Leverich Canyon trail redone to improve "flow"

 Mountain biker Eric Downs coasts through the corners on the Leverich Canyon trail on Thursday.

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These days, it’s all in the name of flow – at least for mountain bikers.

Local groups and volunteers have been coming together to re-route a popular mountain bike trail up Leverich Canyon south of Bozeman. Steep sections have been destroyed, for example, and replaced with switchbacks.

Josh Minalga, a member of The Dirt Concern bike group, said the goal was to make more sustainable trails that won’t erode as easily when it rains.

Plus, the changes will give the trail more “flow.”

“That’s become kind of a hot word right now,” he said, noting a recent Wall Street Journal article that described the luge-like flow trails popping up around the country.

“(The trails) are specially designed with jumps and berms to allow riders to flow unimpeded down the mountain without stopping, making the downhill-riding experience akin to skiing or sledding,” Jim Carlton wrote in the article, which is titled “For Mountain Bikers, New Ways to Go Downhill Fast.”

Now, the Leverich trail will be even more improved for bikers looking for fast descents.

The project was paid for with an $8,500 grant from the Gallatin County Resource Advisory Committee. Community members have also been helping, and Minalga said that so far, 530 volunteer hours have been logged on the trail.

“The turnout and enthusiasm we’ve seen goes to show how much the community really wants to come together (around the idea of a progressive, loop-style trail),” said Ben Donatelle, a founding member of the Wilderness and Recreation Partnership. “We want to use Leverich as a model to bring more of that kind of trail to the mountain bike community.”

Donatelle said people may be concerned about the new trail, but he said he thinks it will be faster, safer and more fun.

“It will create better flow and trail continuity,” he said. “Better flow is a big key word.”

He added that improving the bike trail will be a step in the direction of “bettering relationships with different recreation users across the board.”

Carly Flandro may be reached at 582-2638 or cflandro@dailychronicle.com.

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