The USA's Bikes Belong organisation announced that it will award $37,850 in grants this month to support five bicycling projects. The trails and bicycle advocacy supported by these grants will connect community paths, expand opportunities for mountain biking and, as always, put more people on bicycles more often.
Outdoor Chattanooga—Raccoon Mountain Trail System (TN). Outdoor Chattanooga, "an organisation dedicated to the recreational use, education, and stewardship of the region's natural areas", will receive $9,850 to help build the first of many new trails on Raccoon Mountain. This urban mountain bike facility will enable Chattanoogans to ride singletrack just five miles from their city's center.
City of Billings, Montana—Big Ditch Trail. The City of Billings will receive $5,000 towards construction of the Big Ditch Trail, a multi-use path that will provide a crucial north–south connector in the city's Heritage Trail Plan, linking 11 miles of existing paths. The trail will also provide a safe route for children to ride their bikes and walk to school.
City of Gresham, Oregon—Gresham/Fairview Trail. The City of Gresham, just east of Portland, will receive $7,500 to help construct phase II of the Gresham/Fairview Trail. This multi-use path will provide a north–south route for bike commuters and recreational riders as well as pedestrians. It will also link two existing paths and two proposed trails in Gresham. Bikes Belong's grant will leverage SAFETEA-LU money for this phase of the trail, classified as a linear park, which will be designed and maintained by the city's Parks and Recreation department. The Gresham/Fairview will link to Portland's 40-Mile Loop, a connected system of parks and parkways designed more than a century ago.
Friends of the Cheat—Preston Rail Trail (Kingwood, WV). The Friends of the Cheat will receive $7,500 to help develop an abandoned rail corridor into the multi-use Preston Rail Trail. The 10-mile segment will link the town of Kingwood with neighbouring Tunnelton, West Virginia, providing a safe route for commuters, families, and new cyclists. With subsequent funding, this project could be completed by the summer of 2006.
Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists—Organisational Development. Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) will receive $8,000 to expand its organisation, enabling them to take its important mountain bike advocacy work to the next level. The Bikes Belong Grant will enable MORC to pursue more sponsorship and advertising opportunities, coordinate grant writing efforts, and focus on community building.
For more information and to get involved with Bikes Belong, visit their Web site - www.bikesbelong.org.