Cincinnati Parks, the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, and the Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance (CORA) are partnering on a brand new mountain bike skills course within Mt. Airy Forest as part of the Cincinnati Parks 2020 Business Plan.
CORA (a 501c3 non-profit) currently maintains 100 miles of multi-use natural surface trails for mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. Partnering with local organizations, CORA is expanding the region’s trail network and connecting the communities of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
CORA partnered with Cincinnati Parks in the past and proved to be an incredible volunteer-run asset to the parks. In July of 2019, the two organizations held a joint dedication, opening the first 1.4-mile section of the new Mt. Airy Multi-Use Trail. CORA volunteers entirely built and maintain this trail.
THE MT. AIRY SKILLS PARK
A mountain bike skills course enables more access to the sport by removing physical and emotional barriers for would-be bikers, old and young. Many trails in the area require significant barriers to access like advanced technical or physical ability, or traveling to remote areas. The proposed course is a controlled environment where riders can learn the technical skills at slower speeds. Locating the course within Mt. Airy Forest creates easier access for urban communities.
The Mt. Airy Skills Park concept includes a self-contained “stacked ring system” of training trails. A beginner loop, an intermediate loop, a children’s riding area, and a gathering space are proposed.
This area currently features:
- A large parking lot
- An open shelter at the far end of the meadow
- A long-decommissioned restroom
- Two trailheads
The location for the Mt. Airy Skills Park is at the end of Trail Ridge Road. (See photo below.) This underutilized area is currently closed to vehicular traffic. With little to no interruption of other recreational activities, such as disc golf or hiking, this site is a great fit.
The proposed skills course will not impact any existing hiking or bridle trails within Mt. Airy Forest.
A BENEFIT TO THE COMMUNITY
Bike facilities need to be located within communities to make a difference in our youth and neighborhoods. The neighboring communities of Mt. Airy and Westwood will benefit immensely from a place for children to bike safely outdoors. With easy access for neighborhood children and families comes the opportunity to develop programming that can benefit the community. Partners such as Adventure Crew, Outride, NICA, and the Mt. Airy Park Advisory Council could all be engaged to build community programming around the new facility.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
In 2019, CORA’s inaugural fundraising event, Party in the Park, raised net revenue of $31,000. This year, The 2020 Trailblazers Ball on Saturday, March 28 will raise funds to help establish the Mount Airy Skills Park.
The Trailblazers Ball begins with a social hour of networking, dinner by the bite, open bar, and bidding on auction packages. A brief presentation about CORA and its impact on the tri-state community will follow. The evening concludes with music, dancing, and more bidding on auction packages.
Sign up for a sponsorship or purchase tickets to this fundraiser on their website. You can also learn more about volunteer opportunities with CORA or volunteer opportunities with Cincinnati Parks in Mt. Airy Forest.
GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK
Cincinnati Parks staff are currently working to consider all of the community ideas, concerns, and suggestions, to create a recommended draft project design. Parks staff will present formally at a public meeting of the Cincinnati Park Board of Commissioners for their input and final approval before any changes are made in Mt. Airy Forest. All partners intend to ensure the new bike skills course is designed in a way that does not impact any existing recreational uses of the park.
Cincinnati Parks is offering opportunities for community engagement and will continue to accept feedback throughout the planning process. Send comments or suggestions to: [email protected]