‘Skills area’ planned for mountain bikes at Apex Open Space

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By Beth Potter

Plans for upgrades at Apex Open Space Park in Golden include a mountain bike “skills area” in a currently unused space near the parking lot and the trailhead.

Apex Park trailhead improvement plans also include a larger public restroom, a kiosk and a more formal parking area, said David Davenport, outdoor recreation management coordinator for Jeffco County Open Space. Work had already started on trailhead improvements at the 697-acre park near Heritage Square when flooding hit the area in September, Davenport said at a Trail Talks meeting April 16 at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center. Open Space employees now are seeking public input on the project, he said.

“We’re going to start dealing with these issues that have been out there in the cloud and never addressed,” Davenport said. “We’re shooting for a more kid-friendly beginning area where they can safely learn some skills, versus some high-pressure situation with other people.”

When asked by the Canyon Courier for more details of the potential new site, Davenport referred to the recently opened Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, which features single-track-style trails on flat ground and some obstacles for bicyclists to ride over, among other things. A design plan for the skills area could cost $15,000, said Thea Rock, spokeswoman for Jeffco Open Space.

Building the mountain bike skills area at the same time as the current fix-up “will save us a whole lot of money and a lot of time,” Davenport told a group of about 75 people who came to hear the presentation.

At the same time, Jeffco Open Space workers want to create a “working group” to discuss single-use trails, Davenport said. The group would come up with a recommendation about whether or not to create hiker-only trails, bicycle-only trails and equestrian-only trails, or maybe designate different uses on different days, Davenport said. Bicyclists currently can use Apex going in different directions depending on whether the day is an odd-numbered date. Signs on the trail explain how the management strategy works.

The working group will be facilitated by a professional mediator and will include volunteers from the public, Davenport said.

People who attended the meeting applauded Open Space officials and trail users for getting along, for the most part.

“I’m proud of Jefferson County for our user groups getting along as well as we do. It creates a better trail experience for everybody,” said Matt Thoele, a bicyclist from Arvada. “This is a huge change from the meetings we had a few years ago (related to Apex trail use).”

Horse rider Judy Thomas from Arvada felt that equestrian-pedestrian trails are the way to go.

“I’m in favor of equi-ped trails. We get along with (people on foot),” Thomas said. “There are too many surprises with bicycles.”

Trail runner Kim Massey of Lakewood wanted to make sure runners’ voices are heard, too. A discussion about rocks in a trail “calming” some mountain bike action has a much different effect for runners, she said.

“Our biggest concern is representation so various needs are taken into account,” Massey said. “Rocks for a runner are almost dangerous.”

Davenport may be contacted at 303-271-5925 or ddavenpo@jeffco.us. To make general suggestions regarding Jeffco Open Space, you can call 303-271-5925 or send e-mail to jeffcoparks@jeffco.us.


Contact Beth Potter at beth@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1043.