Minturn bike park campaign exceeds goal
Supporters can now apply for key $250,000 grant
MINTURN — Money has poured in from all corners of the valley to support a new bike park in Minturn.
Vail Valley residents, businesses and nonprofits have raised about $40,000 toward the effort in the past few weeks.
“The support has been unbelievable,” said Ernest Saeger, executive director of the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance, which is leading up the effort along with the town of Minturn.
The fundraising efforts have well surpassed the goal of $30,000 — with tens of thousands more in grant money still possible, Saeger said.
That means organizers can move to the next step, a critical one for the park — applying for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant that would fund another $250,000. GOCO uses lottery proceeds to help fund wildlife, parks, rivers, trails and open space in the state.
The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance will submit the grant application next week and hear back in March.
If successful, construction could begin in May, with the park open by late August or early September of 2020.
Wide range of support
The campaign’s GoFundMe site shows donations from a long list of individuals, ranging from $20 to thousands of dollars.
And several Vail Valley businesses have stepped up to offer their support to the park.
Holy Cross Energy, Vail Health, Xcel Energy and Minturn Shop and Hop are among the businesses and nonprofits that have signed on to sponsor portions of the park, which gives them naming rights.
A total of 11 trails were available for sponsorship, and only four are still available. A title sponsorship for the park is also still available.
Other businesses are contributing in other ways.
A fundraiser last month at the Minturn Saloon raised $10,000, thanks in large part to a bike donated by the Kind Bikes and Skis.
Colorado World Resorts donated almost $100,000 worth of dirt from its development site in Avon.
Zehren and Associates has stepped up by taking the lead on the overall bike park land design and site planning.
The town of Minturn provided $1,800 to pay for a design for the park by Shea Ferrell, of FlowRide Concepts, a Denver company. The plan includes flow trails, gravity trails, climbing trails, a dirt jump zone, a pump track, a dual slalom race course, and an adaptive mountain biking course.
The park would sit on town-owned land directly below the Mini Mile trail, to the southeast of the cement plant, near Little Beach Park.
“I’m just so excited — I’m beyond thrilled,” said Terry Armistead, a Minturn Town Council member and supporter of the effort, of the fundraising results. “I knew that the greater Eagle County would be excited about it, but wanted to make sure it was something that was good for Minturn.”
And, she said, she’s heard lots of support from Minturn residents.
“They understand it’s going to be a boon for the economy, and that it’s going to be great for citizens — kids and adults alike,” she said.
A place for all levels
The park would include beginner, intermediate and advanced trails.
Programs at the park could include kids camps, skills clinics, races and jump competitions.
Numerous Eagle County groups have voiced support for project, including the Cycle Effect, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, SOS Outreach, the Vail Recreation District and Mountain Recreation.
Brett Donelson, founder and executive director of The Cycle Effect, a local nonprofit whose mission is to empower young women through mountain biking, said the park fulfills a key need not just for his organization but for the Eagle Valley as a whole — a place where non-expert mountain bikers can have fun and progress.
“This aligns exactly with what we do,” he said. “It’s a way to get beginner and intermediate mountain bikers out on the trails.”
The project also includes a parking area, restrooms, trees and shade structures. Plans envision trail connections to the Mini Mile trail as well as Little Beach Park.
The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance hopes to reduce the costs with the help of donations from local supporters, including construction companies. It would also use its own mini-excavator, volunteers and trail-building expertise to lessen the cost.
Maintenance costs are expected to be 10-15% of the construction cost annually, with the work performed by the town, volunteers or local recreation districts.
The park would adhere to a wildlife closure of Dec. 15 to April 15, the same as the Mini Mile trail, he said.
The Frisco Adventure Park bike park, also designed by FlowRide Concepts, benefited from a $200,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant and opened in 2011.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.