Beginning June 21, 2014, mountain bike enthusiasts will have a new place to pedal. The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) in partnership with Pasco County and a local bike organization known as the Southwest Association of Mountain Bike Pedalers (SWAMP,) have developed a new mountain bike trail network in the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, located at 10500 Wilderness Park Boulevard in New Port Richey.
In response to public comment received during public meetings on the Pasco County Greenways Master Plan, the County determined that there was a strong demand for off-road bicycling opportunities within the proximity of the park. The County solicited SWAMP to develop proposals to create a system of trails within the park to provide patrons with diverse opportunities. SWAMP completed the first phase of the trail system which is approximately eight miles long.
This new trail was designed to showcase some of the park’s most beautiful assets. The entrance to the new trail system begins at parking lot number 10 and winds through Pine Uplands, Old Growth Oak Woodlands, Scrub Oak, Flatwoods, past Wetlands, Cypress Domes and a Lily Pond. The trail twists and turns to give the riders rhythm and a challenge. Designed with ample shade, riders will pass by grand Magnolia trees and other scenic natural features. Most of the land is flat and is subject to flooding.
The system was entirely constructed by SWAMP and other park volunteers who dedicated more than 300 hours of service removing brush, shrubs and small trees to create a trail system. Volunteers using hand tools and small pieces of heavy machinery groomed the trail so it is rideable.
On Saturday, June 21, the SWAMP Mountain Bike Club will hold a dedication ceremony of the new trail starting at noon in parking lot number 10 on the Starkey property. Chainwheel Drive Bike Shop will provide refreshments and a mechanic for riders that need any pre-ride tweaks for their bicycles.
The mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management District is to manage water and related natural resources to ensure their continued availability while maximizing the benefits to the public.
Central to the mission is maintaining the balance between the water needs of current and future users while protecting and maintaining water and related natural resources
which provide the District with its existing and future water supply.