Small communities continue to capitalize on the explosion of mountain biking trails and interest in Missouri. Shepherd Mountain Bike Park in Ironton hosted a Big Mountain Enduro race in May, while the Kinetic Park Pump Track in Dardenne Prairie just wrapped up a Red Bull UCI Pump Track World Championships Qualifier.
The city of Steelville is well on the way to opening the first phase of its own mountain bike park in hopes of attracting local and visiting families and increasing the economy for area restaurants and accommodations. And, of course, for the overall fun and health provided by the sport.
“I was working with the city about what recreational opportunities would be available and was told about a large piece of land it owned that wasn’t being used for anything else,” said Steelville resident and outdoor enthusiast Jacob Beers. “I looked at it, saw the interesting topography, and thought bike park.”
Covering approximately 150 acres, the property offers 140 feet of elevation and three forested hills on which to build, plus a hardy dirt mixture of clay and gravel that has proved excellent for creating earthen berms and other features.
Beers began negotiations with the city to use the property and created the nonprofit Steelville MTB Collective to support and share information about the project. A large donation from a local communications company, paired with a number of individual donations, provided the funds to finance the kickoff of phase one in June.
The initial phase of the park includes five trails: a beginner flow trail, a beginner/intermediate jump trail, an intermediate technical trail, an intermediate technical/flow trail, and an advanced jump trail. Jagged Axe Trail Designs of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, was tapped to construct the routes.
Five miles of trail will exist at launch, including some cross-country segments being built by the Steelville MTB Collective around the base of the park. “The idea is to connect everything around town to the park and make it a bikeable place,” said Beers, “like a ski-in, ski-out experience in Colorado.”
Steelville MTB Collective is seeking additional funds for future phases of the bike park. “The goal is to get up to 30 miles of trail, maybe 50 depending on available resources. We’ve only used about one quarter to one third of the property so far,” said Beers. Other possibilities include a hub area with a WiFi hotspot, bike wash, and maintenance area.
Visit steelvillemtbcollective.org to learn more or to make a donation to the cause.