Executive Director of the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority Mike Baughman reported on his recent attendance at the International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit held in Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 9-12.
He reported at the Nov. 14 meeting of the LCRDA and said he came away from the Summit with “about 40 common needs and common activities” he had compiled at the various sessions he attended.
Board member Holly Gatzke said some of the things Baughman was talking about include the many activities to ensure that Caliente, Lincoln County and its business are prepared to host the expected large influx of mountain bike visitors once the trails are open.
She said the common needs are what mountain bikers rely on, such as maps, camping site locations, bike washing stations, restaurants, massage therapy, etc. “Quite a list of things, even the complimentary activities. We’re talking about a large number of people coming to the community and also wanting to enjoy the outdoors like we do, such as fishing, hiking, ATV rides, visiting state parks and seeing the petroglyphs in the county.” She noted, “Right now, we have the chance to add all kinds of complementary opportunities all across the county so when the people come they might want to stay longer and enjoy the environment with us.”
Discussion during the meeting recognized that respective roles of the city, county, LCAT, LCRDA and others need to be defined.
Gatzke asked, “Are the local business ready for knowing how to serve this clientele and strengthen their business for themselves and for the community through these newcomers that will be arriving to use the trails? We don’t want our citizens and local businesses to miss out on the potential for expansion or creating new ones to serve those needs. It will take time to develop these plans.”
She said she and Caliente Mayor Stana Hulbert are working on developing the “opportunities the community can do regarding those bike trail participants, even those people coming in to build them in the next year, there’s going to a few of them, and how we can serve them. They are the ones who are going to promote these trails very much so to the rest of the world.”
Gatzke reported the possibility of having a workshop in the spring. “Education sessions,” she called them, “for locals that are interested, to give them the information of what will be needed and bring in some experts to help them move forward to take advantage of the new opportunities.”
Patrick Kell, U.S. Southwest Region Director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association said in a telephone interview with the Record, “We have secured the funding and permits to begin building several miles of trails first at Kershaw-Ryan State Park in early 2017.”
As for trails on city land and BLM-managed lands, Kell said, “We have to bid the contract to build those trails and we hope to do that very soon. If we are awarded the bid, we hope to break ground this next spring, maybe March or April.”