Looking for resources to help your community utilize, promote or improve bicycle infrastructure? Follow “The Path to Developing New Trails" with the new WiBike Community Toolkit. The Toolkit breaks down the process of how to bring trails to life in nine basic phases, providing general direction and resources for more in-depth guidance.
Users of bike paths, routes, and trails provide significant economic impact to Wisconsin. Consumer spending on bicycle-related expenses in Wisconsin was estimated to be $1.42 billion in 2017, translating to $83 million in state and local taxes. Access to bike trails play a substantial role in providing livability benefits to communities from safe transportation routes to enjoyable places to play – all reasons people choose to live, work and play in a certain community.
As participation in bicycling and outdoor activities of all types continues to increase, infrastructure improvements and additions need to meet the growing demands. Communities across Wisconsin can tap the into this growth by a playing role in this development.
The WiBike Community Toolkit can help you get started. Get help navigating the path to developing new trails below or download the free educational flyer with active resource links here.
The WiBike Community Toolkit was created by in partnership by the Office of Outdoor Recreation, the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), and Wheel & Sprocket.
The Path to Developing New Trails
Define the Vision
Describe the future successful state once the project is complete. What is it? What needs will it address? Who will benefit from it? A clear vision is the foundation of any successful project.
Resource: Rails-to-Trails - Route of the Badger
Form a Team
Rally your champions into action. Recruit representatives from stakeholder groups. An effective team builds momentum and moves the project forward.
Resource: Rails-to-Trails - How to Create a Friends Group
Engage the Community
Gain community support, including from elected officials, to make the project relevant. Establish good working relationships or partnerships with the land managers and understand the property master plans. Provide intentional opportunities to hear the community's wants and needs and keep them informed throughout the process.
Resource: Find Your Elected Officials
Define roles and responsibilities of partners to ensure a well-managed project as it unfolds with clear assignments for future management, programming, and stewardship.
Resource: Rails-to-Trails - Management Basics
Develop a budget and pursue funding support through public-private partnerships, grants, individual donations, and events. Fundraising often occurs in phases throughout the project timeline and beyond.
Resource: International Mountain Bicycling Association - Trail Accelerator Grant
Plan & Design It
Consider engaging trail professionals through a “Request for Proposal" advertisement to lead the planning and design process. Select professionals that will continue to engage the public and land managers and ensure the design reflects the community's interests and needs while considering funding, phasing, construction approach, permitting, and maintenance requirements.
Resource: International Mountain Bicycling Association - Trail Labs
Determine a construction approach that utilizes professional trail builders, volunteers, youth conservation corps, and in-kind services. A construction manager or client representative may be needed to oversee contracted services if those management skill sets are not on your team.
Resource: International Mountain Bicycling Association - Trail Solutions
Carry out the operations and maintenance plan developed during design and construction. Engage partners, volunteers, and the community in this work to develop a sense of ownership and pride.
Resource: American Trails - Building Trail Stewards
Work with local organizations and tourism entities to promote the trail to both residents and visitors to increase economic activity. Evens and programs will also drive community engagement.
Resource: Travel Wisconsin - Travel Promotion