Largest bike skills park in Southern Utah set to begin construction in St. George

A rider competes in the Utah High School Cycling League state championship race, St. George, Utah, Oct. 24, 2015 | File photo by Ryan Snow, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A new bicycle skills park promising to be the biggest of its kind in Southern Utah will begin construction this month in St. George.

The Sand Hollow Wash area, site of the future Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park in St. George, Utah, May 7, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The park, to be constructed in the Sand Hollow Wash area just east of Snow Canyon High School, will feature a variety of trails and courses designed to help bicyclists develop mountain biking skills.

“There’s a huge group of the bike community, mountain bike community, even the BMX community, that’s very excited about this facility,” Mark Goble, park architect for the city of St. George, said.

During a public meeting Thursday, the St. George City Council approved a bid of approximately $1.4 million by Interstate Rock Projects to begin building the Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park.

The city will use money from its recreation, arts and parks tax fund to pay for the project, with additional substantial contribution from the Washington County Convention and Tourism Office.

“This is going to be first class,” Mayor Jon Pike said of the park.

The park’s skill areas will include gravity jump trails, a beginner gravity skills area, a progressive drop zone, pump tracks, a pump and bump skills loop, a dirt jump zone and cross country trails. The various courses and trails will be located primarily on the west side of the park along Lava Flow Drive, with some additional courses on the east side along Tuweap Drive.

The location, indicated in blue, of the Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park in St. George between Lava Flow Drive and Tuweap Drive, set to begin construction May 21, 2018 | Image courtesy of the city of St. George, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

The park is also anticipated to hold race events on the cross country trails, Goble said, adding that the Utah High School Cycling League will hold regional mountain bike races and possibly the statewide race at the park.

While the park is expected to attract professional riders, Goble said, the primary draw will be for community members of all ages.

Park planners hope beginners will be able to learn from experts as they use the park’s amenities, preparing them for mountain biking along the many trails available around St. George.

The first phase of construction, set to begin May 21 and projected for completion in September, will include a large pavilion, restroom, paved trails, landscaping, utility connections and a gravel parking area, with future phases to implement additional pavilions and restrooms, paved parking areas and a playground.

With construction scheduled to begin shortly, not all area residents are enthusiastic about the park, which falls between an area zoned primarily residential.

“I’m not against this park at all. I actually ride my bike every day for 10 miles. I’m against the venue you’ve chosen, because we already have way too much traffic,” park neighbor Diane Braithwaite said during a May 3 City Council meeting, noting the traffic generated by the two adjacent schools and various events held in the area.

In their application for a conditional use permit to build the park, city planners said the park will increase traffic to the site, especially during the race events, but that necessary steps will be taken to ensure that appropriate traffic control measures are in place prior to and during the events.

The Sand Hollow Wash area, site of the future Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park in St. George, Utah, May 7, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

There has also been concern about the implications of the park’s proximity to the Sand Hollow Wash and the potential for flooding.

“Are we going to spend all this money to have it wash away,” Braithwaite asked. “I have seen this little tiny four-foot stream turn into a raging river in a matter of 20 minutes.”

Goble said the park’s most expensive features will be outside of the flood plain area of the wash.

“When a flood happens,” he said, “it might take a few thousand dollars to replace instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace.”

Other than flooding, some city residents expressed concerns for the natural environment surrounding the wash, which is home to roadrunners, doves, rabbits and quail.

“It is a nature area with a water run off corridor that can not be altered or affected to disturb the natural flow of drain water run off or affect the habitat of the natural environment,” city resident Russell D. Markle wrote in a letter to the city.

According to city planners, the riparian area around the wash will not be disturbed and no bike skills courses will be built near it.

The Sand Hollow Wash area, site of the future Sand Hollow Bicycle Skills Park in St. George, Utah, May 7, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“It will flow with the natural contours of the site,” Goble said of the park’s design. “We’re completely staying out of the riparian zone.

“We don’t want to remove any trees. We want to be sensitive to the site. We don’t want to remove too many shrubs or other plants.”

Existing paved walking and bicycle trails will also be completely preserved, and additional paved connecting trails will be built for walking, running and non-motorized biking.

“It’s never going to be easy for those people that live in these neighborhoods to see something changing,” Councilman Jimmy Hughes said of the park’s pending construction, explaining that the city has been proactive in building a variety of venues to appeal to the widest scope of recreational pursuits.

“I know there’s some negative impacts to this site,” Goble said, “but there’s so many positives to this site, as well, that the positives outweigh the negatives that this facility will create.

“This is something for the kids to do. Something other than doing video games, staying at home not doing anything. This is something that gets kids out, get some exercise and build skills.”

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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18 Comments

  • Not_So_Much May 12, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Gee, with the other park being built in Santa Clara (just a hop away from this site) bikers will have it made. Of course it’s only $1.4 million being spent. Of course no one should be forced to used the thousands of acres of pubic lands all around us. Keep spending money government bodies.

