• Tue November 13 2018
  • Posted Nov 13, 2018

Mountain biking enthusiasts now can enjoy a new set of trails in Dubuque County.

Two trails at Interstate Power Co. Forest Preserve, located south of Dubuque, opened for public use Friday. The $175,000 project was paid for through fundraising by Tri-State Mountain Bike Riders and will be free for visitors who want to hike or ride a bike.

“It’s a gift,” said TMBR President Brett Errthum. “We want the public to get out and take advantage of it.”

The 75-acre forest preserve, at 7523 Olde Davenport Road, previously only had a hiking trail before TMBR partnered with Dubuque County Conservation to add mountain biking trails.

Several neighbors initially opposed the project, citing concerns for the environment and about increased traffic. However, the project ultimately was approved by the Dubuque County Conservation Board.

Errthum said there are 4.5 miles of trail finished, with another 2 miles expected to be completed yet this fall. The trails also can be used for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, but are not open for motorized vehicles.

The only other mountain biking park in the county is at Cloie Creek Park in Asbury. Dubuque County Conservation Executive Director Brian Preston said his staff saw a demand for more of those trails in the area.

“I think it’s great, not just for people that live in Dubuque, but people visiting Dubuque,” Preston said.

He said conservation workers will monitor the use of the park closely to ensure people are being respectful and not disturbing neighbors.

Errthum said there are other mountain biking parks in the region, including in the Quad Cities area and in Iowa City, but the forest preserve offers many more miles of trail that were professionally built by contractors, rather than hand-built by local riders.

The designs included banking curves and challenging and interesting features. Errthum thinks the naturally steep terrain and scenery will be a great draw for riders.

“It’s a beautiful park with mature woods and deep valleys,” he said. “That trail, whether you walk it or bike it, takes you to parts of that park that you would not have gotten to without additional access.”

TMBR also is working with Dubuque County Conservation on a new set of mountain biking trails at a 137-acre parcel donated to the county by John Deere Dubuque Works. Errthum anticipates there will be multiple loops making up about 7.5 miles of trail. Work will start on those trails in the spring.

Melody Dosanjh, community engagement chair for TMBR and one of the founding members of the female mountain biking group Dirt Dames, said she already had a chance to test the trails before Friday’s opening.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “We’re really excited to start having rides out there.”

She said both TMBR and Dirt Dames host clinics for beginning riders to help them break into the sport. Both groups can be contacted through their Facebook pages.






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