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Grant will help fund bike trail’s Phase 2

Erwin Record Photo by Richard Rourk • A $10,000 check was presented by Jamison Evans on behalf of SORBA to Joseph Wigington, president of the Friends of the O’Brien Watershed

By Richard Rourk

The wheels of progress continue to turn for the mountain bike park at the O’Brien Watershed property in Erwin. 

Most recently, the Friends of O’Brien Watershed received a $10,000 Dig In Program grant from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) in partnership with the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) and local donations. 

News of the grant was announced during the meeting of the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday, Nov. 22.

The check was presented by Jamison Evans on behalf of SORBA to Joseph Wigington, president of the Friends of the O’Brien Watershed, during the BMA meeting at Erwin Town Hall.

According to SORBA’s website, IMBA’s new Dig In Program, founded by Shimano, will provide an avenue for raising funds for mountain bike projects nationwide. IMBA can leverage its reach and relationships to provide grant opportunities via corporate partner dollars and run a national marketing campaign. 

The goal, according to the website, is to bridge the gap between local and national fundraising efforts and show a new audience how inspirational and 

vital trails are to local riders and communities.

“What’s encouraging to me is that the majority of these funds were raised locally,” Wigington said. “This echoes the kind of support we have in the region and the high demand for these types of mountain biking trails in Erwin.”

These funds will be used to complete the first phase of trails and amenities for this property in preparation for an opening in late spring 2022. 

Phase 1 of the trail system consists of more than two miles of bike-optimized, multi-use trails located near the trailhead. Trails are designed to be approachable for beginning riders while giving experienced bikers unique challenges. Additionally, most trails are multi-use, providing pedestrian access to scenic views for people of all ages. Once open, the trails at the O’Brien Watershed will be accessible from Shawnee Street in Erwin, about 1.5 miles from  Exit 37 off Interstate 26.

For more information or to learn how to make a financial contribution to support construction of the mountain bike park, visit unicoibikepark.com or contact Friends of the O’Brien Watershed via email at [email protected]