Approximately 35 people pose with their bicycles in front of a stand of trees, near a mountain biking trailhead.

Eastern States Recreation Partnerships 

The BLM Eastern States (BLM ES) manages recreation sites with partners who support our mission of creating opportunities for everyone to get outside. The most beneficial consequences include improved well-being of local communities, and added economic benefits that may be sustained by increased visitation to BLM lands in the east. One recreation partnership accomplished both these goals for the BLM ES and communities on Virginia’s Mason Neck Peninsula, when area biking enthusiasts joined with us to complete three mountain biking trails that are unique to the Mid-Atlantic states.

The partnership was supported by a Challenge Cost Share agreement between BLM ES and Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) to build 2.5 miles of mountain bike trails at the Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area. Three biking trails feature different technical challenges and were made possible by the labor of MORE volunteers, and generous contributions from Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI). The trails were designed and built with a rider’s progression in mind, and allow for different challenges as the rider’s skill develops. One trail has a fast and flowing rhythm; one is predominately hand-built and more rustic and narrow with natural obstacles; and the last trail has a chunky flow with three-dimensional wooden features including rolling boardwalks and banked turns.

an experienced rider on a trail built in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE).
Cycling enthusiasts off all skill levels can challenge themselves on mountain biking trails which include wooden features that are unique to this region. Above, an experienced rider on a trail built in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE). Photo by MORE volunteer.

In fulfilling their partnership commitment, MORE contracted with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) to create the design and lay-out the trails on the ground. Approximately 120 individuals of all ages representing the biking community, local schools and community service organizations, donated over 1,150 hours to trail construction, saving $26,150 in actual labor costs.

It is true that these trails provide a venue for the metropolitan Washington, DC area that is progressive, fun and challenging. But even more significant is the community of enthusiastic volunteers that grew around these trail-building projects. We’ve seen at Meadowood that communities build great trails, and great trails build communities.