The rock-free flats in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Nevada have been a favorite of mountain bikers and trail runners for decades.
In recent years, however, rock-saturated landscapes have taken a toll on these flats.
“We have a lot of people who have been climbing the Rocky Mountains for a long time, and it’s really difficult to have a solid base of stability if you have to rely on the terrain for your protection,” said Tom Zorn, a retired U.S. Army Ranger and founder of the Canyon Mountain Trail in Colorado.
“You’ve got to be able to walk over some rocks, but you’ve got a lot more to worry about if you get hit by rocks and fall down.”
With these factors in mind, Zorn’s organization created the Run Flat tires program to help improve the overall safety of the terrain.
Zorn, along with the Rocky Flat Trail Coalition, launched a fundraising campaign to help the nonprofit maintain and upgrade its trails.
The project has already raised more than $1.2 million from more than 1,200 donors and volunteers.
It’s been a huge success, Zerna said.
More than 1.6 million people visited the website last year, according to the group.
This year, the Rocky Flat Trail has become the first trail in the U.P. to receive the Rock Run Flat tire seal, a mark of endorsement that means the tire has been tested on the terrain.
“It’s an incredible endorsement that gives the trail a special stamp of approval,” Zorn said.
“If you can’t trust the terrain, it’s going to be a difficult trail to ride.”
Zerna hopes that other trail builders can benefit from this recognition and encourage more trail builders to use Run Flat Tire Seal on their trails.
“People really appreciate it when they see that they’re doing something to support the mountain environment, and we just need to give that recognition to the trails that are being created right now,” Zerno said.
In addition to the Roots Trail, the Rocky flat tire program also includes the Spencer Creek Trail in New Mexico, the Mount Rushmore Trail in Texas and the Gravity Creek Trail, in Utah.
Read more about the Rocky flats project in The Mountain News