Construction on the Fort Tuthill Bike Park began last week and will include several new trails and features for bikers of all ages and skill levels.
When the bike park was initially planned, it was split into phases. So far, phase one and half of phase two have been completed, and the work occurring now will complete the rest of phase two and phase three.
The first phase opened in June 2015 and included three trails -- beginner, interim and advanced -- a children’s pump track and a return trail. The second and third phases, according to the county website, will include adult pump tracks, a jump area, a skills loop, a dual slalom course, a perimeter cross country loop and a cyclocross training circuit when completed.
This last part, said Coconino County Parks and Recreation Natural Resource Supervisor Geoffrey Gross, will be more high-skill oriented than the first, including metal and wood features on the trails, large mounds of dirt and high-brim walls.
The Fort Tuthill Bike Park was created via a partnership between Flagstaff Biking Organization and Coconino County Parks and Recreation. The park is about seven acres in size and was funded through a 2014 Bell Built Grant and public donations.
The construction and additions to the bike park continue to be made possible through a collaborative effort between the two entities, with both contributing obtained grant funds to finish the last phases.
In 2016, the county was awarded a $150,620 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the Arizona State Parks and Trails for infrastructure improvements and visitor amenities, which it is matching with in-kind donations. Flagstaff Biking Organization was awarded a $79,000 Department of Transportation Recreational Trails Program grant, which it matched with about $6,500 with money from donations and bike park fundraising events.
The county and the organization will put their grant money together to fund the construction that county officials said would be completed this fall.
Some of the county’s funding only will go toward the creation of bathrooms at Fort Tuthill Park, which are expected to be completed by September 2020.
“I really think the unique part of this is that if we were going at this alone, or if Flagstaff Biking Organization were going at this alone, it wouldn’t happen,” said Brian Grube, Coconino County Parks and Recreation assistant director. “It’s a really great example of government getting together with a nonprofit to create something for the community.”
While the county is contributing funds and staff to the project, Grube said Flagstaff Biking Organization is the project manager and in charge of overseeing construction. The organization has hired American Conservation Experience and FlowRide Concepts to design and create the park features.
“When construction is completed, it will more than double the number of opportunities for trails and features we have out there now,” said Flagstaff Biking Organization’s Anthony Quintile. “It will make it one of the most full-featured bike parks in Arizona, if not in the Southwest.”
Quintile said he will be relieved when the construction is complete, as it’s something the organization has been working toward for the last six years.
Mountain biking is a very popular activity in Flagstaff, he said, and the bike park gives mountain bikers of all experience levels a place to ride in a controlled environment to build up their skills.
“The park appeals to not only mountain bikers, it also appeals to BMX folks, and it’s a great place for kids,” he said. “It’s so nice to go out there on a Saturday and see anywhere from 25 to 50 people riding out there who are really excited and laughing and having a good time. “