Virtually every Thursday evening through the summer a dedicated group gathers in the woods at either Leaders or Yankton Trails Park. They bring gloves and closed-toe shoes, and they wield strange tools with names like Pulaski and McCloud.
Meet the trail maintenance crew of Falls Area Singletrack or FAST. FAST started out as a small group of mountain bike enthusiasts, but it has been growing quickly as runners, hikers and nature watchers have become aware and engaged in the growth of the Sioux Falls singletrack trail system. It’s not uncommon to see a dozen or more volunteers out clearing brush, trimming weeds, moving dirt, and constructing new trails on a Thursday evening work session.
FAST started with a plan to build trails at Leaders Park. Initial efforts were met with reluctance from the city and outright resistance from the neighborhood. As the trail system took shape, the enthusiasm from the City increased and the neighborhood fears never materialized. It turns out that mountain bikers make good neighbors, and trails add value to a community. Now it’s not uncommon to see local residents out hiking or running on the well maintained trails and even advocating for more trails.
Building Trails for Hiking, Running, and Mountain Biking
Currently FAST maintains nearly 3 miles of trails at Leaders Park in the NE corner of Sioux Falls near the intersection of 6th Street and Leadale Ave. Volunteer crews are currently working on additional trail in Leaders Park this summer.
Another mile of singletrack trail was added to Yankton Trails Park in 2016. This loop of trail is very popular with runners and children due to its proximity to the main bike trail loop. FAST also hosts it’s popular event, Take a Kid Mountain Biking, here in October.
Fundraising for New Trails at Tuthill Park Underway
Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation Department now eagerly partners with FAST to build and maintain hiking and biking trails. There are several projects already approved by the city that are awaiting funding. One exciting project, which is slated to be completed in 2018, is the Tuthill Trail Project. FAST has the opportunity to build up to four miles of new hiking and mountain biking trails on the bluffs over the river in Tuthill Park. These new trails will connect with the popular paved bike trail system south of Pasley Park. This gives easy access to runners, hikers, and cyclists.
In order to provide the highest quality trails to the community, FAST has proposed using national trail building company Trail Arts from Rapid City. Working with a professional design company will allow world class trails to be built and open up the door for regional mountain bike and trail running events to be held in Sioux Falls.
The Tuthill trail construction will cost nearly $70,000. Roughly half of the money has been raised through donations and fundraising efforts. The amount of money raised will determine the final length of trails built in 2018.
Your opportunity to celebrate trails in Sioux Falls and support the Tuthill Project.
On June 30th, 2018, Falls Area Bicyclists is hosting the Sioux Falls Trail Challenge to raise funds for the Tuthill Trail Project. FAB encourages you to come out and ride, run, or roll all or any portion of of the Sioux Falls bike trail loop.
Special passport stations await you as you make your way around the trail. Return your passport to retrieve your finisher prize. How you complete the trail challenge is up to you.
The proceeds from the Trail Challenge will be donated to the Tuthill Project.
All images courtesy of Falls Area Singletrack