Friends of Luther Burbank Park members and board wish to thank the city decision-makers for temporarily closing the bike area in Upper Luther Burbank Park. There has been a great deal of vandalism within the park in the past COVID year. And although we understand youth want a place to ride, vandalism and broken rules must not be overlooked or condoned.
The Luther Burbank Park master plan did allow a small bike trail within the park. It was about 60 feet long and 3 feet wide in 2006. It expanded some over time, but in the past 18 months, mountain bike riders have burrowed out under mature trees to build their jumps and have moved the boundary stakes so the area is now 325 feet long and 70 feet wide. Approximately half an acre has been totally denuded of vegetation, and several trees have died and will need to be removed.
Recently several elementary-aged youths have been injured on the entry path that is now rutted by bike tires. The YouTube Snake Hill MI video has brought youth from off island.
The area needs to be seen to be believed. Multiple signs all around the course say: Stop building trails and digging up vegetation. Do not expand BMX course boundary. Do not dig up forest soils to build ramps. Each month, park staff tears down illegal jumps, but they get rebuilt immediately.
A time out during this rainy season is appropriate. The professional consultant can help our city determine the best and safest outcome — both for the health of the youthful riders and the environmental health of Upper Luther Burbank Park.
Sue Stewart, President, Friends of Luther Burbank Park; Amanda Clark, Rita Moore, Elliot Newman, Judy Roan, Bharat Shyam