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      Grant funds Anniston mountain bike trail

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      Development of one of Alabama's most challenging mountain bike trail systems is shifting into high gear. {}That is because the Recreational Trails Program is getting funding through a $300,000 grant awarded by Governor Robert Bentley. The money will help pay for construction of additional trails on Coldwater Mountain, a Forever Wild property near Anniston.{}The first 13 miles of what organizers hope will become a 50 to 60-mile trail complex opened in June. Located on a 1,600-foot-high mountain, trails are available for hiking as well as biking. {}"The success of Coldwater Mountain is due not only to its challenging trails, but also because of the excellent cooperation that has characterized its development," Bentley said. "A multitude of enthusiastic volunteers and supporters have joined with representatives of federal, state and local governments to create a first-rate destination for trail enthusiasts from across the country."The International Mountain Biking Association is designing and creating the trails on the public trust property managed by the state Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The design will include trails for cyclists of all skill levels. Long-range plans include construction of a link between the Coldwater Mountain trail system and the Chief Ladiga Trail that runs from Anniston to the Georgia state line where it becomes the Silver Comet Trail extending to Atlanta.Developers and supporters, citing a recent study by Jacksonville State University, believe Coldwater Mountain could eventually attract more than 50,000 to 150,000 visitors annually with an economic impact of between $1.83 and $5.49 million for the local economy.{}

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