Three weeks of digging, scraping and prying wound down last week, as the Ptarmigan Ptrails bike trail construction company completed roughing in Phase 1 of the Seventh Street Bike Park.
The park will open to the public before school starts, Aaron Lieuallen told the Eagle. Lieuallen is a member of the nonprofit Grant County Economic Council, which led the fundraising for the project.
The Eastern Oregon Trail Alliance wants to test ride the trails and make minor adjustments with hand tools over the next six weeks, and work needs to be completed on signage, a trailhead kiosk and parking, he said.
The single-track bike trails wind back and forth across the hill overlooking the sports complex in John Day, meandering past junipers and boulders. Access is made by the gravel road that runs east of the sports complex or by Well Road off of Valley View Drive.
Ed Kessler, Zach Parkin and Abe Schmidt used a skidsteer and a mini excavator as well as hand tools and heavy pry bars to create the trails. Dirt was hauled in to create flow features on the trail running just below Well Road at the top of the hill.
The trails will be color-coded for difficulty, with the beginner trail marked green, the two intermediate trails marked blue and the technical trail marked black. Signs on the trailhead kiosk will explain the routes to visitors, Lieuallen said.
Directing access to the bike park is a concern of the designers. They don’t want bikers coming down from Well Road, creating “social trails,” or riding on the paved Jimmy Allen Memorial Trail that runs around the sports complex.
Access will be up a private road owned by the Holmstroms just east of the skate park, and parking for 10-15 vehicles will be established near the city well.
The bike park is not a city project, Lieuallen noted. The nonprofit Grant County Economic Council led the fundraising, and the Eastern Oregon Trail Alliance provided technical guidance, he said.
Other major stakeholders include Grant School District 3, which owns the land, along with the city of John Day and the John Day-Canyon City Parks & Recreation District, Lieuallen said.
Bike park funding
Funding for Phase 1 included a $33,893 Recreational Trails Program grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, $12,000 from the Autzen Foundation and $3,000 from the Grant County Chamber of Commerce.
In-kind work provided by the city, Grant County, the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, Benchmark Surveying and a local church group helped stretch funding for Phase 1, Lieuallen said.
The bike park organizers have applied for a $100,000 grant from Travel Oregon for Phase 2, a pump track that would be located below the new trails, Lieuallen said. Phase 2 could end up costing $200,000 or more, depending on whether the flow hills are made of dirt, asphalt or concrete, and additional funding could come from local fundraising efforts, he said.
A resolution approved by the John Day City Council at the July 10 meeting will limit the city’s liability when the public uses its trails systems, including the bike park and proposed riverside trails connecting the sports complex to Innovation Gateway. This includes private and public lands.
In other community park news, the John Day-Canyon City Parks and Recreation District has applied for a $350,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to be used to build a children’s playground and a splash pad for summertime and to install exercise stations on the Jimmy Allen Memorial Trail at the Seventh Street Complex. The district could receive word on whether it will be awarded the grant this fall.