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Urban mountain bike course on track in Denver after discovery of illegal trail in Boulder

Parks rangers with Boulder County have shut down an illegal mountain bike trail built down a steep face on the north side of Flagstaff Mountain, after someone now identified as professional mountain biker Mike West was cited for using it. Luckily, extreme mountain bikers will soon have a new spot to test their skills at a to-be completed course in the mountains of -- inner-city Denver?

Back in 2008, Westword wrote about an announcement by City of Denver officials, who hoped to construct the first-ever downhill mountain bike course built in the inner-city. Here's an excerpt:

Scott Robson, deputy manager for the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation, told city council last week that his department was collaborating with Winter Park Resort to construct a downhill dirt obstacle course in Barnum North Park at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Federal Boulevard, which is surrounded by neighborhoods with some of the highest crime and poverty rates in the city.

Robson says that young people in these areas might not have access to the outdoor recreation activities enjoyed by their suburban peers. "But we figure that most kids have bikes," he says. Opening next spring, the "skills course" will feature jumps, embankments and platforms of varying degrees of difficulty.

Plans for the project were modeled after the Ruby Hill Rail Yard, a wildly popular free ski and snowboard course in Ruby Hill Park on the west side. Like with the Rail Yard, the course design and equipment for the mountain bike course was to be donated by Winter Park and modeled after the resort's summertime Trestle Bike Park, which mixes aspects of BMX, Trials and mountain-bike racing.

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But then came before the government budget-deficit apocalypse. Denver Parks and Recreation spokesperson Eleni Sarris says the project was shelved until they could find new funding. Now, however, the department has rounded up the $150,000 needed and the Mountain Bike Skills Course Park is slated to open in July of 2011.

Sarris writes:

It will encompass approximately 2.5 acres with three distinct areas within the bike course to include: 1) short style skills course with elevated wooden ramps; 2) dirt jump track; 3) dirt pump track area. By including the three distinct areas, users of varying ages and skills will be able to choose which ever course suits their skill level or they can try all three! Other amenities to be installed in the bike course area include benches, picnic tables, bike racks, concrete walkways, signage, and landscaping that incorporates native plants.

We are hoping to get some images of the course design soon. In the meantime, check out the video below of riders taking on the Winter Park Trestle Bike Park.

More from our News archive: "Bicycle ban in Black Hawk fought by political pedal power."

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