From the ones who are responsible for helping get this trail on the ground > do not take that downhill at your full speed the first time (or even second or third) time you ride the trail. That was extremely good advice and we'd highly recommend riders heed it!
The signage is definitely pretty awesome out there. They have location markers, somewhat like what has been suggested for FATS. After talking to some locals though, they have issues with emergencies as well. While the location markers seem to work, they don't have the access that we have (FS roads) to quickly get to and remove injured riders.
Right now the plan is to eventually have 60 miles of trail on the ground at Coldwater Mountain (the doubling of current trail should be underway soon). With it's proximity to the interstate, towns (Anniston and Oxford) to support the influx of riders with hotels, restaurants, etc it will become a destination trail.
In addition, the rails-to-trails stretching from Atlanta (Silver Comet in Georgia) to Anniston (Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama) is nearby. Again more biking and might be an option for family or even friends who like to travel together and bike but aren't all looking for the same experience. www.chiefladiga.com/
I know it is hard to believe that everyone doesn't love mountain biking like we do!
Just rode these trails yesterday and they are indeed awesome. They finished 2 of the new trails this week but unfortunately they hadn't opened them yet (rain earlier in the week). I was in Birmingham on business so it was a no-brainer to check these trails out. Once they finish adding more there the drive will definitely be worth it!
They have a recreational trails guy in Alabama (I've met him a few times at the RLAC meetings) and although he himself does not mountain bike (I've invited him so maybe one day) he pushes hard for mountain bike trails in Alabama. Maybe he has seen what the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail has done to bring people into the state of Alabama and knows that these destination mountain bike trails can do the same for a whole different group of visitors.
Coldwater Mountain is so close to the interstate (even closer than FATS to I20) that it makes access great! Year around good riding temps for the most part help make it a mountain biking destination (particularly as they get the mileage up to destination mountain biking levels)!