IMBA Trail Specialist Praises Katahdin Area Trails
Josh Collins likes to get into the dirt. As a trail specialist for IMBA Trail Solutions, he travels around the country supporting the design and implementation of exceptional mountain bike trails. This week, he’s in the Katahdin Region building out trails planned by Katahdin Area Trails on Hammond Ridge. The system is currently a 6-mile network of purpose built single-track mountain bike trails that’s slated to expand over the next couple of years to 16 miles. Work will commence next summer thanks to a $250,000 federal economic development grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission, a Grant from the Penobscot County TIF Fund and a required match by Katahdin Area Trails and other funders of over $111,000.
The planned trail expansion includes a downhill section on Hammond Ridge, perched above Millinocket Lake with killer views of Katahdin, which is being touted as one of Maine’s first directional downhill gravity trails.
As an IMBA specialist, Josh travels all over the country advising on mountain bike trails. He rattles off a long list of states he’s visited from Oregon to Georgia to Alabama to Colorado, Utah, Arkansas, Tennessee and “everywhere in between.”
Josh’s role is not only to build trails using best practices, he also teaches communities to make the most of their trails. Whatever hat he’s wearing, this young trail expert takes obvious pleasure in building and riding on trails. The Katahdin Area Trails, he says, are something really special.
“This area is really beautiful and well suited for mountain biking trails,” says Josh. “With this glacial deposit, you have these big boulders we can play with, and you’ve got these beautiful views and terrain.”
Josh laughs that there’s definitely no shortage of rock, and his crew is able to take advantage of it all to create unique features and build styles. A short walk on the tail reveals a number of jumps, drops, and challenges made possible by the enormous granite stones, boulders and glacial erratics.
“There’s a ton of potential here,” says Josh.
Find the Trailhead for Katahdin Area Trails Hammond Ridge Trail System off the Parking Lot for the River Driver’s Restaurant and the New England Outdoor Center on Millinocket Lake.
IMBA Trail Solutions has experience on more than 400 trail projects worldwide. “Our staff excels at planning, design, construction, and management of trail systems that provide high-quality, sustainable experiences while simultaneously minimizing maintenance needs and environmental impacts. We pride ourselves on the positive experiences we have provided to millions of active trail users. Whether you want a family-friendly flow trail, a bike park with jump lines or an expert-only adventure full of gnarly rock features, we can design it, build it, advocate for it and teach you how to do it.”