Steamboat’s Bear River Bike Park is finalist for Bell Built grant | SteamboatToday.com

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Steamboat’s Bear River Bike Park is finalist for Bell Built grant

The Bear River Bike Park opened at the end of last summer after the local Inernational Mountain Bicycling Association chapter

Bell Built grant contest

Vote for the winners of the Bell Built grant here. Steamboat Springs is a finalist in the pump track category for the Bear River Bike Park.

— Shovels are in hand and volunteers are ready.

With beginner and intermediate bike pump track loops already constructed at the 4-acre Bear River Bike Park in west Steamboat, the local International Mountain Bicycling Association chapter Routt County Riders is ready to complete the project and expand the park to include expert lines and jumps.

The project could receive a huge boost in funding if it earns the Bell Built bike grant, a contest going on now through an online voting process.

The Bear River Bike Park in Steamboat Springs is one of four pump track project finalists and 12 overall finalists in the Bell Built grant. The finalists were chosen from more than 100 applicants.

Eric Meyer, vice president of the Routt County Riders board of directors, wrote the grant and said earning the funds would help fill in the gaps in Steamboat's bike offerings and help maintain the momentum of the local biking community.

"I think it points out the fact we're on our way to becoming more of what we've been talking about," Meyer said about being chosen as a finalist. "But we do need to fill in all these gaps and make sure we have a good bike park and the downhill trails and the scenic cross-country and the family rides."

The projects voted most deserving by the public in each category — pump track, flow trail and downhill trail — earn a share of the $100,000 prize. Voting ends April 12. Another Colorado project, the Zapata Falls Recreation Area gravity-assisted trails project, is a finalist, as well.

Bear River currently is in second place in its category, trailing the Elm Creek Bike Park in Maple Grove, Minn. Elm Creek, located just outside Minneapolis, has 38 percent of the vote while Steamboat has 29 percent.

Meyer said the plan to enhance the current park, which was built last fall, comes after an unauthorized line of expert jumps in the Hilltop area near the large power lines was closed down. Meyer said advanced riders in Steamboat need a place to hone their skills.

"There was quite a bit of use of those big jumps, and without a replacement, those guys are left out and we're missing that segment of the market," he said. "It would be really good to get this completed. It's approved and ready to go, it's about getting the money to get it completed."

Meyer said if the grant comes through, IMBA will have a crew in Steamboat this summer to complete the technical work behind the build with the support of local trail builders.

"We could be riding it all summer," he said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com