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They have been hard at work. For the past two years, the club has logged more than 400 hours of volunteer work on the trails at both Bluffside Park and Bronk's Unit, located on Stockton Hill off U.S. Highway 14.
The club's city liaison Zack McKinney, who is the recreation coordinator for Winona Parks and Recreation, said the reason the club accomplishes so much on the trails is — not surprisingly — because club members care deeply about them.
"They'll clear a tree out before you even knew it was down," he said.
According to Sherman, Winona is a perfect town for mountain bikers. Its unique topography and outdoor-oriented culture have the potential to turn the area into a mountain biking destination.
Hansi Johnson, the Midwest regional director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, said Sherman is on the right track.
Johnson lives in Duluth but grew up in Winona. He said Winona is unique in the Midwest because of its varied topography and the access to all kinds of different outdoor sports.
"I think it could be one of the best places around," he said.
McClead agreed. "Becoming a mountain biking destination would be most advantageous," he said. "It just makes sense to increase our outdoor recreation tourism. We have a community that can support that."
Recent developments in trail design and construction are changing the way mountain biking can be approached, just like the way ski lifts made downhill skiing accessible to many more people, Johnson said.
According to Johnson, these developments are trickling down to places like Winona, where people with big-picture ideas like the Winona Area Mountain Bikers are starting to make things happen.
Sherman said the club is applying for a grant from the IMBA, which would go toward creating nine miles of trail at Bronk's Unit. The grant would allow the club to hire a trail consultant to choose a route that is sustainable and has minimal erosion.
In the meantime, the club's members will continue to hit the trails they already have — and make sure they're taken care of.
"Their involvement in the community is beyond just trail work," McKinney said. "They let people know that there's this sport, and you don't have to be sponsored by Red Bull to enjoy it."
An AP Member Exchange Feature shared by Winona Daily News