Youth on Trails - Program Overview
Expanding youth mountain biking opportunities has been discussed throughout the community and with various stakeholders as an important next step to enjoying Duluth’s impressive trail system. Often the important gaps in getting youth on bikes and onto trails are the availability of quality, trail-worthy bikes, safety equipment, transportation and instructors that youth feel they can connect to. Parks and Rec is committed to engaging our community in our trail and park resources by leading free and affordable recreational programs across the City. This project creates the foundation for partnerships between numerous organizations to provide quality bike equipment, instruction, mentoring, and experiences to new and diverse audiences of youth throughout the community for years to come. While some participants will choose to enjoy a recreational path as they learn to ride the trails, others will find that the skill building opportunities are designed along a continuum to develop a diverse group of mountain bike leaders from among the participating youth.
Duluth can establish and maintain a base for equitable mountain biking access for all youth.
How Youth on Trails addresses the gaps:
Bringing the experiences to different neighborhoods, parks, trails and trailheads, and program sites;
Variety of bikes
Including balance bikes, traditional mountain bikes, and recumbent tricycles for riders of varying abilities;
Provided for participating youth groups who need it;
Range of program formats and events
Continually engaging new participants and providing progressive riding opportunities for ongoing engagement;
Partnering with community organizations
Offering free and reduced-fee mountain biking programs at or near where youth are already familiar with programming;
Leveraging Duluth Parks & Recreation as a hub
Serving as a centralized source for partner information, education, equipment, maps, and transportation.
This initiative is about much more than getting kids on bikes. Engaging youth in mountain biking across the community builds friendships, self-esteem, comfort in the outdoors, creates relationships with natural and recreational resources, and improves health and wellness. Youth who participate in free, drop-in youth center programs in Duluth often identify with one or more demographics that are starkly underrepresented in mountain biking. These youth often face racial, social, and economic barriers in their daily lives without the means to break into the sport. The multi-year program progression provides youth with entry-level through instructor-in-training opportunities to grow into the sport and build a relationship with regional trails designed to connect neighborhoods of all income and socio-economic levels.
Programming and equipment made possible by a grant from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Funding includes equipment, instructor certification and wages, transportation, and more.