BMX bike jump trail closed
One of Carson City’s lesser-known landmarks disappeared Wednesday, leaving area BMX bicyclists without a place to practice their sport.
Bulldozers plowed down dozens of jumps and flattened out berms at a man-made race and jump track in an empty lot behind the former Amerigas building on East William Street. It was a site that has drawn BMX enthusiasts from as far away as California for 20 years.
Several regular riders gathered Tuesday to bemoan the landowner’s decision to take away their landmark. The owner reportedly told the group Monday that he planned to flatten the land because his insurance provider warned him about potential liability.
“It’s just going to sit here until he does something with it,” said 36-year-old Jack Michael of Carson City. “I’ve been coming here 18 years and there has never been any problem with any lawsuits.”
Landowner John Serpa Jr. couldn’t be reached for comment.
Michael is probably the oldest of about 15 locals who showed up at the site on a daily basis, building jumps by hand and lugging buckets from the nearest water spout to wet the dirt. Because riding BMX is restricted throughout much of Carson City, Michael said, the lot was the only alternative for hardcore BMX riders in town.
“It’s just that we have a lot of time and a lot of ourselves invested in this,” he said. “Every time it would rain, we would dig out the puddles. We constantly had to reshape the terrain.”
Steve Cordle, a 21-year-old Carson City native, said the jumps have been on the barren lot as long as he can remember. “I’ve been coming here since the age of 5,” he said.
Cordle said that through the years teenage BMX riders have always feared the day would come when they would no longer be allowed to use the land.
“People always thought kids come out here to drink or get messed up,” he said. “We would get some people who came out here every once in awhile, but it wasn’t us and they never bothered us.”
Cordle said the unauthorized “park” served as a positive influence for teenagers who could have easily become involved in drug and alcohol use.
“This place is the prime location because it’s close enough to where we live that we don’t have to go out of our way to get here,” he said. “Now where are we going to go? What are we going to do?”
Rider Derek Jackson said he is willing to do anything to continue using the track.
“If he just said, ‘You have to clean up to ride here,’ I would understand and we would do it,” he said. The owner “doesn’t realize how much power he has over us.”