Local trail groups tap new federal funding to address the deferred trail maintenance backlog including trails at Storm Creek Campground in Mississippi River State Park
(BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 15, 2023) — The new Legacy Trails Grant Program awarded a total of $1.35 million to 33 projects aimed at restoring, protecting, and maintaining watersheds on National Forest lands. Eighteen of the recipients are projects benefiting mountain biking trails. These mountain biking projects received a total of $581,087 in funding from the program, which local organizations have prepared to match through additional fundraising. The 18 projects are expected to address 170 miles of deferred maintenance, and 208 miles of trail construction and improvement, and will build and repair 21 bridges and 46 culverts, all through the help of nearly 2,000 volunteers who will dedicate an estimated 31,809 volunteer hours to trails.
“The Legacy Trails Grant Program is a great display of how trails and recreation aid in conservation,” said David Wiens, International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Executive Director. “Not only do these projects have great components for mountain biking and for all trail users, but every project takes strong strides to protect and steward the surrounding environment, for its intrinsic value and so communities can cherish the great outdoors.”
Mountain biking is an environmentally low-impact activity that aids in protecting and enjoying open space, and IMBA promotes sustainable trails to minimize impacts on the environment, natural resources, and wildlife.
Summaries for all this year’s 18 awarded projects that benefit mountain biking in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming, can be found at the IMBA website.
This pilot grant is available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in November 2021, one of many funding opportunities for recreation and conservation that the outdoor community has successfully advocated for throughout the past several years. The Legacy Trails Grant enables IMBA Local Partners and other non-profit organizations to complete trail projects which improve watershed health, restore aquatic organism passages, preserve trail access, and/or decommission unauthorized and previously closed trails through restoration. Projects can include NEPA planning, trail clearing, brushing, tread repair, trail relocation, bridge and structure repair or replacement, and installation of trail signs provided they contribute to the goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
IMBA encourages IMBA Local Partners and other trails organizations to review the program and consider potential project eligibility prior to the 2023 application cycle.
American Trails is the lead manager for this program, working collaboratively with IMBA and other trail groups to review and select projects that will provide an overall benefit to the National Forest System lands and trails network. Collaborating groups on the application review team include the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, the American Hiking Society, the Back Country Horsemen of America, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Tread Lightly, and the American Motorcyclist Association.
The Arkansas Legacy Trails Grant Winner
St. Francis National Forest, Arkansas/Mississippi River State Park
Partners: Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism – State Parks Division
Project: The Storm Creek Connector Trail will connect Storm Creek Campground and Storm Creek Day-Use Area via an authorized trail designed by Arkansas State Parks. The goal of the project is to convert an old National Forest Service road and several unauthorized user-created trails into one authorized, well-designed, and properly signed trail that connects the two areas. This project will introduce trails and trail advocacy to a historically underrepresented population and likely can be a catalyst for additional trail development for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking in this area.
Trails: Storm Creek Connector Trail