Gypsum adds motocross track to its list of city parks | VailDaily.com

Gypsum adds motocross track to its list of city parks

GYPSUM — You can add a motocross track to Gypsum's long list of city parks.

Gypsum, Eagle County and Rocky Mountain Sport Riders closed a deal Friday morning for 275 acres of open space. Of that, 157 acres will be a motocross park.

Eagle County Open Space Coordinator Toby Sprunk has been coordinating open space acquisitions and management for decades, and has never seen anything quite like it.

"Open space is different things to different people," Sprunk said. "We have installed boat ramps, created mountain bike trails, preserved pristine areas and conserved ranches, but this is a first for all of us."

Playful City USA

Gypsum is honored annually as a Playful City USA. Town parks include a huge gun range, world championship caliber horseshoe courts, golf courses, one of Colorado's largest recreation centers, a sports complex and all kinds of regular parks.

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It's now home to a motocross park.

Rocky Mountain Sport Riders will build and manage it, similar to the way the Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club manages Gypsum's shooting sports park.

Rocky Mountain Sport Riders is a local club established in 1996. It has 340 members and they've been chasing this dream for two decades.

"We are absolutely ecstatic," said Joe O'Malley with Rocky Mountain Sport Riders. "There are not many opportunities like this in this area for motorized users."

The closest track is in Leadville, O'Malley said.

Also, there aren't many good places to teach children to ride, O'Malley said.

"This new area is going to go a long way to addressing some of those needs by the motorized community," O'Malley said.

Location, location

The motocross park is five miles north of Gypsum on Trail Gulch Road, well away from any houses. The dust and noise should not affect anyone except the rider right behind you.

It's surrounded on all sides by BLM land that is also zoned for motorized recreation. BLM calls it an Extensive Recreation Management Area. Expanding into that BLM land is not in any of Rocky Mountain Sport Riders' immediate plans, but maybe someday, O'Malley said.

"The possible addition of motorized trails on surrounding land gives this the potential to be something special on a nationwide scale," O'Malley said.

There will be no lights at the track, so night riding is out of the question. It will close through the winter to protect wildlife.

You can ride May 1 through Sept. 30.

The plan is to start riding there this spring, O'Malley said.

For now, though, they have plenty to do.

It's intended as a family-friendly facility, and the first development phase calls for a pee-wee motocross track, an intermediate level motocross track and several miles of single-track trail.

In the meantime, this winter, they'll start putting together a management team and a management plan with members from the town and county, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the BLM can have a seat at the table if they want one, said Jeff Shroll, Gypsum's town manager.

"We think we found the right place. It will keep sound, dust and noise away from residents," Shroll said.

The county's $650,000 bought 117 acres of conservation easement to protect against ridgeline development.

Gypsum put $50,000 into the deal, and will lease the bottom part of the property where the track will be located.

"The consensus has been that we should do it. So we did it," Sprunk said. "The open space board is happy. The town is happy. Rocky Mountain Sport Riders are happy," Sprunk said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.