Brown County State Park's mountain bike trails have been crowned as "among the best in North America" in Bike Magazine's March issue.
In its article "33 Best Rides in North America" the international magazine says the following about the trails, which are located on the outskirts of Nashville, Ind.
"This expanding trail system is quickly becoming a favorite destination for Midwest riders . its 19 miles of singletrack is among the most varied terrain east of the Mississippi. From berms to steep switchbacks to tight trees to rock gardens, these trails have it all. And even more are on the way, with an ambitious expansion plan already in the works."
The trails also were honored as runner-up in the Best Trail Network category by the magazine. Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vt., won the category, and Park City, Utah, joined Brown County State Park in receiving a runner-up award.
According to the article, "Nominations came in from the four corners of the continent, and the 11 trails we selected-along with two runners-up per category-offer some of the best mountain biking on the planet."
DNR director Robert E. Carter Jr. said that the recognition confirms that now mountain bikers can find what they want right at home.
"The park staff has told me how impressed mountain bikers are with these new trails and how popular they are," Carter said. "This ranking validates that in a big way.
"For many years, mountain bikers traveled to find the best of their sport. This shows that we have the best right here in Indiana, so why spend money and time traveling when you could be on your bike?"
The recognition came six years after the International Mountain Biking Association gave the state the lowest of its grades for mountain biking, basing its mark on trails access, quantity and quality.
"Credit needs to go to Governor Daniels for his vision of expanding the statewide trail system with the goal of having a recreational trail opportunity within 15 minutes of every Hoosier by the year 2016," Carter said. "Mountain bike trails are a big part of that plan."
Dan Bortner, director of the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs, said that a lot of credit goes to the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association, which saw the potential of the area, worked cooperatively with the DNR to build the trails, and still maintains them.
"They convinced us that this could be a great thing for the park, worked cooperatively with us throughout and continue to do so," Bortner said. "They said they had the expertise and the ability to do it. It didn't take us long to see that they did.
"It's great to have mountain bikers pouring through the park gates and there are enough trails for everybody."
There is a trail for riders of all skill levels. The multi-use trails are also open to hikers.
"If you want to go and have the best hiking experience in Indiana right now, I'd say go and walk the mountain bike trails at Brown County State Park," said John Bergman, assistant director of State Parks and Reservoirs, who worked closely with HMBA on the project.
To learn more about Brown County State Park, see dnr.IN.gov and click on "State Park and Reservoirs." The trails were featured in the July/August issue of Outdoor Indiana magazine, which can be purchased by calling (317) 233-3046. To learn more about HMBA, see hmba.org.
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