Great idea. Bad location. That was the consensus of many who attended a virtual community meeting about a proposed freeride mountain bike park on Shadow Mountain Drive approximately 2 miles from …
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The organizers of the bike park proposal can be reached at email@example.com
Great idea. Bad location.
That was the consensus of many who attended a virtual community meeting about a proposed freeride mountain bike park on Shadow Mountain Drive approximately 2 miles from Highway 73.
Neighbors said during the Zoom community meeting on Jan. 5 that they thought such an endeavor would provide a great recreation venue for mountain bikers, bring more business to Conifer shops and restaurants, and ease the overcrowding of nearby parks.
However, they agreed it didn't make sense to put the bike park that is estimated to have 700 visitors a day on weekends in the middle of a residential area on a two-lane road that isn't equipped to handle the high traffic volume.
Jason Evans and Phil Bouchard, who are lifelong friends and mountain bikers, want to lease 230 acres of land owned by the State Land Board for Full Send Bike Ranch. The land board uses the proceeds from leasing the 2.8 million acres it owns around the state to fund the Colorado Department of Education's Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant program.
Even though the state owns the land, the developers and the state board are bound by the Jefferson County commissioners' decision on whether to allow the bike park, according to Kristin Kemp, State Land Board spokeswoman.
Kemp said Full Send has not filed an application with the board to use the land for the bike park. Since the State Land Board owns the property, once it gets an application, it would sign “consent-to-apply” documentation, so Full Send could move through the county's process for the special use permit for the property.
The land is zoned Agricultural 2, and the special-use permit must go through public hearings before the Planning Commission and the Jeffco commissioners.
Evans and Bouchard propose a day-use bike park with a chairlift, the only one of its kind in Colorado. It would be open generally from April to October, with a lodge that would provide a registration area, bike rentals, same-day bike repairs and a bar/lounge.
Evans said the recreational use is what Jefferson County envisions for the area. While mountain biking can be a dangerous sport, the bike park would be a safer place to ride. Full Send would have a medical staff to take care of injuries and they are consulting with Elk Creek Fire regarding any additional medical response and fire mitigation.
“If developed properly,” Bouchard said, “the park could provide 230-plus acres of mitigated area. It has the potential to become a fire evacuation asset.”
They said they would complete a traffic study to look at impacts on Shadow Mountain Drive, Highway 73, Barkley Road and U.S. 285.
They hope to get approvals and permits this year and to begin construction in 2022, with an opening date tentatively set for spring 2023.
Evans said they wanted to address community concerns.
“We want to be very much a part of this community and want to address concerns as much as possible,” he said.
Evans and Bouchard said they knew their proposal might be polarizing, but they were pleased with the support they have received from some area residents and from the mountain biking community. They believe a bike park would not be as impactful as other possible development such as residences.
The duo said the Shadow Mountain site made the most sense for the bike park, but they would consider other locations.
More information about the proposal is available at fullsendbikeranch.com.
Residents had concerns about traffic, the additional workload for emergency medical services, wildlife that migrate through the area, water and wastewater issues, and more.
A resident wrote in the chat, “I know a lot of people who this would benefit, however, I live on Shadow Mountain and have had many people end up in my front lawn because they were trying to bypass bikers as is. I don't need more accidents in my front yard because people want to have a park off a narrow, windy road.”
Residents were concerned that injuries at Full Send would occupy EMTs and ambulances, so they wouldn't be available for community emergencies.
Neighbor Ted Stirgwolt called the proposal a huge issue for those who live on Shadow Mountain and Conifer Mountain.
“We moved to this area to be around the elk herds, the deer herds and all the other animals that live in that area,” Stirgwolt said. “We didn't spend money to live here … so a bike park could go up in our neighborhood. You don't want to be part of the community. You want to make money off of my community.”
Conifer resident Charles Newby wrote in the chat: “Do you really want to try to foist your plan onto a rural residential community with the (resulting) traffic safety issues, destruction of the mountain meadow and wetland environment/habitat? Think about what you are asking of the community — this is not tenable.”
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