By Lukas Brinkerhoff –
The Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association was formed in 2009 as a direct reaction to the travel management plan the St. George Field Office for the BLM had begun to undertake. Several meetings were held to get public input which was then formed into GSI documents and given to the BLM. As the process continued, regular meetings were held to give mountain biker input on the documents as well as other trails they were analyzing.
The DMBTA became an IMBA chapter in 2010 giving it official non-profit status and affording it the backing of the international organization. As these things go, the relationship between land managers and local advocates continued to grow as the association worked to help maintain the trails in Washington County and slowly work toward constructing new purpose built singletrack.
The latter of which came in the winter of 2013-14 as the collaboration between the DMBTA and the BLM flourished into two new trails in the Hurricane Rim Trail Network. Goosebumps and Cryptobionic offered additional loop options for the already established trail system. The new construction catapulted the organization as it began to gain traction with local riders and grow in its territory.
In 2014, the City of Kanab through a recently formed bicycle coalition contacted IMBA hoping for help planning a trail system to keep the thousands of mountain bikers who travel through the area in Kanab and thus fostering the local economy. The DMBTA, being the local chapter was asked for input. The coalition split its efforts into road and mountain, with the off road riders joining the association. Ever since they have been working hand in hand with the city, county and IMBA to create a comprehensive trail plan that could result in an all-together new trail destination in Southern Utah.
As I type this, legendary trail designer, Joey Klein, is in Kanab working on this plan. The assessment should take about three weeks and hopefully will result in a design that the county, in conjunction with DMBTA, can implement to provide them the network they desire. The city of Kanab also recently finished a rehab of the Cottonwood trail making it much more mountain bike friendly with the help of the American Conservation Experience crews. ACE is a non-profit dedicated to constructing and rehabbing trails through volunteer experiences.
As Kanab was beginning to take off, Escalante wanted in on the action. The area has hundreds of backcountry trails that are open to mountain bikers but can be hard to navigate due to the lack of maps and maintenance. A DMBTA sub-committee consisting of locals is working to change that by mapping some of the more popular routes, getting them marked and properly maintained to allow tourists to enjoy the beauty the area has to offer by bicycle.
About this same time, the BLM in Cedar City was finishing a trail plan that would call for 100+ miles of mountain bike accessible trails. The first of which have begun to be constructed by IMBA trained builders. The BLM is shooting for 10-15 miles of trail to be built every summer through paid construction and organized volunteers.
And of course, Washington County got two more trails to help round out the Hurricane Rim Network this past spring. Dead Ringer and More Cowbell were constructed to offer alternative loops, an easier climb and some beginner level trail. Despite their easy nature, they have quickly become favorites.
The DMBTA is continuing to advocate for more construction and better maintained trails. Currently, there are three trail projects under review in Washington County that could see construction in the next 6-12 months. In addition, we are actively working with the City of St. George for the creation of a bike skills park to help new riders enter the sport and provide a practicing ground for the local NICA team, the Flying Monkeys.
If you would like to help out by joining or donating to the trail fund, go to www.dmbta.org. Monthly trail maintenance days are scheduled for the second Sunday of every month through the summer. Subscribe to our newsletter, http://dmbta.org/news/subscribe-to-our-newsletter/ or watch our Facebook page for updates, www.facebook.com/dmbta.
Build. Maintain. Ride.