Land trust re-opens historic mountain bike route|
Thursday, August 19, 1999
The Crested Butte Land Trust on April 1 purchased two parcels and regained public access to the Lower Loop, an old route with an important role in the history of mountain biking. Public access to the famous trail had been in dispute for two decades.
The Lower Loop, a combination of singletrack, doubletrack, old railroad grade, and county gravel road, extends north from Crested Butte, Colorado. It. was the site of some of some of the first mountain bike races and a test ground for pioneers who experimented with "klunker" bikes, which evolved in the late 1970s into mountain bikes.
Moreover, what was possibly the first color, glossy advertisement for mountain bikes was created on the Lower Loop. Around 1980, photographer David Epperson shot a picture of 13 cyclists riding the Lower Loop, with the Paradise Divide mountains as the backdrop. Specialized Bicycles then used that photo for a large poster to advertise their Stumpjumper bike. The Stumpjumper was the first mass-produced mountain bike and an essential component of the growth of mountain biking into a popular recreation activity.
The term "Lower Loop" was coined by mountain bikers who rode north on this route from Crested Butte to the mouth of the Oh Be Joyful Creek, then returned on the Slate River Road to complete a 10-mile loop.
The acquisition of private property for public recreation and preservation purposes is increasingly important around the world. IMBA is committed to supporting these efforts. IMBA is working with the Crested Butte Mountain Bicycling Association (CBMBA) and the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum to help raise awareness and funds for the acquisition.
The Land Trust and CBMBA will celebrate National Trails Day with a membership fundraiser featuring Ned Overend and a community trail re-building event on June 4 and 5.
IMBA, CBMBA, and the Hall of Fame encourage mountain bikers to support the Lower Loop Project of the Crested Butte Land Trust, as well as other land trust projects.
A FUNDRAISING MODEL
Fundraising for the Lower Loop is a model of partnerships and leveraging, involving local government contributions, corporate mitigation of a land trade, state grants, and private fundraising.
The property is being acquired through a five-year financing plan. The Land Trust has paid $1,725,000 million for the two private parcels. The land trust borrowed one million dollars, and will pay interest, raising the total cost to almost $2 million. During that time, the Town of Crested Butte will contribute $460,000 and the Gunnison County Land Preservation Fund will contribute $300,000. The Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area will pay $360,000, as part of a mitigation plan for its 1998 trade for Forest Service lands. The Land Trust has applied for a $350,000 grant from the state's "Great Outdoors Colorado" program, which spends lottery revenues. Many local retailers are adding a voluntary, one-percent surcharge onto every sale, and the proceeds will contribute $150,000 to the Lower Loop. The Land Trust sold a development parcel acquired in another preservation project for $113,000. A local bank also gave a highly favorable interest rate.
Those contributions add up to $1,745,000. The remainder must be raised from private individuals. Individual donations and pledges had surpassed $100,000 by May 1.
To help the Lower Loop, send a contribution to:
Crested Butte Land Trust, PO Box 2224, Crested Butte, CO 81224 (970) 349-1206.