Unicoi County receives grant to develop bike park

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Some more outdoor fun in Unicoi County? 

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) recently awarded its second round of Trail Accelerator grants to four recipients. IMBA’s Trail Accelerator grant fund is a competitive grant offering for communities with visions of transformational model trail systems that need extra support to realize that vision.

Awardees provide matching funds and receive professional trail planning and consultation services from IMBA Trail Solutions to launch trail development efforts, which can often help leverage more interest and investment for community trail projects. Projects must show strong partnerships between local leaders, government entities, land managers, property owners, community groups and IMBA Local groups.

“These communities exemplify the partnerships that are key to every successful mountain bike trail, and we are thrilled to work with them to provide these projects with a professional plan,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. Our Trail Accelerator Grants are a critical step in IMBA’s efforts to make sure everyone has easy access to great mountain bike trails. These trail plans can be the catalyst that secures more support for a project and ultimately helps transform a community through trails.

All four projects will bring more trails close to home for the local community. This increased local access will offer health benefits to residents and serve many local National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) teams. Several of the selected projects have opportunities to expand into larger, destination-worthy trail systems. 

Of the four recipients, one is right in Northeast Tennessee. 

Erwin Utilities Watershed Property in Erwin, Tennessee — This grant will plan the first developed bike park in East Tennessee’s Unicoi County. With increasing trail development in surrounding communities, the new tiered, multi-loop park aims to feed into the vast expanses of the Cherokee National Forest as well as link trails from Unicoi to the trails in surrounding counties. Another primary goal of the project is to promote inclusion by providing beginner-friendly and progressive trails. Erwin is investing in bikes by prioritizing trail and street infrastructure and welcoming new businesses that cater to riders. Located just blocks away from the local high school and downtown, the bike park site will continue connecting the local community with the trails that surround them.

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