The Urban Wilderness is… well… wilderness adjacent to “urbanness.” Knoxville, TN, to be exact. Aside from being a very cheesy opening statement, it is the proximity of the 1,000-acre Urban Wilderness just minutes from a town of over 180,000 people that makes this project so unique. Granted there are other projects showcasing trail systems in-town, but a gravity line in Knoxville, TN means the Bell-Built trail would go to the most populated town in this year’s contest. Knoxville is also sure to get plenty of support from the weekend warriors of Nashville, which is less than 3 hours away.
Urban Wilderness is also unique in that within its borders, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club (AMBC) and its army of supporters have managed to connect smaller sets of trail networks among smaller parks and open spaces found within the vast territory making up the 40 miles of existing connecting trail. Most of the riding in Urban Wilderness tops out at the intermediate level which, to me, means too much trail for such little progression–something AMBC is eager to change with a win in this year’s Bell Built contest.
Voting for East Coast candidates begins May 11 and ends May 25 where the winner will go on to compete with the West Coast and Central Region Finalists in a separate online popular vote held May 25 through June 5.
Visit IMBA for details on selection criteria, voting terms, grant award process, and other conditions.