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05.16.12 Howard County Officially Opens Rockburn Skills Park June 2

May 16, 2012

Media Contacts: Kevin Enright, Director, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
John Byrd, Director, Dept. of Recreation & Parks, 410-313-4640

Howard County Officially Opens Rockburn Skills Park June 2

Multi-use trail system FIRST of its kind on the East Coast

ELLICOTT CITY, MD -- Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Recreation and Parks Director John R. Byrd will host the grand opening of the Rockburn Skills Park at Rockburn Branch Park on Saturday, June 2, at 10 a.m., to introduce the new one-of-a-kind trail system targeted to mountain bikers and trail runners.

“Thanks to a public-private partnership between our Department of Recreation and Parks, the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), we have been able to build a unique facility that really is a first in the region and, in fact, on the East Coast,” said County Executive Ulman. “The County provided the parkland; materials and construction costs were covered by some very generous private donations and some equally generous volunteers who gave their time to complete the project.”

Construction on the Skills Park began on April 23. IMBA flew in world-class trail builders and designers, and MORE raised funds and provided volunteer support to help clear the land and build the Skills Park which includes three courses for riders of varying skill levels, a rock-armored climbing trail, a pump track and a picnic area.

Features within the Skills Park include:
• Pump Track - low-risk circuit for a wide range of skills and appealing to new riders and children
• Flow Trail – easy trail that includes universal trail symbols, small rollers and berms that allow riders to experience bike-optimized trails; the more difficult flow trail features a combination of bike-optimized table tops, berms and short rock drops for more-experienced cyclists
• Descending Trail -- a technical descending trail with emphasis on technical rock trail features which includes log technical trail features and multiple options
• Rock-Armored Climbing Trail -- offers a steep, technically challenging climb
• Uphill Return Trail -- takes riders back to the top

“We wanted to provide a place where riders of any age and ability could practice and improve their confidence and skills including basic handling, turning, braking, climbing and descending., said Melanie Nystrom, the MORE liaison for the Rockburn Skills Park. “We selected Rockburn because of its existing infrastructure and the fact that it has an existing trail system that connects with Patapsco State Park, considered to be one of the preeminent mountain biking destinations in the Mid-Atlantic region because of its vast trail system.”

“I am thrilled to open the Rockburn Skills Park,” Byrd said. “The collaboration between Recreation and Parks, MORE and IMBA to build this facility ensures it is of the highest quality and a place that provides fun and safe activities for the whole family. MORE has stepped up to help maintain the entire Rockburn trail system which really helps the park staff provide a quality trail experience to the public.”

Other sponsors for the Rockburn Skills Park include Clif Bar; Diamondback; REI Columbia; REI Rockville; Patapsco Bike and Sport; Elkridge Youth Organization (EYO); Bike Doctor of Linthicum; Race Pace Bicycles; Family Bike Shop; Twenty20 Cycling; Single Speed Outlaw; and more.

The 450-acre Rockburn Branch Park includes 7.4 miles of trails; scenic woodlands, marshes and stream valleys; several multipurpose athletic fields, ball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts and two playgrounds; an 18-hole disc golf course; picnic pavilions; and more.

Updates on the Skills Park building process are available at www.rockburnskillspark.org.


Mid-Atlantic Offroad Enthusiasts (MORE) was founded in 1992 and currently has over one thousand members. They maintain over 250 miles of natural surface trails within 25 state and county parks. MORE volunteers contribute over 3,000 hours annually and have constructed approximately 100 miles of new sustainable trails. They organize hundreds of ‘Rides’ each year within local parks that vary from beginner to advanced levels. They promote, raise funds and build mountain bike related projects including trails, pump tracks and skills parks.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) was founded in 1988 as a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great mountain biking experiences. They encourage low-impact riding, volunteer trail work participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions.