PARKERSBURG - About 20 volunteers joined two crew members of an international mountain biking association Saturday to build a section of trail.
Steve and Morgan Lommele, with International Mountain Bicycling Association's Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew, spent Thursday through today with members of the Parkersburg Bicycle Advisory Board helping to teach them how to build sustainable trails throughout the community.
On Saturday, the Lommeles joined the local biking club members and officials from the city of Parkersburg for a three-hour class at the city building in how to build and maintain the single track trails. Following the indoor session, they spent another three hours in the field building as much as 1,000 feet of trail in Johnson T. Janes Park.
Volunteers work to build as much as 1,000 feet of sustainable single track trail in Johnson T. Janes Park Saturday afternoon following a class with a two-person trail crew from the International Mountain Bicycling Association sponsored by Subaru. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
"We've been working on these trails for about two-and-a-half years and are so happy the IMBA team has come," said Kim Coram, with the advisory board. "I've lobbied for mountain biking and trails here and in Washington, D.C., and it's really nice to have them here energizing our efforts."
Steve Lommele said he and his wife travel 10 months out of the year to help local bicycle clubs and communities understand what an asset a good trail system can be as well as how to build a sustainable system. The Trail Care crews teach sustainable trail building - building lasting trails that require minimal maintenance. This helps reduce trail damage, protect the environment and enhance visitor enjoyment.
"We want to create a system for not only established mountain bikers and hikers to enjoy, but also one to be designed for new bikers to get interested," Steve Lommele said.
The trail crew and volunteers trekked about a half-mile into the little-known park at the northern edge of Parkersburg on Saturday and worked to build a section of what organizers hope to make a much larger trail throughout the park.
"We have no idea when the trail will be finished, but with the help of the IMBA and this weekend, we are closer," Coram said.
The Parkersburg visit is one of about 70 stops this year for the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew to lead trail building schools, meet with local officials and land managers as well as work with IMBA-affiliated groups to improve the mountain biking opportunities.
On Friday, the group discussed the positive relationships between communities and their trail systems, said Rickie Yeager, planning administrator for the city of Parkersburg. Trails as community assets can improve quality of life and livability in a community for the biking and non-biking members, and can attract tourism dollars in addition to increasing overall quality of life.
IMBA's crews have led more than 1,000 trail projects since the program debuted in 1997. The crew team's visit was sponsored in part by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the Blennerhassett Hotel and the Parkersburg Bicycle Advisory Board.