Since 2016, the local nonprofit organization known as Lakes Area Mountain Bike Alliance and Trails (LAMBAT) has been working hard to grow the sport of mountain biking in the Detroit Lakes area - not just by developing a strong local network of trails, but also by scheduling public riding events and making presentations to local service organizations in order to increase awareness of the sport.
"We want to make sure that we're not just building trails, but getting more people to use them," says LAMBAT Vice President Dan Josephson.
The group recently completed a two-year visioning process, which involved developing short and long-term goals and deciding where to focus their efforts in order to achieve them.
"Now we've started to go out and present our findings on our vision plan to the city's Park Board and the Becker County Recreational Advisory Committee," Josephson said, adding that the next step will be to make similar presentations to local service organizations such as Kiwanis, the Breakfast and Noon Rotary clubs, etc., "to get the word out there a little more."
Also this summer, LAMBAT will once again begin hosting trail rides twice a week at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, after the DMRA bike trails open for the season on Memorial Day weekend.
Detroit Mountain offers bike rentals for riders at pretty much every age and skill level, Josephson said, though there will also be a few kids' bikes available for free usage, courtesy of a grant from PartnerSHIP 4 Health. Call Detroit Mountain at 218-844-7669 for dates and times of upcoming group rides.
As for the bike trails at Detroit Mountain, those are scheduled to get a bit of an upgrade this summer, thanks to a $1.25 million Legacy grant that allowed the park to purchase 147 acres of land adjoining its existing property to the west. That grew the park from its original 200 acres to a total of 347 acres.
Received in 2018, that grant will also allow Detroit Mountain to build additional downhill and cross-country single-track bike trails this summer, along with parking lot and landscape improvements around the tubing hill, and a new treehouse and playground area.
Future plans include working with the Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club to develop some new biking trails in Lyle Crovisier Memorial Park, which is where the club's soon-to-be-completed new facility is located.
"We're looking at applying for an IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) trail accelerator grant to put in some trails at Crovisier Park," said Josephson. "We're still a little up in the air about whether that's something we want to focus on - or building and completing the rest of the trails at Detroit Mountain first."
Josephson said that most of the group's trail development plans so far have focused on the area in and around Detroit Lakes, but eventually, they hope to expand that focus to include the rest of Becker County as well.
For more information about LAMBAT and its future plans, please visit the website at www.lambat.org.