Ada County works to improve Eagle Bike Park

STATESMAN STAFFJune 4, 2014 

Crews were out Tuesday, June 3, installing new signs at the park to better identify trails and make signs consistent throughout the park. Work will continue on weed control, trail maintenance and other functions, Ada County officials said.

The flow trail that was partially built last spring will also be completed this summer. It was stalled during spring after Ada County officials halted construction during a management dispute with the City of Eagle.

A bridge needs to be built at a trail intersection to link two sections of the downhill bike trail.

"We're moving forward with the bridge; it just takes time," said Scott Koberg, director of Ada County Parks and Waterways. "My best guess is it would be mid-July, but it remains to be seen. It will definitely be done this summer."

The park, located near Horseshoe Bend Road and Floating Feather, is popular with bike riders, hikers, runners and others, but it's going through a management transition as Ada County has taken control of the majority of the park after the county and the City of Eagle dissolved a lease agreement.

The county has resumed management of about 218 acres, which is where most of the trails at the park are located. The county's portion has about 6.5 miles of cross country trails and another 2 miles of downhill bike trails.

The City of Eagle owns most of the lower portion of the park, including the parking lots, restroom, skateboard park, BMX track and portions of the lower bike trails.

Ada County crews have been removing noxious weeds on trails and doing other maintenance.

"All we're trying to do is make things more positive out here," Koberg said. "What we're focusing our energy on now is, 'Let's take care of what we have.' "

There are small, but important changes being made at the park. The county is managing most of the trails on the west-facing slopes of the park, including taking over a portion of Rabbit Run Trail from Ridge to Rivers.

That's a small but significant change because Ridge to Rivers does not allow bike races on the trails it manages. The park will now have a contiguous trail network where it could host races, Koberg said.

"We know it's a race venue, and we don't want to discourage that," he said.

People probably won't see big changes at the park in the near future Koberg said, and the "important thing is we want it to be seamless" between Eagle and the county.

But the management could gradually shift from bike park to a multiple-use recreation area, which it already is despite its name. Trails are open to hikers, equestrians and other users, but three downhill trails are designated for mountain bikers.

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