DIG Series – Trailbuilding Through the Community

For centuries, trails have connected us. In the DIG series, we’re going to explore modern day trails, construction techniques, and how trails continue to bring us together. In this first episode, learn how trails closer to home can put more kids on bikes and foster a community culture for mountain biking. The International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Trail Solutions team worked with local partners in Anniston, Alabama to revitalize their town through trails.

IMBA sees the future of mountain biking in going after opportunities for more close-to-home trail access. Their goal is to grow the quantity and quality of mountain bike trail communities across the U.S, so everyone has a great place to ride. With this video we highlight an Alabama trail system that developed through a local bike shop owner, Patrick “Wig” Wigley, working with the surrounding community to imagine what their economy could become if they had more local trails.

Learn more about IMBA’s work at https://www.imba.com/

A trailbuilding machine working on a trail in Alabama.
An aerial photo of a trail winding through the forest
Two men hand-finishing a trail by placing rocks on the trail tread.
High school mountain bike racers participating in a NICA event in Alabama
An aerial photo of mountain bikers winding through the forest
A woman operating a mini trackhoe while building a trail
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4 thoughts on “DIG Series – Trailbuilding Through the Community

  1. I find these trails an absolute abomination. They destroy existing g single track and rip up the forest with earth moving equipment to make oversized artificial roads completely at odds with the forest and single track riding, which used to be the gold standard of mountain biking.

    I find myself in the odd position of fighting trail building while also being a mountain biker trying to save trails from these road builders.

    I’m sorry Pearl Izumi has aligned itself with this nationwide trail widening destructive bulldozer powered disaster. Hopefully this trend will die soon. It’s more than a little odd that as bicycles have become more capable than ever trails have become “dumber” and easier than ever. It’s a damn shame.

    1. On. Point!

      Absolutely agree.
      Rode Mt Stromlo ACT Canberra Australia today for the first time in years. Yawn. Artificial. Sterile.

  2. Howdy Han!

    Justin here, the filmmaker behind the series. Although I can’t speak directly for Pearl, as I’m an independent documentary filmmaker, I can speak to my observations in Anniston and the trail solutions crew I met.

    Community Trails: To your concern about existing single track. In Anniston, there wasn’t any existing single track. Actually, there wasn’t any land. Community advocates had to work for years to secure the land that was once an abandoned military base. That being said, the addition and construction of a trail system not only brought economic viability to what was a depressed town, it has also introduced an entire community to the outdoors and healthy living. So, in this instance, the addition of 4 miles a single track to small town has created a populace dedicated to the protection of conservation of the outdoors.

    Trail Construction: As you probably know, trails aren’t made themselves. Good trails, that are sustainable (100+ year life expectancy) need to be built with intention and planning. Proper planning ensures that water ways aren’t clogged, watershed systems aren’t impacted, trails are protected and people will be able enjoy them for years to come. I don’t proclaim to be a trail building expert, actually I’m quite new to it, however spending 4 days with an IMBA trail crew, you quickly learn how committed they are to not only the rider’s experience of the trail, but reducing the impact on the space. These people are well versed in what they do, and care deeply about riding. In the film, you do see a small machine that is used to clear an initial path. Following the initial path clearing, the remaining trail is built by hand.

    From my observations, both as a documentary filmmaker and cyclist, I only see benefits from exposing more people to the outdoors through cycling. In a world where we are measuring ‘screen time’, it’s not only refreshing, but necessary to share the outdoors with others.

    Hopefully this all makes sense.

    Enjoy your next ride!

    Justin

  3. Great. Thank you for sharing. We have been building trail in our community for 13 years and need inspiration to keep going. Pullman wa.

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