The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) visited Ironton, Missouri, on June 29 with some exciting news: the city was awarded a $509,622 Local Tourism Asset Development Grant for Phase 2B of its Shepherd Mountain Bike Park. The funds came via a substantial allocation to the State of Missouri from the American Rescue Plan Act.

In addition to this latest grant award, Shepherd Mountain was also awarded a Recreational Trails Program grant in 2021 for Phase 2A of the park totaling $400,000. The corridors of Phase 2A have been mapped out (the white lines on the accompanying map), and construction should begin this year.

The loop will ideally be a perfect location for cross-country mountain bike racing,” said Shepherd Mountain Bike Park Director of Operations Sydney Joy Willis. “These trails will be much more accessible for bikers of all skill levels, and many local community members and groups are excited to get into the sport of mountain biking now that more beginner-friendly trails will be available for use.”

Shepherd Mountain Bike Park Phase 2 Map

Additional plans for Phase 2 include multi-use hiking and biking trails, a bike skills course, an introductory “gravity zone” for those hoping to ride the more advanced trails at Shepherd Mountain, and additional parking and restroom facilities near Shepherd Mountain Lake.

“We knew the project would not be truly complete without Phase 2,” said Willis. “Phase 2 will be a huge step in improving the quality of life for our local community with the implementation of trails that are accessible to nearly everyone. The increased accessibility that Phase 2 will offer will hopefully attract entire families and bikers/hikers of all skill levels to enjoy our trail system and quaint town, further improving our economic growth.”