EARTH RIDERS TRAILS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES NEW NAME
AS URBAN TRAIL CO., PLANS TO DOUBLE TRAILS AMENITIES
IN KANSAS CITY METRO AREA
KANSAS CITY, MO (July 31, 2014) Earth Riders Trails Association (ERTA) is changing its name and redoubling its efforts to build singletrack, natural-surface recreational trail systems in Kansas City. Over a decade and a half, the charitable, not-for-profit trail building group has worked with land managers and volunteers to create a collection of natural-surface trails with total mileage soon to exceed 100 miles. Under its new name, “Urban Trail Co.,” the group plans to double this mileage within 10 years, making the Kansas City metro a national leader for providing residents with recreational opportunities on natural surface trails.
“Earth Riders Trails Association was formed in the late 90s, when demand was increasing both locally and nationally for places to mountain bike,” says Sean Cairns, at-large director for the organization. “As a formal entity, we could sign agreements with land managers, promising to build high-quality, sustainable singletrack trails that meet National Forest Service standards. Since then, we've worked with counties and cities on both sides of the state line to provide Kansas City area residents an immense and invaluable recreational asset.”
With its new name, Urban Trail Co.’s latest initiative is its reintroduction to a new generation of volunteers and trail users. “Our origins were in mountain biking,” says Urban Trail Co. secretary Ann Pai. “Our new name, Urban Trail Co., represents our roots in a wider community. Our mission is to build and maintain sustainable, enjoyable trails for everyone.”
Over the past fifteen years, the group’s donated trail-building efforts have contributed approximately $2 million of value in parks improvements and recreational assets for Kansas City area residents. Trail systems at Swope Park, Blue River Parkway, Stocksdale Park/Walnut Woods Conservation Area, Kill Creek Park, Shawnee Mission Park, Hodge Park, Smithville Lake, Landahl Park, Cliff Drive, and the Mission Cliffs-Roanoke-Rosedale neighborhoods give Kansas City an unparalleled network of singletrack, natural-surface trails.
With masterplans and public partnerships in place, Urban Trail Co. is currently expanding natural-surface recreational trails across the Kansas City metro. Examples include the recently completed “Red Loop” at Shawnee Mission Park, which crowns Johnson County’s ten-year, 9.5-mile trail building efforts, and the installation of a continuous-loop pump track at Stocksdale Park, adding bike-park recreation to the city’s mix of natural-surface cycling activities.
Urban Trail Co. directors point to their most ambitious trail expansion projects as prime examples of how trails improve Kansas City’s quality of life:
- The installation of new singletrack trail at Cliff Drive has launched massive cleanup and trash remediation efforts for that area, with more than 3,500 volunteer hours spent in 2014 to begin the collection and hauling of thousands of bags of trash and dozens of truckloads of large-item refuse.
- Five miles of natural-surface trails in Roanoke, Rosedale, and Mission Cliffs, collectively known as the “Rozarks” trails, have increased outdoor recreation and wellness opportunities in the urban neighborhoods. The trail masterplan will result in urban-core neighborhood trails anchoring a 10 to 12-mile linked system of naturalsurface trail.
- With trail design and public, private, and non-profit partnerships going back to 2007, Urban Trail Co. has begun building trail to extend from 63rd Street to 135th Street along the Blue River. This trail expansion folds the existing Swope Park and Blue River Park trails into a single, connected, 75-mile natural-surface trail system for hikers, runners, and bikers – not only a unique amenity in Kansas City, but a destination opportunity for outdoor recreation enthusiasts regionally and nationally.
Ben Reed, Urban Trail Co. president, says that funding sources are growing for the group's efforts to provide one of the nation's best environments for outdoor trail enthusiasts. “We have largely been funded by generous donations from the people who use and appreciate the trails we build,” Reed says. “In recent years, however, we've received more corporate philanthropy. Forward-thinking businesses in the area recognize outdoor recreation as a key benefit, and they see our trails as a public amenity crucial to the draw of investment and top-quality talent. These businesses recognize Urban Trail Co. and its efforts as a sound investment of their philanthropic resources.”
A memberless organization, Urban Trail Co. has a seven-member Board of Directors and an informal Advisory Board composed of experienced trail managers across the metro area. These trail managers work with land managers to plan trail improvements, use social media to coordinate volunteer labor, and partner with trail user groups, youth organizations, neighborhood development agencies, and conservation organizations to conduct trail work days throughout the metro.
“Through these efforts,” Reed says, “hundreds of volunteers and trail users over the years have become committed supporters of our trail systems and invested in the quality of Kansas City outdoor recreation.”
For more information, please visit www.urbantrailco.com, or find the group at the Urban Trail Co. Facebook page.
Web Site: www.urbantrailco.com
Contact: Ben Reed, Urban Trail Co. President
Phone: (785) 764-2719
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