Written by Outdoor Prolink members Patrick Kell, IMBA Southwest region director based in Prescott AZ, and Rich Cook, IMBA Director of Development, based in Boulder,CO.
As pros, it’s important that we understand where the recreational resources we depend on come from; and how they are protected. Mother nature plays a huge roll of course but we all play a role in access and protection. For climbers you need good crags and towers, and also open access to the land. To maintain access, we have to be respectful users working in cooperation with the land mangers.
For mountain biking, we need great trails and public access to the land. Great trails don’t just happen naturally, they are planned, designed and built, often by folks like us–volunteers– and sometimes by professional trail builders working in partnership. That’s where IMBA and the Trail Fund come in. Here’s a quick story of how it all comes together to make an amazing new trail system possible, in a fantastic landscape.
The trail planning process in Kanab, UT was seeded with $3,500 in assistance from IMBA’s Trail Fund in fall 2014 to do an initial assessment for new trails potential with the BLM. In early 2015, Kane County, UT contributed $20,000 to have IMBA complete a more formal conceptual design plan. Joey Klein of IMBA (OPL member) was there recently for three weeks, walking the land and living out of the back of his truck.
He’s finalizing maps and a report in the coming months, recommending a 75+ mile system. It’s mentioned in this blog. It’s an amazing landscape, right next door to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Zion National Park, which sees over 3M visitors per year, it’ll be a popular destination. We anticipate that there will be construction funds allocated from BLM and the County in 2015/2016. So a small seed from the IMBA Trail Fund will sprout into a new mountain bike destination.
IMBA has a host of great partners in the area including the city of Kanab, the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field office, Kane County Commissioners and their tourism department staff, local residents, bike shops and members of IMBA’s local chapter, Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association. IMBA will present the draft plan to the community in the coming months. Thanks to all the pros and riders out there who are chipping in to make projects and partnerships like this possible across the country. Last year the Trail Fund seeded 30 projects in 15 states!