COMOTA Process

The COMOTA Process

Where did that trail come from?

Much of the planning involved in a trail building day is invisible to trail users. A humble path in the dirt hides a lengthy process of proposing, designing, presenting, and advocating. COMOTA partners long-term with all of our area’s land stewards including City Parks, State Parks, and Conservation Areas to make it possible. It typically takes at  least a year to establish a reroute or extend an existing trail and much longer to develop a completely new one.

There are so many factors to consider for a trail: What is the vision of the trail or reroute? Flowy, technical, beginner-oriented, twisty or a combination of styles? Who will use this trail? Bikers, hikers, equestrians, families? What’s the impact on the environment? What contour will the trail follow? How can it best blend into the environment?

The overall trail length also impacts our project timeline. A 200 foot reroute can be planned and executed much faster than a three mile loop designed from scratch. We focus on building sustainable trails that follow the terrain contour and creatively blend into nature. COMOTA works with land managers to address all of those ideas.

As you can tell, trail systems take ongoing collaboration between professional land management staff and COMOTA volunteers. Land managers have the final say in the design and approval process but the actual construction work is performed by volunteers. Yep, volunteers like you (and us)! When your boots or tires hit the dirt, remember that several COMOTA trail designers and the land manager probably stood on the very spot for the first time 18-36 months ago.
A Year-Round Mission
With so much local singletrack and more to come, COMOTA is busy year-round. We do most of our dirt work events in the Fall and Spring when the weather is cooler. Our hot summer events are mostly maintenance with lots of string trimming and lopping. When daylight runs short in the winter, we double down on planning the year ahead. COMOTA averages 20 public work events a year and our volunteers are on track to give over 1,000 hours of their time in 2023.

No experience is necessary; you just need a couple hours to spare and a willingness to work. Even our most experienced trail stewards were once first-time volunteers. Read more about what to expect at a trail work event!

The Columbia Missouri Trail Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to creating and maintaining sustainable natural surface trails in the mid-Missouri region