A mountain bike ride at Brown County Park in Indiana was the last thing the Griffin family did together before US Army Sgt. Dale Griffin was killed in action in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009. The family often traveled to ride mountain bikes together, and following Dale’s death they resolved to honor his memory the best way they knew how: by building a kick-ass mountain bike park right in their own community.
The Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department completed the project’s feasibility study in April 2014, and construction began in 2015. The park was officially opened just a couple months ago on October 15, 2016, and the ribbon cutting ceremony was presided over by none other than Indiana Governor, and now Vice President-Elect, Mike Pence.
When completed, the 300-acre bike park, designed by the well-known Hilride Progression Development Group, will eventually feature at least 20 miles of mountain bike trails for all skill levels. More than 15 miles of singletrack are already open for riding.
Five acres of the park have been set aside for the “LZ” Landing Zone Terrain Park. The terrain park was recently completed, featuring a pump track, dual slalom course, kid-friendly track, dirt jumps, and an XC eliminator course. A basic skills training area is also available, with even more features set to be added in the future.
Beyond providing a great place for locals to ride bikes, Griffin Bike Park aspires to be a world-class mountain bike destination with infrastructure in place to host major events and competitions. Just recently the park hosted a Veterans Day ride to honor our country’s veterans, especially those like Dale Griffin who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Organizers have worked from the beginning to ensure the bike park is sustainable and offers an economic benefit to the entire community. The ambition and scope of the project is impressive, especially given its location in a state not typically associated with mountains or biking for that matter.
Volunteers continue to work tirelessly to bring Griffin Bike Park to life, contributing tens of thousands of hours to trail construction to date. Organizers have done an excellent job courting big name donors and sponsors like Duke Energy and GE Aviation to make the project a success, and grassroots contributors, dubbed the “Friends of Griffin Park,” continue to fuel development. There are still plenty of opportunities to get involved, from writing a letter of support to volunteering or making a cash donation. And of course each time you visit, you’re helping support a community dedicated to our veterans and to the sport of mountain biking!
Check out the official Griffin Bike Park website for more details about the park.