BROOKINGS – A new bike trail will open this weekend and it’s specifically designed for mountain bikes, said Curt Kabris, president of Brookings Mountain Bike Association.
The grand opening is set from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Dakota Nature Park. There will be food, tents, demo rides and tours, Kabris said. All is free and open to the public.
The mountain bike single trail starts at the south end of the Southbrook Softball Complex and runs for about two miles.
“Single track implies single file and single direction,” Kabris said.
“Anybody with a qualified bike (can ride on it). Helmets are recommended. And if you don’t have a bike, somebody will have one for you,” Kabris said.
He recommends visitors ride a mountain bike, “so your bike grips the terrain safely.” A regular touring bike isn’t the best thing.
“You might break it,” Kabris said.
The trail can have different textures like a wooden bridge or logs laid across the trail as you’re biking up it. The trail is very narrow and has dirt, rocks and undulation.
“The whole system will allow people to advance their skills so they can have the confidence to ride safely and enjoy even the rock trails,” Kabris said.
The mountain bike single trail is the second phase of trails at the DNP, he said.
The first phase was the pump park, which is built; the single track has just been completed; and the skills development area is still to come.
The project has been about six years in the works but only took about two weeks to construct the single track, Kabris said. It was completed about three weeks ago.
“It’s nice to see it come to fruition,” said Dan Brettschneider, director of Brookings Parks, Recreation & Forestry. “I think it’s just another example of how the city works with various community groups like the Brookings Mountain Bike Association to create community through people, parks and programs. I think it’s a win/win for everybody.”
The company that built the trail is Trail Source, LLC, from Minneapolis, which designed and built Cuyuna Trails near Brainerd, Minnesota.
“It took two years to get on their construction list,” Kabris said. “They build world-class single trails. They’re highly sought after.”
The money was donated by private donors and funneled through the Brookings Mountain Bike Association.
“Total cost of the project was roughly $60,000,” Kabris said.
The pump park and single trail – and eventually the skills development area – are part of the overall vision for Dakota Nature Park, Brettschneider said, but they are meant to work with the park.
“The single track intent is not to disturb the natural environment of the Nature Park, and we expect users to have minimal impact on the environment out at the Nature Park,” he said.
No matter what activity you’re out there to enjoy, if you bring anything with you, take it back out when you go, so you disturb the environment and wildlife as little as possible, Brettschneider said.
“We would ask that users of the single track and the pump park respect the rules and regulations that we have posted out there,” he said.
He had a specific request on how to do that.
“If we receive enough rainfall, we don’t want users on the track or the pump park, because if you go on there when those trails are wet, you do more damage to them than good,” Brettschneider said.
Kabris expects the trails to be used often.
“We’ve got obstacles, we’ve got advanced, we’ve got beginner trails, nice cruiser trails, so all skill sets (can participate). If you can ride a bike, you can do this. We want it so every skill set, and every age, including the toddlers, have a place to learn and grow with riding mountain bikes,” Kabris said.
His vision includes more than local riders. He expects the trails to draw from all over, and that will be good for Brookings.
“There’s more mountain bikers than golfers,” Kabris said. “Mountain biking is kind of like golfing, you play one course, but you want to play more. Our objective is not only advance your skill levels, but build that confidence so you’ll want to go to these other locations, so it does help community’s economic benefit.”
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]