Change Is in the Air

Wow…it’s been pretty quiet on the website (except for the calendar), but there has been LOTS going on behind the scenes.  Here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to.

February‘s big event was the Mardi Pardi Eco Adventure Race benefiting the Live Oak Alliance Mississippi (LOAM), a nonprofit environmental group created in Hancock County, Mississippi, to foster economic prosperity and enhance the area’s quality of life by coordinating community-wide green programs. Start preparing now for the 2013 Mardi Pardi Eco Adventure Race and Triathlon by running, paddling and letting the good times roll…it’s set for Saturday, February 9, 2013!

March brought several outstanding events with it:
Battle in the Bayou was a huge success.  The “Battle” had a significant turnout, despite the less than desirable weather.  At race start, there were 189 boats and 216 paddlers on the water!  Read more about it HERE.
Pascagoula held the dedication of their Historic Bike Trail with a lovely ceremony and community ride.  Photos are HERE, courtesy of Randy Cunnington.
– The Discovery Trail at Long Beach’s Senior Center was declared “open for business” on March 24.  This trail has been years in the works in a collaborative effort with Carol Paola and her students, Glenn Mueller, Anita Kegley, the Mayor and City Police Department, Georgette Harrell, Representative Richard Bennett as well as many other local citizens and city officials.  This trail signifies that with perseverance and not losing sight of the vision,  it is possible!!  Photos are available HERE.
– Biloxi hosted a Children’s Safety Fair at the Biloxi Civic Center where we participated as instructors alongside representatives from Safe Routes to School and Gulf Regional Planning Commission to help educate more than 500 3rd graders over a 2 day period in bike safety & maintenance.  Photos are available HERE.
– We were represented in Washington DC at the National Bike Summit by Tammy Devin who was relentless in her pursuit to ensure all the players know who HTP is and what we’re doing for the MS Gulf Coast.  Her report may be viewed HERE.

April 1 wrapped up the Jr. Trails Planning Retreat where youth and adults all got together to flesh out the Jr. Trails Partnership. There are some very exciting possibilities in this project…stay tuned for more to come.  These kids will be a force!
The Mississippi Senior Games were amazing to see!  Check out their website to get a taste for next year’s activities.  The diversity and enthusiasm this event offered was unbelievable.

May was National Bike Month and there was plenty to do – There were Bike Rodeos in Gautier and Biloxi, CTA & EcoGeno’s Bike Share Program was launched, and there were community rides just about every week.  It is simply amazing to see how active and encouraging the cyclist community is in this area!

June 2 launched the inaugural TatoNut Toy Ride benefiting the Ronald McDonald House.  Turnout was absolutely wonderful.  Photos are available HERE and HERE on the GCBC Facebook page.
June is also host to the South Coast Summer Fest in Ocean Springs.  There are some really spectacular events lined up.  Fore more info, visit the website.
Check out our calendar for many other events happening this month!  Community rides abound as Pass Christian launches their Pedal in the Pass and Paddle in the Pass events.  Go participate if you want these to be offered on a permanent basis.

There are several grant applications & projects in the works:
1. The Jr. Trails Partnership collaboration with NPS/RTCA
2. A cooperative agreement with NPS/GUIS to complete wayfinding for blueways in Ocean Springs (Davis Bayou) and Pensacola (Perdido Key)
3. We’re hoping for funds from Safe Routes to School to help fund a traveling fleet of Jamison bikes and a trailer which will be used to offer our certified instructors’ services to children all along the Coast.
4. We are appealing to each County & City along the Coast which stands to benefit from our Mississippi Coastal Heritage Trail in an effort to receive their support as we press forward with our signature project.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say we’ve certainly been busy!!!  Stay tuned for more updates & opportunities for discussion.  If you would like to become a blog contributor or if you have a topic you would like to see discussed, please contact Geneva (our new administrative assistant) at geneva@gulfcoasttrails.org or 228-207-0844.