Rural Missouri - August 2013 - (Page 14)
O U T D O O R S
by Jim McCarty
att O’Reilly isn’t shy about
speaking his mind when it
comes to what he thinks is
missing in Springﬁeld, Mo. “It’s
crazy. We are in the Ozarks. Our strongest
asset is our hills. And we aren’t giving anybody access to them,” he says.
What Matt wants to see is more trails,
and he’s doing something about it. On Aug.
3, Two Rivers Bike Park will ofﬁcially open
as Missouri’s ﬁrst purpose-built playground
for mountain bikers, trail runners and
hikers. The park is located on nearly 500 acres of
pristine Ozark hills and
hollers near the junction of the Finley and
“The big picture is
To watch a video from Two
twofold,” says Bruce
Rivers Bike Park, click this
Adib-Yazdi, coordinabutton inside our
tion director for Traildigital edition, online at
Spring, the non-proﬁt
the trail. “One is simply providing a place for people
to come recreate and get outdoors. It’s also about
Before the trail system was built, off-road cyclists
and trail runners in the Springﬁeld area had just 11
miles of good singletrack trail located north of town
on the Sac River. To enjoy their sport, they left town,
traveling to Arkansas, Kansas City or St. Louis where
there are many more miles of high-quality trail.
“Ask any number of bikers, and that’s what they
do on a weekend,” Matt says. “This next weekend,
we are going down to Eureka Springs, staying at one
of the hotels and riding in their Fat Tire Festival.
We are going to eat, we are going to drink and we
are going to ﬁll up with gas. Shoot, that’s $300 of
economic stimulus just by having a trail there. Now
multiply that by 300 participants.”
The Two Rivers trail system, which is served by
While the pros roughed in the trails, volunteers, many from the Springﬁeld-based
Midwest Off-Road Cyclists, followed up
with some serious grooming. “I think we
logged close to 2,000 hours on actual trails
and probably another 800 or a thousand
hours cleaning up and doing odd jobs,”
Bruce says. “That’s just since March.”
The volunteer effort also trained those
who will keep the park maintained.
Both Matt and Bruce see Two Rivers helping Springﬁeld retain the young professionals who typically study at the many area
colleges, then take their skills elsewhere.
“These are the things these folks are looking
for,” says Bruce, an architect and mountain biker.
“It’s also things corporations look for when they
want to move to another city.”
Gauged by the interest Two Rivers already has
generated, Matt says this won’t be the last such park
built in the area. TrailSpring has been set up through
the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Interest
from the foundation’s investments funded the Two
Rivers Bike Park and can be used to fund similar
projects in other areas.
“We are looking for partners to do more projects,
whether it be private property or the city saying
we’ve got some park property we’d like you to use,”
Matt says. “We’ll do a grant and build it all.”
He says the trailhead has to be within 30 miles of
Springﬁeld. However, assistance is available for
projects located farther away as long as someone
else provides the majority of the funding.
“Multi-use trails are a huge growing aspect of successful communities, and we are
behind that,” Matt says. “It’s not because
a couple of us guys want to rip some
sweet singletrack. Our community
Two Rivers Bike Park offers
mountain bikers a place to play
Ozark Electric Cooperative, currently features seven
miles of fast, ﬂowy trails that follow the contour of
a rugged hillside. While these trails are challenging,
they are well within the reach of beginners, with
connector trails to shortcut the hardest climbs.
Once the top is reached, it’s nearly all downhill.
Toward the trail’s end, mountain bikers can opt for
an intermediate-level downhill run with steeply
banked turns and jumps off rollers and rock ledges.
There’s also a beginner’s downhill section and a
skills area for conﬁdence building.
Phase two of the project calls for another eight
miles of singletrack. There’s plans for a kid-friendly
pump track, places to camp and a hostel, demo bike
storage and mechanic’s area set in a
former calf barn. Bruce envisions festivals with musical entertainment.
While most Missouri trails were built
with volunteer labor, Two Rivers was constructed in just ﬁve months by Progressive
Trail Design, an Arkansas company that
has built trail systems all over the country.
Their work is designed to be fast and fun,
but also sustainable.
In the skills area, the builders partnered with
Joplin’s American Ramp Co. to form Progressive Bike
Ramps. For Two Rivers, they built wood and metal
rollers, seesaws, A-frames and other stunts that will
challenge even experienced cyclists.
Two Rivers Bike Park, located south of Nixa, ofﬁcially
opens Aug. 3. After that date, it will be free and open to
the public. For more information on the trail system and
the grand opening event, visit www.TrailSpring.org.
Trail builder John Bailey tests one of the stunts at Two Rivers
Bike Park. The park south of Nixa is the ﬁrst of its kind in
Missouri, offering mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers
plenty of options for outdoor adventure.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2013
Rural Missouri - August 2013
Table of Contents
Mining a lead-lined history
Out of the Way Eats
Hearth and Home
Rural Missouri - August 2013
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