The Ney Nature Center will be hosting a grand opening for their new mountain bike trail on Saturday, Aug. 12.
The new trail was designed by former Minnesota New Country School student, Tim Kroehler. He designed the trail as a senior project and spent around 600 hours building it, said Jim Wartman, Minnesota New Country School Advisor and Volunteer Master Naturalist at the Ney Nature Center.
Kroehler knew he wanted to build or design something for his project. Once he realized that he wanted to build a mountain bike trail, he got into contact with well-known trail builder, Tim Wegner of Trail Source LLC. Wegner helped Kroehler learn how to build a mountain bike trail and together they planned it out.
After plans were designed, Kroehler had to receive approval from the Ney Nature Center board of directors, as well as from Le Sueur County because Ney is considered a county park.
“[Kroehler] said the hardest part was talking to the Ney board,” said Becky Pollack, executive director of the Ney Nature Center.
When they finally received the approvals they needed in the winter of 2016, Kroehler, Wartman and Wegner started putting out flags to mark the trail.
“It was mostly built with hand tools,” Wartman said. “We also got a lot of other students and advisors to help out.”
The Ney Nature Center is excited for the new trail and for it bringing another use to the park.
“I think it’ll benefit the community,” Pollack said.
“It’ll attract more young people” to the park, Wartman added. “There aren’t any other biking trails here.”
Wartman also said that there is an intermediate loop as well as a beginner’s loop, so the trail can be used by anyone no matter their skill level.
“It’s a great place to learn how to mountain bike,” said Josh Sweet, the Ney Nature Center’s Program and Marketing Coordinator.
The event on August 12 will be a celebration of Kroehler’s work, Sweet said, so Kroehler will be in attendance to meet and answer any questions.
Anyone who rides on the trail during the event between 10 a.m. and noon will be entered into a raffle prize. The prize will be drawn during the ribbon cutting ceremony at 12:15 p.m.
“It’s become my favorite trail,” Wartman said and he is excited for everyone to experience it as well.