By Sam Elliott
The city’s newest park, Flat Fork Creek Park offers amenities not found at any of Fishers’ other outdoor destinations. The 60-foot sledding hill is an obvious one, but tucked away in the woods — and useable year-round — is the park’s 1.25-mile mountain biking course built last summer.
Fishers resident Paul Arlinghaus, the president of the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association since 2008, is an avid rider who met his wife Heather at a mountain bike race and has been involved in trail work and advocacy since 2003. He organizes volunteers to build mountain biking trails, but was pleased to see Fishers take the initiative to hire a professional trail builder to design and construct its course at Flat Fork Creek Park.
“Quite honestly, 10 years ago parks were like, ‘If you guys want to go out and build a trail in the woods, knock yourself out,’ but there typically hasn’t been a lot of support from parks,” Arlinghaus said. “It’s kind of showing that mountain biking is coming around and it’s important and citizens want it. To see parks start to embrace that as a standard offering and they’re built and maintained through the parks department is awesome.”
The Flat Fork Creek Park mountain biking trail includes a series of wooden features designed to test experienced riders, while beginners can simply skip them and learn the basics of riding off road.
“It’s a shorter trail, but it has a lot of optional features that allow riders to progress. They can skip all the features and just have an easy short ride and kind of get familiar with mountain riding and riding on the dirt,” Arlinghaus said. “It’s a trail that supports beginning riders all the way up to more advanced riders. An advanced rider might hit every feature and take full advantage of the optional features there, while a beginning rider can just ride on the dirt trails.”