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Sylvan Hill a world-class bike park for Wisconsin

It takes a village: that statement of wisdom is particularly true in the mountain bike community, where volunteers, experts and funders must come together to make great places to ride happen. In Wausau, WI, the Central Wisconsin Offroad Cycling Coalition (CWOCC)—an IMBA chapter—recently completed a multi-year project that resulted in a pumptrack, four bike-optimized downhill trails of varying difficulty and a beginner-friendly loop built on an old ski hill and managed by the Marathon County Parks Department.

The new Sylvan Bike Park began to take shape in late 2013 when IMBA staff worked with CWOCC to develop a regional trail plan. IMBA Trail Solutions further refined that work by producing individual concept plans for selected properties, including the design for the Sylvan Bike Park. CWOCC then took the lead in working with the county to secure permission, raise needed funds (including taking advantage of an IMBA grant in 2016) and hire experienced professional trailbuilders (Rock Solid and Progressive Trail Design) to make the park a reality.

Sylvan is all about progression. A rider can work their way up from the green loop to Bad Rabbit—the intermediate trail; to Twisted Oak—a black line with a skills filter drop and many berms, rollers, tables, and optional features; to Fishook—a double-black that, as one of IMBA’s lead trail planners put it, “is just big. You have to be comfortable with speed and air to clear it.”  

CWOCC hopes the bike park will be seen as an addition to local quality of life—similar to the local whitewater kayak course and arts offerings—and as a gateway to attract new people into mountain biking. The chapter would also like to secure an IMBA Ride Center designation for the Wausau area, which would provide tangible marketing benefits to the city and county and contribute to Wausau’s attractiveness as a place to live and recreate.

IMBA is pleased to have been able to assist with this project. One of IMBA Trail Solution’s greatest tools for benefiting communities is professional planning, which can get the ball rolling and set a high-standard framework for local partners to come together and build out great places to ride. Trail Solutions has more than 15 years of planning and design experience in all parts of the U.S., and is stoked to support local IMBA chapters and trailbuilders with that expertise whenever possible.

Does it excite you to hear about IMBA chapters doing this kind of work? Do you want to help support it? Join your IMBA chapter, today! When you do, you're entered to win a new Banshee Spitfire from Jenson USA. 

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