New Castle man honored for improving bike trails
New Castle biking enthusiast Adam Cornely continues to make a major push to improve and expand the bike trails in his hometown, and in late November, he earned recognition for his contributions. The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) named Cornely as the Colorado/Wyoming recipient of the Scudamore National Volunteer Leadership Award.
The Scudamore Award honors volunteers who make a significant contribution to mountain bicycling. It recognizes nine regional award recipients and one recipient of the overall award. Elaine Hess with IMBA chapter Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) won the overall award, but Cornely won for the Colorado/Wyoming region. Scott “Superman Scud” Scudamore was a retired Air Force Captain who exemplified mountain bike volunteerism through his work with MORE.
A grant of $1,000 will be awarded to the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association because of Cornely’s nomination.
“All 164 volunteers that were nominated were very deserving I think,” said Mike Pritchard, executive director for the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association. “What’s really incredible is that Cornely has not been involved with the New Castle trails for that long and already his contributions are being recognized.”
Over the past year, Cornely has worked with various agencies and organizations throughout the area, including the Bureau of Land Management, to expand the New Castle trail system and make it more family friendly. As a father of two, he wants to see the town develop trails that the whole family can enjoy.
The New Castle community appears to be on board.
“Earlier on when we would have a meeting we would fill up rooms and hallways,” Cornely said. “Before our group, there was very little support for the cause.”
One of the reasons the town has been so supportive of Cornely’s efforts is because New Castle is becoming a younger and more active community.
“We think it’s important because the demographic in New Castle is a lot of active middle-age families,” he explained. “Prior to our involvement, New Castle really did not have many trials. Residents traveled elsewhere to do recreation so we really felt the need was there. In the last year we have been able to work with the BLM to add and improve the trails and open them to biking.”
In May, Cornely brought the IMBA Trail Care Crew, the organization’s grassroots educational program and an authority on sustainable trail building practices, to New Castle to give a presentation on “Better Living Through Trails,” which set the stage for a very strong summer, according to Pritchard.
Cornely continues to push to work and coordinate with the BLM to ensure that any potential new trails on public land are up to their specifications in terms of wildlife, culture resources, and other areas in order to get approval.
“We want the whole valley to grow as a biking community,” he said. “But it can be challenging to find kid-friendly trails in New Castle.”
One thing that separates New Castle from most towns throughout the country is the easy access to trails. Residents do not have to ride across a highway or through traffic to get on a trail. A resident can get on a single-track trail just by leaving their house.
“The number one thing we have going for us is that we have access and the fact that we are trying to appeal to kids,” he said.
Cornely will continue to work with the BLM to find areas of town that are the most conducive to bike trails and hopes to hear back by early March to get approval for trails on public land.
Over the years he competed in various long-distance bike races, including the Breck 100 and the Original Growler in Gunnison and hopes to eventually bring a bike race to New Castle, but right now he’s more focused on trail infrastructure.
The town now has about a mile and a half of bike trails. His goal is to have six to seven miles of trails in town with the help of local organizations and volunteers.
“The biggest thing that comes to mind is that I want to thank all of the other volunteers,” he said of being named a Scudamore recipient. “I couldn’t have built anything on my own. Last year we would have never thought we’d be this far.”
The New Castle Trails will look to have a fundraiser movie night in March, but the details are still forthcoming. Those that wish to attend should check the New Castle Trails Facebook page for updates.