Momentum continues to grow for mountain bike trails in Lincoln County as the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Trails Solutions Program has submitted a conceptual plan created for the Caliente, Nev. Area Trail. The IMBA Trails Solutions Program prepared the project overview for the Lincoln County Commissioners, Caliente City Council, Nevada State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Mayor Stana Hurlburt gave an update at the March 6 Caliente City Council meeting.

The project overview comes after a near year-long process that began in May 2013 when Patrick Kell, IMBA Regional Director for the Southwest, approached the City of Caliente. In August 2013, Kell approached the County Commissioners to gain support in funding the $10,000 plan. IMBA Trails Solutions Program specialists Joey Klein visited at the beginning of December 2013, and met with the representatives of the BLM, Nevada State Parks, Lincoln County Commissioners and the Caliente City Council, touring the towns and surrounding public areas to identify definite potential locations to develop. Now the IMBA associates have completed the task, and are ready to move to the next step.

In the overview, it states that the BLM, Nevada State Parks, Caliente City Council and County Commissioners have, “expressed interest in the development of mountain biking and new shared-use trails in order to bolster their outdoor recreation-based economy.”

Caliente is the possible trail hub location for the plan, with clusters of trails that can be connected through access points, trailheads and parking areas.

Five target zones have been identified for development, the first being trail clusters that would link Caliente through BLM lands to existing trails in Kershaw Ryan State Park. Another zone was the potential development for small community bike parks and other features by connecting on the Meadow Valley Wash Linear Park pathway. A third zone was identified in the BLM backcountry, with trails that would lead from Caliente to the west, north and southwest BLM areas. The fourth zone includes Cathedral Gorge State Park, Pioche and the Panaca area. By increasing trail development at Cathedral Gorge, it can open the connection to Panaca and Pioche. Outlying areas that were targeted for the fifth zone include attractive but distant Nevada State Parks and BLM sites. IMBA strives to improve the “quality of life,” choices through the trails, with an overall vision of cultivating trails and links into the communities of Panaca, Pioche and Ursine, with Caliente hosting as an initial trail center.

The plan includes objectives of IMBA, some of which are conservation, education, and recreation by promoting the natural resources of the area, having trails that fit the landscape and providing the maximum trail recreation possibilities and increasing the depth of experience, by allowing trails to be arranged in loops or clusters that naturally transition from easy to difficult segments. Another objective, creating and meeting user expectations, involves providing visitors with a variety of experiences they seek, enhancing the necessity of different levels of difficulty. Progression and skills development is an objective that plans to develop areas for skill development, gateway trails and bike parks, which are the first features looked for when learning about the sport. Providing gravity trails and single-direction mountain bike courses was the final objective, that allows for trails to be developed at any scale, utilizing the natural slope for “flow trails,” for beginners to more difficult “downhill courses.”

The conceptual plan identifies Caliente as the center of commerce for Lincoln County, and the natural existing opportunity with trails at Kershaw Ryan State Park and close BLM land. The plan points to the most obvious direction for creating trail clusters will link south to Kershaw Ryan and extend east until reaching the Union Pacific Railroad line and other private lands in the Clover Valley to the north. It also identifies the Industrial Park with the newly shaped motocross track as a potential partnership for motorcycle and mountain bike trail users.

The plan also identified the small segment off the Juniper Draw Trail in the Cathedral Gorge State Park that the IMBA and Subaru trail crews led in 2013, stating the potential to create cross-country trails onto BLM land that will include diversity and mileage, and could one day reach as far as the Highlands Range to the west.

Red Hill, at the junction of U.S. Highway 93 and the Pioche bypass Road was recognized as a gravity trails highpoint. Other locations included Condor Canyon, Beaver Dam, Spring Valley, Echo Canyon and the Elgin Schoolhouse, along with the Chief, Highland and Bristol ranges and the Panaca and Oak Springs Summits for downhill opportunities.

Mayor Hurlburt said the next phase is to create a detailed plan of the proposed 40-mile trail system. Two to five miles of single track are planned in the area of Caliente. She said the City will “aim at the family aspect, with soft tracks, pump tracks and a skills park.”