    • Rafiki May 12, 2018 at 11:04 pm

      Yup, Mt biking is dangerous and does the thing you claim below, but so does many other things. Tell me, what hobby are you in to ‘besides reposting the same message regarding biking’? I imagine you drive a car, well if you do your arguments above are pretty much in void. Bikes are fairly less damaging and dangerous as cars, but yet ….we teach, yet encourage youth to “dig in”. Why you hate Mt biking, I’m unsure of, but people using their muscles, breathing air in their lungs, and seeing the beautiful world for what it is………worth the risk!

      • Rafiki May 12, 2018 at 11:11 pm

        This comment was for the mjvande post. Misplaced- I apologize.

    • Striker4 May 14, 2018 at 6:22 am

      Ha Ha it’s being done !

  • mjvande May 12, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    The so-called “skills” the park will teach are totally inappropriate on any trails. What a total waste of money and wildlife habitat! Are you people INSANE?????

    Introducing children to mountain biking is CRIMINAL. Mountain biking, besides being expensive and very environmentally destructive, is extremely dangerous. Recently a 12-year-old girl DIED during her very first mountain biking lesson! Another became quadriplegic at 13! Serious accidents and even deaths are commonplace. Truth be told, mountain bikers want to introduce kids to mountain biking because (1) they want more people to help them lobby to open our precious natural areas to mountain biking and (2) children are too naive to understand and object to this activity. For 600+ examples of serious accidents and deaths caused by mountain biking, see http://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm.

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Mountain bikers also love to build new trails – legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat – not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g. grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    For more information: http://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

    • comments May 12, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      LOL! hahahaha! This guy just comes out of the woodwork every time a mountain bike article goes up. I don’t know if he’s trying to be funny or if he’s a real nutter/loon. Is mountain bike expensive? I’ve got one I bought used for $20. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s decent. You can get a decent one at any box store for under $200 and the quality isn’t bad. It aint gonna be no $2500 cannondale, but the cheap ones work well for the average rider’s expectations.

      The reason you’re a lunatic, mjvande, is because mountain bikes leave a very light footprint when compared to ATVs and dirtbikes, jeeps, etc. And bicycles are dangerous? Yeah they aren’t foolproof, but they’re hardly a death trap. Wear a helmet and don’t do anything outrageously stupid and it’s hardly any more dangerous than going for a walk.

    • No Filter May 14, 2018 at 11:53 am

      You need some serious help dude, you have been trolling mountain bike forums and stories for like 20 years. Every mountain biker knows your name and I am sure will be willing to put you back in jail if you approach them.

  • utahdiablo May 12, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Yeah…how many miles of “Paved Bike trail” is already build all along Snow canyon and the SR18, and how many Bike riders do you see using it ( the paved path ) instead of riding in traffic on the SR18? Get them the hell off the SR18 and use the bike trails we the taxpayers already paid for…this again is just a total waste of our RAP tax funds….just like the Million dollar “City Bike rentals” good ol’ Pike has us paying for

    • Rafiki May 12, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Yup, a lot of paved trail just waiting for you, the poster here, to park his/her car and walk/run/ride down the path. About 2 miles in, I imagine you’ll experience all sorts of ‘different’ feelings/ideas that may enlighten you to think outside the ‘box’ you so love “a car” and maybe see your body as something wonderful and capable of things other than buying the latest sale at Costco.

      Please forgive any assumptions, you may prefer Target.

    • jh9000 June 27, 2018 at 5:22 am

      My taxes went to pay for roads and I’ll ride my bike on them if I want.

  • Mike P May 12, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    So….let me get this straight. 1.4 million dollars (just to start) to build a Bicycle “skills” park ? (that’s what their calling them now?). Seriously. Is this an attempt to prepare St. George youth to become professional bicycle riders? Ah…..really? Who’s freekin’ idea was this? And how did this get this far? Come on people, lets do some research and find out what politicians kid is “into” bicycles and how many of the areas 100 bicycle shops are supporting this . There’s gotta be some major pocket lining going on here. Political tax spending at it’s best. “A Bicycle Skills Park” My god, what’s next? How about an “off road supermarket basket racing facility”? Ya know, something for all us basket pushers that want to go “pro”. Build it and they will come…………

  • Mari May 12, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    I am so excited for this park! What a great resource for both novice and experienced riders. Thank you to my wonderful community leaders for bringing more healthy recreational opportunities to St. George.

  • Walter1 June 9, 2018 at 10:57 am

    This project will create even more dust. Washington county is starting to have an air pollution problem due to all the disturbed soil caused by overbuilding and the lack of dust control. In other states the local governments would be sued into insolvency for not meeting particulate pollution health standards. Dixie is very backward when it comes to monitoring the air. Many people have respiratory problems and they are completely ignored. Much like being thrown under the dust bus. Shame on them!

    • jh9000 June 27, 2018 at 5:20 am

      You live in the middle of the desert. The dust was there before you moved in. If you want air standards move to some liberal state with air quality regulations.

  • jh9000 June 27, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Oh the dust, the traffic, the birds and wildlife! What the local government needs to do is host a weekly cry session for all you people who have nothing else in life but to complain about everything. Maybe if your kids had something fun and active to do they wouldn’t be heroin and meth addicts.

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