Cope Park may be the new home of Juneau’s first bike skills park if a plan between the City and Borough of Juneau Parks and Recreation Department and the Juneau Mountain Bike Alliance comes to fruition, Jan. 30, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Cope Park may be the new home of Juneau’s first bike skills park if a plan between the City and Borough of Juneau Parks and Recreation Department and the Juneau Mountain Bike Alliance comes to fruition, Jan. 30, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Juneau may be getting its first official bike park

City, mountain bike group work on adding biking jumps and tracks to Cope Park downtown

Cope Park has seen many changes over the years. It used to host a pool, a baseball field, the odd car in Gold Creek, and more recently, bocce ball and a dog park.

Soon, it might play host to another group: Juneau’s mountain biking community.

“The city approached us and said we’d like to work with you on something,” said Reid Harris, vice president of the Juneau Mountain Biking Alliance, as he presented the plan at a meeting at City Hall Wednesday night.

More than 30 people turned out for the meeting concerning Juneau’s possible first dedicated bike skills park. The JMBA has proposed building a pump track, a strider track and a series of progressive jumps, in addition to a longer path curving around the dog park. A pump track is a series of small, rolling paths and turns. Briana Swanson, president of the JMBA, suggested using recycled asphalt product sourced from the airport for cost and resiliency.

“We want to leave essentially every tree that’s there,” Harris said. “We’d like dirt hills capped with recycled asphalt product.”

A strider track is a smaller sort of pump track, ideal for kids, Harris said. Progressive jumps are jump ramps of varying heights for riders to do tricks.

Plan of proposed bike park in Cope Park. (Screenshot | CBJ Parks and Recreation Department)

Plan of proposed bike park in Cope Park. (Screenshot | CBJ Parks and Recreation Department)

“I started going off the 1-foot and I was like sweet, and then went off the 3-foot and I was like cool, and then about 20 jumps later I was going off the 8-foot and I was pretty comfortable,” Harris said, talking about his experience in another bike park using progressive jump ramps for the first time.

Right now, the project is in its early stages. This is the first joint project to come out of a partnership between the City and Borough of Juneau Parks and Recreation Department and the JMBA that’s part of Parks and Rec’s master plan, said Michelle Elfers, assistant director for Parks and Rec.

“It’s in our master plan. There’s precedent for it. We have a memorandum agreement with JMBA,” Elfers said during the presentation. “CBJ will provide land, JMBA will construct bike features. This is our first project.”

The next step is to assess public opinion, gauging support and opposition, as the JMBA begins planning its fundraising efforts to fund construction and hire a professional bike park designer, Swanson said. Some questions were raised about the solidity of the hill that the long path is slated for, and the possibility of using the dog park area to build the bike park instead. Elfers said the possibility of using the dog park space wasn’t even considered.

“We didn’t, because of all the comments we get about how much people love and cherish the dog park space,” Elfers said.

Swanson said she’d like to see construction begin this summer, but understands that may be optimistic.

“We are hopeful, but projects do take longer than expected,” Swanson said in a message. “So realistically it may take longer.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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