Possible new trails coming to Standing Rocks Park
Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT — The Point Area Single Track Association (PASTA) presented its proposal for a new mountain bike trail in Standing Rocks Park at the Portage County Park Commission meeting on Jan. 10.
This approximately 8-mile natural surface trail will create beginner and intermediate tracks among otherwise high difficulty courses. Giving families and new riders a place to train and enjoy.
“We want to create a beginner specific trail that I could take my kids on,” said a PASTA member. “And get more of our community out there.”
The group, which formed around 2003, is working in unison with the Friends of Standing Rocks Park group to develop their plan. They share a combined mission to improve the park and unite outdoor enthusiasts. PASTA also sees the possibility of new tracks as an outlet for Stevens Point Area Senior High staff and students, as the school has recently joined the Wisconsin High School Cycling League.
“In 2013 there were just 60 students competing in Wisconsin,” reads a line from the group’s proposal. “In 2018 there were 953.”
The surge of interest in mountain biking and outdoor activities has undoubtedly peaked. A recent Recreation Opportunities Analysis conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources suggests that residents in Portage County would like more trails. Reports show that the area’s natural landscape is a prominent economic force, bringing in tourism and growth.
“We believe that in creating these new trails and incorporating them with existing trails that are out there will improve the experience for all users and bring more users to the park,” a PASTA member explained.
Expected costs of the project are around $100,000. PASTA is planning to raise the bulk of the capital on their own through fundraising efforts. An expert trail builder will be consulted for finalizations if all goes well and the project is fully approved. The proposal on the trails is still in its formative stages, and much is still unknown about the logistics and completion of the plan. There is an expected two year build time if things start smoothly.
Commission members recommend the group takes their idea to the County Board for further advancements. It is unclear how far the proposal will go, but the group is expected to start raising funds in preparation for the project. They hope to break ground in the summer of 2019.
For more info on PASTA and their efforts visit http://spmtb.org.