Hines Park's new bike park is proving to be a popular attraction for Wayne County cyclists

This article is part of Inside Our Outdoors, a series about Southeast Michigan's connected parks, greenways, and trails and how they affect residents' quality of life. It is made possible with funding from the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.
While Westland's Hines Park already had plenty of non-motorized trails to keep hikers and cyclists occupied, the recreation area's new bike park has brought a major influx of mountain bikers.

Completed last year, Hines Park Bike Park is located at Hawthorne Ridge Park on Edward N. Hines Drive, just west of Merriman Road in Westland. Visiting cyclists there have the opportunity to ride both a paved pump track, which allows cyclists to move forward with a series of up and down "pumping" motions, and a natural surface bike skills park filled with challenges like elevated ramps, wood berms, and giant cones.

Wayne County Parks Director Alicia Bradford says the bike park has proven to be a popular attraction over the last year. And she's delighted by how well itSkills park integratesThe skills park into Hines Park's non-motorized network.

 "Cyclists can jump off Hawthorne Ridge Recreation Area to join the bike park, and then connect to the paved trails or go back to our natural trails within the system," says Bradford. "It's really had a tremendous impact, not only for the mountain bikers but also just as an amenity for park users, period."

Wayne County Parks first began considering developing the bike park in 2018, after a number of young people wrote Bradford requesting one. After getting a thumbs-up from Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, the project began to gain momentum. 

From there, Wayne County landscape architects David Ries and John Gundry began kicking around design ideas and getting feedback from the Michigan Mountain Biking Association and other members of the local mountain biking community. Velosolutions, an esteemed bike park consulting and construction firm based in Switzerland, was then brought on to help implement the project. The bulk of construction took place in 2019, with the final pieces being added last year.

The project has ended up being a real win for the county, drawing in droves of The pump trackmountain bike enthusiasts and even earning a 2021 Park Design AwardPump track from the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association. The bike park is free to the public and open to bicyclists of all ages. Wayne County Parks asks users to wear appropriate safety gear, be respectful of one another, and follow social distancing protocols during the pandemic. Motorized scooters are not allowed at the bike park.

As a part of Hines Drive, the park connects with roughly 15 miles of paved pathway that can be used by cyclists and pedestrians to travel between Dearborn Heights and Northville. The recreational area also has a variety of other trails, mostly unpaved, that can be specifically enjoyed by mountain bicyclists. Through its Connecting the Rouge initiative, the county is also working to connect Hines Drive to a greater trail network that includes the Rouge River Gateway Greenway and the Lower Rouge Greenway.

While Wayne County Parks isn't considering any enhancements to the bike park at the moment, the department is keeping an open mind about the future.

"It's done at this point, but of course we'll be staying on the pulse of whatever trends may come into play with bike parks," says Bradford. "And if there's some additional upgrades or skill loops that we need to expand, then we'll look to do that."
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by David Sands.