Guest editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial

Nick Van Dine,

Park City Council Members:

First, thanks for all the phenomenal work you do making our community the wonderful place it is to live and recreate. The reason for this email is that I would like to open up the discussion regarding multi user access in the City Park skatepark.

The park is a work of beauty yet isn’t being utilized to fully capture the incredible possibilities that hide within it’s humble concrete walls. For some reason while every other public skatepark in the Salt Lake Valley, Heber City and Oakley skate parks allow bicycles — ours is the only one in Northern Utah to have a ban on bikes. The irony of our town being labeled a "cycling mecca" yet illegal to ride in the city skatepark is embarrassing.

The current policy states that scooters, roller-skates, and bicycles are banned from the park. Yet, while young children constantly break these rules with razor scooters or rollerblades without any legal repercussions (thankfully because they should be allowed access too) any bike rider to catch the eye of a passing officer is sure to catch a little flack and on rare occasions even receive tickets and fines. I feel it is the responsibility of the municipality to either uphold all of the regulations on a fair and consistent basis or allow all users the same equal leniency.

I have been riding the park in the shadows of early mornings and other low occupancy times for over 10 years as my own form of gentle civil disobedience. Funny thing is the vast majority of skateboarders I share the park with are very friendly and even seem to generally enjoy and encourage my presence. While I have been asked to leave a handful of times by law enforcement officers over the years, the encounter is always mellow and cooperative and I never get a ticket or butt heads. I just leave peacefully and come back the next day.

Normally I’d be fine with doing this into my late 50s without a care or concern in the world except now something has changed. I am a father. I want to share with my son the joy of carving a two-wheeler fast through a vertical corner. I want to teach my son how to see, and read, and more than that; feel the physics of the beautiful dance a bicycle plays with speed, pitch, complex angles, momentum and energy. I want to teach him how to visualize and execute lines that work corners from high to low or low to high and blast airs from one transition to another. There is nowhere better to do this than the skate park and while I’m happy to break the rules by myself what kind of father would I be demonstrating the disregard with my child? Why do I have to drive him to Heber, or Oakley, or Sugarhouse, or Sandy, or Ogden, or Provo when there is a perfect facility in my backyard that simply has the wrong sign on the fence?

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We are truly robbing our children of one of the most valuable tools in the development of elite cycling skills.

I sincerely thank you for your time and wonderful work in our community.