Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018
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Metroparks to add mountain bike trail

First will be built at Oak Openings

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    The Metroparks of the Toledo Area will be creating a mountain biking path at Oak Openings.

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The Metroparks of the Toledo Area’s well-known network of trails for walkers, bicyclists, runners, and equestrians is set to be enhanced with a new “single track” trail for mountain bicyclists.

The trail network helped draw more than 4 million visitors to the park system last year. The mountain bike trail — the first for the Metroparks — is being built with volunteer manpower at Oak Openings Preserve in western Lucas County.

Joe Fosnaugh, Metroparks chief of operations, said a professional mountain bike trail designer was brought into the planning process.

“We have never done this before. We wanted a professional designer who could design a biking trail, instead of a hiking trail,” said Mr. Fosnaugh, who gave a presentation on the trail plans Wednesday night at Secor Metropark.

The first phase calls for carving about five miles of trail through a mostly wooded area, north of the Wabash Cannonball Trail near State Rt. 64.

Users will be able to access the trail at the Springbrook parking lot on the Wabash Cannonball Trail.

In addition to bike riders, runners and walkers will have trail access. However, equestrians and walkers with dogs will not be permitted.

Wednesday’s meeting also was designed as a recruitment tool for the park district to get interested volunteers to work on the trail’s construction.

The park district estimates about 1,000 hours of donated time will be needed to complete the first phase, which is expected to be open in the spring.

“We are hoping to start work at the end of August. We will continue to work as the weather holds out for us, and pick up again in the spring,” Mr. Fosnaugh said.

The second phase will continue the trail for another six miles on land west of State Rt. 64 recently acquired by the Metroparks.

In February, the Metroparks hosted a workshop with the trail designer, Scott Linnenburger of Colorado, who worked with cycling enthusiasts from local bike clubs to get their input for the trail.

Mark Armstrong, a local bike shop owner and long-time off-road cyclist, said the future trail will give people who often transport their bikes to recreation parks in Michigan for trail riding a closer option to do the sport.

The trail’s design and the terrain, he said, are suitable for beginner and intermediate mountain biking, but also offer detailed turns to make it challenging for experienced riders.

“I think the Metroparks is going to find out there will be a huge interest in the trail and they are going to have to expand it soon,” Mr. Armstrong said.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.

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