Bear Creek Singletrack loop could be done by November

       Volunteer hand work is continuing - augmented in the last few weeks by a contractor with mechanized equipment - to build what's being called the Bear Creek Park Singletrack (mountain bike trail).
       “Realistically, we're looking at a mid-November finish,” said County Parks Planner Brian Kay this week. “Then through the winter and spring, we can build in drops and other features.”
       Workdays are currently scheduled every Thursday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m. People who would like to volunteer should come to Bear Creek Park's Pavilion 7, on the west side of the parking lot just past the main entrance off Argus Street.
       Tools are provided. Long pants and boots are recommended because of cactus and yucca. Volunteers should bring water and gloves.
       For more information or to verify a workday is on, call 633-0025 or 520-6985.
       Medicine Wheel, a volunteer bicycle/trail construction group, is partnering with El Paso County Parks to build the trail, which is to be used for fun or formal races. When finished, it will be roughly two miles in length, including structural features here and there (such as drops or rock steps) to challenge riders, in a hilly area west of 21st Street and south of the County Dog Park.
       The plan went through a design and public process last spring. Volunteer construction, led by the bicyclists, occurred weekly through the summer. August brought a financial boost, when the REI outdoor company gave Medicine Wheel and County Parks each a $5,000 grant to use towards the project. Another $8,000 donation came from the Pikes Peak Triple Crown of Running. This allowed a trail contractor to be hired, Kay said.
       The running group donation reflects Triple Crown's traditional use of Bear Creek trails for events, as well as the point that Bear Creek Singletrack “is not strictly a biking trail,” Kay said. “We will keep it open to all users.”
       As of last week, volunteers from Medicine Wheel had “roughed in” approximately 2,000 feet, and Trail Arts (the contractor) 3,000 feet. What remains to be built is about 1,000 feet by volunteers, 1,500 feet by the contractor and 2,000 feet by Springs Utilities (a segment that will double as an easement access), Kay said.
       The plan has evolved from the original design, which showed three potential loops within a main loop. The final layout has five inner loops.
       The Medicine Wheel website has promoted the project as the start of a potential bicycling trail network in the Bear Creek Park area, but Kay cautioned that before planning additional trails, “we'll want to step back and see if it's going to be a success or not. But so far everyone's been supportive of it. It's a great addition to the park, and it's already being used on weekends a lot.”

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