City, county officials join mountain biking community at bike park groundbreaking celebration

A rendering of the new bike skills park now under construction in St. George is on display during a groundbreaking celebration held at the Electric Theater, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — City of St. George and Washington County officials gathered with the Southern Utah mountain biking community at the Electric Theater Friday night to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park.

Teena Christopherson (black shirt) sells Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association merchandise at the bike skills park groundbreaking celebration held at the Electric Theater, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

A large crowd of outdoor enthusiasts and community members came to learn more about the park and other trails in the works, as well as to view a screening of the Red Bull Media House mountain biking film “North of Nightfall.”

The event was made possible by the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association, the city of St. George and Rapid Cycling.

Because of the relationship with Red Bull the nonprofit trails association has created through the area’s connection to Red Bull Rampage – the energy drink’s freeride mountain biking competition held in Virgin – the film was made available to screen at a deeply discounted rate, Kevin Christopherson, president of the trails association, said.

Rapid Cycling stepped in and paid for the film to be screened, one of the first public screenings in the western United States that Christopherson was aware of, he said.

Guests were asked for a $5 donation to attend. Money donated will go directly toward helping the trails association in its mission to build, maintain and ride trails throughout Southern Utah.

A public reception where attendees could view renderings of the park as well as other proposed trails that could be built in the area was held shortly before the movie.

Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park

Construction is underway on the park in the Sand Hollow Wash area near Snow Canyon High School.

Bringing the park to fruition was a collaborative effort by the city of St. George, Washington County, the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association and other passionate members of the mountain biking community.

A map of a proposed downhill flow trail to be built on the west mountain is displayed during the Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park groundbreaking celebration held at the Electric Theater, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Prior to the film screening, St. George Mayor Jon Pike addressed the crowd and thanked the many entities involved in the planning, designing and financing of the project, which will not only be a huge asset to the community but also a draw for tourists.

“This is something we hope will be a draw for people from all over the state and beyond,” Pike said.

Washington County Commissioner Zachary Renstrom, who also sits on the Utah Office of Tourism Board, made brief remarks at the event and echoed Pike’s sentiments about the park being a huge tourism draw.

Renstrom added that the park will only be about 1/2 mile from his home and that he and his family are very excited to have it in the community.

Phase one of the project will feature skills areas for a variety of riding levels including a beginner gravity skills area, a progressive drop zone, pump tracks, a pump and bump skills loop, a dirt jump zone and cross country trails.

The skills areas are designed to allow riders to progress in a way that optimizes safety and learning.

Pike said it is a good start to what they hope to be able to build upon in the future. Future plans include the addition of cross country trails where groups like the Utah High School Cycling League and area race organizers can hold races.

“We will probably build a few other trails in time,” Pike said, adding that it might be sooner rather than later thanks to the volunteer efforts of groups like the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association.

An advantage of the new park is its accessibility. Rather than a remote park that requires a 4-wheel-drive vehicle or shuttle system to get to, the new park is being built right in the heart of Washington County, Pike said.

Money for the park came from the city’s recreation, arts and parks tax fund as well as a significant contribution from the Washington County Convention and Tourism Office.

The first phase of the park is expected to be completed near the end of September, Pike said, joking that instead of a ribbon cutting ceremony, they may hold a mountain bike tire tube cutting ceremony.

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • mjvande June 9, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: https://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see https://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Mountain bikers also love to build new trails – legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat – not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g. grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat. See https://mjvande.info/scb9.htm for details.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: https://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: https://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

    The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

    The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

    Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

    • comments June 10, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Boom! And there he is! Just like a cockroach creeping around under the baseboards. Say “mountain bike” and BOOM! he pops right out. hahahah, too funny 😉 all in good fun my little lunatic friend. 😉

  • Mike P June 10, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I really have no problem with mountain biking, but I believe the trails they build, the maintenance of their trails and the land that’s designated for “their use only” should be paid for by THEM, not taxpayers who don’t give a sh@# about riding bicycles.

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