Mill Creek Path Bicycle Skills area FAQ
Information about the Robin Groff Memorial Park
The Robin Groff Memorial Park is a pocket-park aimed at connecting local youth and families to the mountain biking opportunities that Moab has to offer. There are over 200 miles of singletrack trails surrounding Moab, but for many community members there are barriers to accessing these trails and getting involved in the activity, including time, vehicle access, cost of a bicycle, and knowledge about how to get involved as a beginner. The pocket-park features ramps and obstacles that help riders learn basic biking techniques in a controlled environment and can be enjoyed on any type of bicycle. It is suitable for beginner riders, ages 7 – 70, either as a stand-alone attraction for families with young children, or as a place for Parkway riders to “eddie out” off the main path and ride a practice circuit before continuing on their way. Multilingual signage will present information about Moab’s beginner biking opportunities. In addition to the pocket park, the development would help fund and build a public restroom at this location, which has long been needed for all users of the area. This area was developed in partnership with existing local youth organizations to support their programs.
The site is located near the center of the Mill Creek Parkway at the pathway intersection of 100 East and 200 South. The features will be on the north side of the pathway running east and west. After considering other areas near the schools and at Anonymous Park (aka the “bike jump park”), this site was selected because:
- It is a central location within the Mill Creek Pathway and within the community, and it can be safely accessed from all the schools by bike lanes or separated bike paths. A 2019 survey with over 550 responses identified concerns about traffic and safety as the main factors that deter people from biking to destinations around Moab rather than driving. This location makes access by bicycle a safe and appealing option for families.
- Mill Creek Parkway is currently popular for bike use and serves as an artery for bike commuters through town. This area is designed to accommodate any type of bicycle, including “townies” and road bikes commonly used for commuting.
- ADA accessibility can be achieved at this location, so that children can be supervised by caregivers with any physical abilities, such as grandparents with grandchildren.
- The City and Grand County Health Department have previously identified the need for a public restroom in this location (there are currently none on the Parkway between Rotary Park and Anonymous Park, a distance of 2 miles). Cost has prevented one from being installed, but this project finally provides the funding to make it happen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can the City afford this right now?
- This project (both pocket-park and restroom) have received $63,000 in grant funding. This funding is specific to the project and cannot be applied to other projects.
- $10,000 is estimated for annual maintenance for both the park and restroom. However, this figure was estimated in January 2019 as a required document for the grant application and has not been revisited since. The actual cost is likely significantly lower.
Why not put it at Anonymous Park?
- The jump park is an advanced, high-speed area popular with older children and adults, while the pocket-park is primarily for younger children down to toddler age. There are safety issues related to combining the two without major reorganization of the existing park, so that high speed bikers are not crossing through the zone provided for small children. This type of project is far beyond the scope of what current resources will allow.
- The parking lot for Anonymous is often full. Adding to this area has the potential to put additional pressure on parking, and so parking lot expansion would need to be considered to avoid possible issues. Expansion would require bringing in large amounts of fill, which would require a large amount of funding. We want to focus our limited resources on a small-scale children’s park, rather than a parking lot.
- ADA accessibility would require a large amount of funding in order to install a ramp at an appropriate location within Anonymous Park.
- Anonymous Park is currently situated adjacent to a busy road, which at certain times of the year can become a congested thoroughfare. The pocket park’s current location, which is located along a spur of the Mill Creek Parkway, is setback from a dead-end street and so removed from traffic, making it a safe place for families and local youth organizations to supervise young children.
- The goal of this park is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all families, including those who may not seek out “mountain biking” or feel comfortable in a high-energy environment like the jump park. The aim is to let people “dip their toe in” and experience a few biking challenges while enjoying the Parkway as a whole (which includes a music park, the YGP nibble garden, natural landscapes, and a variety of other experiences).
What will this park look like?
- The obstacles in this “bicycle playground” will be a mix of balance-beam and ramp features that teach riders balance and body weight shifting techniques. Some will be constructed out of sandstone to mimic the ramps built along Moab’s trails, and the majority will be steel-framed structures with wooden decking, which are produced by a company that specializes in bicycle playground equipment. These manufactured ramps are high-quality, engineered products that come with a 10-year warranty. Earth screws, rather than concrete footers, are used to install them and so impact is minimal.
- A post-and-beam fence will separate the main body of the park from the Parkway. A fence separating the area from the path is necessary to keep riders and pathway users safe from riders entering and exiting the skills area from unexpected locations.
Below are examples of "bicycle playground" features that will be in this park:
Will trees be removed?
- Yes. But… according to the two local riparian habitat restoration experts involved with project recommendations, the density of mulberry, elm, and cottonwood trees within and nearby the project site is will not allow for healthy long-term tree growth. The recommendation is to remove enough trees to create a spacing pattern where individual trees are 20 ft apart, rather than 3 – 5 ft apart as many are currently. This thinning is recommended to occur whether or not the biking skills area is installed in this location.
- Most of the trees within the project site are located near the northern boundary of the project site and along the property fenceline. The main body of the site is located in an open grass strip that runs adjacent to the paved pathway. This grassy area is currently mowed as part of routine maintenance and is predominantly cheatgrass, an invasive species that favors disturbed environments.
- Flooding from the creek to this area that brings water into this location has not been reported since the 1990s. However, there is irrigation water that runs through this site, and design options are currently being explored to use this water to benefit existing or new vegetation.
There are so many tourists who come to Moab to mountain bike – will they all use this park?
- Visitors will likely use this pocket-park as much as they use Moab’s other City parks. This area will be a small-scale area designed for beginner riders and young children. For very young children, it may provide hours of entertainment, while for a skilled rider it may take only 30 seconds to ride through the area and move on. Because of this, the biking challenges offered at Anonymous Park or the many advanced-level trails accessible on the public lands close to town are more suited for skilled riders.