National Vote earned Knoxville $100,000 Bell Helmet Grant for Trail
Knoxville, Tennessee – A nationally rated downhill mountain bike trail opened in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness this morning, furthering Knoxville’s growing reputation as a significant mountain bike destination.
Devil’s Racetrack Downhill Trail is a professional designed and constructed .8 mile extreme downhill trail funded by a $100,000 Bell Helmet grant awarded to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club (AMBC) through an online national vote. With more than 26,000 votes cast, Knoxville beat out Asheville and San Francisco to get the trail built in South Knoxville on the Baker Creek Preserve, property donated by the Wood family to Legacy Parks Foundation.
“From the beginning, our goal was to help bring communities together in the name of mountain biking, and to see Bell Built evolve into the impactful annual program it has become. The way that IMBA, AMBC and Legacy Parks have nurtured this project is a great example for any community and we hope other communities take notice and follow their lead. We are proud to be a part of such an amazing
project,” says Jessica Klodnicki, Bell Helmets Executive Vice President and General Manager. “We’d like to thank IMBA, Legacy Parks and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club for all of their passion, perseverance, vision and hard work in bringing the Devil’s Racetrack to life as a wonderful addition to Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness and the Baker Creek Preserve.”
In addition to Devil’s Racetrack, two additional multi-use trails were officially opened – Best Medicine and Pappy’s Way. Those two trail – plus seven opened earlier this month - were funded by a $200,000 Recreational Trails Program grant from the Tennessee Department of Conservation. Five of the eight trails are for both hiking and biking and include a virtually flat beginner trail. The three dedicated downhill mountain bike trails introduce a different style of trail into the Urban Wilderness trail system.
“It’s rare to find the variety, diversity and quality of trail in the heart of a city that we have here in Knoxville,” said Matthew Kellogg, AMBC president. “To have a virtually flat, beginner trail along side a downhill trail that features a nearly vertical 50' wall ride, tables, gaps, and challenging rock line is such a unique destination. It makes it incredibly easy for riders progress from beginner rides to extreme rides right on the same property and within a network of over fifty miles of varied trail. Our Urban Wilderness now rivals any urban mountain bike venues in the country.”
Legacy Parks and AMBC have worked closely with the International Mountain Bike Association in developing trails and enthusiasm for mountain biking in the region. An IMBA grant to AMBC funded the design of the trail system on Baker Creek Preserve. The Bell Built grant continued the partnership with IMBA.
"We are thankful to Bell for their continued dedication to furthering development in the mountain bike community," says Heather Cooper, IMBA Senior Director of Marketing. “2016 marks the 4th year that Bell has partnered with IMBA on the Bell Built Grant and the response keeps getting bigger and better. Projects like this are at the core of why IMBA exists; working on the ground with local chapters helping to build great trail and community. Devil's Racetrack is the result of an amazing collaboration from the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, Legacy Parks, Bell and IMBA Trail Solutions.”
The opening today brings the total number of trails to eight on Baker Creek Preserve, adding seven miles of trail to the existing 42 miles in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Earlier this month Legacy Parks and AMBC opened the Red Bud Bridge connecting the Baker Creek Preserve to the existing Urban Wilderness South Loop system. The bridge was funded entirely by private dollars by Legacy Parks Foundation and the AMBC through a grant from REI and private donations.
Over the past year the 100-acre property donated to Legacy Parks Foundation by the Wood family has been transformed into an outdoor recreational destination with nearly seven miles of multi-use and downhill mountain bike trails, a bike pump track plus an adventure playground under construction.
“We’re thrilled to not only expand the Urban Wilderness for recreational fun, but proud to connect schools, businesses, neighborhoods and neighbors with these trails. Our more than fifty miles of trail are amenities for both residents and visitors,” Carol Evans, Legacy Parks executive director explained.
Last month Legacy Parks opened the Cherokee and Baker Creek Trails across the street from Baker Creek Preserve connecting South Doyle Middle School into Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. The trail construction was the legacy project for the Professional TrailBuilders Association when they held their national conference in Knoxville. These trails and boardwalk over Baker Creek create not only a recreational amenity for the students but also provide a safe walkway to the school.
Trail names at Baker Creek Preserve reflect the terrain and history of the property. Devil’s Racetrack and Floyd Fox pay homage to the days of moonshine in south Knoxville. The Barn Burner Downhill trail terminates at the location of the old barn on the property. Sycamore Loop winds through some of the largest native trees in the area. Cruze Valley Run descends into the valley located in the heart of the property in the wide-open meadow between the two ridges. Pappy’s Way treks up to Pappy’s Point and pays thanks to the property donor.
Weekend activities to celebrate the trail opening continue with a ride down Devil’s Racetrack by Pro Rider Rachel Throop Friday at 1:30 . Saturday’s events include the Bell Joy Women’s Ride at 8:30 a.m. , guided group rides led by AMBC beginning at 10:30 and bike shops offering products and demo bike beginning at 9 a.m.
Legacy Parks Foundation works to ensure that East Tennessee enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that these assets exist for generations to come. It works to expand parks, create trails, and increase access to our rivers. Over the past eight years, Legacy Parks has raised over four million dollars for parks and open space; helped conserve 1,000 acres of forest and farmland in East Tennessee; and added over 500 acres of parkland and 50 miles of trails in Knox County.