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  1. #1
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    Buyng land to build your own riding area, anyone here do this?

    Hi everyone. I live in a fairly large metro area but there is good riding within a 30 - 45 minutes drive. These riding areas are on state or county land and while the riding is legal building jumps or "features" is not allowed.

    Some friends and I have started tossing around the idea of buying a piece of land out in the "country" for the sole purpose of building our own trails and riding on. This land would likely be within a 45 minute drive to our homes- no big deal as thats what we are doing now.

    I am web-searching for parcels of land as I write this. An example I found is 36 acres with woods, level land, steep and moderate sloped land and a stream. The 36 acres is $40,000. Based on the photos I found of the land, it looks ideal for mtb trails.

    Has anyone here bought land and built trails on it? About how many acres are needed to make it worth while? are there any legalities/liabilities? i would think that as long as the land has posted signs we'd be OK.

    thanks in advance for any info.

  2. #2
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    i haven't done it. but yes, there are lots of privately owned land/ranches with trails here in Texas.

    you'll want to decide how "open" to the public you want it to be. there are definitely going to be legal considerations, and you'd need to talk to an attorney about that. basically, landowners (or homeowners) always owe duties of no negligence etc. towards guests or "invitees." waivers help, but most attorneys will tell you that they are not bulletproof under most states' laws.


    these are both privately owned here in central texas:

    Rocky Hill Ranch - The Mountain Biking Outdoor Events Capital of Texas | Rocky Hill Ranch

    The Texas Hill Country's Premier Outdoor Event, Nature Education, And Adventure Center | Reveille Peak Ranch

  3. #3
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    How much land it would take to make this worth while depends on how much trail you want out there. In general, I tend to feel like anything more than one mile per 10 acres is starting to get pretty dense. Of course, many places use higher density than that simply for the reason that they must work within the land they can access, and want to build enough trail to make it worth while. Say you double that to one mile per 5 acres, you still only get 7 miles on that piece of land.

  4. #4
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    This urban park is 293 acres. Can't remember how many miles it adds up to but you can see in the map there's a lot of winding around. If your land is heavily vegetated/wooded, it doesn't feel as strange to have switches/loops that are very close to each other. But if it's open fields it feels kinda kooky IMO.


    http://www.mountainbiketx.com/downlo...t_Creek_II.pdf

    Parks, trails, and open space in Austin and Travis County | Austin Parks Foundation

  5. #5
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    You might find these guys of interest! THE LAND Freeride Bike Park - The Best in East Coast Freeriding
    Also, NEMBA in Mass bought a parcel of land and has built some free ride features on it. Blackstone Valley NEMBA Home Page

  6. #6
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    You will probably want to form a limited liability company to purchase and hold the land. Your operating agreement should address how you will handle contributions for operating costs (real estate taxes, insurance, etc), how a member gets out of the LLC, and how you will handle deadlocks in decision making.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmitchell13 View Post
    You might find these guys of interest! THE LAND Freeride Bike Park - The Best in East Coast Freeriding
    Also, NEMBA in Mass bought a parcel of land and has built some free ride features on it. Blackstone Valley NEMBA Home Page
    yeah, this place is actually around where i live (Rochester NY). I believe they were once planning on opening to the public or sell memberships but I guess that never panned out. I'm sure there was big legal/insurance issues with that. I don't think their website has been updated in a couple years so I wonder whats going on with it.....
    Last edited by dragbike; 12-09-2012 at 03:17 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by smeets1 View Post
    You will probably want to form a limited liability company to purchase and hold the land. Your operating agreement should address how you will handle contributions for operating costs (real estate taxes, insurance, etc), how a member gets out of the LLC, and how you will handle deadlocks in decision making.
    An LLC will also protect you from personal liability but it is absolutely necessary to have an operating agreement if you do this with friends. LLC's are very inexpensive to form and you can generally do it without an attorney. But it is wise to have an attorney draft the operating agreement.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HitmenOnlyInc View Post
    LLC's are very inexpensive to form and you can generally do it without an attorney. But it is wise to have an attorney draft the operating agreement.
    Agreed.
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  10. #10
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    It would be best for one of you to buy it outright, then maybe talk about leasing access or something. Anything that is co-owned can be guaranteed to start fights. Look at all the lawsuits over family ranches etc.

  11. #11
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    If you intend to build technical features, jumps, drops, etc. then 36 acres could work nicely. If you're talking XC trails, 36 acres will not nearly be enough to keep you interested.

  12. #12
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    You'd probably want closer to 100 acres to build a good, interesting network that will appeal to a broad range of riders. If 36 acres is all you can get, it will be a hard sell as a destination worth the drive for folks less interested in the features. That may make it more difficult to get volunteers to help develop trails and features. If you're solely looking for a technical playground, there would be plenty of room for features. Just don't expect much mileage.

    I would suggest looking at what NEMBA did with the Vietnam property in Massachusetts. It has an existing, well-loved network of trails and freeride features on private property but came under the threat of development. NEMBA fundraised and purchased the land and now owns, manages, and maintains it. Being a 501, I'm not sure how they handle liability and property taxes.

    Being club-owned could simplify a few things in that respect. If it was your intention to make it openly accessible to all mountain bikers anyway, that might not be a bad way to go. You would of course have to work out control of the trail planning and construction, which may be a boon in the end. You might loose absolute control, but you'd hopefully be the one determining the vision for the place, while potentially gaining their trail building expertise and volunteer labor. You also might avoid some of the ownership issues cmc raised.

    That said, NEMBA is sort of an exception, with around a dozen chapters and five thousand members. Not many clubs can take on a project that size. If you're in the metro-area I think you are, I'd suggest a quiet feeler to local club to see if it's something they'd be interested in, if that's an option you want to consider. Hopefully they aren't at capacity expanding and maintaining the four or five other trail systems 45mins from your house.

  13. #13
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    Here is a link to a 120 acres mtn bike park in Seattle. If you look at the layout you have 3 - 40 acre blocks. Might give you an idea of what you can squeeze into 36 acres.

    Trailuthie Hill - Evergreen Trail Guide
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the great info guys. What we would ideally be looking to find is land that we could build DH type trails on with features/jumps. We would not be looking to make it open for public use. Really not 100% sure what our exact plan would be. It's Just something we were tossing around over multiple post-ride beers. Right now, in order to get on trails with jumps/features/ extended downhills we need to drive 4.5 hours to northern NJ to Mountaincreek.

    We also thought it would be nice to build a cabin on the land too. There would only be 4 or 5 of us involved. I'm not even sure we'd be able to build trails in a reasonable time frame, how long it takes to build a trail or what equipment would be needed, We would need to research that too.

    At this point we are just trying to determine if it's even worth considering. I'll explore it more.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragbike View Post
    yeah, this place is actually around where i live (Rochester NY). I believe they were once planning on opening to the public or sell memberships but I guess that never panned out. I'm sure there was big legal/insurance issues with that. I don't think their website has been updated in a couple years so I wonder whats going on with it.....
    You should reach out to the guys at The Land and talk with them. I know a couple folks that helped out on they trails, and we're then allowed to ride there.
    So instead of buying your own land, hook up with these guys, volunteer on the trails and ride there.

  16. #16
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    We leased land several years ago for the purpose of atv and jeeps. We still are in business. And this past week we voted to start adding mountain bike trails. We have around 7000 acres. Glad to see you are trying.

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