State awards grant for new Coldwater cycling trails
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Feb 19, 2014 | 4481 views |  0 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jan Jenkins-Ardovino rides the course of the Coldwater Crush bike race at the Coldwater Mountain bike trails July 28. (File photo by Stephen Gross/ The Anniston Star)
Jan Jenkins-Ardovino rides the course of the Coldwater Crush bike race at the Coldwater Mountain bike trails July 28. (File photo by Stephen Gross/ The Anniston Star)
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Coldwater Mountain soon will have more bicycling trails thanks to a $350,000 grant from the state.

The grant, announced by Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday, will pay for 11 additional miles of trails and renovation of 5 existing miles of trails on Coldwater Mountain.

The 4,083-acre complex, part of the state's Forever Wild program, currently includes 25 miles of cycling trails.

Tom Sauret, executive director of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, which has overseen construction of the Coldwater trails, said he expects work on the new trails will be completed by the end of the year.

"We'll probably begin work Monday," Sauret said. "We'll have a trail professional here looking at routes and figuring out what we might get done."

Sauret said the new trails will be a continuation of Coldwater's existing trails.

"There will be more cross country trails and some gravity trails for people that like to go downhill," Sauret said.

The system includes trails designed for beginner cyclists all the way to internationally competitive experts. Some trails are also used by hikers and runners.

Sauret noted that the renovations will involve retiring several trails that were already at Coldwater before the cycling project started.

"There were some smaller trails that we adopted, but now that we have more money and can do new trails, we'll be decommissioning some of the old trails," he said.

Mike Poe of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association in Anniston, which has helped in coordinating trail work at Coldwater, said the additional trails will make the site an even greater tourist attraction.

"It'll bring us right to 36 miles when this latest phase is finished ... that'll be enough mileage to bring people in to stay for a couple of days," Poe said.

The longer visitors stay in the area to ride the trails, the more money they are likely to spend at local businesses, Poe said.

"And the more mileage you have, the more people you get out of the state," Poe said. "It makes it much more of a destination."

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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