Syringa Park is a County-owned 2.05 acre park located in the upper Rattlesnake neighborhood located at 1465 Lower Lincoln Hills Dr., across from the MCPS Hellgate High soccer and softball complex. The park was dedicated to the County as public parkland in 1973 with development of the Syringa Addition Subdivision. In 1989, the City of Missoula annexed this area into the City, including the park. While Syringa Park is within City limits, the County currently manages the park in partnership with the ‘Friends of Syringa Park’ as an undeveloped neighborhood park.
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MASTER PARK PLAN OVERVIEW
A bike skills park is a dedicated recreation area that includes bike trails, jumps and progressive skill features for all ages and skill levels. Generally, a bike park’s natural vegetation and terrain is left in place to minimize impacts on the environment and the neighborhood. Citizen interest in bike skill parks has risen substantially in the last decade, and bike parks offer children and adults a fun way to play outside and stay active.
Syringa Park is designed to provide local riders of all ages and skills levels with a dynamic, progressive bike skills park aimed at youth ages 5-17, designed specifically for practicing and developing bike skills in a safe and managed environment. Missoula Parks and Recreation in collaboration with Missoula County Parks, Trails & Open Lands, have been working with the community toward an adopted master plan since November 2015.
An International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA) consultant has been involved in the process to help design high-quality bike skills amenities within a neighborhood park setting. IMBA is a leader in bike park development with experience from projects around the world.
- Beginner Pump Track
South of the pavilion/shade shelter is the kids’ pump track with clear and open sight lines to supervise children while still being allowed to engage in unstructured imaginative play. A pump track is designed as a continuous loop to allow cyclists of all skill levels to learn and advance their riding skills. Pump tracks are generally directional allowing users to “roll” through the rollers, berms and features. Riding a pump track is a high aerobic activity, learning to use gravity and the efficiency of a bike to get around the track with minimal pedal strokes.
- Advanced Pump Park
The proposed advanced pump park in the northwest corner is identified as a future project based on need. Park staff recommends the northwest park corner be preserved as a native prairie to best support neighborhood park values and interests. Staff recognizes that Syringa is a neighborhood park and advanced, larger features would best fit in a community or regional park setting. Staff explored the feasibility of adding an advanced feature to the intermediate pump track. It is not best practice in bike park design to integrate mixed skill levels into one feature.
- Progressive Jump Line
Park users seeking an opportunity to practice jumping in a low consequence environment will benefit from the progressive jump zone. The jump zone includes beginner to advanced progression-oriented jumps, with a mix of dirt jumps, berms and ‘slopestyle features’. The start hill will be constructed from a 20’ x 8’ x 8’ shipping container with a rooftop deck and rail system to a finish height of ~10’ with a 45% drop in slope optimized for generating speed. The shipping container will also serve as a bike maintenance area and storage for park maintenance tools.The progression jump zone is designed for both mountain bike and BMX riders of all skill levels. The beginner jump line on the south offers opportunities for shorter tabletops that could be jumped or rolled over. The intermediate and advanced jump lines to the north will provide non-linear, varied experiences with berms, tabletops and hip jumps with varied options/routes to enhance user experience.
- Combined Single Track Skills Trail and Walking Trail
The combined single track skills loop and walking trail is a 5’ wide shared use perimeter path that is offset 15’ from the east, west and southern property boundary. The offset helps insure privacy and security of adjacent property owners. Two feet of the path is dedicated to bike circulation patterns in a clockwise direction, providing a ~1,400’ long bike skills loop. An adjacent three foot outer path focused on pedestrian use combined with the northern access path provides a ~1,600’ (just over a quarter mile) walking loop for non-bike enthusiasts.Optional lines with prefab features are incorporated along the inside track offering progressive skill development. Proposed bike skill features include rock gardens, rock drops and ladder bridge features that challenge riders to navigate obstacles in the trail by riding over or around them.