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Trail Labs: Foundations

Trail Labs: Foundations

Foundations are in-depth workshops designed to catalyze the next generation of great places to ride mountain bikes. Attendees will learn what it takes to create a model trail community and return home with the knowledge and guidance for how to make it happen.


Foundations will be returning to Bentonville, Arkansas April 24-26, 2022, and for the first time be offered in Cedar City, Utah in October 2022. The cost to attend is $600, which includes all registration fees, lunch, shuttles for field workshops and evening festivities. Space is limited to the first 40 registrants for each workshop. 

Bentonville  Cedar City 


Want to create a great place to ride? We can help.


Trail Labs: Foundations are two-day intensive workshops during which IMBA staff, trail industry experts and local stakeholders lead participants through the recipe for a model community trail system: planning, design, building, activation, promotion and measuring success. Attendees will also get a firsthand look at components of an intentional and diverse mountain bike trails community through field visits. 

Individuals best-suited to attend the workshops are land managers, community officials, recreation professionals and tourism/economic development staff. In addition to helping you understand the benefits of trails and the experiences desired by mountain bikers, we will provide the knowledge you need to get started making great trails happen locally and help you identify the next steps needed to bring more trails to your own backyards. 

Why NW Arkansas?

Arkansas is home to three IMBA Ride Centers (including Bentonville) and five IMBA EPICS. Not only do the Ozarks provide a beautiful landscape for creating trails, multiple cities and towns have embraced integrating mountain bike trail systems into their communities in ways that serve as models for locations nationwide.



Why Foundations?

“We attended IMBA Trail Labs to learn about mountain biking. We sort-of know about trails, but they’re a relatively new thing to us. We’re excited about economic development and a healthier lifestyle and, really importantly, the quality of life that trails close to home will provide."
— Steve Arrison, Visit Hot Springs Arkansas CEO

What to expect: a sample schedule


Day one theme: The model trail recipe


Plan It

  • Why mountain bike trails?
  • What are sustainable trails?
  • Visioning and community planning
  • Building a dream team of experts
  • Understanding the planning process
  • Gaining project support and funding

Design It

  • Developing the desired mountain biking experience
  • What level of design detail is needed
  • Operations and maintenance considerations in design
  • Signage and risk management
  • Phasing your plan

Build It

  • Balancing desires with reality
  • Working with volunteers and professionals
  • Construction contracting
  • Crafting procedural documentation
  • Trail network public opening checklist

Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by an optional group ride and dinner on your own. (There will be no trail building.)

Day two theme: If you build it, will they come?


Activate It

  • Creating a plan for sustainability
  • Developing a programming strategy to take full advantage of the trails
  • Activating and engaging partners
  • Developing new riders

Promote It

  • Gaining community support for the project
  • Developing maps and websites
  • Hosting events, festivals and races
  • Engaging the wider community

Measure It

  • Evaluating the impact of the trail facility
  • Trail counters and on-site surveys
  • Tracking volunteer hours
  • Data collection and management
  • Using data to improve the trail system

Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by an afternoon interactive session where attendees will begin to draft a plan for their community’s trail project while considering the six core ingredients alongside Trail Labs experts. 


Generous local sponsors bring Foundations to their communities, to showcase the success they have experienced by investing in trails.

Have questions on Trail Labs?

Whether you are after solitude or community I am not sure if there is a better avenue than wheels on dirt. It is my goal to see these opportunities become ever more accessible through education and development. 

Meet our team
John Cox

Education Coordinator