County approves agreement with northern Utah bike company to highlight mountain biking trails

In this 2016 file photo, mountain bike riders competed in the 6th Annual True Grit Epic mountain bike race in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah, Mar. 12, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Earlier this week the County Commission approved a marketing opportunity between Washington County and a northern Utah-based bicycle company that would feature parts of the county on popular social media accounts while also providing volunteers who will aid in trail maintenance.

Stock image, St. George News

The commission unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday between the county and Lindon-based Fezzari Bicycles.

According to a county staff member during the meeting, Fezzari approached the county about doing a destination ride in Washington County with their “ambassadors,” who are also social media influencers.

“They will come into the county and ride our trails and talk about our trails on all of their social platforms,” the staff member told the commissioners. “As a part of their ambassadorship, they will also do some trail maintenance. They have a trail selected that they will come in and actually help build out, so it’s a win-win situation for us.”

In exchange for the exposure and trail work, the county will help offset the cost of lodging for Fezzari’s ambassadors.

Commissioner Dean Cox said he was excited for the agreement and particularly for the project Fezzari would be helping to build.

Washington County Commissioner Dean Cox, St. George, Utah, Jan. 7, 2019 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The project in question is being developed between the Pine Valley Ranger District of the Dixie National Forest and Dixie Mountain Bike Trail Association, which aims to turn an area at the bottom of Pine Valley Mountain into a mountain biking destination.

“This is going to be a mountain biking venue like no other I’m told,” Cox said. “This is going to be an awesome partnership with Fezzari.”

In February, Nick Glidden, District Ranger for the Pine Valley Ranger District, and Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association president Kevin Christopherson were in the proposed area marking corridors they believed would make good cycling trails.

The area is located above the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve where the Old Turkey Farm Road – also known as the Old Dump Road and Cottonwood Springs Road – crosses into the Dixie National Forest. This area is also near the split in the road that can take someone to either the Dammeron Valley area or Silver Reef.

Dixie National Forest district ranger for the Pine Valley Ranger District, Nick Glidden, and Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association president Kevin Christopherson look at a digital map of the area in the Dixie National Forest where a proposed new mountain bike trail could be built, Washington County, Utah, Feb. 4, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Reina

“Fezzari thinks it will be a phenomenal mountain biking destination,” Cox said following the commission meeting.

A proposal to turn the area into a mountain biking destination similar to that of Gooseberry Mesa has been in the works for a while yet didn’t pick up steam until recently.

“The U.S. Forest Service is looking at creating mountain biking trails there,” Glidden told St. George News. “We’re currently laying trails out and doing an environmental analysis.”

While possible trails have been marked, the overall project is still preliminary, Glidden said. An environmental impact study still needs to be done as a part of the required National Environmental Protection Act process.

Parts of the proposed project include the creation of trail loops and a 12-mile downhill trail.

Christopherson previously told St. George News that although the county is blessed with hundreds of miles of great mountain biking trails – many of which the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association can take credit for building or maintaining – there are really no high-altitude trails where riders can escape the heat of the late spring or early fall. Nor are there any true gravity/downhill trails.

Dixie Mountain Biking Trails president Kevin Christopherson places a flag on a tree in the Dixie National Forest Pine Valley Ranger District, Utah, Feb. 4, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

It is anticipated that the area could potentially become what Glidden called a “world-class” downhill mountain bike trail, traversing nearly 30 miles and incorporating a stacked loop design in the lower sections.

The trails will also be accessible to riders of any skill level, as well as offer a new location for mountain biking events and local high school cycling teams that have been displaced by residential development.

Due to the higher elevations of the location, Glidden said it will extent Washington County’s mountain biking season.

Calls to Fezzari for additional comment about the agreement with Washington County were not returned by the time of publication of this article.

St. George News reporter Hollie Reina contributed to this story.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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