New Castle’s Adam Cornely is BLM state volunteer of the year

Alex Zorn

A mountain biker makes his way down one of the South Canyon bike trails last spring.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent file

What was once a simple hobby has taken a ride of its own for New Castle resident Adam Cornely.

The lifelong mountain biker has worked to transform his town’s trails system, helping to build dozens of miles of biking and hiking in and around New Castle. Last month, he was recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as Colorado’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year

New Castle Mayor Art Riddile said the town is blessed to have so many residents that have contributed to the over 20 miles of trail network that has been built in New Castle and nearby BLM land over the past two years.

Cornely’s enthusiasm has truly had an impact, and it’s had a positive ripple effect in the community, the mayor said.

As chairman of New Castle Trails, which formed in 2015, Cornely said his goal was to build a system of trails through town that mountain bikers could access, whether they are a beginner, intermediate or expert rider.

In recognizing Cornely, the BLM pointed out several projects Cornely worked on, including a 16-mile trail system just outside town that’s now open to mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. Twelve of the 16 miles are on BLM land in the New Castle Extensive Recreation Management Area, according to a press release.

“He’s organized 30- to 40-year-olds to build and maintain trails in New Castle and BLM and it’s really trickled down [throughout the community],” Riddile explained.

He added that, as a father of two, he suspects Cornely is building these trails so his kids will have new trails to ride down.

While Cornely has become a top organizer for New Castle Trails, he said he hadn’t done any volunteer trail work prior to 2015.

“I’ve always been an avid mountain biker, but prior to 2015 I had never built a trail,” he admitted. “What I really enjoy the most is seeing new people riding the trails [I helped build]. Seeing new people get into the trails is a result of our work.”

He said the goal for 2019 is to get New Castle’s existing trail network tuned up.

The plan is to host the first mountain bike race in New Castle in August, and he plans to focus on maintaining and preparing the trails in the spring and summer before the race.

“As long as I have support with the town and community, I’m going to keep going,” he added.

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