By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor
BIG SKY – The Big Sky Community Corp. is about to start the next phase of construction in the Community Park, which is located just north of the Big Sky Meadow Village.
This spring BSCC director Jessie Neal has been working with engineers, surveyors, contractors and landscapers to create a site plan for the northeast section of the park, which will eventually be home to artificial climbing boulders, a skate park and a bike park.
With funding from the local Rotary Club, construction of the first climbing boulder will begin by mid-June, Neal said. It will be located just north of the half pipe.
The site plan leaves enough space for two large boulders. The Rotary is waiting to hear back about additional funding that would come from matching grants and possibly fund a second boulder.
“I think it’s going to be a popular recreational item at the park,” Neal said. “And I think that with the number of people using it, they will start to want more than one. There are only so many routes you can do on each boulder.” Ultimately, there could be room a whole boulder garden, she added.
BSCC has contracted Stronghold Fabrication, which built five of the six Bozeman boulders, to run the project.
The boulder will be 13 feet tall, eight to 10 feet wide, and about 25 feet long, said the boulder’s designer Tomas Dumbrovsky. There will be an easy way to the top on one end, an overhang on the other, and the walls in between will be closer to vertical.
“There will be terrain for every skill and level,” Dumbrovsky said.
Stronghold plans to orient the boulder so the overhangs will be shaded in the summer, and the easier routes will be more in the sun. Eight feet of wood chips will surround the boulder, forming a soft landing surface.
Neal is consulting with engineers and a landscaper to make sure the spaces between the boulders, skate and bike parks is “functional and livable, and that people want to spend time there.” There will be walking paths, she noted, and a parent should be able to sit at a picnic table in the shade and watch their kids on any of the features.
A group from California is contracted to build the skate park, which will eventually sit where the half pipe does now. That project’s timeline is contingent upon funding.
Two Big Sky residents, Rich Chandler and Dave Neal, are planning and fundraising for the bike park this summer and will likely start construction next spring, also depending on funding.
“The pump track is a great fundamental development tool for anybody,” Chandler said. “It caters to all levels from a 3- or 4-year-old to an expert cyclist. It’s not about big air. It’s more about rolling momentum through the rollers and berms.”
Chandler and Neal came up with the idea over the winter, and are currently mapping out a 75- by 165- foot pump track that will sit east of the boulders.
“You’re really getting the core of what our community is about there, with the boulders, the bike park and the skate park,” Chandler said. “I hope we’re able to attract all these different user groups. Having them all more or less interconnected is the coolest part.”