Mountain Bike “Flow Trail” Coming to Leelanau!

The TC Ticker reports that Flowtrack Mountain Bike Trails will design and construct a new biking trail within the Leelanau Conservancy’s Palmer Woods Forest Reserve, located on the doorstep of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Forest Road in Palmer Woods

Forest Road in Palmer Woods

Flow trails are defined by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) as trails that “take mountain bikers on a terrain-induced roller coaster experience.” By adding features like banked turns and eliminating sharp corners or sudden obstacles, flow trails deliver a smoother and more predictable ride for cyclists.

…“A flow trail, essentially, is constructed in a way that provides gentle uphills and downhills so that you’re using your momentum and gravity to navigate the trail with a lot less pedaling or braking,” says Tom Nelson, Leelanau Conservancy executive director. “It’s an experience that many mountain bike folks love to have.”

The Leelanau Conservancy has been working toward this project for more than two years. The organization purchased the 721-acre Palmer Woods Forest Reserve in early 2016. Almost immediately, the conservancy started opening trails to the public, most of them converted from old logging roads. These trails were intended for hiking and were groomed for cross-country skiing in the wintertime, but the Conservancy had other plans for mountain biking.

“Creating a mountain bike trail system was an idea that was on the table from the very beginning, when we were thinking about acquiring the property,” Nelson says. “We took a hard look over the course of a year-plus, just in terms of what would be the most compatible way to do that. We commissioned a master trail plan and made some decisions about having separate use trails, so we would have hiking and cross-country skiing trails separate from the single-track mountain bike trails.”

…Flowtrack is expected to break ground on the new trail in late August. The project will be broken up into multiple phases across a three or four-year timeline. Phase one is expected to finish quickly. Nelson says the first three-mile loop of the mountain bike trail should open this fall, with an additional three miles to follow next summer. By the time the entire Palmer Woods trail system is complete in 2021, it will feature more than nine miles of hiking and skiing trails and more than 11 miles of mountain biking trails.

Read on for more at The Ticker and check out the stunning Palmer Woods Preserve on the Conservancy website!