On Thursday afternoon, Duluth Parks and Recreation announced the launch of Youth on Trails, a new youth mountain biking program.
Duluth Parks and Recreation has built up a fleet of mountain bikes, adaptive bikes, and safety gear for use by program participants. With one of this initiative’s programs, the Learn to Ride events and series, participants ages 6-16 will be able to learn about mountain biking through a few different activities and topics.
Kids with any biking ability level are welcome to sign up for this free program. Instruction will include a focus on increasing the comfort and proficiency levels of the participants while instilling a sense of good trial stewardship.
“We know there are youth in our community who do not have access to mountain biking due to barriers like cost, transportation, and mentors to guide them. This grant is designed to reduce and eliminate barriers for these youth, give them a fun and safe learning environment, and then access these regionally-significant Legacy-designated trails. It’s more than physical fitness and fun—it’s building life-long connections to the outdoors, to friends, and to the trail system,” said Alicia Watts, Assistant Manager of Duluth Parks and Recreation. “Learn to Ride events will help kids gain confidence in accessing these spaces and learning new riding skills that they can use throughout their lifetime. We are so grateful for the financial support of the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission and the strong community partnerships that have helped us establish this uniquely Duluth program.”
The program is funded by a grant from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. The City of Duluth’s Parks and Recreation Division was awarded the $167,783 grant in 2022 to be used over three years, with programming kicking off in 2023.
Designed to reduce barriers associated with trail-based activities, the program allows for increased access to Legacy-designated park and trail assets including the Duluth Traverse, Waabizheshikana: The Marten Trail, Spirit Mountain, and Hartley Park.
Earlier this month, Parks and Recreation program staff completed their Level 1 Bike Instructor Certification Program (BICP Level 1) and Adaptive Mountain Bike Instructor Certification Program (AMTB BICP Level 1). Six certified Mountain Bike Instructors and six adaptive-certified Mountain Bike Instructors will deliver the Youth on Trails programming through Duluth Parks and Recreation in 2023.
The following Learn to Ride events are scheduled for this summer.
Thursday, June 15: 4-5:30 pm and 5:30-7pm at Memorial Park, 5315 Grand Ave
Thursday, July 6: 4-5:30 pm and 5:30-7pm at Hillside Sport Court, 408 E. 8th Street
Saturday, July 22: 9-10:30 am and 10:30 am-noon at Morgan Park, 1242 88th Ave. W
Saturday, August 5: 9-10:30 am and 10:30 am-noon at Portman Park, 4601 McCulloch St.
Saturday, August 13: 9-10:30 am and 10:30 am-noon at Chester Park, 1801 E. Skyline Pkwy.
Tuesday, August 22: 4-5:30 pm and 5:30-7 pm at Gary New Duluth Park, 801 101st Ave. W
The maximum enrollment is 12 per group. More information about Youth on Trails, can be found at: duluthmn.gov/park