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The developers of the proposed Shadow Mountain Bike Park in Conifer answered a wide range of questions on July 27 to provide information and to try to quell the mounting opposition to the proposal.
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The virtual community meeting on July 27 hosted by developers Phil Bouchard and Jason Evans was attended by about 300 people who by the end of the night had put more than 600 questions and comments into the Q-and-A section. Because of the way the Zoom call was configured, attendees could not see the names of others on the call or the questions and responses.
Bouchard and Evans want to put the downhill mountain bike park on 230 acres owned by the State Land Board two miles up Shadow Mountain Drive, and the proposal has faced extensive backlash from neighbors since it was originally proposed in January 2021. July 27's community meeting is the precursor to the developers formally applying to Jefferson County for a special-use permit on the property that is zoned Agriculture-2.
Evans and Bouchard propose a day-use bike park with a chairlift, the only one of its kind in Colorado, that would be open generally from March to October depending on weather. It would have a parking lot for 300 cars, 16 miles of trails between 6 feet and 15 feet wide that cater to a wide range of abilities, a lodge for registration and a small shop.
A change from the development proposed in January 2021 when it was called Full Send Bike Ranch is there no longer will be a restaurant and bar, Bouchard said. Instead, food trucks are planned. In addition, he added, the parking lot and lodge would be moved further south to help keep the meadow pristine.
While not all questions were answered after three-and-a-half hours, the developers promised more community meetings to make sure neighbors understood the proposal and its impact on the area.
Pros and cons
Bouchard said the park’s name was changed from Full Send because while the term means being passionate about something to some, to others it has the connotation of meaning crazy, over-the-top riding.
While the developers have had some support from mountain bikers, they also have received vocal opposition from Stop the Bike Park, a nonprofit formed last year to bring awareness to the project and to convince the Jeffco Planning Commission and county commissioners that the bike park is a bad idea.
Environmental and wildlife impacts plus overtaxing Elk Creek Fire’s emergency medical service are big concerns, but at the top of the list is additional traffic on the narrow, windy road. The developers say on peak days, they expect up to 500 cars on Shadow Mountain Drive equating to 1,000 trips per day.
Eleven people spoke during the meeting, and one suggested that the developers create a business plan similar to Denver Adventures, which has an office in Aspen Park and uses shuttles to take zip liners to Beaver Ranch. That business model, he said, would alleviate traffic congestion on Shadow Mountain Road, and eliminate the need for a large parking area and a lodge on the property.
“We want this to be a good situation for all of us,” attendee Randy Bates said. “Let’s be honest here. This is mostly likely going to go through, and we would like something good for community. Using shuttles would alleviate a lot of issues people have with the plan.”
One attendee asked whether the public would see the impact analysis to make sure it was comprehensive before it was provided to Jefferson County.
Attendees countered the developers’ belief that the mountain bike park would pull riders off congested area trails such as at Flying J, Meyer Ranch and Staunton State Park, saying that if the bike park was full, riders would just go to nearby locations.
In response to questions, the developers said:
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