A High School History Lesson on Alabama Trails
The latest round of IMBA’s Trail Accelerator grant closed in mid-October, and we’re excited to see projects from South Dakota to Southern California, West Virginia to Wyoming. Previous Trail Accelerator grant cycles have focused on the U.S. central states, awarding grants to seven projects in Arkansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Tennessee.
The program is now available nationwide, and in this round, we received 22 applications from across the country, bringing the application total to almost 60 proposals. Communities who applied in this round include Hot Springs and Mena, Arkansas; Page and Prescott, Arizona; Escondido and Santa Clarita, California; Tallahassee, Florida; Festus, Missouri; Starkville, Mississippi; Canton, North Carolina; Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico; Ely, Nevada; Bowling Green, Ohio; Reading and Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania; Spearfish, South Dakota; El Paso, Texas; Farmimgton, Utah; Ashland, Wisconsin; Berkley Springs, Marlinton, West Virginia University-Morgantown, West Virginia; and Sheridan, Wyoming.
IMBA held two webinars during the grant application window, helping 110 interested land managers, parks and recreation staff, local government representatives, and other types of trail advocates understand the how-to’s of the grant. The Trail Accelerator grant provides professional trail planning and consultation services from IMBA Trail Solutions to launch trail development efforts, which can often help leverage further interest and investment in community trail projects. Grants awarded through this program are matched one-to-one by those communities which are selected.
Applicants’ projects reflect a wide variety of mountain bike riding styles and interests. Some plans will benefit National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) middle- and high-school teams, some focus on younger riders and adaptive riders, while others focus on university populations and incorporating trail building education into their trail system construction. Many of the projects will provide easy access to close-to-home trails, and some will focus on bike-optimized infrastructure such as gravity trails and bike parks.
If your community wasn’t on the list above, start thinking now about applying for the next round of Trail Accelerator grants, which is scheduled to open in late spring/early summer 2020. IMBA wants to help you make your vision for local trails a reality—learn more on the IMBA grant webpage, follow the progress of current Trail Accelerator grant recipients on the IMBA blog, and feel free to contact Patrick Kell, IMBA’s grants manager with any questions.
The IMBA Trail Accelerator grant is made possible through the generous support of Tom and Steuart Walton, the Catena Foundation, Fox, Shimano, SRAM, and People for Bikes. We have secured additional support for the program for 2020 and look forward to announcing those partnerships in the coming months. IMBA is stoked to see the variety of projects and the enthusiasm of the applicants. The future of mountain biking is bright—and accessible, enjoyable, and equitable!