Story and photos by Devin Fisher
Dirt bike and all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts now have the opportunity to get in a trail ride after work and on the weekends without having to leave the local area.
Fort Carson and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation leadership held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 10 to open the Fort Carson Off Highway Vehicle Park which features about 10 miles of trails spread across 199 acres. The trail entrance is located just inside Gate 20 across from the water treatment facility.
Limited to military identification card holders with dirt bikes, dual sport motorcycles and four-wheeled ATVs, the idea of an off-road park was first voiced by Soldiers during a lunch with the 4th Infantry Division command team at the Raider Dining Facility.
Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, told those in attendance that due to the persistence of Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Dailey, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson senior enlisted leader, and the garrison staff, DFMWR was able to provide Soldiers a place for another activity to do during their off-duty time.
“This is one of our many attempts to improve quality of life at Fort Carson for Soldiers and Families, giving them some of the things they want to do here on Fort Carson and also giving them something that is unique,” Perkins said.
Garrison Commander Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, was pleased leadership could provide something the community asked for.
“This is a great capability for us to have for our Soldiers (and Families),” he said. “We have a lot of programs that provide for recreation to give our Soldiers something to do on the installation. This is a great example of using the existing terrain and modifying it so Soldiers can have some safe, good fun.”
Noting he’s seen a lot of dirt bikes and ATVs in the back of pickup trucks on post, Outdoor Recreation Director Eric Hill, said his staff is excited to add the park to its list of activities.
“We had a great turnout here today (at the grand opening) which shows us a lot of people are interested in this program,” he said. “I anticipate a lot of people getting out and enjoying it.”
He said there is potential in the future to add a small limited track for children and beginners to learn the sport and maybe even a motocross course.
Although he wasn’t the one to request an OHV Park be created, Spc. Robert White, Company B, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., said he plans to ride the trails two to three times a week.
“It’s great that Soldiers have a place to ride safely,” said White, who races his ATV in the Sport Riders of Colorado circuit.
The park will be open yearround from dusk to dawn, weather permitting. Hill noted Outdoor Recreation will close the trails during inclement weather to protect the area and keep it usable for the long term.
For safety purposes, the majority of the trails are one-way, labeled by posts, so riders don’t come over rises or around corners and run into each other, he said.
Riders will be on the honor system to register and follow the rules.
“It’s a self-directed program, but we had to set some parameters to keep it safe and make sure we are able to continue to use the area,” Hill said.
Among the rules, which riders must sign and acknowledge during the registration process,
Hill stressed were that all vehicles must be washed prior to entering the trails to prevent the transport of noxious plant species and weeds; riders must carry cell phones in case an emergency arises; and all vehicles must stay on the trails to preserve the area.
Perkins encouraged Soldiers to speak up when asked what leadership can do to improve their tour at the Mountain Post.
“This is a meaningful way to show our
Army, our division, our post listens to your needs and cares about you,” he said. “Hopefully this (park) gets well used.”