BUMP receives grant for Oak Mtn. trail

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A local mountain biking advocacy group, Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP), recently received a $10,000 grant for the expansion of its 17-mile trail at Oak Mountain State Park.

Bikes Belong, a national bicycle advocacy group, gave the presented the grant to BUMP club leaders at Oak Mountain earlier this month. The money will go toward the “Bridge the Gap” campaign that will build a $125,000 lake side bridge on the park’s Red Trail.

“We heard they support this kind of project, and they were very interested in putting some money into Alabama,” said Randall Naccari of BUMP.

Naccari said Bikes Belong is currently targeting Alabama because the state is behind most of the nation in the number and quality of mountain biking trails.

BUMP’s goal is to raise $75,000 by January 2010. More than $25,000 has been raised since November by private donations. BUMP held a campaign kickoff event in the fall that raised $5,000. The grant brings the campaign’s thermometer on the organization’s Web site to $39,000. Nacarri said it is really closer to $40,000.

Once the campaign reaches $75,000, BUMP will apply for a $50,000 matching funds grant from Shelby County.

Nacarri hopes the donations will continue to come in to speed up the process, but said it all “depends on how generous people are with their giving. Right now people are saving their money because of the economy.” He said he hopes the economy picks up so the donations will.

“It’s interesting that we made almost $30,000 after the stock market crashed last year,” he said. “You wonder what we might have done if the economy hasn’t struggled.”

Project “Bridge the Gap” is designed to connect two sections of singletrack on the 17-mile trail and create a 3-mile loop for beginner walkers, hikers, cyclists and trail runners, according to a BUMP press release.

The bridge will create a new Lake Trail with a 60-foot bridge over the Double Oak Lake dam spillway.

“It’s going to provide a much needed facility out there for the citizens of Shelby County and the area. The park has wanted something around the lake for a long time,” Naccari said.

BUMP hosts the annual BUMP n Grind each spring in late May or early June. This year’s race is May 31. The race continues to be the largest mountain bike race in the Southeast, according to Naccari.

For more information about the project or to donate, visit www.bump.org.