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March 2012:

Multi-Use Trail Opening in Rockburn Branch Park

By Susan Kim, Staff Writer

March 6, 2012

Posted in: Salute to Higher Education

A multi-use trail system featuring a 5,000-square-foot, fenced-in course will open June 2 in Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge. The trail, created with mountain bikers and trail runners in mind, is being built through a public-private partnership between the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE), Howard County Recreation and Parks and the International Mountain Biking Association.

The project, called the Rockburn Skills Park, has attracted grants from the business community. The outdoor gear store REI contributed $10,000 toward building the trails, while Clif Bar provided a $5,000 grant that went toward an already-built, 4,900-square-foot “pump track,” or series of tight rolling small hills and berms that provide tight-banked turns so bikers can ride the dirt track without ever pedaling.

Other local businesses and organizations — including Patapsco Bike and Sport, the Elkridge Youth Organization, Bike Doctor Linthicum, Race Pace Cycles, Family Bike Shop, Twenty 20 Cycling and Single Speed Outlaw – are also helping to fund the $60,000 project.

Melanie Nystrom, a Howard County resident and volunteer who helped coordinate the project, said that the site would likely become an attraction for summer camps and sports tourists. “Mountain bikers and trail runners will travel in and they will stay in Howard County hotels and support local businesses,” she said. “We’ve already had interest from the West Virginia University downhill mountain bike team.”

Dave Ferraro, president of MORE, said he considers the Rockburn Skills Park an investment in the environment. “It’s a fantastic resource to engage kids, families and a diverse constituency in the outdoors,” he said.

A barbeque fundraiser will be held on April 15 in the main pavilion of Rockburn Branch Park. The grand opening of the Rockburn Skills Park will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on June 2.

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