The first official mountain bike trail in Hamilton County opened Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Mitchell Memorial Forest in Miami Township.
In the works for more than ten years, the 3.9-mile trail was a cooperative effort between the Hamilton County Park District
and the Cincinnati Off Road Alliance
Construction of the trail, which has been built to International Mountain Biking Association
standards, took 51 days, 101 volunteers and 1,136 volunteer hours.
"The challenge level is intermediate, because we wanted it for all levels of riders," says Todd Palmeter, parks planner for the park district and a mountain biker for more than a dozen years. "We do have a few technical features available for advanced riders."
The park district is considering adding more mountain bike trails, but wants to be able to draw upon lessons learned from this one.
"There are no solid plans," Palmeter says. "We want to open this trail and maintain it for more than a year to see the different challenges. We want to take it slow and see how it goes."
Even though Mitchell is one of the county’s lesser-known parks, park district communications specialist Kimberly Whitton believes the new trail will be a regional draw.
"The fact that it's hard to find is a selling point," she says. "It's the only type we have around here. I think that people will travel a little bit farther because it's something unique."
Palmeter agrees, and not just because of the new trail.
"We've gotten lots of positive feedback from hikers who love the terrain," he says. "And it's opened up parts of the park that people have never seen."
Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Sources: Todd Palmeter, parks planner, Hamilton County Park District; Kimberly Whitton, communications specialist, Hamilton County Park DistrictPhotography by Scott Beseler