Dirk Merle is the 2019 Arkansas Trail Volunteer of the Year!

Witts Springs Community Voices member Dirk Merle is the 2019 Arkansas Trails Volunteer of the Year! 


Merle, a resident of Tilly, is a major volunteer contributor to the growing, annual Pedestal Rock & Lick Fork Rides in Witts Springs! Dirk runs the Pedestal Rock & Lick Fork Rides Facebook and he volunteered time to promote the Pedestal Rock Ride at a booth last year for the Big Dam Bridge ride. He is also a co-manager of the Ozark Grinder Trail Facebook, promoting one of the premier gravel grinding experiences in the Ozarks! He even helped with the design of the Ozark Grinder Trail logo and the logo for Heart of the Ozarks Cycling, which encompasses all the cycling in Searcy County. 


Dirk assisted the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce with the production of 1,000 new trifolds to promote Heart of the Ozarks Cycling. Merle is also generous with his time and money when it comes to providing trail support to riders that transit Searcy County, like during the Arkansas High Country Race or on the Ozark Grinder Trail. Dirk works with the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce to advance cycling in Searcy County and helped support Adventure Cycling's rider Rebecca Rusch, a seven-time world champion, acquire lodging in Marshall during the "first ever complete" ride of the Arkansas High Country Race course! He even created a new annual cycling event in Leslie for “Umpteen Rides,” called the “Chocolate Roll!” Approximately 20 riders showed up in the cold on 29 December and the vast majority ate out in Leslie leaving behind a local economic benefit! Great event! 


Twice this year Dirk took to the local airwaves to promote cycling. He partnered with chamber of commerce director Darryl Treat on KBCN ESPN Radio 104.3 for a two-hour Live Remote broadcast in Witts Springs promoting all things Searcy County cycling alongside the race route during the Arkansas High Country Race! He also partnered with Darryl Treat, and Tim Harness appearing on KCGS Radio of Leslie on the live “Man in the Middle” show! It’s not much of a stretch to say that Dirk Merle is the contemporary “Father of Searcy County Cycling,” and is well-deserving of this annual state award!