Bell and IMBA Renew $100k Bell Built Trail Building Program

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Copper Harbor, Mich. was awarded the first Bell Built grant for a downhill trail last year. The company is looking for a new recipient in 2014.

For the second consecutive year Bell Helmets is partnering with the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) to provide $100,000 in trail building grants to be split between three projects from proposals submitted across the US. From more than 100 applications last year, Bell Built grants funded the construction of a pump track in Steamboat Springs, Colo., a flow trail at Burke, Vt.’s Kingdom Trails, and a downhill trail in Copper Harbor, Mich.

“Being chosen out of hundreds of applicants and given the opportunity to build a trail for the mountain bike community in my hometown is an unreal feeling,” said Copper Harbor Trails Club President Aaron Rogers. “It’s been especially rewarding to see the entire community go into a frenzy of excitement about this trail.”

Starting this month and running through the end of February, applications will be accepted for 2014 projects, with finalists named during the first week of March. Voting will then come in three regional phases–West Coast, Central and East Coast, respectively–during April and May. At the conclusion, winners will be announced, and trail design and construction will begin in June.

Vermont’s famed Kingdom Trails added a new flow trail to their extensive system with the help of a 2013 IMBA Bell Built Grant.

“It’s unbelievable to see how much impact a program like this has throughout a community, and, just as important, mountain biking as a whole,” said Bell Director of Marketing Azul Couzens. “Being able to watch riders use these new trails, and to see the positive impacts they’ve had for local communities is why we did this. It’s awesome.”

The city of Steamboat Springs, Colo. used its Bell Built grant to construct a pump track and dirt jumps.

The program received more than a hundred grant submissions last year from IMBA chapters, clubs and land management agencies, and program managers expect even more in 2014. IMBA’s trail building arm–Trail Solutions–will join local organizations in the design and building of all three trail projects.

For more information see the IMBA Bell Built page:

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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