A published report in the April 1 issue of BIKE Magazine, by Nicole Formosa, said new funding has been secured for new bike trails in rural Nevada. For Lincoln County, the $1.75 million means work can begin on the first phase of building up to 150 miles of new single-track trails in the mountains surrounding Caliente.
The article notes, with the help of grant-writing assistance from Patrick Kell, director of IMBA’s southwest region, “the city of Caliente secured nearly $495,000 to put toward the project, while the Bureau of Land Management won $1 million. The money came from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management (SNPLMA) Act of 1998, which allows profits from the sale of public land in Las Vegas to go toward recreation and conservation projects in the state. The $1.5 million in new money is in addition to $250,000 that Nevada State Parks already set aside to design and build 12 miles of single-track trails in Kershaw-Ryan State Park.
Caliente mayor Stana Hurlbert said the city plans to use its portion to build 3.5 miles of single-track trails on city land, a bike park, tot track, pump track, jump lines, a skill course and extra parking spaces. She said a new building has already been built at Superpark, which will be one of the beginning points for the bike system. Hurlbert hopes the city projects can be completed by the end of this year.
In the meantime, the BLM plans to build an additional 27 miles and two new parking lots on public land surrounding Caliente.
Formosa notes in the article, “When completed, the system of 42 miles will link downtown Caliente to the ridges that tower above town at 9,400 feet above sea level. The BLM is currently wrapping up the permitting process, and Kell expects the project to get the final go-ahead in the next couple of months. “I’d be very surprised if it was declined,” he said. “The response we have from all the local folks and the BLM is that everybody wants it to happen.”
It would be of major impact to the economy of the community, and Kell is reported saying he believes mountain biking could be the ticket to tourism and, eventually, the town’s rebirth. Local residents see the possibility of maybe building backcountry yurts that support multi-day rides or the potential for a high school mountain biking league that gives local kids the chance to discover a bigger world through trails.
Kell has said even now he is turning his attention to what he hopes will be the next phase of trail development: an additional 50 to 100 miles of trails around Pioche that would take riders up to Highland Peak–the highest point in the area, at 9,400 hundred feet–through nearby Cathedral Gorge State Park and back to Caliente.
“When you can look up at that Highland Range, it’s kind of like being in Moab looking at the Whole Enchilada and the La Sal Mountains,” Kell said in the magazine article.
He expects IMBA trail builders to break ground late this year on the initial 42-mile network, with the first trails ready to ride in 2017.
Hurlbert said it is most fortunate that the grant monies all came in at the same time. “We have been working real hard as a partnership between the city, Nevada State Parks, BLM, and Intermountain Bicycling for the past two or three years in planning how to bring a series of quality mountain bike trails to Lincoln County that will attract a much needed economic engine from