Home » The Region’s Off-Road Recreation Push Is on Track

The Region’s Off-Road Recreation Push Is on Track

by John Fox

The Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance (CORA) is a nonprofit founded in 1996 to develop a network of high-quality off-road trails throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for use by mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. The organization currently maintains 115 miles of trail in the region.

CORA has helped build 12 miles of off-road trails at Devou Park in Covington, where all of these photos were taken. Trail expansion continues there as well as at East Fork Lake, Hueston Woods, Caesar Creek State Park, Mt. Airy Forest, and other outdoor locations.

“Mountain biking is so much fun and checks my mental health and physical health boxes,” says CORA President Brian Bozeman. “I’m doing exactly what I want to do at the time, and I can do it with my wife and kids as a family.” The long-time CORA board member, who was recently elected president, learned to love mountain biking while living in Colorado with his wife. “I have a vision of creating the community here that my kids never want to leave,” he says. “All across the country trails are helping revitalize communities and draw tourism and then talent.”

The Cincinnati region has poured funding into paved biking and hiking trails, from Wasson Way to the Little Miami Scenic Trail. Bozeman hopes CORA’s off-road trails will generate similar attention and get connected better with the wider network. “A mountain bike trail is about 1/20th of the cost per mile to build compared to a paved trail,” he says.

CORA is working with regional tourism officials to build a higher-profile brand for the off-road biking scene here. Bozeman says he’s been studying success stories in Knoxville, Tennessee, which promotes its Urban Wilderness trail network, and in Bentonville, Arkansas, which embraces its Oz Trails (short for Ozarks). “They’re cool brands,” he says. “They’re on every T-shirt, hat, and bumper sticker. And they create a sense of place.”

CORA is negotiating to develop 500 acres of hillside land near CVG into a system of off-road trails. The private land stretches from the Circle Port office center to the Ohio River and could provide eventual connections to the planned paved trail around the airport as well as to the Riverfront Commons paved trail that starts in Ludlow.

Photographs by Jeremy Kramer