Worcester To Get New Biking Trail

SNOW HILL — Biking enthusiasts have another reason to appreciate Worcester County with officials approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eastern Shore International Mountain Bicycling Association (ESIMBA) for the installation of a mountain biking trail at Newtown Park near Snow Hill.

“The agreement would govern the creation and maintenance of a mountain bike trail at our Newtown Park facility,” wrote Recreation and Parks Director Paige Hurley in a memo to the commission. “The trail would accommodate beginning to intermediate skilled riders and would be routed through an existing forested area that measured approximately one mile in length.”

Mountain biking is becoming increasingly popular, Hurley continued, and fits well with Worcester’s recreation strategy of offering inexpensive and healthy outdoor activities.

“Upon review of the matter and with consideration for the growing popularity over the past two decades of recreational mountain biking, the Department of Recreation and Parks would like to avail itself of this prospect since it broadens current park offerings,” he wrote. “Additionally and perhaps more importantly, the Department feels strongly that the cooperation embodied by the MoU represents a unique opportunity demonstrating how the County can partner with the community to provide relevant, low-cost amenities for the recreational benefit of our citizens.”

The memorandum has already been reviewed by County Attorney Sonny Bloxom, Hurley added, and Worcester won’t be liable for any ESIMBA volunteers who build or maintain the trails.

“All volunteers assigned to work under the agreement at Newtown Park are volunteers with ESIMBA,” said Hurley, “and are covered under the ESIMBA insurance policies.”

In fact, ESIMBA will be covering most of the responsibilities associated with keeping a biking trail in the park. Worcester will need to review and approve designs and install trail signs, a $2,500 cost earmarked in the park’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget, but little else. The minor costs and effort pale when compared to the boost a biking trail could offer, asserted Hurley.

“Worcester County is an ideal destination for cyclists and this small trail will provide another location to explore,” he told the commission. “We’re also hoping to create events like races and educational bike rodeos which will promote bike safety and get more people interested in accessing all that we stage at this park.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the memorandum with ESIMBA.