Biking, running, pump track; Santa Clara reveals plan for outdoor sports park

A new outdoor sports park planned in Santa Clara will be located near the Cove Wash trailhead, Santa Clara, Utah, April 28, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

SANTA CLARA – City officials have revealed plans for an outdoor sports park in the hills south of Santa Clara that would include access to mountain bike trails plus a number of other activities, including running, hiking, Frisbee golf and cyclocross, a form of bicycle racing that includes both off-road conditions and portions of pavement.

Concept plan for new outdoor sports park planned in the South Hills area of Santa Clara | Image courtesy of Santa Clara City, St. George News
Concept plan for new outdoor sports park planned in the South Hills area of Santa Clara | Image courtesy of Santa Clara City, St. George News| Click image to enlarge

The proposed park is located on 44 acres south and west of the city water tanks in the South Hills area. A preliminary concept plan was presented to the Santa Clara City Council Wednesday.

The park is designed around outdoor recreation, Santa Clara City Parks Director Brad Hays said, and will include parking, restrooms and day-use picnic areas as well as some unique features.

“We’re going to have a nine-hole Frisbee golf course,” Hays said. “We’re going to have a running track that’s over a mile and it’s a trail-type running track, but it will be improved with a decomposed granite surface on it.”

A children’s nature museum will include information about native plants and animals in the area and provide other activities. A large faux-rock climbing area is also in the plans.

A new outdoor sports park planned in Santa Clara will be located near the Cove Wash trailhead, Santa Clara, Utah, April 28, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A new outdoor sports park planned in Santa Clara will be located near the Cove Wash trailhead, Santa Clara, Utah, April 28, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

Another park feature will explain the geological features visible in the panoramic view from the park site, Hays said, which includes Zion National Park, Pine Mountain and the red and white sandstone cliffs which form Snow Canyon State Park.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Hays said. “I hope we can get everything approved and get going on it.”

Plans also include a pump track, which is similar to a BMX track, BLM Recreation Planner Dave Kiel said.

“It has a series of jumps built into it, so once you get your momentum going, you theoretically in a lot of cases don’t even have to pedal because you’re coming off one jump and then you’re hitting the downhill of another jump … it’s  like a rhythm thing.”

A pump track is shorter and more compact than a BMX track. It has several jumps and banked turns and doubles back on itself.

“Kids love them and so do adults,” Kiel said.

Racer rides the course of the True Grit Epic Race, St. George, Utah, March 15, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Racer rides the course of the True Grit Epic Race, St. George, Utah, March 15, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

The park will be designed to host mountain biking and trail-running events such as the True Grit race which Santa Clara already hosts, Hays said. The new park would provide a staging area for True Grit and possibly other outdoor events, with three different parking areas in the concept plan that would accommodate up to 140 vehicles.

The popular Green Valley Gap staging area is slated for development, pushing out many large outdoor events such as the Utah High School Cycling League state championship, which drew more than 800 riders for last year’s event.

Recreation officials have been looking for a new staging area for the race and other large events such as True Grit, Fall Fury, Cactus Hugger and the Huntsman World Senior Games downhill and cross-country biking.

The closure of the Green Valley staging area is pushing usage into the South Hills of Santa Clara, Hays said, and the new outdoor sports park may fill some of that need.


Read more: Officials plan new Santa Clara outdoor park, bike race staging area


Another reason for the new park is simply the growing population of Santa Clara, Hays said. As the city grows, new parks need to be built.

There are 30 miles of existing mountain biking trails in the area — including the Cove Wash trail — and another 45 miles of trails are planned by the BLM, Kiel said. About 15 miles of trails are planned for the immediate vicinity of the new park, and another 30 miles in the area west of the park.

The site of the proposed park is within Santa Clara City limits, but the land is currently owned by the Bureau of Land Management. Santa Clara officials are hoping to acquire the land permanently under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act.

The Recreation and Public Purposes Act allows the BLM to transfer land for public purposes such as schools and parks. In Washington County, many schools, golf courses, parks, fire stations, cemeteries, libraries and even a BMX track were built on land acquired under the act.

“They’ve got some interesting ideas for that (South Hills) area,” Kiel said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

Before construction can begin, plans will go before the Santa Clara Planning Commission, Hays said, and a public hearing will be held. An environmental assessment will also be performed.

“It’s not until that is finished that we could give the approval to go ahead,” Kiel said. “So it would be several months … there’s a lot of variables in there.”

Once the park is built and operating, the BLM can approve transfer of the land to the city under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act, Kiel said.

“There has to be a period of time where that shows that they’re in compliance with their plan of development, and then we sign it over to them,” Kiel said.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

3 Comments

  • .... April 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Good for Santa Clara ! now here comes all the whining and moaning because they are going to do something for people that ride bicycles. LOL ! Oh I’m sure mesaman will have something to say about this..
    Like anybody from Santa Clara could possibly even care what mesaman has to say

  • Mike April 30, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I am glad that I don’t live there anymore to have to pay for that it was already to costly to live there.

  • Jeremiah May 3, 2016 at 9:42 am

    There is already great mountain biking on that land. I am against this development. One of my big reasons for moving to the area was to have access to undeveloped recreational land. The area in question is on of my favorite places to recreate and the developments in question would make it less appealing in my view. I also frequent the cities other parks and they are nice, and not exactly crowded. It would also suck more of my tax money out the City’s budget. I keep hearing the city has financial concerns, but then they develop sports parks that only benefit a small portion of the constituents, build a huge city hall, and tear up the road to remake it wider, but with no more traffic capacity, just more pretty planters.

Leave a Reply