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Five Pump Tracks in Five Days

Five Pump Tracks in Five Days

Navajo Communities Partner for Bike Infrastructure and Riders Roll In

Posted: June 18, 2024
Two bikers test out new pump track installs in Navajo Township in the Navajo Nation.
Photo courtesy of: Shaun Price of Silver Stallion

Five pump tracks installed and ready-to-ride in five consecutive days? Sounds like a pipe dream! But in April 2024, five Navajo Nation communities made it happen through cooperative planning, committed partnerships, and deep collective engagement.

During the week of April 8-12th, years of planning were actualized and five new pump tracks were successfully installed by committed partners and the Navajo communities that collaborated to plan, prep, install and launch the new pump tracks in Crownpoint and Navajo Township, New Mexico; and Nazlini, Hard Rock, and Kayenta, Arizona.

Cooperative Planning and Committed Partnerships

Led by Lisa Chee, Acting Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Coordinator, the Navajo Area Indian Health Services initiated a vision for the project, tying access to pump tracks to increased physical activity, health, and connection for people of all ages in Navajo communities. The pump tracks were provided to the communities through a formal agreement with Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS). They secured the funding through grants from Indian Health Service Health Promotion/Disease Prevention program and Outride. 

IMBA’s Joey Klein and Laura Johnson were on the ground consulting with builders and Navajo communities.

American Ramp Company’s (ARC) Perry Ramsey ran the installation of their composite, modular pump track systems.

The Silver Stallion team documented the process and outcomes, capturing photos and videos; lent a hand with the installs; transported youth to the new features; and generally brought the stoke!

Collective Engagement

At the heart, each install was deeply rooted in collective engagement by multiple community partners. With leadership and vision from the Navajo Area Indian Health Services, each community coordinated preparing the sites with leadership from local trails organizations. Each community engaged civic leaders, volunteers, youth organizations, and outdoor recreation advocates and educators. 

In Crownpoint, for example, the Office of Diné Youth took the lead on the project, alongside K’é Community Trails. Navajo Area Indian Health Services secured funding for the project, Navajo Technical University transported the track segments, the Crownpoint Chapter of K’é Community Trails prepared the sites, and the American Ramp Company completed the install of their composite modular pumptrack design. Their Grand Opening ceremony on June 12th featured a visit from Navajo Nation Vice President Richelle Montoya, along with bike repairs and group rides. 
 

Photo// Shaun Price

Not Without Skepticism

IMBA’s Joey Klein and Laura Johnson were on the ground for several of the installations, building connections and momentum with community leaders. In some of the communities, the vision of a common ground for connection, physical activity and wellness wasn’t fully embraced by local leaders. Concerns were voiced about underuse and possible misuse. Local thefts and vandalism colored the vision of the new pump tracks with some skepticism and doubt about the utilization and community impact.

In one such community, the night of the install, a skeptical community leader who had concerns about underutilization and misuse, came out after work to see the final, installed product. As the community leader stayed to visit with IMBA and American Ramp Company, the sun began to set, and a truck pulled up with bikes hanging off the tailgate. A pile of youth jumped out to hit the new track. By dark, several vehicles had arranged their headlights to shine on the new pump track so the youth and adults who’d come out to check out the new feature could ride and play into the dark, until almost 10 p.m. They built it. The people came. 

For Community. For Wellness. For All. 

For the Navajo communities with a new pump track, success isn’t measured by the expert knowledge and skills brought into Navajo communities to complete five installations in five days in April. It isn’t about new, state-of-the-art equipment or features. Success looks like the collective coming together to make it happen, and community members of all ages using these pump tracks as gathering places for connection, fun, and movement. It looks like Navajo communities staying outside to play in parks and on outdoor recreation features like pump tracks well after dark.

“These pump track installations codify what IMBA hopes to show land managers and residents: that infrastructure like pump tracks can be a positive first step toward bicycle playgrounds, bike parks, or even sanctioned trails in communities and on Navajo and other indigenous lands” shared IMBA’s Joey Klein. “More places to ride leads to more people getting active on bikes!”

IMBA sends a special thanks to Lisa Chee of Indian Health Services for trusting her instinct; leading with a vision of more kids on bikes and making healthy choices more easily accessible; and coordinating funding and community engagement for these installs.

Congratulations to Crownpoint, Navajo Township, Nazlini, Hard Rock and Kayenta on the new pump tracks and on the engagement and connections that build healthy communities! 

Kayenta Rec Park, Kayenta, Arizona

Installation number one on Monday, April 8, 2024. Photo credit Shaun Price of Silver Stallion.


Local News Coverage: Kayenta Recipient of New Bike Pump Tracks

Rezduro Basecamp, Hardrock, Arizona

Installation number two on Tuesday, April 9th, 2024.

 

Red Clay Hill, Navajo Township, New Mexico

Installation number three on Wednesday, April 10th, 2024


Grand Opening June 22nd, 2024!

K’é Community Trails, Crownpoint, New Mexico

Installation number four on Thursday, April 11th, 2024


Pump It Up: Crownpoint Bike Track to be Mecca for Youth

Nazlini NHA Complex, Nazlini, Arizona

Installation number five on Friday, April 12th, 2024.

 

About the author
Kate Noelke, IMBA's Communications & Advocacy Specialist

Kate grew up on the backwaters of the Mississippi River biking, paddling, and wandering through the beauty of the Driftless Region of SW Wisconsin. She loves to make and share food she's grown or foraged, and believes all bodies belong on bikes (and wandering trails via whichever mode of…

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