IMBA’s Trail Accelerator grants were started as community ignitors — funding meant to inject spirit and resources alike into communities that want to invest in mountain bike trails. When the program was launched in 2018, the Trail Accelerator grants were intended to be a “competitive grant offering for communities in need of more trails to get started with building better places to ride.”
According to the latest release, the applicants must show a vision for a “transformational model trail systems” and strong partnerships between community leaders and government entities, property owners, mountain bike advocacy organizations and so on.
In other words, one could like at these grants like capital investment in a business and the business owner should have a solid plan of how to make their concept viable.
Between 2018, when the Trail Accelerator program was started, and 2021, 33 projects have received close to a half-million dollars in awards. Those projects — including trails in Tahlequa, Oklahoma; Capacon, West Virginia; and Erwin, Tennessee — have leveraged the initial support to raise more than $12.7 million in other funding.
For 2022, these ten trail projects will be awarded Trail Accelerator grants and will use the funds to invest in accessible, “close to home” trails for the community. The amount of each award was not specified.
Community-wide Feasibility Study—Pine Bluff, Arkansas: The project will examine Jefferson County for multi-use and bike-optimized trails. The community currently has no mountain bike trails, according to IMBA. The project will seek to establish trails which will increase public health and create tourism.
Harrison Park Trails—Danville, Illinois: The Harrison Park Trails project will bring the first bike trails to city property and revitalize a historic park. A recently created mountain bike advocacy organization has drawn up plans for a bike park in the area and they hope it will enhance opportunity for various groups nearby.
Community Park at Cameron’s Bluff—Lawrence, Kansas: This project will look at land along the Kansas River for trail development and provide access to open space along this stretch of river for the first time ever. The project would also enhance connectivity and access in the area.
Fire Brick Lake Family Rec Park— Olive Hill, Kentucky: The Fire Brick Lake project would carve the first natural surface trails in the town of Olive Hill, Kentucky and they would run along the Warrior’s Path, a 12,000-year-old path used by indigenous Americans for commerce and communication. This would also boost recreation in the area and work with community organizations to enhance public health.
Elliotsville Foundation, Inc Trail Center—Patten, Maine: This project would add progressive singletrack in the Patten area as well as groomed fat bike trails. A gear library with loaner bikes and outdoor gear will connect to the trails, giving those who don’t own equipment the chance to try out mountain biking.
Great Bear Park—Sioux Falls, South Dakota: The goal here is to add up to eight miles of bike-optimized trail, close to town for easier access for residents and greater recreational opportunities. The town has long had accessible winter activities at this park, but the grant should make it enjoyable all year round.
Elkins Area Shared Trail Plan—Elkin’s, West Virginia: The Elkins project will consist of a partnership between a local trails group, West Virginia University, and the Monongahela National Forest and will look at U.S. Forest Service property in the western portion of the Cheat-Potomac District. The group will start with a goal of locating space for 8-10 miles of trail.
Lost River State Park MTB Trails—Mathias, West Virginia: Hardy County, the home county in Mathias has “no well-designed mountain bike trails” and the local trails group hopes to change that with a trail system built for all skill levels. The plan should help bring in tourism dollars and enhance public health as well as offer space for interested scholastic bike leagues.
Washburn Bike Park—Washburn, Wisconsin: The City of Washburn is looking at locations for a bike park and with the right location and plan, the park will help riders of all abilities and will likely reside close to a school, making a great place for local scholastic teams and a Little Bellas chapter.
Wells Trails—Eau Claire, Wisconsin: The Wells Trails plan is looking to bring 6-10 miles of bike-optimized trail to a 350-acre city park that serves hikers, runners, and skiers. The local trails organization, the Chippewa Off Road Bicycle Association, will partner with local NICA teams, schools, and trail users to develop opportunities for mountain bikers, fat bikers, and adaptive riders.
To see the full story, visit the IMBA website.