About SMART

Who are we?
SMART started as a local volunteer trail-maintenance group that was formed in the autumn of 1999 to perform trail maintenance at Mercer County Park, New Jersey. We had 23 registered volunteer members in 2001. We are affiliated with JORBA and IMBA. Our NMBP-affiliated patrol was registered in mid-May, 2001, and is now patrolling Mercer County Park.

What have we done so far?

The first thing we did back in 1999 was to contact the Mercer County Parks Commission and asked if we could volunteer our services to maintain the trail network in the park. This trail network, some 15 to 20 miles of trails, was constructed over the past 20 years by numerous individuals, without MCPC approval. At that time, the Commission did not recognize the existence of these multi-use trails, and therefore could not authorize any maintenance activities.

SMART drafted a proposal and submitted it to MCPC. The proposal called for the recognition of the existing trails by MCPC. SMART would map, mark, and maintain the trails, and post signs (IMBA 'Rules of the Trail' & 'Use At Your Own Risk' at trailheads and intersections). The proposal was accepted by MCPC on January 5th, 2000. SMART receives permission from MCPC to work in Mercer County Park on a yearly basis.

SMART had 5 organized Trail Maintenance Days in 2000, and we had 6 organized TM Days in 2001. On a typical TM Day, we concentrate on cutting back overgrowth, removing small blow-down, and litter collection (if turnout is high). In addition to organized Trail Maintenance Days, we also have SMART/JORBA members doing trail maintenance individually. Every hour spent doing trail maintenance is important, and since we are SMART/JORBA, SMART/JORBA members earn Pay Dirt points.

In 2010 SMART/JORBA Exercised a $15,000.00 Rural Trails Program Grant to purchase three trail head kiosks. The park installed them in late August and we are working together with MCPC to develop a park map which will include the SMART/JORBA off road trail map and the park facilities map

What we have accomplished 2002-2012
Trail maintenance is still the core activity for SMART/JORBA, and we continued to perform this valuable service in the park. In 2002 we created a map of all the biking trails in Mercer County Park and mapped the trails. We completed the marking in November, but the markers were vandalized (for the third time, no less) shortly thereafter. In 2003 SMART and the MCPC marked the trails in Mercer County Park and the Van Nest Tract with a new 4 color marking scheme.
SMART/JORBA hosted the IMBA Trail Care Crew in November

2002-2012 SMART/JORBA has worked as the only approved Trail Maintenance organization for Mercer County Park. In September of 2007 SMART/JORBA and MCPC had an issue with liability and insurance This created the need for MCPC to create a Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program. In 2008 all volunteer work at the park is done after signing an application / waiver with MCPC. Trail work is discussed and approved by the parks supervisor prior to the trail day

Since 2000 SMART/JORBA it's members and volunteers have volunteered over 2240 hours maintaining and patrolling the trails at Mercer County Park. Using the NJDEP formula for volunteer work dollar/hr ($23.60) that is equal to $67,024.00 in value given back to our Park System

Mick Tormey - SMART/JORBA Director
January 5th, 2012

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