With help from volunteer trail workers, support from the staff at the
City of Northfield’s Streets & Parks Department, and power from our lovable Ford tractor (still on loan from CROCT member Bill Nelson, our Sechler Skills Park grew quite a bit last year. It now has its own page here on the CROCT website, listed under the Trails dropdown menu. Scenes from the 2017 season:
The list of features (photo album below) will grow again in 2018 but currently includes:
3 berms (1 large wood berm, 2 dirt berms)
7 tabletop jumps (6 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level)
2 wood drops (1 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level)
2 large log piles
1 line of 8 small rollers
1 log skinny/logover obstacle, configured for several levels of difficulty
2 railroad ties configured for uphill steps
1 large boulder
Several skinnies (intermediate-expert) with changing configurations
CROCT member Josh Seifert has redesigned and led a major redevelopment of the skills area in Sechler Park this fall, adding 3 table top jumps, a large wooden berm dubbed Bermzilla, a stockade berm, and several rollers:
His son Jayden has been working at his side much of the time:
As we were about to reopen the park, major flooding of the Cannon River in late September did some damage:
While waiting for the water to recede, Josh and Jayden spent Saturday Oct 3 at the
Lebanon Hills MTB park in Eagan for Dakota County’s Wild Mountain Festival and IMBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.
Like last year, Jayden won the race for his age group. Like other parents, his dad had to race on Jayden’s bike:
Josh and a small team of volunteers did the repairs to the Sechler skills park yesterday:
We hope to open later this week, as soon as the dirt hardens.
More details to come when it’s open but here are two Tweets:
Our trail worker volunteers, under the guidance of dirt boss Marty Larson, have added an extension (Loop 2) to our
Caron Park MTB trail. It’s now open for riding but since it’s the season of the freeze-thaw cycle, be sure to check the the CROCT conditions Twitter feed @CROCTconditions before you ride.
Milltowns Trail bridge along Armstrong Road in Bridgewater Township was destroyed in the July 2013 flood. (See photos of the flood on the Locally Grown Northfield blog.) The wood was salvaged and ultimately donated to CROCT by the Minnesota DNR, thanks to Peter Hark. Back in May, a crew of CROCT volunteer trail workers fashioned timbers and planks from the bridge into two bridges along our Sechler Park trail.
Last week, CROCT members Todd Amunrud, Kevin Herman, Marty Larson, Michael Lehmkuhl, and Galen Murray fashioned some of those timbers and planks into a bridge along a new segment of
our mtb trail in Caron Park.
Last week, CROCT member and uber volunteer Bill Nelson drove his Ford Tractor back home. It had been on duty for the past couple of months in the Sechler skills park. 13-second video:
Bill originally brought his tractor to the skills park to sculpt dirt into a beginner table top jump:
I soon discovered it could do other things, like move logs and boulders. I put Bill to work:
Bill eventually got sick of me bossing him and his tractor around so he gave me a few operator lessons:
I teamed up with CROCT member Jason Decoux from Faribault to fashion the table top:
I eventually began to see how the tractor could expand the possibilities for more features in the skills park:
I got better at sculpting with it:
By late fall, I graduated summa cum laude from the Mountain Bike Skills Park Tractor Operators Academy. Thanks to Mr. Bill for the mentoring, the keys, and the hat: