OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – The upcoming Fall Fest at the Tri-County YMCA will see the unveiling of the new Magic Dragon Bicycle Skills Park in Osage Beach.
The free family event will feature bike raffles, face and pumpkin painting, a balloon artist, bike races, a bouncy house and a food truck, while celebrating the official opening of the skill park .
The skill park is a joint initiative of the Magic Dragon Trails Committee, the Community Foundation of the Lake (CFL), the Tri-County YMCA and Branches for the Lake. The skill park is the inaugural project of the Magic Dragon Trails System, which is currently expected to add over 70 miles of trails to the lake area in the future.
CFL Vice President Stacy Pyrtle told The Heartlander that one of her main goals 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 were 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 love mountain biking and hiking, so they started exploring world-class trail building options similar to the 200 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails in Northwest Arkansas. She says Missouri has more incline and decline for trails than the northwest Arkansas region, and thinks it can be a great source of additional revenue for the lake region.
The plan is to start the trails at Osage Beach and expand to other areas of Lake of the Ozarks, Laurie and Sunrise Beach. Pyrtle predicts that the Cycling Skill Park will be a great place for cyclists to train and prepare to conquer the new trails ahead.
“There are rollers on it, we have rock gardens that people can walk through, we have a wooden ramp and bridges that people can roll over,” Pyrtle said. “It prepares them for the strength and balance they need to ride a single track trail that may have rocks in the way and tree roots as you cross.”
The Magic Dragon Bicycle Skills Park features a half-mile novice track that crosses YMCA property. The park also offers easier routes for beginners and a full track with banked turns for more experienced riders.
Progressive Trail Design of Bentonville, Arkansas was hired to design the courses and trails, while locals got together and volunteered to build the skill park with their own resources. A legacy masters campaign provided $150,000 in donations to hire the design firm for the project.
Once the groups raised $150,000, the Camden County Commission used ARPA recreation funds to channel an additional $150,000 to the project. A “Giving Tuesday” event raised an additional $15,000, as well as donations for other necessities by locals.
Branches for the Lake is a non-profit organization that strives to become the source of endowment funds for future fundraising and maintenance of the skill park and trail system. The City of Osage Beach has also applied for private and public grants for additional funding.
“The bike trails are really family oriented, where a lot of people maybe can’t afford the boats that come down here to the Lake of the Ozarks,” Pyrtle said. “Hiking, running, biking – it’s pretty easy and pretty inexpensive.”
Fall Fest and the grand opening of the Magic Dragon Bicycle Skills Parks will take place on October 9 from 2-5 p.m.