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Trail Labs June 2019

Trail Labs June 2019

IMBA's two day model community trail workshop. June 10-12, in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Photo courtesy of: Leslie Kehmeier
Registration is CLOSED for the June 10-12, 2019 event.

IMBA Trail Labs are two-day intensive workshops during which IMBA staff and local experts and stakeholders lead participants through the recipe for a model community trail system: planning, design, building, activation, promotion and measuring success. Attendees will also get a firsthand look at components of an intentional and diverse mountain bike trails community. 

People who should attend are land managers, tourism and recreation professionals, community officials and local trail organizations. In addition to providing you with the knowledge you need to get started making great trails happen locally, we will also help you identify the specific next steps needed to bring more trails to your own backyards. 

The cost to attend is $600, which includes registration, breakfast and lunch, shuttles for field workshops and evening festivities.

This event is designed to help attendees learn about the benefits and challenges the community in Northwest Arkansas have experienced from their targeted focus and investment in trails. A key element of the Trail Lab is to have the local stakeholders—such as parks and recreation, tourism and economic development—all present and involved in the workshop so you get the interact with and hear from them directly. 

Space is limited to the first 40 registrants. We kindly request that you send no more than two people from your community. That allows us to welcome representatives from more U.S. communities. Note that afternoon site visits will be walking and talking tours. You will be ready to build trails, but we will not get our hands dirty during this event (no trail building). You will also not be returning home with a complete, detailed trails plan, but our goal is for you to gain the knowledge and understand the resources needed to begin creating a site-specific trails plan for to your community.  





(please note this schedule is subject to change)

Monday, June 10

  • 5 - 8 pm Welcome reception @ Bike Rack Brewing, 801 SE 8th Street #61, Bentonville

Tuesday, June 11

  • 7 am - 1 pm Classroom workshop @ Walmart Museum
  • 1 - 4 pm Field sessions @ Local Trail Systems (shuttles will be provided)
  • 5:30 - 7 pm Optional MTB Ride @ Town Square (Guides will be provided)

Wednesday, June 12

  • 7 am - 12:30 pm Classroom workshop @ Walmart Museum
  • 12:30 - 2 pm Field sessions @ Local Trail Systems (shuttles will be provided)
  • 2 - 3:30 pm Classroom Trail Planning session @ Walmart Museum
  • 3:30 - 4 pm Closing Plenary @ Walmart Museum
  • 4:30 - 6 pm Happy Hour @ Walmart Museum World Room


What to expect: a sample schedule


Day one theme: The recipe for a model community trail system


Plan It

  • Why mountain bike trails?
  • What are sustainable trails?
  • Visioning and community planning
  • Building a dream team of experts
  • Understanding the planning process
  • Gaining project support and funding

Design It

  • Developing the desired mountain biking experience
  • What level of design detail is needed
  • Impact of operations and maintenance in design
  • Signage and risk management
  • Phasing your plan

Build It

  • Finalizing the design and balancing desires with reality
  • Working with volunteers and professionals
  • Construction contracting
  • Crafting procedural documentation
  • Trail network public opening checklist

Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by an optional group ride and dinner on your own. (There will be no trail building.)

Day two theme: If you built it, will they come?


Activate It

  • Creating a plan for sustainability
  • Developing a programming strategy to take full advantage of the trails
  • Celebrating the grand opening
  • Adding natural-surface trail elements for spice
  • Activating and engaging partners
  • Developing new riders

Promote It

  • Getting community support for the project
  • Developing maps and websites
  • Hosting events, festivals and races

Measure It

  • Evaluating the impact of the trail facility
  • Trail counters and on-site surveys
  • Tracking volunteer hours
  • Data collection and management
  • Using data to improve the trail system

Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by an afternoon interactive session where attendees will begin to draft a plan for their community’s trail project while considering the six core ingredients (plan, design, build, activate, promote, measure). 


Get there and enjoy Bentonville



  • Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Bentonville
  • Tulsa International Airport, Oklahoma (2-hour drive)
  • Springfield National Airport, Missouri (2-hour drive)

Do not fly into Little Rock, AR, if possible. It’s much farther away.  

Greyhound Shuttles from the Airports

From Springfield, MO, and Tulsa, OK, to Bentonville/Rogers, AR
$30.00 to $60.00 | Book on the Greyhound website


Enjoy a revitalized downtown square, historic areas, world-class art museums, and an abundance of paved-path and singletrack bicycling options. And bring your appetite; Bentonville is a great destination for foodies. The Wall Street Journal named Bentonville as one of its up-and-coming culinary scenes in 2014 and it has only flourished since then. Explore all that Bentonville has to offer.

Discounted lodging



Bikes can be rented locally. Please note you need to select a specific location with each of these retailers. It is strongly recommended that you reserve a rental before you arrive.

Bikes can be shipped to your lodging destination with BikeFlights

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Thank you to the generous local sponsors that bring Trail Labs to their communities, to showcase the success they have experienced by investing in trails.

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