Here come the COGS!

Sylaward Trail at Lake Howard sign

Don’t know what COGS are?  Cyclists of Greater Sylacauga (COGS) are the premier volunteer group who maintain the 14-mile Sylaward Mountain Bike Trail at Lake Howard, just northeast of Sylacauga.  Construction of the Sylaward trail was completed in 2008 through a participating agreement with the City of Sylacauga.   The city funded a market research analysis, trail construction done by Trails Unlimited, and archaeological surveys completed by Auburn University.   The city also brought their secret weapon which was the clincher for getting the project approved - COGS. 

A view of the Sylaward Trail.

Since the Forest Service has limited funding and resources for maintaining current trails, we seldom consider constructing new trails - that’s where COGS came in.   COGS are a dynamically energetic group of cyclists who contribute many hours each year maintaining the Sylaward trail.  They sponsored the grand opening celebration in 2009.  Without the dedication of COGS, the Sylaward trail would never have happened, which would have been a major disappointment to all the people who come to ride and walk the trail.  They constructed two trails that were not machine constructed, blazed the trails with signing, and provide information about the trail to the public.  This challenging trail has great reviews and attracted folks from as far away as Montana.   Recently, COGS sponsored a bike race which drew over 100 participants.  One thing became apparent during the race was the traffic difficulties where the trail was out and back on the same path.  So, we are initiating a new agreement to make that portion of the trail a loop, therefore providing a safer recreational experience for riders. 

COGS put in a new changing room.

Part of the Sylaward trail is on City property and they are currently working on improvements, which already includes a changing room and bike wash!  Stay tuned to see what comes next!   Maintaining trails isn’t all of COGS accomplishments .  They have also agreed to Adopt-A-Road on the Talladega Ranger District which is adjacent to the Sylaward trail.  This means they agree to pick up garbage on the road at least a couple of times each year.   They work with the Sylacauga Civitans to sponsor a race that benefits scholarship funding and trail improvements.  They also helped with trail construction on the Pinhoti during the summer.  Currently, they are working with the Boys Club of Sylacauga to provide bicycles to children for Christmas. COGS invites everyone to come enjoy the Sylaward Trail!