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Bike Trail at Guerrero Park faces opposition

Friday, April 27, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

In an effort to offer more centrally located mountain biking trails to Austin youth, the Austin Ridge Riders mountain bike club proposed constructing and maintaining a short, 24-inch-wide, natural-surface trail in Roy G. Guerrero Park. In response to the Ridge Riders’ proposal, Ecology Action of Texas posted a message of concern on Facebook stating that the trail design would have a detrimental impact on the wildlife and nature in the park. Linda Guerrero, a member of the Environmental Commission whose father the park is named after, addressed the Parks and Recreation Board on April 24, saying, “(The) concept of this, fabulous. Placement of it, questionable.” She explained that although she advocates more recreational use of the parks, protecting the heritage trees and the wildlife should be the primary concern for the Parks and Recreation Department. Kent Browning, the trails program director for the Ridge Riders, explained that in the design plans for the trail, the tree root zones of every tree surrounding the trail were considered, and the engineers followed tree protection guidelines from Parks and Recreation. “We actually went back and moved the trail farther away from some heritage trees,” he said. “I did walk the entire route with a city employee.” Browning continued to explain that “erosion is a major concern when we design trails” and that “the idea of just leaving it alone has its own problems.” Although the Ridge Riders requested a meeting with Ecology Action, according to Browning, they have not received any response. He said that without any other explanation, “my suspicion is that those issues are being blown out of proportion.”

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