Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission introduces 242-page guidelines document covering landscape analysis, environmental considerations & more
(St Paul, MN) — May 15, 2023 — Mountain biking enthusiasts looking for ways to improve their trail experiences have a valuable, new ally in the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC), which has created a first-of-its-kind resource that can be used to enhance trail development around the world.
The GMRPTC on May 15 introduced “Mountain Bike Trail Development: Guidelines for Successfully Managing the Process,” a 242-page “how to” manual – so comprehensive that it took four years to create – that covers modern trail development from trail types, to landscape analysis and design, to environmental and construction considerations, cost implications and more.
“We created these groundbreaking Mountain Bike Trail Development Guidelines because parks and trails managers have long sought a resource to guide them in building trails,” said GMRPTC Executive Director Renee Mattson. “While bits and pieces of information can be found, there was nothing that incorporated everything into one all-encompassing, modern guidebook. So we created one, thanks to funding from the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.”
The Guidelines may be accessed for free.
The team of industry experts with whom the GMRPTC partnered reinforces how comprehensive its new Guidelines are. Partners included Guidelines author Jake Carsten, owner of the Texas-based trail consulting firm Dirt Dojo, LLC; Rock Solid Trail Contracting, which has built hundreds of miles of trails across the country from its locations in Michigan and Arkansas; and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), which has been involved with over 750 trail projects in North America, Europe and Asia.
“Creating a mountain bike trail that’s not only interesting and fun, but also safe, environmentally sound and affordable, requires hundreds of large and small details to be addressed in a particular order,” said Carsten. “This new guidelines document needed 242 pages to ensure land managers had every bit of information possible, presented in an easy-to-follow manner, to be successful in building their trails.”
“There’s been an evolution in trail building the past few years, so having a modern resource that incorporates new best-practices has been long overdue,” said Rock Solid Trail Contracting President Aaron Rogers. “The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission has created a tool that will be valuable not just in Minnesota, but throughout the world.”
The worldwide leader in mountain bike advocacy came to that same conclusion. When the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) saw how in-depth the GMRPTC’s Guidelines were, it offered to assist with the guide’s content development and distribute this new resource throughout IMBA’s national and international partnerships and worldwide membership.
“High quality trails experiences don’t just happen. They need to be purposely designed to meet trail user and land manager goals, built using tried-and-true techniques that modern trail builders incorporate across the globe,” said Mike Repyak, IMBA Trail Solutions Director of Planning and Design. “A vast majority of trail users are not aware of all the considerations that go into trail development – such as ensuring trails are sustainable not only physically and environmentally, but are also economically and socially. This new guide covers the development process from vision setting to construction contracting, which will help align the development process throughout the industry.”
The GMRPTC’s Renee Mattson said Minnesotans will soon enjoy the fruits of their labor.
“Legacy Funding was approved by Minnesota voters in 2008, in part to provide more outdoor recreational opportunities for more Minnesotans,” said Mattson. “These new Trail Development Guidelines are another example of that wisdom, and we thank our past and current elected officials for their foresight. Soon mountain bicyclists in many parts of Minnesota will be experiencing the beauty, challenge and fun of new mountain bike trails!”
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) was established in 2013 to carry out system planning and provide recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature for grants funded by the Legacy Parks and Trails Fund to counties and cities outside the seven-county metropolitan area for parks and trails of regional significance.
To date, the GMRPTC has awarded more than $72 million in grants to 109 projects in the state’s 75 designated parks and trails. Combined with $25.6 million in community investments to date, grants are used to fund infrastructure improvements, land acquisitions, new facilities and trail rehabilitation, and connect people with the outdoors. Learn more.
Rock Solid Trail Contracting is an LLC based out of Copper Harbor, Michigan and Bentonville, Arkansas, dedicated to creating the best trails in the industry. Since 2014, Rock Solid has built hundreds of miles of trail in the United States concentrated mostly in Midwestern states like Arkansas, Michigan and Minnesota. Recognized as one of the largest and highest quality mountain bike trail building companies in the country that can create destination worthy trail systems and elevate hometown trail systems into regionally recognized status.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) creates, enhances and protects great places to ride mountain bikes. It is focused on creating more trails close to home to grow the quantity and quality of mountain bike trail communities across the U.S., so everyone has access to close-to-home rides and iconic backcountry experiences.
IMBA Trail Solutions is the international leader in developing singletrack trails, with experience in over 750 projects in North America, Europe, and Asia. Trail Solutions’ wealth of experience has allowed them to develop the gold standard guidelines for creation of both sustainable and enjoyable singletrack trails. These guidelines have influenced all major federal land management agencies and many state and local parks departments while creating positive experiences for millions of active trail users around the world, and in the economic independence that communities have achieved through the development of destination trail systems.