The community effort to build the first formal mountain biking trail network in Virginia Beach is almost complete. Marshview Park boasts five miles of single- and double-track trails, built to appeal to riders of all skill levels.
The project has been a partnership between Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation and Eastern Virginia Mountain Biking Association (EVMA). In addition, Boy Scout Troop 12, REI and several church and Navy groups volunteered.
Little Berm Loop, Big Berm Loop, Creekside Trail and Oak Point Loop are four of the trails that wind through the 100-acre park, near the Oceanfront. Build-out of the trails was done in a sustainable manner, with all digging done manually.
Just a couple of bridges and some trail signage are left to complete. When installed, riders should always have a trail sign within sight. Look for those in November or December, according to recreation specialist Ethan Cason.
For his Eagle Scout project, Taylor Widgeon fundraised to provide an air pump and a stand with tools for minor bike repairs. The Parks and Recreation Foundation, a non-profit that supports the department, purchased the kiosk and all signs.
“A lot of groups and organizations volunteered to make this park a reality,” Cason said. “It’s been a low budget, community effort from the beginning to end.”
The park features two easy, three intermediate, and three advanced trails, all designed and built by EVMA. Technical trail features are included, allowing bikers to test out their skill level. Signs will direct riders to bypasses for those with less skill.
All trails conform to the International Mountain Bicycling Association standards, so safety is built in.
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“It’s a good mix, with something for everyone,” Cason said. “EVMA rode the trails as they built them, so there’s a really good flow as you ride around the park.”
The U.S. Navy acquired the land to prevent expansion around Naval Air Station Oceana, with the city taking possession in 2010. Bikers will be happy to know that site work from decades ago left large berms and what passes for hills in otherwise flat Virginia Beach.
The park is situated between several neighborhoods, including Salt Marsh Point, Seatack and Shadowlawn. Before the project, the wooded area was crisscrossed by an informal network of unmarked paths created by hikers and bikers.
Bird watchers will spot plenty of herons and egrets, as the park is adjacent to marshlands and Owls Creek, a tributary of Lake Rudee.
“Bikers will encounter a variety of wildlife in the park,” Cason said. “There are plenty of birds, turtles, snakes and white-tailed deer.”
Marshview Park is open daily, dawn to dusk. A small parking lot is located at the end of Virginia Avenue with additional parking along Marshview Drive.
Eric Hodies, firstname.lastname@example.org