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Local resident proposes bike park

Article Date: 
14 September, 2012 (All day)

Recent years have seen the creation and expansion of a new type of community recreation that provides an opportunity for families to enjoy the outdoors and engage in physical activity together, while remaining relatively low in upfront and ongoing cost. Bike parks provide individuals of all ages with a venue for varying abilities and levels of physical exertion.  Bike parks are customized to fit the physical location and resources available as well as the interest and demand of the public using the parks. Being a relatively new concept in communities, many of the future users of bike parks aren’t even aware they exist.
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.  This prompted Chamber of Commerce member, Jason Johnston, to come up with a proposal to submit to the Morgan County Council.
A bike park would provide affordable recreation to families. All ages and skill levels can participate in bike parks at the same time, unlike other activities where only one or two kids participate while other family members just watch or stay home.  The parks also help keep bikes off the city streets, where crossing intersections and interacting with traffic is a constant concern.  The parks are appealing to parents, not just youth, which helps keep an atmosphere.  This makes it easier for the community itself to assure the facilities are not abused.
The proposed bike park would be located northwest of the fairgrounds parking lot, across the new road, extending toward Round Valley and in the meadow of the river bend. The two areas are divided by an access road along the river.   The characteristics of the property and location lend perfectly to other recreation activities in the area including tubing, rafting and kayaking.
The bike park itself would consist of the following elements: pump track, single track perimeter trail and mountain bike skills and obstacles area. 
Pump tracks are similar to BMX race tracks, but incorporate open choices and alternatives routes. The design and placement of each roller and berm allows the rider to move the bicycle through pumping rather than pedaling. It provides a great sensation similar to that in skiing. Almost any type of bicycle can be used on a pump track.  Sections of this area would be designed for the youngest beginner on strider bikes (no pedals), moving into more challenging rollers and berms in the advanced areas. Design would also allow for special events/competitions where riders compete on a parallel or symmetrical course, two at a time.
Single track: a perimeter park trail would be built to include both areas of the proposed park. Though the area of the park will not allow a long cross-country course, a single track loop can be initially built solely by volunteer labor.  The proposal is to construct the basic loop trail, then later add a parallel trail that will include more challenging features, so friends or family of differing abilities can still ride near each other along the loop.
The mountain bike skills area would be located primarily within the river bend area, accessed by the single track trails. The possibilities of the obstacles are unlimited and can be added one by one, as volunteers and funding allow. They range from simple 2 X 4 plank bridges, to carefully placed boulders linked by bridges or dirt, teeter-totter to ride up and down on bike, smooth drops from bridges to carefully sloped dirt landings and narrow elevated bridges that turn corners.
The bike park would address a lot of the concerns over increased bike traffic on our narrow country roads.  For more information on the proposed bike part, visit the Morgan Bike Park facebook page, or go to https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B5dZSnjhZdsDRVRQSXJyeWlUaUk.