Pennsylvania Kinzua Pathways has been around longer than the current leadership of the Allegheny National Forest.
Last Thursday, PKP members introduced themselves to those ANF officials, and pitched their goal of bringing mountain biking trails to the forest.
While they were at it, they invited representatives from mountain bicycling organizations, the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry (WCCBI), the Warren County Council on Tourism (COT), Pennsylvania Wilds, Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, and Leadership Warren County to meet with ANF Forest Supervisor Erin Connelly, Bradford District Ranger Mac Herrera, and Bradford District Deputy Ranger Tony Martoglio.
PKP's Joe Colosimo spoke about the group's goals - attracting visitors to Warren County, educating the visitors, providing good facilities and good access to them, and promoting good stewardship.
The Rimrock Trail is the group's primary accomplishment, so far.
Thousands of county residents and visitors have attended each of the two Rimrock Bash events on Memorial ay weekend coordinated by PKP and COT.
Next up is a proposed Jakes Rocks Epic (mountain cycling) Trail System.
"The mountain bike system is another opportunity for historical awareness," Colosimo said.
Trailhead signage could include historical information about the area the trail passes through or overlooks.
Colosimo described "a multi-state area that is underserved from a mountain biking standpoint."
"It's going to be an economic stimulus for Warren County," he said. "We're drawing from a much larger area than people think."
The Mid-Atlantic region's bicycling economy runs to $6.9 billion, he said, and supports 66,290 jobs.
Most of the cyclists along the Mid-Atlantic Coast who are looking for an area for mountain biking look to Raystown Lake, which opened in May 2009.
Frank Maguire is the regional director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. IMBA works with trail science professionals and cyclists to "create, enhance, and preserve trails for mountain bikers worldwide," he said.
Maguire is familiar with the Raystown Lake area. He spoke to the ANF leaders about his case studies in places like Moab, Jackson Hole, and Raystown.
When he evaluated the Raystown area, the expectations were that a trail system would bring in almost 10,000 cyclists. Those estimates proved to be conservative. "In the first full year, at one trailhead they got 26,000 visitors," Maguire said.
On Memorial Day weekend alone, there were 2,300 visitors this year, he said.
The trails have spawned new economic activity in the area, including a new hotel, and Maguire's favorite anecdotal evidence of economic stimulus, "the beer distributor is carrying better beer now."
PKP and IMBA are not trying to compete with Raystown for the Atlantic Coast.
Maguire said the visitors to a new trail system on the Allegheny National Forest would be from "Toronto, Buffalo, and Cleveland."
The Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake now feature 33 miles of trails for all riding-skill levels.
The proposed Jakes Rocks trail system would feature 42 miles of trails.
"We have the potential to become the bicycling capital of the Mid-Atlantic Region," Colosimo said.
With a trail and visitors would come economic benefit. With tourism might come population growth.
WCCBI President and CEO Jim Decker said he was interested in working with various groups to highlight opportunities in Warren County and hopefully "marry our tourism marketing to our community development."
"It has huge positive implications across the board," Decker said.
"When this report came out, it went off like a rocket throughout the region," Ta Enos of Pennsylvania Wilds said. "It's an excellent project all the way around."
She expects a high-quality mountain bicycling trail system would have benefits beyond Warren County. "It would be a tremendous new asset for the region," Enos said. "There's a lot of potential for small-business growth around it."
Colosimo said the cost of the project has been estimated at $2.2 million. PKP is looking for corporate, public and private funding, as well as grant dollars.
Maguire said typical sources of funding for trails include the Transportation Enhancement Program and the Recreational Trails Program, both administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.