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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rapid City Hansen-Larsen Park: Best Biking in America?

I know some folks think a good bicycle transportation network is just a luxury. But good bike trails can make for some darn good press for your town. Look at the attention Rapid City is getting for its newest bike trails, the Hansen-Larsen Memorial Park. One magazine calls the new trail system the best bike park in the country. The National Park and Rec. Assoc. named the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival held there the "best commercial recreation and tourism special event" of 2009. (Yeah, that's a mouthful, but if I were the Chamber of Commerce, I'd take best in the nation in anything anytime).

Says Rapid City parks and Rec director Jerry Cole:

There isn't anything within Rapid City like this. There isn't anything within 99 percent of the cities in the United States like this. This is unique....

This has the potential to change Rapid City for the betterment of the community and the visitors that will come here [quoted by Emilie Rusch, "New Park Drawing National Praise," Rapid City Journal, 2009.11.30].

But also note, City of Madison, this amazing trail system was built with zero tax dollars and no eminent domain. All it took was a community, including some smart donors, who recognize the cultural and economic value of good recreational infrastructure.

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