By Tyler Davis
Organizers will hold a noon Thursday, Oct. 24 ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening for the new Jackson County Bicycle Park on the county’s greenway.
The park winds through trees upstream from the Locust Creek foot bridge, about halfway up the mile-long greenway. It has a 750-foot bike trail combining “pump track” features, a “flow trail,” “rock gardens” and “log skinnies” to help riders at all levels learn basic skills of mountain biking. A learning pavilion for observation, skills clinics or kids programming overlooks the park. The course features an inner trail that is easier for smaller children and beginners.
The Nantahala Area Southern Off-Road Biking Association built the bike park through a Memorandum of Understanding with Jackson County’s government and Parks and Recreation Department.
Community organizations donated materials, tools and labor to get the job done. All construction was by volunteers with the pro-bono help of professional trail company Trail Dynamics using machinery donated by McNeely’s Store and Rental. Gravel and rocks were donated by Harrison Construction and B.H. Graning Landscapes, a special kind of clay dirt by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and logs by Baxter’s Landscaping and Tree Service. Additional funding for the project came through a Great Smokies Health Foundation grant.
The Smoky Mountain High School band will play the national anthem at the ceremony.
SORBA, founded in 1983, is a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining and advocating for mountain bike trails.