Knoxville, Tenn. – After regional voting determined the finalists in three divisions of the United States for the Bell Helmets Trail Building Grant, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness Gravity Trail came out on top in the East and will vie for the $100K grant with final online voting May 27-June 4.
“We are definitely an underdog in this contest competing with California,” said Matthew Kellogg, president of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club (AMBC), who submitted the application in cooperation with Legacy Parks Foundation on whose land the trail is planned. “We think we can get a lot of support from our surrounding states because there isn’t another world-class trail like this in the entire Southeast,” he added.
The grant would fund the construction of a unique, expert downhill trail to add to the existing Urban Wilderness South Loop trail system. “Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness has over 40 miles of trail now, but most is easy to moderate. We need to create a progression for our riders and add more challenging aspects like the gravity trail to attract more visitors and events,” said Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks.
Mountain biking is big business and the economic benefits of providing a biking destination can be significant:
- Recreational bicycling is a $200 billion industry in the US
- One in 20 Americans makes a living off outdoor recreation – that’s 70K in Tennessee
- For every dollar spent on bicycling tourism, $7 more is spent in locations they visit
- Property values close to trails and greenways are up to 30% higher