State of the States
Member for8 years 4 months
Katherine worked for IMBA in various marketing and communications roles from 2010-2018.
The idea of more trails close to home doesn’t just mean digging in a few miles here and there. In some places, it can mean 100-mile trail systems surrounding cities with abundant access points and broad cooperation across multiple land management agencies and volunteer groups. Cedar City, Utah, is one of those places where such a dream is taking shape, and where another step toward becoming a great place to be a mountain biker wrapped up earlier this month.
Cedar City is located in the southwest corner of Utah, not far from the Hurricane Rim Loop IMBA EPICS route and the famed Gooseberry Mesa trail system. The area's ambitious mountain biking plan dates back to 2013, when IMBA staff met with Dave Jacobson—a local outdoor recreation planner for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)—to discuss a vision for a mountain bike trail network in the Iron Hills area on the southeast side of town, right off Interstate 15.
IMBA Trail Solutions worked with the BLM and Dixie Mountain Bike Trail Association of Cedar City to turn that vision into a conceptual trails plan for nearly 100 miles of new singletrack designed with mountain bikers in mind. The goal is to build flowy but technically challenging trails—full of texture and features—that capitalize on the area’s abundant rock.
After more than a year of public meetings, plus endless emails and phone calls, the details came together and trail building started in earnest in September 2015. IMBA Trail Solutions wrapped up the first phase of the network a year later, putting 7.5 miles of trail on the ground, including a one-way climbing trail nearly three miles long and a 2-mile dedicated descent with plenty of berms and optional rock lines. Almost immediately, the trail was adopted by the Iron Giants Mountain Bike Team (the local NICA high school group) as its training ground.
Following the construction of phase one, Jacobson of the BLM wrote the following note to IMBA:
IMBA has built a fantastic trail that millions of people will eventually ride, I am sure of it. This to me is the essence of public land stewardship—to take an empty hillside that has no forage for grazing, no minerals for mining and is too steep for solar energy installments. To start from there and turn it into a useable landscape that benefits the community is quite a success.
The public has been staring at this pinion and juniper forested slope for years without seeing its potential. IMBA has taken a blank canvas and made it into a masterpiece that will continue to get more and more valuable in the years to come. In the recreation realm, it seems that everyone gives themselves a label.
Shortly before Thanksgiving 2018, IMBA Trail Solutions completed the construction of a new, 2-mile beginner descent-only trail that connects the "Lichen It" and "Lava Flow" trails. The new "Iron Giant" trail was named in honor of the high school mountain bike team, members of which helped to build it and will use it to train. And while the immediate area's mileage isn’t yet massive, there are already trails of all flavors to enjoy—from green to double-black diamond—and the parking lot is almost always full.
This system couldn't be any "closer to home." The existing trailhead is adjacent to a new subdivision and will have a paved pathway connecting it to the rest of town. A pedestrian/livestock bridge spans the four lanes of I-15 for those riding from the west side of town.
The Cedar City project has already served as a model and educational tool for some of IMBA’s other bike-optimized trail advocacy work in the region. In 2016, we visited the project site with BLM Nevada staff and Nevada State Parks employees to help garner support and understanding for trails in Caliente, NV.
IMBA has been working with multiple land agencies in Caliente since 2012 to create another 100-mile trail system on public lands. We’ve already designed more than 40 of those miles and begun construction in partnership with other pro builders, and are stoked to continue playing a role in both the Cedar City and Caliente projects.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered on this project and supported it over the years! We appreciate you sticking with it.
Responsible riding is our simplest, and a very powerful, advocacy tool. Want more trails? Want to maintain access? Want everyone to like us? Start by being good to your fellow mountain bikers and the other users we share trails with. Know the rules; ride responsibly.Pledge now