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Making Things Happen In Manistee, Michigan

The Shoreline Cycling Club in Manistee, MI invited us out to get them started on a brand new trail system on a blank canvas.  The club has been working with the city’s Non-Motorized Transportation Committee and has been given permission to develop trails on 170 acres of city property for non-motorized recreation, including cross-country skiing, hiking, and biking.

Shoreline Cycling Club is already well on the way to having 3 loops of wide-corridor ski trails cleared, which should be ready for use this winter.  Having these corridors open will also provide easier access to develop the rest of the system, which will include 5 to 8 miles of singletrack and a bike skills and pump track area.

This new park promises to be a close-to-town draw for youngsters and riders looking for a mellow intro to mountain biking.  The area already boasts beautiful mountain biking with miles and miles of trails in beautiful forestland, including the North Country Trail, which passes through Michigan on its way from eastern New York all the way to South Dakota.  For younger and newer riders, though, the area trails can seem inaccessible and perhaps a little intimidating.  Most popular biking trails are twenty to thirty minutes outside of town and provide an aerobic challenge that might thwart riders brand new to the sport.

The answer:  the new Manistee Non-Motorized Trail Park.  The terrain at the site is flat, which means great intro trails for riders, though it can be challenging from a trail design perspective.  Riders will be able to access mellow but twisty and turny singletrack.  The best part is that it is about 4 miles outside of city limits – a quick jaunt for anyone who wants to give it a whirl.  Add the bike park with skill features and a pump track, and you have a recipe for a great community resource.

Folks in Michigan face a bit of a challenge with their very sandy soils.  Sandy soils don’t compact well and require thoughtful design and construction to ensure they stand the test of time and use.  On the upside, they do drain water well.  One thing for sure, is that the locals are really making the most out of what they have and are laying down some great trails, including new fun and swoopy singletrack in the Ludington School Forest.

Our trailbuilding school had an enthusiastic group of attendees from Manistee, Ludington, Cadillac, Zeeland, Traverse City, Osseo, Mesick, and Bear Lake, all anxious to take their new knowledge back to their hometowns.  The attendees’ dedication and hard work allowed us to cut in nearly a quarter mile of trail during the three-hour field session.  The Michigan Mountain Biking Association (MMBA) was kind enough to loan out their tool trailer for the project.

We had a great visit and would like to thank Quiring Cycles for hosting the movie night and grill-out, as well as Zeller and Johnson Chiropractic for sponsoring lunch for the trailbuilding school. We look forward to coming back and riding all the new trail that’s being built!

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