New Mountain Bike Trails May Be Created at City Wells
City Council gives go-ahead to CORBA project
Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth |
[UPDATE 2/16/22] The Eau Claire City Council approved an agreement on Feb. 14 to allow CORBA to move ahead with its plans for creating trails at the City Well Fields. Final plans would still require city approval.
New trails for mountain bikers and other recreational users would be created in Eau Claire’s City Well Fields under a pending agreement between a biking group and the City of Eau Claire.
An agreement allowing CORBA (formerly known as the Chippewa Off-Road Bike Association), to build and maintain trails on the 350-acre site on the city’s north side is on the Eau Claire City Council agenda for Tuesday, Feb. 14. If approved, the agreement would give CORBA the ability to create single-track mountain biking trails, including small bridges and other features, as well as signs and fences.
The project was made possible by a $7,500 matching grant to CORBA announced late last year by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, said Jon Strosahl of Eau Claire, CORBA’s trail liaison. The grant will help pay for renderings and design, but the club will have to raise more funds – and call on volunteers – to complete the trail project, Strosahl said.
While the city would provide technical assistance and access to the property, the project would be funded by CORBA.
CORBA already maintains trails in the city’s Northwest Community Park a few miles to the west, as well nine other trail systems (including trails at Lowes Creek County Park) with more than 100 miles of trails.
The club hopes to build 6 or 7 miles of trails at the City Well Fields for mountain bikers and similar users, and also hopes to coordinate with other recreational groups who already use the area. “It’s kind of a neat opportunity for us,” Strosahl said of the potential collaboration.
CORBA hopes to create trails that will be usable year-round by mountain bikers and fat-tire bikers, as well as adaptive trails that people with disabilities can use.
The City Well Fields are located along Riverview Drive, near Riverview Park. “It’s an underserved area as far as trails go,” Strosahl said. “There’ll be a lot of neighborhoods with access to that.”
The terrain is heavily wooded but relatively flat, and the property – as the name implies – is home to the wells that provide the city with its water supply. The site is already home to 3 miles of cross-country ski trails groomed by the city, and it is sometimes used for cross-country running competitions.
Assuming the City Council approves the agreement, Strosahl estimated that CORBA could have designs finalized and be soliciting bids for the project by the end of 2023.
Learn more about CORBA and the trails it maintains around western Wisconsin at corbatrails.org.