IMBA Trail Labs
In 2018, IMBA will host two, in-depth workshops designed to catalyze the next generation of great places to ride mountain bikes. Trail Labs 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. Beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas, a silver-level IMBA Ride Center, will play host to this year’s Trail Labs.
Want to create a great place to ride? We can help.
IMBA Trail Labs 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.
Individuals best-suited to attend the workshops are land managers, community officials, recreation professionals and tourism/economic development staff. This program is not intended for IMBA Chapter representatives. 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.
The first Trail Lab was held June 20–22, 2018, with the second scheduled for October 23-25, 2018. Following the two hosted in Bentonville, future Trail Labs will branch out to other great trail communities across the country in 2019.
Testimonial: “I serve on the board for SORBA Tri-Cities and attended the first IMBA Trail Labs. I can't recommend it enough! Simply one of the best workshops out there for creating and/or advancing your hometown trail community. They really have the content dialed. Bring your elected officials, city leaders, and tourism employees.” — Marc Upton
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. In addition to amazing and varied singletrack and bike parks, there are additional amenities and paved bike path connectors that make Arkansas a special place to live and visit as a mountain biker.
What to expect: a sample schedule
Day one theme: The recipe for a model community trail system
- 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
- Developing the desired mountain biking experience
- What level of design detail is needed
- Impact of operations and maintenance in design
- Signage and risk management
- Phasing your plan
- Finalizing the design and 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 built it, will they come?
- Creating a plan for sustainability
- Developing a programming strategy to take full advantage of the trails
- Celebrating the grand opening
- Adding natural-surface trail elements for spice
- Activating and engaging partners
- Developing new riders
- Getting community support for the project
- Developing maps and websites
- Hosting events, festivals and races
- 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 (plan, design, build, activate, promote, measure).
The inaugural IMBA Trail Labs took place June 20-22 in Bentonville, AR, and sold out within weeks. Registration is NOW OPEN for our second Bentonville event, October 23-25, 2018. The cost to attend is $400, which includes all registration fees, breakfast and lunch, shuttles for field workshops and evening festivities. Space is limited to the first 40 registrants. We kindly request that you send no more than two people from your community so we may welcome representatives from all across the U.S.Sign up
Enjoy Bentonville, Arkansas
- Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Bentonville
- Tulsa International Airport, Oklahoma
- Springfield National Airport, Missouri
Do not fly into Little Rock, AR, if you can avoid it. It’s a much longer drive than the other options.
From Springfield, MO, and Tulsa, OK, to Bentonville/Rogers, AR
From $30.00 to $60.00
Book on the Greyhound website
EAT & DRINK
Bentonville is a great destination for foodies; the Wall Street Journal named Bentonville as one of its up-and-coming culinary scenes in 2014. Menus change as the harvest changes. Farm-to-table culture is a big part of Bentonville's unique offerings.
Enjoy a revitalized downtown square, historic areas, world-class art museums, and an abundance of paved-path and single track bicycling options. Explore all that Bentonville has to offer.