The Town of Spruce Pine announces the grand opening of The Thickets mountain bike pump track at Brad Ragan Park on Saturday, May 22nd at 11 am. The public is invited to attend this celebration with everyone, especially kids, invited to bring their bikes (and don’t forget the helmets).

This new track is the first mountain bike asset in Mitchell County.  A pump track is an endless loop of rollers and berms where bicycle riders propel themselves through the track by shifting their body weight or “pumping” in conjunction with the track contours, rather than having to pedal.  It is used for recreational and skills development in addition to being a great community gathering place for off-road bicycle riders to play.

The benefits of a pump track include promoting healthy, physical outdoor activity; a low risk environment for cyclists of all ages and skill levels, affordable fun for all families (there is no cost to use the track, a sustainable recreation with minimal environmental impact and low initial costs.

The grand opening celebration will include a ribbon cutting and demo rides by guest cyclists. Guests will include trail builder TJ Kearns, cyclist Chris Boone, known for his record-setting ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Marc Poland, international cyclist and record setter, all three calling Mitchell County home.

The track was built with support from the Town of Spruce, which consisted of providing the land for the pump track in addition to a portion of the funding to construct the track. Town Manager Darlene Butler conveyed the Town Council’s commitment to the project and to Brad Ragan Park.  She stated, “We hope the momentum of the completion of The Thickets pump track continues with proposed upgrades to Brad Ragan Park, including the construction of a mountain bike/hiking trail.”  The track was constructed with volunteer hours by trail builder TJ Kearns, local mountain bike enthusiast, and Mitchell County Chamber Outdoor Recreation Taskforce member Tim Kearns, cyclist Chris Boone and other volunteers In addition to their financial contributions to see the project completed.

Sponsors include the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce and Town of Spruce Pine. Signage sponsors include the Dogwood Health Trust, NW Mountain Bike Alliance in addition to the Town and Chamber.

The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce is currently developing an outdoor recreation strategic plan in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Chamber’s Outdoor Recreation Taskforce. “We are beyond excited to see the new pump track’s grand opening scheduled. This project will be the first announced since the taskforce began and we are thankful for the commitment of taskforce member Tim Kearns towards this project. He was the driving force and energy behind its success. We are also grateful to the Town of Spruce Pine for their support of the project and their interest to not only building new assets in the Town but also their interest in making improvements to current park facilities,” said Jensen.

The pump track grand opening event will take place at Brad Ragan Park (293 Laurel Creek Court, Spruce Pine) from 11 am-1 pm on Saturday, May 22nd. The track is located at the end of the park at Shelter #3. For more information contact the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce at 828-765-9033.