Mountain bike trail mostly favored at county open house

       A proposed two-mile mountain biking trail in Bear Creek Regional Park met with nearly all favorable responses from about 20 that were turned in at an open house April 4 at the Bear Creek Nature Center.
       There is some resistance, however, from a few Skyway-area property owners who live near the designated park area west of 21st Street and south of Bear Creek and the Dog Park.
       El Paso County Parks Planner Brian Kay said afterward he had talked with a couple of the dubious residents at the open house and will work with them, as well as one or two others who weren't at the meeting, to make the trail as nonintrusive as possible. This could mean realigning the trail layout or planting vegetation between the trail and their homes, he said this week.
       The idea for the trail came from the local mountain biking community. Medicine Wheel, a long-time bicyling group that builds and maintains trails, has pledged $4,000 to help cover costs and has offered to lead its construction. Other major supporters include the Trails and Open Space Coalition, Criterium Bicycles and Pro Cycling.
       “The way it's designed, it will appeal to children and to beginning riders,” commented Jim Schwerin, president of Medicine Wheel and also a member of the Colorado Springs Parks Board, during the open house. “There's not much altitude climb. It will be a great place to get more people interested.”
       Another meeting attendee, Dave Dessel, said he likes the idea of having a segment of trail that - while open to other types of trail use - would be generally designated for mountain bikers. “This will decrease a lot of conflicts,” said Dessel, a trail contractor who laid out Red Rock Canyon Open Space's 31st Street connector last year.
       Skyway Association President Dennis Myers said he did not see a problem with the plan. “The park has places for dogs, horses and gardening,” he observed. “Why not a place for bikers?”
       The open house had been requested by the County Parks Board to get a feel for public sentiment. At a meeting this week, where he presented the survey results, Kay said the board gave him the go-ahead to fine-tune the plan as long as he keeps working with the concerned property owners.
       The next step will be to spend time “in the field,” as Kay put it. So far, all the conceptual planning has been based on contour map lines; figuring out the final design will require looking at the terrain first-hand, he explained.
       No more open houses are anticipated. Assuming an understanding is reached with the neighbors, the goal is to start construction by late May or early June and have the trail done this summer, Kay said.
       One uncertainty is how many of the planned “trick” aspects might be installed this year, he added. An application is being put together for a grant to buy the special items (such as “whoops” and “drops”), which would be built into the trail to give challenges to riders.

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