WKU brings outdoor recreation to community

Trail crew leader Chris Whiteside of Bowling Green works on a mountain bike trail at Weldon Peete Park in Bowling Green Saturday morning. The team has been working on the mountain bike trail project since February.

Matt Hodges

Beneath the canopy of green forest on a warm spring morning, a group of mountain bikers worked diligently to forge a path through overgrown brush.

Volunteers from the Kentucky Mountain Biking Association gathered at Weldon Peete Park last Saturday to continue the construction of a multi-use trail.

Fritz Games, president of the KyMBA Bowling Green chapter, rested his weight on a grub hoe as he gazed down a section of fresh-cut trail.

“We plan to call the trail Low Hollow,” Games said. “This is a long-time vision coming to fruition.”

Games is the campus minister for Reformed University Fellowship at WKU. He was introduced to the sport of mountain biking by a friend shortly after moving to Bowling Green. Games said he heard from many locals that the community needs a trail for bikers and hikers.

“There aren’t a lot of options in Bowling Green, not a lot of wooded areas,” Games said. “We chose the best available, which is near Weldon Peete.”

Weldon Peete Park is located on Old Louisville Road beside the Barren River. Games said the area is very neglected, polluted and harbors a lot of crime. He believed that building the trail would improve conditions in the riverfront area.

“It is a great area for a local volunteer group to redeem and to make something ugly into something beautiful,” Games said.

WKU agriculture professor Stephen King serves as treasurer for the chapter. King said his riding days are limited, but he attends every trail build workday.

“Bringing recreation to the community is very important,” King said. “It promotes healthier living.”

King said volunteering itself brings a lot of satisfaction. He encourages students to become involved whether they are apart of the mountain biking club or not.

Morgantown junior Zack Wimpe is a local bike mechanic. Wimpe has ridden mountain bikes for most of his life. In his free time, he travels at least an hour to reach mountain biking destinations.

“Bowling Green doesn’t offer much even though it has a strong riding community,” Wimpe said. “With Low Hollow, I’ll be able be on trail as soon I get off work.”

Wimpe said his role in the trail building process is to test its features. He said he rides every jump and every curve, which he referred to as berm.

“Berms are high bank turns,” Wimpe said. “You can push through them at high speeds, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Games said building trails with flowing berms isn’t just for fun. He said one of the most important goals for KyMBA is to build trails that are sustainable.

“Building trails with a surface angle of five degrees keeps water from sitting and cuts down erosion,” Games said. “We want to build a trail that will last.”

The trail is expected to be completed and open to the public by summer. Games said he’s satisfied with the progress made so far, but volunteers are always needed.