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November News from the Southwest Region

Phoenix Family Bike Park – Phoenix, AZ

We recently had freeride legend and IMBA Trail Specialist Randy Spangler visit several sites in Phoenix, AZ, as part of the conceptual design process for the Phoenix Family Bike Park. One site was deemed unsuitable, the other was appropriate, but could have been located in Anywhere, USA, whereas the third site near Buffalo Ridge Park had a quintessential Arizona feel to it, with saguaro cacti and rocky desert slopes, offering opportunities for gravity flow trails, a pumptrack and progressive dirt jumps. The site also has great access from neighborhoods, schools and existing recreation facilities. Information from this visit will be incorporated into a landscape rendering which IMBA and the Gravity Riders Organization of Arizona (GROAZ) will present to the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, as part of the development of the project, which will hopefully move the approval process along in 2013.

Trail planning - Caliente, NV

Over the past several months we have been in discussion with staff at the Caliente Field Office (Ely District) of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This process has involved discussing the potential impact of mountain bike tourism on the local and regional economy, reviewing maps of the extensive landscape and visiting several sites for potential trail development. We see a huge opportunity for a purpose-built trail network in and around Caliente, following the best practices in trail design and construction, while celebrating the local flora, fauna and topography. We see that trails could connect to Main Street, state parks and campgrounds, offering a destination-quality experience for riders of all abilities. We will continue the planning process throughout 2013 - stay tuned for updates on what could be an amazing new destination in the Southwest.

Skyline Trail - Big Bear Lake, CA

We wrapped up the season in Big Bear on a high note. The Skyline Trail along the ridge south of town has been designed by Shane Wilson from IMBA Trail Solutions; we held volunteer days along with the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation; and an outside contractor has been brought on-board to build the majority of the trail with an excavator. It’s great to have been part of so much progress there in 2012, and we are excited for 2013, which will include an opening ceremony for the Skyline Trail, and may also see bike park trails under construction at the adjacent Snow Summit Resort.

May Valley planning - Idyllwild, CA

As part of the ongoing planning efforts in the San Bernardino National Forest in Idyllwild, we will have Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA Mapping Specialist, there in early December working in the May Valley area with USFS staff and local chapter members. Together they will work on an inventory of the current trail network, to get an accurate idea of the distance of trails on the ground. This information will then be incorporated into the longer-term planning efforts to develop a sustainable trail system in May Valley, which will provide valuable recreation opportunities, accessible from Hurkey Creek County Park.

Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) – Sedona, AZ

The RTCA Program kicked-off in Sedona in early November with a public meeting attended by 70 people, including representatives from the Sedona Mountain Bike Association, the Verde Valley Cycling Coalition, all of the Sedona bike shops, city and federal staff, hikers, equestrians and wheelchair trail users. This project will include a year-long series of public meetings to gather input from a broad spectrum of trail users, and it will empower the community to play a lead role in designing how its trail system will evolve over the coming years. A big thanks to Cate Bradley of the National Parks Service for planning and facilitating the meetings and to the USFS-Red Rocks Ranger District and the City of Sedona for sponsoring the process.

2013 SoCal Mountain Bike Summit

Following the success of the recent IMBA World Summit in Santa Fe, NM, we are planning a regional summit in southern California, to be held in Idyllwild on the weekend of Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2. This event is open to mountain bikers and land managers from all over, and will include workshops on trail planning, bike park development, government partnerships and fundraising, plus a BBQ, raffles, schwag, and great rides on the local singletrack. If you have not been to Idyllwild before, then you are in for a treat in this southern California mountain village. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details as our planning develops over the coming months.

Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew in the southwest in 2013

We are currently reviewing applications for Trail Care Crew visits to the southwest in 2013. We got lots of applications and are trying to schedule a series of visits that will best serve our chapters, clubs and partnering agencies. The schedule will be confirmed soon, and you can expect to see the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew in many southwest communities in 2013.

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