Town of Webb receives $250,000 grant for mountain bike trail expansion; McCauley trail network has grown since 2018
By Jamie Organski
Mountain biking in Old Forge is getting a boost, thanks to a $250,000 state grant for expanding the trail system at the McCauley Mountain Ski/Recreation Area in Old Forge.
The grant funds will be used to construct approximately seven machine-built and hand-built trails which will be a combination of climbing trails, downhill flow trails and single track.
Altogether, the plan is to build 7-9 miles of new trails, with a mixture of beginner, intermediate and expert terrain. Future expansion projects include adding another bike skills park as well as trails to connect into town, according to Chuck Schweitzer of the Adirondack Foothills Trails Alliance (AFTA).
Webb Councilman Kurt Gardner the project is a $320,000 overall investment. After the $250,000 grant awarded from New York state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the remainder will be raised by the Town of Webb, the Central Adirondack Association and AFTA.
AFTA personnel have undertaken all of the mountain bike trail construction and maintenance, since McCauley introduced mountain biking in 2018.
“[In October 2018] we started with some cross-country ski trails and hand-built old style single track, probably 6-8 miles. We now have about 28 miles and hopefully [will] have about 35 over the next few years.”— Chuck Schweitzer of the Adirondack Foothills Trails Alliance (AFTA).
Gardner said they intend to bid out one climbing trail on the backside of McCauley Mountain to kick off the expansion this summer.
“This is a huge win for the community as a whole as it helps to maintain visitors here during the shoulder seasons and gives locals, including families and kids, another reason to get outdoors and enjoy the Adirondacks,” Gardner said. “None of this would have been possible without AFTA. They are the best thing since sliced bread, and have been phenomenal to work with. The amount of volunteer hours they put in is astounding. We are becoming a mountain biking destination and are finding that riders are very conscientious about the environment and nature. What we are doing is working and I can’t wait to see it all pan out.”
Town of Webb Publicity Director Mike Farmer said the acquisition of this grant further establishes the mountain biking industry as a prominent tourism component in Webb.
“We were struggling to develop mountain biking around Old Forge for several years, then we scored a trifecta with the Town of Webb, the CAA, and AFTA,” Farmer said. “[With] AFTA personnel’s world-class trail building capabilities [and]…the new grant funding, we are going from props to jets.”