Peninsula -- Cuyahoga Valley National Park opened the first 2.3-mile section of the popular East Rim trail a year ago. The trail is attracting visitors from around northeast Ohio and the country to ride a trail in a national park.

Work has begun to construct a new 6.5-mile section, "Phase 2." Now with full funding to bring on a trail design expert, the new section is due for completion in spring 2018.

The funding was raised by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the park's nonprofit friends group, in partnership with the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA). A joint fundraising campaign matched individual donations with a $10,000 gift from an anonymous CAMBA member, raising over $20,000 from 84 people to ensure the second phase of the trail was completed by nationally renowned mountain bike trail designer.

"I'm overwhelmed by how quickly and generously the mountain bike community rallied to partner with the park," said the anonymous donor. "CAMBA's partnership with CVNP represents not only a plus for local mountain bikers -- it's an example of what other national parks can do."

For the project completion, CVNP will work once again with designer Alex Stewart of Spectrum Trail Design, who designed the first phase of the trail. As with the first phase, the new section will feature a sustainable design that reduces impact on local plants and animals. The next steps of the project include creating the inner connector line, as well as a possible bouldering route off the existing trail.

"CAMBA has long felt that allowing mountain biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park would further enhance its appeal and improve regional visibility of the park," said Jim Olander, CAMBA Director of Trails. "[All our partners] share the same focus of building a highly sustainable mountain bike trail system that will introduce many new riders from Ohio and surrounding states to one of the nation's most beautiful national parks."

The East Rim Trail project is an example of a strong partnership between the Conservancy, National Park Service (NPS), and community organizations. For this project, the Conservancy and NPS are working closely with CAMBA to create a world-class mountain bike trail for Ohio's national park. This strong partnership is assisting in the fundraising, development, construction of the East Rim trail project.

Acting Superintendent Paul Stoehr said, "Cuyahoga Valley National Park is grateful to the Conservancy and CAMBA for this incredible fundraising effort. Our mountain bike trail would not be possible without their support."

For more information about the East Rim Trail, visit forCVNP.org/EastRim. For the current trail status, visit twitter.com/CVNPmtb.

Submitted by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.