Bikes Belong is celebrating the joy of cycling and trailbuilding this spring by awarding six recreation-focused grants to grassroots groups across the country. The projects—all made possible by dedicated volunteers—include a riverfront path, a freeride trail, a BMX freestyle park, and some really sweet backcountry singletrack. From all of us at Bikes Belong, enjoy the ride!
The Willimantic Whitewater Partnership will receive $10,000 to help build the Hop River/Airline Trail Extension bike path as part of their riverfront recreation park. Bikes Belong’s grant will match SAFETEA-LU and Recreational Trails Program funding for the dynamic project, which also includes a whitewater park for kayakers.
Willimantic Whitewater Partnership is an innovative community coalition of corporations, families, and nonprofits working together to revitalize the historic riverfront and create a recreation hub in the town of Willimantic. The multi-use path will link to the East Coast Greenway, a national trail extending from Key West, Florida to Calais, Maine.
The Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) will use their $10,000 award to help build a freeride trail in the Mount Hillyer area of the Chilao Recreation Area and enhance the surrounding trail system. Bikes Belong’s funding will leverage pending grants from local businesses as well as donations from CORBA members and other local riders.
CORBA has gained the full support of the Forest Service for this exciting project, which sets a huge precedent: It will be the first legal freeride trail in Angeles National Forest.
The Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) will receive $9,200 for their Green Mountain National Forest Access Program. This grant will help VMBA in its effort to reconstruct and extend three sections of singletrack in the Green Mountain National Forest’s Moosalamoo National Recreation Area—previously off-limits to mountain bikes. Bikes Belong’s funding will leverage a National Forest Foundation grant as well as state funding for this important mountain bike initiative.
VMBA, the state’s stellar mountain bike advocacy group, works to increase ridership in Vermont while minimizing impact on public lands through sustainable trailbuilding and stewardship. They also foster active, healthy lifestyles through Trailheads, their youth mountain biking program, and are working to promote mountain biking at eastern ski areas in the summer months.
Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) will use their $5,000 grant to help complete the final 4 miles of the North Yuba Trail—referred to as the Golden Spoke—which will connect 14 miles of singletrack. This non-motorized trail will enable cross-country mountain bikers to ride to the renowned Downieville trails from town instead of drive.
SBTS has established itself as a strong partner with the National Forest Service and promotes community support for trails through their innovative Trail Adoption program. They’ve also garnered state funding for this project.
Friends of Pathways will receive $5,000 for their “Order of the Arrow” initiative, which will replace 10.5 miles of eroding, illegal trails with fun, sustainable singletrack on Teton Pass. Bikes Belong’s funding will bolster grants and volunteer hours from the National Forest Foundation and the Teton Freedom Riders. More than 650 Boy Scouts from the trail’s namesake service team will donate their time to trail construction this summer.
Friends of Pathways promotes active healthy lifestyles through great trail facilities. Their advocacy and fundraising work helps to connect and enhance communities and recreation opportunities—from paved paths to backcountry trails—in and around Jackson Hole.
The Village of Mexico, New York, will use their $5,000 award to complete the Freedom Skate/BMX Park. Bikes Belong’s funding will go toward bike-specific elements in the park and help leverage city funding as well as money raised by the BMX and skate communities. The Tony Hawk Foundation has also contributed to this great project.
The shared-use facility, which has strong support from the city’s mayor and parks & recreation commissioner, will provide a place for freestyle BMX riders and skaters to coexist happily—and free of charge. It will also be a venue for events, clinics, and after-school programs.
If projects like these get your adrenalin pumping, head to Park City, Utah, June 18–21 for the IMBA World Mountain Bike Summit. Bikes Belong is a proud sponsor, and we’ll be representing (and riding) at the event. Hope to see you there!
About Bikes Belong
Bikes Belong Coalition is the U.S. bicycle industry organization dedicated to putting more people on bicycles more often. Bikes Belong lobbies to increase federal bike funding, awards grants to support innovative bike projects, promotes bicycling and its benefits, and backs crucial national efforts such as Safe Routes to School, Bicycle Friendly Communities, and the National Bike Summit. The affiliated Bikes Belong Foundation focuses on improving bicycle safety and enhancing children’s bike programs.
Since Bikes Belong’s Grants Program began in 1999, we have funded 166 grant proposals in 44 states and the District of Columbia, awarding nearly $1.3 million in cash and leveraging more than $476 million in federal, state, and private funding. Our facilities grants alone have helped finance nearly 1,400 miles of bike paths and trails that link close to 6,400 miles of trail facilities.
For more information, visit bikesbelong.org.