May 20 Update: Gabriel Schmid sent his Keep Bike Jumps Open in Longmont change.org petition to Longmont City Council and spoke at the May 19 council meeting. The City of Longmont has decided to delay the restoration project until the end of the summer to give time for community engagement. Read more from the Times-Call, Longmont Teens Hope to Save Bike Park They Built, but City Officials Recommend Removal.

This summer, the City of Longmont is planning to demolish a community built bike jump area near Left Hand Creek Park near the Creekside Neighborhood. Local fifteen-year-old Gabriel Schmid is spearheading an effort to save the bike area from destruction.

 

Calls to Action

 

Talking Points

  • The pandemic has put a hold on many activities for kids like sports and summer camps. Kids need a safe way to access the outdoors during this time.
  • Why now? The area in question has been used by bikers for over a decade. If this area must be closed, can that wait until more activities for kids are open again? Also, with limited staff and resources due to COVID, why expend them removing a resource that is helping people recreate locally? Especially given we are nearly at the end of nesting season for most riparian species anyway and the destruction of these facilities and associated restoration/planting would cause considerable disturbance to wildlife and promote weeds.
  • The outpouring of support for this park shows that this is a wanted and valued community amenity. If Left Hand Creek Park is not an appropriate location for this activity, has the city identified a more suitable location? Many users of the park are kids and teens that are not able to ride at places like Valmont Bike Park without a driving adult.
  • The bike area the City is building by Dick’s Sporting Goods is not open yet, and the current plans are lacking the diversity, difficulty and jump features that the kids love about Left Hand Creek Park. Can the closure of the Left Hand Creek Park park jumps wait until the new park is open and ready?

Gabriel’s Letter

 

Hello City and Boulder County Parks Managers,

I am one of many kids, teens and others who use the jumps at Left Hand Creek Park. We are asking the City and Boulder County to provide evidence for the need to restore the 200 Meter section of bike jump path along the North bank of left hand creek in Creekside Park in South Longmont.

We found out from some of the neighbors in the area that they have been using these jumps since the early 90’s. Those of us who have been riding the jumps for the last 7 most recent years have never noticed complaints or problems with the city before COVID-19. There are a few people in the city with more free time and are complaining about kids riding bikes outside and enjoying the jumps and trails. I’m guessing many of these people don’t understand the amount of stress this whole thing has put on families with younger children. It would certainly be easier to spend all day watching television or surfing the internet, but most people would agree the long-term and short term negative effects are proven.

We were told by a city representative that the whole area would be leveled by heavy equipment this Thursday, May 21. My friends and I have put a petition together on change.org We have almost 2000 local signatures so far (collected just since last Friday) and plan to bring this to the city on Tuesday. On a visit to the park you would see many different ages and races all participating together. Now we are trying to work together to convince the local government that engaging youth in nature/outdoor projects actually has a positive outcome to these types of areas and projects because the youth have good ideas of what other youth and people in general would enjoy and they have a sense of ownership and responsibility for the area they are invested in creating. We have been taking care of that area removing trash left around the whole creek other people have left behind and filling in all the holes. What has happened organically in this situation is an example of what Richard Louv points out in his book Last Child in the Woods……”Kids need ownership and connection with nature, not a play area that’s already curated for them.”

A city representative came by on the 14th and told us not to dig new trails and that we can maintain the already existing trail. This is what we have always been doing then another person from the city came and told us he is going to dig it up. I asked how he could do that when we have been doing what he said we could do and the area around there has been untouched.

I have enclosed in this packet the online and in person petitions we have collected over the last 4 days, the comments from the petition, statements by neighbors on next door and Longmont Bike Night fb page.

We as citizens of Longmont would ask the city to pause the plan to level this 200 Meter section of path and provide the evidence that this is absolutely necessary. That it is more necessary than having a positive place in nature that local kids have been creating by their own sweat equity for the last 25 to 30 years.

Thank You for Your Consideration,

Gabriel Schmid

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