Local bike riders getting Sylvan Island ready

Sylvan Island Bridge has been closed since 2014

MOLINE, Illinois - For three years, the Sylvan Island Bridge has been closed due to structural issues. but the City of Moline has been working to fix the bridge and reopen it to the public. 

That's why a group of local bike riders have been working to make sure the bike paths on the island are clear.

The paths on Sylvan Island are known across the nation as some of the best paths to ride. and the small group of dedicated Friends of Off-Road Cycling or "FORC" members have put in hundreds of hours to maintain the trails. 

"Trail building, it's always funny because when you go into the woods and you're walking a trail you just presume it got there by people walking in the same place," said Ray Nees of Friends of Off Road Cycling. "Trails in the woods actually have to be built by hand typically with flat shovels and specialized hoes that we use."

For the last three years the only way to access Sylvan Island has been by water. 

But recently, members of a local cycling group have been using their own boats and equipment to help maintain the Sylvan Island trails. 

"We've got a small group and we all have kayaks and I have a small 10-foot flatbottom boat that I actually row over there so we can put tools in it," Nees said. "Right now the volunteers head to the island almost every weekend clearing paths are overgrown. Mother Nature has reclaimed the island so we are back here putting the trails back in and we are hopeful to have all of the trails back open by the time the bridge is in and the park is back open."

A small group of dedicated workers can take a path that looks like this and turn it into this. 

Between all the workers they have put in at least 400 man hours. And the crew is excited to see it so close to being open. 

"We are so stoked to have Sylvan Island back open there are alot of other parks in the Quad City area that we can ride that we didn't used to have but Sylvan Island was the go-to place in early spring," Nees said. "My excitment level is off the charts, as is probably everyone in FORC and many other community members it's unbelieveable." 

FORC will be boating back over the the island this Sunday for their large cleanup event. If you're interested in helping, contact a member of FORC or click here. http://www.qcforc.org/content.php?s=bff124a47bffecd8bc045eee796ff98e 


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