Rural Missouri - August 2013 - (Page 14)

O U T D O O R S M by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop Adrenaline Adventures 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 James rivers. “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 www.ruralmissouri.coop. organization funding the trail. “One is simply providing a place for people to come recreate and get outdoors. It’s also about economic development.” 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 needs it.” 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 Nixa 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. http://www.TrailSpring.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2013

Rural Missouri - August 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Hideout heaven
Mining a lead-lined history
Adrenaline adventures
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
High-flying fun
Hearth and Home
Blood-stained dawn
Swarm chasers
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - August 2013

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