Log In

Reset Password

Juniper Basin Recreation Area nears Phase 1 of development

The 93-acre project will feature hiking, biking trails for a variety of skill levels
Plans for Juniper Basin Bike Park nears the start of Phase 1. (DelSheree Gladden/The Journal)

The city of Farmington plans to utilize the $100,000 recently awarded from the Outdoor Recreation Division of the New Mexico Economic Development Department for Phase 1 of development of the Juniper Basin Recreation Area.

Warren Unsicker, Farmington economic director, stated in an email that 80 acres of the area was donated by the Nordstrom family for outdoor recreation facilities, and 13 acres were purchased by the city from an undisclosed private party.

The first phase of development will include a parking lot, lighting and restrooms, followed by bike trails of varying skill levels, with a tot track and pump tracks.

Farmington officials sought public input by meeting with neighborhood representatives, user-groups and stakeholders. “We wanted it to be an embodiment of Farmington,” Unsicker said.

Christopher Martinez, owner of Sandstone Cycles, sees the development of Juniper Basin Recreation Area as a major boon to the cycling community in the region. He said it will create the opportunity for more bike shops, and he believes competition is a good thing.

Martinez sees his bike shop as a community service for cycling enthusiasts and riders of diverse skill levels.

“Anyone can go online now and buy bike parts and buy a bike and have it delivered … but for a bike shop to thrive, you have to really be there to help someone when they break their bike and needs parts,” Martinez said.

“We just wanted to create this thing to help assist the community. And so as things like this are put it … it makes the biking community bigger, and it creates more people for us to help,” Martinez said.

He said the Juniper Basin project is shaping up to look like the Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado.

Phase 1 of the Juniper Basin Bike Park will focus on parking, lighting and about 4 miles of trails. (Courtesy city of Farmington)

“And I just can't wait to see it come to fruition. I think it's something that would be a huge attraction for our area,” Martinez who also serves as president of Aztec Trails and Open Space said.

Aztec Trails and Open Space currently organizes three events: Alien Run Mountain Bike Race, Earth Day 5K and 10K Run and the Santa Dash, a 5K and 10 K run.

“There’s just not many bike parks like that in the country where there's like family, fun trails. “There's technical areas, there's big jumps, there's small jumps, there's obstacles,” Martinez said in a phone interview.

William Farmer, co-owner of Aztec Adventures, said Farmington received a trail accelerator grant from the International Mountain Biking Association Grant. IMBA designed a three-phase bike park that will feature challenges and fun for all ages and skill levels.

“So it's a really exciting time, not only for Farmington, but for New Mexico as a whole,” Farmer said.

A Farmington native and competitive cyclist, Farmer is optimistic about the local and statewide push for outdoor recreation.

“It's really awesome. It's a great plan. It has everything from little kids on Strider bikes all the way to making black expert lines for pro riders. ... I mean they're trying to make it family friendly and inclusive to all bikers. Sounds like it’s going to be a really great amenity for the community,” Farmer said.

A Fort Lewis College gradate and former FLC cycling team member, Farmer is passionate about cycling and the outdoors. Aztec Adventures, which is in its second year of business, has pivoted from adventure tours to promoting bike races and other events.

“I love talking about this stuff. It's gonna be cool if they can get all these projects … they've got big plans. Seems like Farmington is trying really hard in that direction.” Farmer said.

“We have been wanting to have a curated bike park that we could create the types of trails we felt the community needed, and that included tot tracks, pump tracks, things for people that are just getting started as well as more advance things,” Unsicker said in a KOB TV interview.

Unsicker said the state has been very generous and gave the county a $250,000 planning grant for several trails that Farmington and Aztec are partners on.

“We’re excited to get this project off the ground,” he said regarding the first phase of the project.

Juniper Basin Bike Park will feature trails with varying levels of difficulty once completed. (DelSheree Gladden/The Journal)

Unsicker said various groups are collaborating to make sure planning is comprehensive and well-thought-out. Outdoor recreation development and promotion are receiving a big push to stimulate economic growth in San Juan County. He referenced working closely with Endeavor New Mexico, an organization that promotes responsible and inclusive outdoor development.

The Juniper Basin Bike Park Community Engagement video presentation stated that the goal is to create stable, long-lasting riding surfaces that are dual-purpose – biking and hiking. In Phase 1, about 4 miles of trails will be built.

Unsicker said they hope to connect biking and hiking trails that lead to Lake Farmington, where entry points have been established around the lake to access existing BLM trails. They want to tie in to trails in The Glade as part of a long-range plan for a “robust trail system.”

Other plans include connecting primary bike routes such as Pinon Hills Boulevard, Foothills Drive and College Boulevard to the river trails and Animas River Walk.

A date for construction to get underway is “contingent on whatever consultants are hired to work on the project,” Unsicker said. He said a team of city employees is working on the bid process for phase one.

The city of Farmington is seeking additional community input on how this project should be developed on its website.

Reader Comments