The Triathlon Association of the CNMI and Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation have submitted its enhancement project plan for the North Trail in support of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers’ Public Private Partnership initiative.
Under their proposal, the two sports organizations will work on the maintenance and installation of signage (informative and directional) at the North Trail, which includes Banzai Trail, Santa Claus, Autobahn, Bird Island Trail, and Kimikaze Trail. These trails are interconnected and located at the heart of the tourist sites in Marpi, drawing bikers, hikers, and even those just looking for a leisure walk.
TRAC vice president Manny Sitchon said significant improvements and proper maintenance of the North Trail would ensure the safety of both residents and visitors and help in the promotion of sport tourism in the CNMI.
Some parts of the North Trail were utilized for XTERRA Saipan, which used to be among the signature events of the Marianas Visitors Authority. The off-road triathlon event dubbed as XTERRA’s Jewel used to bring hundreds of triathletes from across the globe to Saipan every year since it debuted on island in 2002, but it was discontinued in 2018 due to budgetary constraints. Trail runs and team building activities are also held at the North Trail.
“As we worked on improvements at the North Trail, we can start planning for events that will cater to both on-island and off-island sports enthusiasts and nature lovers,” Sitchon said.
Besides the maintenance and signage construction, TRAC and NMICF have also proposed creating special features at the North Trail, specifically the Banzai Trail. They suggested to create a viewing deck with benches, double bubble ramp, shore-bridge system, teeter totter, and curved wall. All these features will make the Banzail Trail an attraction not only to triathletes, but their family members as well, as the spot can be turned into a bike park that can host a lot of fun activities for people of all ages.
“The proposed development projects at the North Trail are not only for sports-related events, but also for other activities, which the community and our visitors can engage in while still enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer,” said NMIFC’s Jay Diyco, who joined his group and TRAC in last month’s clean-up drive at the North Trail. (PR)