According to Wendy Palmer, a local cyclist and employee at Chile Pepper Bike Shop, the Moab Bike Park Committee initially started work on phase one of the project, which was rebuilding the jump track area of the park.
Palmer, who has been helping coordinate volunteer efforts on the project, said the BMX portion of the park was originally slated to be part of the third phase of the project, set to begin next fall. However, a misunderstanding with some volunteers working on the project resulted in the BMX track being leveled a year earlier than originally planned.
“I take full responsibility for it,” Moab Community Development Director David Olsen said. “It was the last thing I wanted to see happen, but apparently I wasn’t clear enough with my directions about what not to do.”
The mishap occurred due to a miscommunication, Olsen said. Olsen said the city had a track hoe on site to help clear the brush from the area surrounding the park. One of the many people helping with the work on the track requested permission to use the track hoe to level the jump track area of the park, a planned improvement. Olsen gave them permission.
“I had been down there frequently to make sure that things were being done the way that I wanted,” Olsen said.
However, Olsen was busy last week with meetings and was unable to supervise as closely as he had been. When he returned to the park, he found that the track hoe had been used to take out the BMX portion of the track in addition to the jump track.
Olsen said that one of the contractors helping with the work told a volunteer to level all the jumps. Olsen believes it was that instruction that led to the features of the BMX track also being wiped out.
Palmer said that the Bike Park Committee plans to have the BMX track rebuilt and open some time this fall.
“The dirt jumps should be done in a week and a half,” Palmer said, adding that the committee wants the jumps finished in time for the seventh annual Moab Ho-Down Mountain Bike Festival, which begins Oct. 25.
Palmer said the Ho-Down is the main source of funding for work on the bike park. Despite the fact that all of the work is being done by volunteers the group still has to find the money to cover the other expenses associated with the project, she said.
“It takes a lot of money in dirt alone,” Palmer said.
The new jump park will include jumps for beginner and intermediate riders, as well as two gap jumps, according to Olsen.
“It should be a lot of fun to watch,” he said.
Once the dirt jumps are complete, the group will start working on rebuilding the BMX track. Palmer said the finished BMX track will include improvements that were not featured in the original track.
“The track, as it was, was not an actual sanctioned-style track,” Palmer said. “It just kind of meandered all over.”
Palmer said that when the group builds the new BMX track, it will be in the same style as an American Bicycle Association sanctioned BMX track.
“It will have four straight-aways and the correct style of jumps and rollers,” she said.
Palmer said that the track is not wide enough to become a sanctioned track, so it will continue to be a practice track.
“We’re going to make sure it’s done this fall, even if it puts us out a little bit,” Palmer said, referring to the fact that Chile Pepper Bike Shop has put up a significant amount of the money for the construction.