At the north end of Mill Creek Parkway is a series of hills where BMX bike riders dirt jump. It’s called Anonymous Park, after an unnamed donor who donated the land on the west side of 500 West to the City of Moab. A few call it the Moab Bike Park and envision far more than a few hills to ride.
The Moab Bike Park Committee approached the City of Moab in March with a proposal for a bike park that would include dirt jumps, a pump track, flow trail and BMX track.
At their Aug. 28 meeting the Moab City Council agreed to work with the group through the Moab Trails Alliance to build Phase 1: Dirt jumps and a pump track.
The city is not building the park. It is allowing the committee to build the park on city land with oversight, said Donna Metzler, Moab City administrator.
Most of the members of the Moab Bike Park Committee are associated with local bike shops.
“I think it is essential if we’re going to keep our moniker of Mountain Bike Mecca we need to step it up,” said Mark Seveoff, owner of Western Spirit Cycling Adventures. “Not only will it help kids, but it will keep us on the forefront.”
Tyson Swasey has been building playgrounds for his bikes since he was nine years old, often looking over his shoulder not knowing if he would be in trouble for building little jumps for his BMX bike.
He helped build the hills that are now in place at Anonymous Park.
“It was quick,” he said. “It was all volunteer. There wasn’t a lot of thought put into it. We only had a day, maybe two nights to get the work done.”
This time is different.
The Moab Bike Park Committee has developed a full plan and has sought the input from others who have built bike parks in Park City and Boulder, Colo. They hope to complete all three phases of the park within the year. Phase 2 includes a flow trail and skills area to be built Spring 2012. Phase 3 would be a BMX track to be completed Fall 2013.
Mark Sevenoff, owner of Western Spirit, was able to find $5,000 for the park through a grant from Specialized Bikes. Tracy Reed of Chile Pepper Bike Shop said they have approximately another $5,000 that was raised during the Sixth Annual Moab Ho-Down Mountain Bike Festival last October.
“We need more money,” Reed said.
“That money will go fast,” Swasey said.
Reed said that money raised at the upcoming Seventh Annual Moab Ho-Down Mountain Bike Festival in October will go toward building the flow trail and
James Flatten from Grassroots Cycles will be leading the build. Reed said that hotels and restaurants in town are donating rooms and meals to the crew to assist with the project.
The first phase still dependent on volunteers, said Wendy Palmer of Chile Pepper Bike Shop.
The proposal lists the need of 10 to 15 volunteers. The committee is soliciting help through their Facebook page: Moab Bike Park Crew (formerly known as Moab Dirt Jump Crew).
The crew plans to begin work on the site Wednesday, Sept. 5. They hope to complete the dirt jumps and the pump track within two weeks.
The dirt jumps will have different levels, from beginner to professional, allowing riders to develop skills over time.
The pump track is a short circuit track built into a small area that is designed to allow the rider to ride the course continuously without pedaling. Pumping is shifting the weight of the rider over rollers and through bermed trails.
The committee plans to build the pump track were trees are now. Volunteers are needed to trim back much of the growth, however, they do plan to leave most of the trees in place.
“We’re going to leave as much as possible, so we can have as much shade as possible” Swasey said.
The end result is that the committee wants to create a place that is more inviting: To the BMX riders that now use it for jumps, for tourists that come to Moab to ride the trails, and for the people who live here now.
“It’s going to be more friendly families than it is right now,” Reed said.
“It’s going to be more friendly to everyone,” Palmer said.
Sevenoff sees the park as a way of keeping kids occupied and off the streets.
“I was kind of the chubby kid who sat on the bench a lot. It wasn’t until I was 15 and started hanging out with other kids that weren’t into ball sports either and we all clicked,” Sevenoff said. “We didn’t have bike parks when I was young. We tried to stay out of trouble. We probably got into more trouble than if we had a more focused area.”