‘Extreme’ cyclists suspected of building rogue trail at Garden
Also report of threatening note to city employee
City Parks officials recently found that a remote part of the Garden of the Gods had been turned into an apparent practice course for “extreme” mountain bikers.
The suspected individuals secretly uprooted or cut back bushes, hacked away or ripped off numerous tree branches, piled up dirt and rocks for jumps and generally cleared a roughly one-mile trail through an area that is quite steep in places and is partly a drainageway. Bicycle tracks were also evident along the route, based on a visit to the site this week.
No criminal charges have been filed, but police are investigating, according to Scott Abbott, the city's regional parks supervisor. Asked to confirm a separate report that it might have been professional downhill mountain bicyclists from out of state, he said that was just speculation at this point. However, he added, referring to the steepness and the deliberately placed obstacles, it's evident that “the trail took weeks to build” and the intent was “to be extreme.”
One city employee, who asked not to be named, reported seeing people working on the trail with saws and hatchets - and also being seen by them. The reason for the employee's anonymity request was a note left behind, ostensibly by someone with the mountain-biking contingent, threatening bodily harm if they saw the employee there again. The note added that “no one will hear you screaming.” Near the note, a cattle skull had been placed on an upturned tree branch.
The bicyle group has apparently not returned to the Garden of late, but the same type of mountain-biking course - also accompanied by natural-area devastation - has recently been found at Palmer Park, according to the city employee.
Abbott said that in addition to harming sensitive park areas, extreme trails like these are dangerous by attracting those less skilled cyclists who might get seriously hurt by using them.
The one-mile segment has been closed off, and Abbott said he hopes he can get a crew in there to do reclamation work as soon as possible.
He said he was gratified by a recent meeting he had with representatives of Medicine Wheel, a local bicycle group that repairs trails. He said they agreed to spread the word among the biking community that such rogue trails are a menace. Medicine Wheel also offered to help with the restoration effort, Abbott said.
Westside Pioneer article