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The Deep Creek Lake Lions Club is seeking comments and support for Garrett County’s first pump track planned for the Club’s community park in McHenry, MD.

A pump track is a looped sequence of rollers and banked turns for bicycle riders. They are designed to be ridden completely by riders “pumping” – generating momentum by up and down body movements –  instead of pedaling or pushing. According to Club spokesperson Chris Nichols, “Pump tracks are accessible for bikers of all skill and age levels and provide a place to build skills and muscle memory that riders can take to more advanced trails. They become focal points for future recreational development and for community socialization.”

The Deep Creek Lake Lions Club operates a no-fee 30 acre park at 1249 Bumble Bee Road, a little over a mile from the main commercial area of Deep Creek Lake and central to the rest of Garrett County. The Club has operated the County-owned park for over 40 years and in 2014 embarked on a multi-year program to revitalize the park. While about 10 acres of the park have been developed, the remaining are cleared and leveled. The Club also maintains 8 miles of multi-use trails on another 120 acres of county-owned property adjacent to the park.

A recent survey found that most youth in Garrett County have a bicycle but few ride regularly, due to the rural setting and mountainous terrain which makes road riding difficult and dangerous. “We have lots of local bike trails but none that are easy enough for children.” said project supporter and local parent Brooke McConnell, “I often see children riding their bikes in the parking lots at the State Park which is dangerous due to the high volume of traffic in the summer time.  Or worse yet, I sometimes see families riding their bikes along Garrett Highway.” According to the Club, a pump track provides a safe space for riders of all levels and ages to build skills and confidence while engaging in healthy physical activity.  “They are also a lot of fun, promote healthy activity and create a social space,” added Nichols, “The nature of pump track riding creates a community where riders hang out and socialize between runs.”  The Club further sees significant economic development benefits in that it provides an additional “draw” for visitors that takes advantage of local resources in a sustainable way as well as providing a reason for current and prospective residents to stay in the area.

The Club proposes to utilize an area of around 200 by 200 feet for a professionally designed and built paved track with multiple “skill lines” and routes. The area will be defined by a rail-type fence and a delineated entry area with signage and covered area for seating and bike racks. Initial design estimates start at $50,000 for this project. A group of both residents and visitors have stood up a “Friends of the Pump Track” organization to hold fundraising and awareness events, including a Bike Rodeo planned for June 26. An online crowdfunding campaign has raised over 20% of its goal in less than a week, demonstrating significant grassroots support. As a 501(c)3, the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club is handling the financial administration (in a designated account) and overall project management.  The Club and support organization have begun applications for grants and sponsorships to over 40 local and state agencies, foundations, corporate donors and local businesses. “Support at all levels will be necessary to create this lasting resource that will build  community, encourage  healthy activities, and generate  economic development for the County,” said Nichols.

For more information on the project, including maps, a video site tour, link to the crowdfunding campaign and more, go to: http://www.deepcreeklions.org/New-park-projects-Pump-Track.html or contact Chris at DCLLIONS@gmail.com or 323 325-5466 for more information.

Planned projects: General layout of planned projects including the pump track at the Deep Creek Lake Lion’s Club McHenry Community Park

bike skate scooter: Youth on bicycles, skateboards and scooters enjoy a paved pump track in Latvia
largest pump track: Aerial picture of the largest pump track in the US in St. Charles County, MO.