. Forest Service chainsaw certified as required by U.S. Forest Service to cut on USFS land – this entailed two days of chainsaw training, first aid and CPR training.


    • By having equipment to maintain the trails we work on, we will pursue to acquire: two DR mowers, a power wagon, two chainsaws with safety equipment, Pulaskis, McCleods, hoes, picks, shovels, BOB trailers, a weed eater, gas power hedger, tool trailer, etc.


    • By budgeting money to maintain equipment and occasionally buy replacements


    • By working to accumulate extra funds needed to occasionally purchase new equipment


    • By educating members about which trees on the trail to remove:


      • On a trail in a heavily urbanized area, (Tuffburg and Petal River Park) we try to take all trees down across the trail because the trail is frequently by inexperienced riders


      • If a tree is down on a trail located in an outlying area, and the tree is deemed a “rider” (can be ridden my more experience riders as evidenced by the chain ring marks on the tree) it is generally left and those of us that can’t ride them have something to work towards – or a place for a quick water break


      • Downed trees that are being bypassed by a lot of riders, creating a bypass trail, are normally cut out


      • A tree that is at a bad angle to the trail or creates a hazard will be cut out




We will build and maintain membership in SORBA-SMTA because –

    • letting land managers know there are a lot of mountain bikers in our area using the trails helps keep the trails open and ensures consideration for other trails


    • experienced members are vital to the success of the organization since they are experienced in many areas that are crucial to area mountain biking – how and when to ride trails without damaging them, how to build and/or maintain trails, what works best with area land managers, etc.


    • having a collective body of mountain bikers in the area ensures fellow mountain bikers to ride with, work with, socialize with, etc.



Special Events

  • We provide support to MORCS for races on our local trails
  • We have an annual 6 hour endurance event.
  • We host the annual Take Your Kid Mountain Biking Day (TYKMTB) in October
  • We have a Time Trail series on local trails
  • We have a ride and picnic for National Trails Day (1st Saturday in June)
  • We sponsor an annual mountain bike skills clinic
  • We support have a Spring & Fall Bike Fest
  • We have monthly (except during the summer) the Explore The Trail Series rides



Group Rides

  • We conduct and encourage participation in several group rides during the year.
  • We encourage members to organize group rides (weather conditions permitting) and they can do so by announcing the ride at the monthly meeting or contact one of the officers about getting your group ride set up.
  • We conduct a group ride prior to the quarterly meetings.



USM Tuffburg 10.8 miles
City of Petal Petal River Park 4.2 miles
Mount Zion Mount Zion 7.9 miles


Thank you for joining SORBA-SMTA

Your membership is important in many ways; particularly by adding to our collective voice with the land managers. The dues paid by our members support equipment, equipment maintenance, the publication of the Fat Tire Times (issued six times per year) a regional newsletter, a local monthly newsletter, etc. Every member is vital to our organization and crucial to the success of our goals. We hope this has answered many of your questions about SORBA-SMTA. Please feel free to contact any of the officers with additional inquiries.


SORBA-SMTA Chapter Contacts:

    • President – Robert Burgess
    • VP – Linda Vasquez
    • Treasurer – Jake Pierce
    • Sergeant of Arms – Jerry McBeth
    • Mount Zion Trail Director – Johnny Smith
    • Petal River Park Trail Director – Scotty Hubbard
    • Tuffburg Trail Director – Matt Roland





Very Respectfully,

Robert Burgess
South Mississippi Trail Alliance