Cuyahoga park could land test for mountain bike trail

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio - Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of three parks selected by federal officials to explore adding mountain bike trails.

But the park lacks the $165,000 it needs to plan for the trails, deputy superintendent Bill Carroll said.

If they received the money, park officials could explore whether it's possible to allow bike traffic on existing hiking and horse trails, or if new trails for mountain bikes would have to be built. Mountain bikes weren't a consideration when the park's master plan was developed in 1985.

Some 250,000 mountain bikers living in northeast Ohio savor the idea, said Mike Farley, founder of the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association. Cuyahoga, Summit and Geauga counties have no trails designed with the rugged, natural surfaces mountain bikers prefer.

Instead, mountain bikers are limited to the level, largely paved walking and road bike trails in Cuyahoga Valley and surrounding county parks.

Planning for mountain bikes would have to take into account conflicts between different users and the erosion-causing ruts that bikes can leave, said Jane Christyson, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Metroparks.

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