The Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA) has reached its 30-year anniversary. The nonprofit has given mountain bikers hundreds of miles of trails to ride.
“Those folks that build the earlier trails, they just had no idea that mountain biking was going to become what it is and that it really was going to get to the point that it’s largely, not by itself, but it’s largely driving the culture and economy of this area,” said COTA Executive Director Emmy Andrews.
You do not have to look hard to find a happy mountain biker in Central Oregon.
“Oh it’s been a blast. I’m from Iowa so there’s nothing like this back home,” said mountain biker Brock.
What makes the trails such a blast? According to Brock, they are “a lot faster, smoother, have a lot more elevation, bigger jumps,” and that’s all thanks to COTA volunteers.
“You wouldn’t immediately think of how much time and money and effort has gone into building and maintaining it so that’s what COTA is doing,” said Andrews.
They’ve been doing it well for three decades, giving an almost 80-year old biker years of fun behind the handle bars.
“I used to be a runner, but I no longer can run. But I can still bike and fortunately we live in an area where we have miles of trails,” said Stan Shepardson at Phil’s Trail.
Chances are, if you are a mountain biker in Central Oregon, you have been on a COTA trail.
“We have been maintaining about 500 miles of trail and we’re just about to sign and updated volunteer agreement with the Deschutes National Forest and bring in a hundred more miles of trail,” said Andrews.
And likely more than that, the nonprofit has around 150 miles of trails in the “planning phase”.
Andrews says COTA is “stoked” for another 30 years in Central Oregon.