OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – The upcoming Fall Fest at the Tri-County YMCA will see the unveiling of the new Magic Dragon Bicycle Skills Park at Osage Beach.
The free family-friendly event will include bike raffles, face and pumpkin painting, a balloon artist, bicycle races, a bounce house and a food truck, while celebrating the grand opening of the skills park.
The skills park is a joint initiative of the Magic Dragon Trails Committee, Community Foundation of the Lake (CFL), Tri-County YMCA and Branches for the Lake. The skills park is the inaugural project for the Magic Dragon Trails System, which is currently slated to add more than 70 miles of trails to the lake area in the future.
CFL Vice President Stacy Pyrtle told The Heartlander one of its biggest focuses is to keep other lake businesses alive between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when boating and water activities are at their peak season. Community groups had been looking for ways to extend the season with year-round activities such as trails to increase property values and help the community find low-cost exercise.
Pyrtle and her husband enjoy mountain biking and hiking, so they began exploring options of building world-class trails similar to Northwest Arkansas’ prominent 200 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. She says Missouri has more incline and decline for trails than the Northwest Arkansas region, and believes it can be a great source of additional revenue for the lake area.
The plan is to begin the trails in Osage Beach and extend them to other areas in Lake of the Ozarks, Laurie and Sunrise Beach. Pyrtle predicts the bicycle skills park will be a great area where cyclists can practice and prepare to conquer the upcoming new trails.
“There are rollers on it, we have some rock gardens people can ride through, we have a wooden ramp and bridges they can ride over,” Pyrtle said. “It gets them prepared for the strength and balance they need to ride on a single-track trail that may have rocks in the path and tree roots you are going over.”
The Magic Dragon Bicycle Skills Park features a half-mile novice track that runs through the YMCA property. The park also provides easier routes for beginners, and a track complete with bank turns for more experienced riders.
Progressive Trail Design of Bentonville, Arkansas was hired to design the courses and trails, while locals came together and volunteered to build the skills park with their own resources. A legacy master campaign provided $150,000 in donations to hire the design company for the project.
Once the groups raised $150,000, the Camden County Commission used ARPA recreational funds to funnel another $150,000 to the project. A “Giving Tuesday” event raised an additional $15,000, alongside donations for other necessities by locals.
Branches for the Lake is a nonprofit working to become the source of endowment funds for future fundraising and maintenance of the skills park and trail system. The city of Osage Beach also has been applying for private and state grants for extra funding.
“The biking trails are really family-focused, where a lot of people can maybe not afford to buy the boats that run down here at Lake of the Ozarks,” Pyrtle said. “Hiking, trail running, biking – that’s a pretty easy activity, and is fairly inexpensive.”
The Fall Fest and grand opening of Magic Dragon Bicycle Skills Parks is Oct. 9 from 2-5 p.m.