A 240-acre mountain biking space is under way in Denton, on the Hartlee Field Property next to the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center.
The city's first official mountain biking area, it will consist of five to seven miles of trails running through hills, woods, flat spaces, and open prairies, city officials say. There are two small stock ponds on the property, as well.
It's part of a Denton city initiative to make sure there are bicycle trails all over town, connecting the lakes, the greenbelt, and major thoroughfares. Currently, there are more than 200 bike trails throughout the city, but the plan is to eventually double this number.
Drew Huffman, Denton assistant director of Parks & Recreation over Operations and Planning, says the Hartlee Field Property is the perfect location for mountain biking trails, but not just because of the varied terrain. The land has been sitting there largely unused used for decades.
“The Waste Water Department bought the property in the mid-’90s for a future waste water treatment plant,” he says. “Through their master planning, they decided that a treatment plant may be necessary, but it may not be necessary for 10 to 40 years. Or, it may never need to be built. Or, it may need to be just 30 or 40 acres, not 240 acres.”
Huffman says he used to work in the Waste Water Department and knew about the property all along.
“As soon as I moved over to the parks department, we worked on a memorandum of understanding to use the property for mountain biking trails,” he says. “If they’re not going to use all of it for what it was originally planned for, a mountain bike course would be great to put there. If a treatment plant is ever needed, the trails could go around it, and a fence could be built to keep people out.”
The bulk of the construction of the mountain bike trails will be done by local residents.
“We’ve had a lot of interest by volunteers to help with this project,” Huffman said. “Over 130 volunteers have signed up to help build the trails. They are raising awareness, posting signs, trimming brush, marking and planning where the trails will go, and installing trails,” using such hand tools as pruners, hand saws, shovels, and loppers.
“The volunteers are really excited,” Huffman says.
They hope to finish the project by December 2021, he says — or earlier.