County officials and mountain bikers celebrated the newest addition to Rockburn Branch Park on Saturday.
Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE), an organization promoting sustainable mountain biking programs, worked in partnership with Howard County's Recreation and Parks Department to bring its plans for the Rockburn Skills Park to fruition.
The park includes what is known as a "pump track," or a "highly engineered plot of dirt with banked turns and bumps, so that riders can propel themselves using only their bodies, pumping with their legs instead of pedaling," according to the park's creators. MORE also worked to build a network of trails to challenge mountain bikers of varying skills levels in Rockburn.
Initially, residents who lived near Rockburn resisted the proposal to build the biking attraction, expressing concerns about traffic during public meetings last spring.
However, MORE's plans gained momentum through county support, volunteer participation and fundraisers at the park where the nonprofit raised thousands of dollars to move the project forward.
"The first phase, the pump track, was completed in October and saw literally hundreds of users visit over its first season," wrote Rockburn Skills Park.
The second phase, on which work began in April, is a trail system that connects Rockburn Branch Park in a network of paths for bikers and pedestrians.
County Executive Ken Ulman helped cut the ribbon at Rockburn Branch Park West on Saturday June 2, alongside representatives from MORE in celebration of the public-private partnership that enabled the creation of the park's newest feature.
The pump track and trail system are free and open to the public.