Pump track construction begins at Gregory Park

Pump track construction / Staff photo: Fayetteville Flyer

Fayetteville’s mountain biking infrastructure continues to grow.

Crews with Progressive Bike Ramps and Progressive Trail Design this week are working to install a 68-foot by 35-foot pump track in the northwest corner of Gregory Park in midtown Fayetteville.

The pump track is part of an overall plan to transform the park into a mountain bike-focused area complete with a series of singletrack trails and other amenities.

Volunteers earlier this year completed a singletrack trail around the perimeter of the park. The pump track is the second phase of the project, which also includes a skills course and two downhill flow trails scheduled to be completed in spring 2018.

The 19-acre wooded park, located on Sycamore Street just west of North College Avenue, was donated to the city by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 1964. Before the improvements began, a 0.6-mile nature trail surrounded the property, but had been damaged in several places from erosion.

Brannon Pack, executive director of Ozark Off-Road Cyclists, said last year the underutilized park’s central location and proximity to neighborhoods and schools make it a perfect place for a new trail system.

“From an accessibility and usability standpoint, this will be a gem for the city of Fayetteville,” Pack said. “We believe this property is ideal for graduated flow trails offering skill level progression while still maintaining a circuitous, multi-use trail system for local hiking and biking traffic.”

Pack said area schools, including nearby Woodland Junior High, could use the park to introduce mountain biking as part of their physical education curriculum, or even develop their own National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) teams.

Alison Jumper, the city’s park planning superintendent, said maintenance of the park and trails would come through an agreement with OORC.

“That just insures that (the trails) remain open to the public,” Jumper said. “Because we sometimes get facilities open but are strapped for maintenance time, so we’d hate to put something out there and not have people be able to use it.”

Pack agreed and said maintenance would come from OORC volunteers and others in the local business community through the city’s Adopt-A-Park program.

Funding for the work comes in part from a $256,000 matching grant from the Walton Family Foundation.