AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – For those looking to enjoy the outdoors and do some cycling, the City of Amarillo’s Park and Recreation Department and the non-profit Six Pack Outdoors have you covered.
A few years ago, the two formed a partnership to provide public biking trails. The first location that was built was the 9th Street Trails near the medical district and more locations have since been added, including one at Rick Klein and one at John Stiff Memorial Park.
“The trails that have been built are really beginner trails and intermediate trails, so it allows people to go out there are try trails and get comfortable with them before they go out and adventure with a more advance trail,” said Michael Kashuba, director of the Amarillo Parks and Recreation Department.
Kashuba added this is independent of the Rock Island Rail Trail, but the goal is to make the city more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. He said these trails are located in larger regional parks.
The trails are built with money that is raised by Six Pack Outdoors from race series sponsorship, donations, and race entry fees and in turn, they donate these trails back to the city.
“The relationship we have with the city is that they own all the great places where we want to ride bikes in Amarillo. So, we went to them and told them ‘let us build some trails for our town, then we will do it at no charge to the city and provide great places for people to go hiking, go walking, ride bikes, look at birds. Whatever you want to do in the open spaces of Amarillo,” said Chris Podzemny.
The trails are also maintained by Six Pack Outdoors and volunteers.
Both Kashuba and Podzemny said that these trails can also help those in the community live healthier lives.
“It’s one of those qualities of life things. If you give people the tools that they need to live happy, healthy, productive lifestyles, they are going to take advantage of it and we see this, building trails, and operating the skills park and pump track as our best way to provide our community with the tools to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Podzemny.
Kashuba said the locations of the trails are determined by space and underutilization.
“In most cases, it has to be a large enough space. It has to be a space that is currently not being used, that is where that undeveloped space at Rick Klein was a prime choice,” added Kashuba.
The Schoolyard was the latest project that Six Pack Outdoors completed and it is at the location of the former Tornado Alley BMX Raceway and includes a skills area and pump track.
“The way we have it set up now, it’s just like any other city park. It’s open from sun up to sun down and anyone can come out here and ride and play on the track and it’s free,” said Podzemny.
This Sunday at 3 PM is Race #4 of the Six Pack Outdoors Cyclocross Series at The Schoolyard.
Kashuba said all of these trails are open and said currently they are working on putting in a parking lot over at the 9th Street Trails using a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife. Kashuba added one of the challenges at 9th Street is access, as people have been parking on private property or sidewalks and he said this parking lot will make it more accessible.