Mountain bikers someday might be climbing hills, ripping around corners, and generally looking awesome on a mountain of garbage in north Lincoln.
Mountain bike trails are part of the end use plan for the former North 48th Street landfill, about a mile north of Superior Street and adjacent to Boosalis Park. The plan was approved recently by the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
The plan also includes nature and cross country running trails and a trap and skeet area on the 570 acres of land that was a city garbage dump from 1956 to 1990. Part of the area is still used for disposal of construction debris.
But the mountain bike trails will likely be the first use in the new plan to become a reality.
Mountain bikers have been eyeing the old landfill for several years because it does have some elevation, a trash heap covered with dirt, said Kris Sonderup, a local biker who has been working on the project.
There is also easy access to Lincoln bike trails, so you could ride your bike there. And there is good access off the interstate, he said.
The recent board approval of the end-use plan means a new mountain biking group can move ahead with their dream of a regional park that will appeal to all ages and all experience levels.
THOR, Trails Have Our Respect, a newly minted chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association, is the lead organization for developing the mountain bike trail system.
Sounderup said he expects there will be a parking lot, a basic trail with offshoot trails for more skilled riders, plus smaller track areas for children and people learning mountain bike skills.
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A consultant from the national association will be visiting Lincoln in mid-June to look at the site and provide professional advice and a conceptual plan, said Sonderup.
The group will use that plan to work with the city in developing a more detailed plan and in fundraising.
Mountain bikers have several other places around Lincoln to ride, including Wilderness Park, Branched Oak, on the bluffs of the Platte River State Park, Sonderup said.
The proposed trails at Boosalis Park will offer a nice regional park that could draw people in Lincoln and from across the Midwest, he said.
Developed by consultants with input from residents, the plan provides guidance for future development, said Lynn Johnson, city Parks and Recreation Department director.
The new end-use plan replaces a 1970 plan that called for the landfill to be transformed into soccer, baseball and softball fields and a sledding hill.
This plan calls for more passive uses, better suited for a former landfill, Johnson said.
Private groups will have to raise the money for any developments on the landfill, he said.
Though no local group is currently pushing for cross country running trails, they were included in the plan because the cross country track through Pioneers Park, used for high school and college cross country events, is at capacity, Johnson said.