The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has been in Caliente for the last two weeks, with specialists and scouts on the ground placing flags for an visual conception of Caliente’s future bike trails. Southwest Regional Director Patrick Kell and Jeremy Wimpy gave an update last week at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Caliente. Trail Specialist Joey Klein was in the field flagging with other designers.
The process that started two years ago has been consistently advancing and according the the IMBA website, imba.com, Kell believes ground can be broke by the end of next year. Kell said, “We’ve worked eight years on a plan before and didn’t get one inch of trail. We’ve been here two years and we’re already flagging. It’s been a very expedited process.”
The collaborative work between the BLM office, City of Caliente, Nevada State Parks and Lincoln County Commissioners has proven to be idealistic in the shaping of the idea of a Caliente based trail system that will connect the city with multiple trailheads that would branch off with different levels of difficulty, and have paths to Kershaw Ryan State Park and other BLM backcountry.
Victoria Barr, who is leaving the Caliente office to be a district manager of an office in New Mexico, said, “It’s important for me, as a manager, to connect people with public lands. This has been a good example of partnership for others.”
The goal, Kell said, “to develop a trail around Caliente to connect to state parks, the city, and BLM land, so people can see Caliente as a destination to come and stay a few days.”
The IMBA process starts with gathering information of the area, then conceptualizing a trail. The next step is to flag and refine the path, and then submit the idea to the BLM for review. BLM biologists and archaeologists will review the proposals for any danger to habitats or other resources around the path, and the path plan is refined until it satisfies all parties involved. Studies and assessments would be done and applied for to ensure it meets all specifications and criteria enforced by the BLM and other regulations.
Wimpy gave a presentation for the steps and progress they’ve covered, along with objectives for the trail. Different experience levels, connectivity to other trails such as the Linear walkway and other areas, terrain, access nodes and mileage are all considered in the creation of a successful bike path.
40 miles of potential trail are to be flagged. Plans are to have one primary hub and three secondary trailheads. The areas involved need to be examined further, because of private property that is owned or other restricted areas on the outskirts of the city. Other requirements of flagging are allowing enough of a “corridor” for equipment to maneuver the mountain, wide enough for machines to turn around during the build process.
On the IMBA website news, Kell posted, “Our Trail Specialists have grown more familiar withthe terrain, and are stoked at what they are finding: amazing hoodoo rock formations, ponderosa pine forests, herds of mustang, and ridges and canyons that will be home to miles of awesome new singletrack over the coming years.”
Other excitement comes from the newly formed high school mountain bike racing teams with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Arizona, Colorado and Utah currently have high school bicycling clubs and hold competitions throughout the states. David Jaget, President of the Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association, a chapter of IMBA, informed the attendants at the meeting that Nevada has just been inducted into the league. He said the northern Nevada region has been active, and that movement is starting in Las Vegas. “Caliente is a great location for station championships,” Jagget said.
Currently, Beatty is the only other city in Nevada IMBA is working with, and they are about six months behind us.
Once the flagging is complete, IMBA will start raising funds, with donations and grants to start breaking ground for Caliente’s pending trail.