By Kahl Muscott, Auburn Area Recreation and Park District Administrator
Auburn, California is home to two of the oldest and most prestigious endurance events in the world: the Tevis Cup 100-Miles in One Day Equestrian Endurance Ride and the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. These historic and challenging events have earned the town the moniker Endurance Capital of the World.
It’s no surprise that the town exudes an ‘outdoorsy’ culture complete with parks, canyon trails and recreation opportunities. It is in this setting that the Auburn Area Recreation and Park District (ARD) maintains a wide variety of parks, pools, sports facilities, events and classes for residents of all ages. After years of planning, the district opened its award-winning Auburn Bike Park amid pandemic conditions, much to the relief of its decidedly outdoorsy community who were beleaguered from the social distancing policies of 2020.
Like all special districts, ARD’s mission is to provide essential services to their community. When residents approached ARD in 2012 to request the creation of a bike park, the district immediately began exploring options to fulfill the request. Working with the community, ARD explored site locations for years but found challenges from land slated for other use to neighborhood concerns.
ARD’s Canyon View Community Center is a keystone event space in the district, overlooking the expansive American River Canyon. The district contacted the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation inquiring about the Bureau’s vacant land adjacent to the Community Center. The district formed a partnership with the nonprofit group, the Auburn Trails Alliance in 2014. Together, the partnership moved forward with fundraising, permitting, and environmental review.
When the Bureau approved the project in the summer of 2018, the ARD and ATA had amassed tens of thousands of donations, a devoted community volunteer named Diana Boyer, and renown professional mountain bike competitor Randy Spangler to design the courses.
Phase I of the park’s construction began in the fall of 2019 with a pump track, strider course for tots, flow trail, dual slalom trail and other amenities. While COVID-19 caused park attendance to surge as the community sought safe activities outdoors, ARD decided it was an opportune time to move forward with the grand opening of the Auburn Bike Park.
This is truly a community-led project that is benefitting families, kids, adults, and everyone that experiences this new local gem.
Auburn Area Recreation and Park District received the 2022 CSDA Innovative Program of the Year Award in the small district category for its Auburn Bike Park. The criterion for this award includes originality of program/project, tangible and positive results produced, and a documented decrease in district costs or a demonstrated improvement in the district’s quality of service without significantly increasing costs.
“ARD is very grateful to CSDA for their recognition of the hard-work by the community to make this world-class facility a reality,” said ARD District Administrator Kahl Muscott. “The district could not have done this alone, and the kids, their parents and their grandparents will enjoy the benefits of the Auburn Bike Park for decades to come.”