Carbondale’s new, professionally sculpted bike park still awaits finishing touches but is open to the public and deemed “wicked” and “awesome” by early users.
Primary construction was finished Saturday, and the park was closed for a couple of days after that to allow a polymer seal on the dirt to cure. Then the town caved to the inevitable and let riders on.
“We figured it was just better to let people ride the park and plan for a grand opening at a later date,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Jackel.
Sean Shuman, who helped build and maintain the course’s predecessor, put the new park through its paces and deemed it as good as any in the state.
“It’s a huge upgrade. They did a great job,” Shuman said. “I’m really stoked to have this in our back yard. It’s going to make a huge impact on our community.”
His fellow riders echoed his sentiments.
Beginner, intermediate and advanced riders will all find features to test their mettle.
The park didn’t happen overnight. It has its roots in a joint meeting between Parks and Recreation and the Bike, Pedestrian and Trails Commission in February 2012.
Interest was high, with 25 to 30 residents showing up.
“It showed that it wasn’t just the dream of a few people,” Jackel recalled.
North Face Park at the south end of town, which also hosts a skate park, tennis courts and softball field, has seen several iterations of volunteer-designed and -maintained bike courses, but never a professionally designed and built one.
The International Mountain Biking Association did a schematic, and the town secured $95,000 toward the project: a $60,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant, a $25,000 Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease Mini Grant and $10,000 from Alpine Bank. Pennsylvania based DirtSculpt won the bid to build it.
With irrigation, landscaping and signage still pending, a grand opening is in the works. In the meantime, the town is working on education.
“There’s going to be a learning period with how people use the park,” said Darryl Fuller, chair of Bike, Pedestrian and Trails Commission.
A list of guidelines is already posted at the park’s main entrance. Helmets are encouraged. Riding in the rain isn’t, and walking on the riding surfaces is a major faux pas.
Perhaps most importantly, the features can’t be adjusted by just anyone. Soiltac, the polymer sealant, doesn’t allow for easy resculpting, and after years of informal modifications at the site, the course is designed to be kept as is. Maintenance will still be largely volunteer-based but under town supervision through “Friends of the Bike Park.”
Folks hoping to get involved can contact Jackel at the town hall, 970-510-1214, or firstname.lastname@example.org.