From Darkness To Light

21 Nov 2013

Chapman Hill Bike Park Project grant request denied for a second time

Posted by Adam Howell

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A grant request submitted by the City of Durango to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for assisting the funding of a bike park at Chapman Hill failed to make the list of those projects recommended for a second time at GOCO’s local government meeting on Monday.

A grant request to fund the creation of Durango's first City-sanctioned freeride and dirt jump trails was denied by GOCO recently.

A grant request to fund the creation of Durango’s first City-sanctioned freeride and dirt jump trails was denied by GOCO for a second time on Monday.

“Unfortunately while a great project, the Chapman Hill Bike Park project was not recommended,” said Jake Houston, the Local Government and Planning Programs Coordinator for GOCO. “I am happy to work with the City going forward to provide any assistance that I can.”

Among the ten projects recommended for funding were an extreme hiking trail enhancement project in Colorado Springs, a skate park in Morgan County, and a board replacement project at an ice rink in the town of Kremmling, among various others around the state.

Great Outdoors Colorado is an entity that awards state lottery proceeds for park improvements and the acquisition of natural lands.

The City of Durango had  submitted a grant request for around $270,000 dollars twice over the past year for a bike park at Chapman Hill that would have included a terrain park, “flow” trails for riders of various skill levels, a pump track, a freestyle training center, and a big-ass jump.

This rope tow at Chapman Hill would not receive any improvements under the current preliminary budget that would fund the proposed Bike Park.

An uplift at the proposed Chapman Hill Bike Park Project was not part of the preliminary plans. There was, however, a plan for a commuter trail for bikers to push their rigs up for each run.

Monday’s grant denial leaves a gaping power vacuum for the future of freeride trail construction funding and whether its void will be filled for the funding of them on City lands, given that an undocumented amount has been spent on freeride trails during the organization’s existence, with the City having picked up the tab for most of the implementation costs for the progressive freeride Snakecharmer Trail, aka “The Scratch,” in Horse Gulch.

Snakecharmer was originally planned and marketed as a freeride trail, but then changed to what Monroe Brown and her trail foreman Tyson Swasey call a ‘progressive’ trail after deciding that the word freeride was too vague or has negative connotations for various reasons. The trail, to this day, has features like rocky ledges with drops and berms that relate to freeride features, given their ability to let riders express themselves in the air aContactnd on technical, rocky, human-constructed and natural terrain.

Furthermore, freeriders continue to lack any substantial, sanctioned, freeride terrain and features to ride and play on, while  a determined sect of locals and City staff continue to destroy existing features that have been built without permission on City land.

The construction of freeride features on city and federal lands continues and progresses every year, with many people benefiting with enjoyment and health benefits from using those features despite the continuing hatred expressed by a small faction of self-proclaimed environmentalists, those scared of fast-moving cyclists, a few City officials and some equestrians.

This blogger has a request in with Trails 2000’s Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown regarding how the organization plans on spending funds that they raised for the Chapman Hill Bike Park at their fundraiser in 2011. This post will be updated when and if she responds.

Chapman Hill Bike Park Project GOCO grant request, Spring 2013

Great Outdoors Colorado’s Fall, 2013 LPOR Recommended Projects

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2 Responses to “Chapman Hill Bike Park Project grant request denied for a second time”

  1. “… the word freeride has negative connotations for various reasons”

    Please ask her to elaborate on that too. Would love to know those various reason, in specifics. Stereotypes don’t count.

    Sad news on the grant front, sorry to hear about it. Hopefully they’ll keep applying for it?

    Looks like ya got scratch, and it’ll be another half decade while the rest of the mtb world leaves those in charge of trails there in the 90’s. Sad.

    But I have to say, Scratch is a job well done either way. Very fun. That and Raider’s Ridge in general are big standouts in the the trail line up there. The other major highlight trail I’ll leave nameless, but know that people from around the state and other states come there to ride it 😉


    Jerry Hazard

  2. While she has refused to go on the record with me over the past few years, she has also requested that her former Trail Foreman Tyson Swasey not go on the record with me, either–a gag order, in effect.

    One thing that Swasey told me in Horse Gulch one day before the gag order was that the word freeride invokes images of people riding rogue down a hillside in places with no designated trail at all. That and the wording on the sign at the top of The Scratch requesting that people don’t skid, are indications that Trails 2000 sees freeride as having a negative connotation related to skidding and soil disturbances.

    In the bigger scheme, I will say that tires on long-travel bikes have little more effect on most soils than a footprint from a hiker.

    Raider’s Ridge is one of my favorites, as well, and I give Dusty Bender, Walker Thompson, Colin Shadell, Tyson Swasey and Mary Monroe Brown much respect for having contributed so much time and effort to the planning and implementation of The Scratch coming off of it.

    As for the nameless on SJNF, that’ll be an example of a trail styled as a role model of success for the freeride trails and big hits of Durango’s future.


    Adam Howell

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