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County approves first phase of bike park

Article Date: 
8 March, 2013 (All day)

The Morgan County Council approved the first phase of the Morgan Bike Park, which could include a pump track area.  The area would be restricted to non-motorized recreation only.
The county allowed organizers of the bike park to use 10 acres of county-owned property for the next two years.  The park is just across the road from the Morgan County Fairgrounds parking lot in a meadow of a river bend.  Formerly, this area was master planned for a motocross track.
 “Bike parks provide individuals of all ages with a venue for varying abilities and with varying levels of physical exertion, while utilizing areas of land that are sometimes limited for other uses,” according to proposal documents.  “While there are many reasons why we all make Morgan home, some only realize later that being surrounded by beautiful scenery does not mean you can easily go out and enjoy it.  Having so little public ground that is accessible for recreation such as mountain biking or hiking, the only options for some are in other counties or at Snowbasin, which isn’t open until high snow melts.”
Organizer Jason Johnson is relying on community support, grants and private donations to build and maintain the bike park. Future plans call for a pump track, single track perimeter trail, mountain bike skills and obstacles area, restrooms, benches, picnic area and parking.  Elements of the bike park will be added as volunteers and funding allow.
Johnson said this bike park has the potential to be a unique draw as parks of this sort can only be found in Eagle Mountain, Draper and Park City.  Another is planned in Midvale.
“It will be comprehensive enough to draw cyclists and families,” said proposal documents.  “It can become one more great thing you can do in Morgan when staying at the local hotel or golf course development.”
Phasing will allow the bike park to “prove itself” to the community and local governments.
“While there is confidence that this will become a permanent, valuable asset to the community, it is an unknown concept to most of the residents,” according to proposal documents.
Top on the priority list is a pump track, which could be constructed from piles of dirt already in the field.
A pump track’s primary purpose is to allow a rider to move a bicycle through pumping rather than pedaling over a course of smooth surfaces, rollers and beams.  Any type of bicycle can be used on a pump track, including strider bikes with no pedals.
The first phase is also designed to include a designated parking area, porta potties, trash cans and signage.
Johnson said dedicating a space to bikes is a way of increasing the safety of participants, since they will not be biking on busy city streets, crossing intersections, or interacting with traffic.
Proposal documents also claim that the bike park will fit in with other recreational opportunities in the area including tubing, rafting, kayaking, golfing and fishing and has the potential to enhance the businesses, fairgrounds and future developments in the valley.
“Positive economic impact is expected, particularly on Commercial Street,” reads the proposal.  “It would not be surprising to see retail space that would offer bicycle-related products in addition to river activity products and services, including rentals.”
As the park is developed, it may be able to host competitive events such as pump track challenges, circuit course races, or cyclocross.
In the off-season, the area could be used as a short cross country skiing loop or prepped for a small ice skating rink, according to the proposal.
“It will fit well with the image of healthy, active families that have made Morgan home,” said the proposal.