Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blufflands Trail System Expansion: Single Track Bliss Minutes from Downtown

LA CROSSE, WI - “What surrounds the community of La Crosse is a regional treasure,” explains Steve Carlyon, the Parks & Recreation Director of La Crosse. “In ten years, the vision would be to build connectivity between the Blufflands Trail System and the surrounding area so that you could go on a three to four day bike trip,” Carlyon describes. The Bluffland Trail System is a shared commitment between the City of La Crosse, the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, the Hixon Forest Nature Center, and Human Powered Trails, Inc. a non-profit organization that builds and maintains shared-use trails.

Human Powered Trails has already developed twelve miles of beautiful shared use trails, and has the potential to build many more miles of trail on the over 3,000 acres of bluff land awarded to the organization for trail development by the city of La Crosse. “They believe in what they’re doing, and they do it for the right reasons,” praises Carlyon. “They’re not just tearing up the land to build a bike trail; they know what they are doing and they are doing it well.”

But what sets the Bluffland Trail System apart from other trails in the state?

“The landscape and bluffs around La Crosse is very different than other trail areas in the Midwest,” explains Dan Luebke, the President of Human Powered Trails. “The trails here are like riding in the mountains without having to drive so far to get there,” he describes. “They have a little bit of everything including double-track fields to fast single track to super slow and technical downhills and climbs.”

Luebke has plenty to be excited about, and so do all Wisconsin bikers. Most recently Human Powered Trails has raised $40,000 in grant money to purchase a Ditch Witch, a machine used for trail building. This purchase will allow volunteers to build miles of trails in the coming years, and it is a big step forward for Human Powered Trails.

“We’ve always been a loose conglomeration of workers, but as we have developed we have built a stronger organization,” reflects Mike ‘Frenchy’ Charron, Vice President and long-time member of Human Powered Trails. He credits the strong commitment of volunteers for the organizations success. He recites the organization’s well known mantra, “If you used the trails today, thank a volunteer! If you want to use the trails tomorrow, become a volunteer!”

Human Powered Trails hosts a wide variety of activities. You can get involved with weekday and weekend trail building, MTB Time Trials, cookouts, Intro MTB Rides, Ladies Rides, Group Rides, and Trail Running. This year, Human Powered Trails will be hosting the 2008 Blufflands Epic Enduro Race on August 16 in conjunction with the Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series (WEMS).

La Crosse is already a widely-recognized destination for outdoor recreation and Human Powered Trails is working hard to put the area on the map for its extensive off-road trail system.

For more information on Human Powered Trails, Inc. and the Blufflands Trails System, visit their website at www.humanpoweredtrails.com

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