Bikes Belong awarded US$55,000 for seven projects grants in six states to help communities build singletrack, bike paths and bike parks while leveraging federal funding and building momentum for bicycling nationwide.
Wisconsin's Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association won $5,000 to complete the final phase of its development of trails in the Cable, Hayward, and Seeley clusters, thereby creating 28 miles of continuous singletrack at this well-loved mountain bike destination.
In Boone, North Carolina, the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (WCTDA) will spend a $5,000 grant toward developing a mountain bike trail system at Rocky Knob Park. Though Watauga County and the town of Boone are emerging as fast-growing destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, residents and visitors must drive outside of the county to access legal singletrack trails - a situation the WCTDA's new outdoor recreation planner, who is an avid mountain biker, is determined to change.
The Moab Trails Alliance received $10,000 to go toward its project to complete the Moab Canyon Path (aka The Old Highway), one of the key components of the North Moab Recreation Areas Alternative Transportation System. This paved path will link Moab's Lions Park Trail and Transit Hub with Arches National Park and the beloved singletrack trails north of town, providing a safe, scenic route for avid, recreational, and new riders alike. This Utah group estimates that if 20 percent of Moab's visitors use the network once it's complete, roughly 500,000 people will leave 200,000 cars behind while exploring public lands.
Redmond, Washington, will get a new bike park with help from its $10,000 grant. The city has forged strong partnerships with the bicycling community - including the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, the Cascade Bicycle Club, and local bicycle shops and suppliers to design and build this park. Roughly 2,450 mountain bikers live within two miles of the facility, which will be easily accessible by bike from several local schools and serve as a great destination for the Seattle Trips for Kids chapter.
In Ohio, $10,000 will help Ohio River Way, Inc. pave a segment of the Ohio River Trail to link downtown Cincinnati to Lunken Airport. This path offers views and serves both recreation and transportation needs. The path could serve up to half a million people.
The Cuyuna Lakes Trail Association in Minnesota will use $10,000 to construct two sections of paved trail that will connect an elementary school, a senior housing facility, and a community center to the five miles of existing trail in Crosby, Minnesota. When complete, the 39-mile Cuyuna Lakes State Trail will link to the popular Paul Bunyan Trail as well as an IMBA Ride Center currently under development, enabling people to extend their rides and introducing bike-path enthusiasts to the sport of mountain biking.
Finally, the City of Middleton, Wisconsin will assist the Capital Off-Road Pathfinders (CORP) build a bike park adjacent to the city's public golf course. Middleton, a suburb of Madison, has been working to improve its bike friendliness, and sees this facility as a key step in the process. The city will make the park a central element of its trails master plan, so mountain bikers can ride to trails instead of drive.
The Bikes Belong Grants Program is funded by its Employee Pro Purchase Program.
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.