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Skibowl to Expand Biking Terrain posted on 01/01/2014
Bicyclists received more good news as they will soon have more terrain on which to pedal their steeds.
Skibowl’s lift-served mountain bike trail was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Clackamas County Tourism Development Council (TDC) to improve tourism assets in the county.

Hurricane Racing – the company in charge of the mountain biking trails at Skibowl since 1990 – is the primary beneficiary of the grant. Hurricane Racing owner Petr Kakas has been at the helm since the beginning.

“Skibowl is so far the only lift-assisted option on Mount Hood,” Kakas told The Mountain Times. “But the trails we have available at the upper mountain have been used by experienced bikers only.”
That upper bowl terrain limited Skibowl’s offerings to the general, non-racing public, and Kakas and company decided to change that.

“With so many years of experience, Hurricane Racing decided to apply for the grant to help offset a portion (of the costs) of trail construction and allow everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy the view of six volcanoes and take a nice ride down the hill after that,” Kakas said. “The plan is to have studies completed during the summer of 2014 and begin construction in spring of 2015.”

The cost of the project is estimated at $80,000.

Kakas put together a team of grant writers to assist through a process in which he had no previous experience.

“I was surprised, but also hopeful,” he said of the winning effort. “The county knew how involved we were, and that’s why I was successful, I guess.”

Biking in the Mountain area has taken a hit recently as trails have been closed due to the wilderness exemption – more than 170 miles on Mount Hood alone – plus the decommissioning of roads in the area. This grant will help offset these losses, according to Kakas.

“Biking tourism is a large portion of tourism dollars in Oregon, and Hurricane Racing is proud to be a part of this impact,” Kakas said. “All businesses in our area can only benefit from folks wanting to come to Mount Hood and ride and spend money with the local economy.”

The TDC also granted monies to two other bicycling related projects, including $6,000 to the Sandy-Boring Corn Cross bike race, and $8,350 to the Mt. Hood Area Mountain Bike Clinic Series.

“Each of the projects selected this year adds to our vision of growing and improving tourism assets and leveraging partnerships and investments,” said Danielle Cowan, executive director of Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs. “It’s extremely exciting and rewarding to see the kinds of new visitor experiences that are being offered in Clackamas County.”

The panel measured each project by how closely they met the TDC’s priorities for investments, including the quality of partnerships, readiness, “and the ability of the project to increase overnight stays or linger longer,” Cowan said.

by Larry Berteau/MT



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