I had coffee at the Peoples Organic Café in Minnetonka yesterday morning with John Gunyou, Board Chair and District 4 Representative of Three Rivers Park District (3RPD). I got to know John back in the late 90s when he was head of the Office of Technology for the State of MN. Since two of 3RPD’s parks offer mountain biking (Murphy-Hanrehan and Elm Creek) and since John is a newly elected commissioner, I figured it might be a good time to catch up with him and talk mountain biking.
He completely failed my test questions (‘What is a flow trail?’ and ‘What is a pump track?’). He’s a bicyclist but not a mountain biker so I suppose I’ll eventually forgive him for that. I told him my stories on how I came to learn about both in the past two years. I also alerted him to some of the cool MTB-related activities that have been happening at Murphy (eg. nocturnal mountain bike racing) and Elm Creek (eg. off-road handcycling) recently.
Among John’s many stints on boards and commissions (see his bio page), he has served on the MN DNR’s Parks and Trails Legacy Funding Group. MN mountain bikers are benefitting from Legacy money (eg. Duluth Traverse, $250,000).
John’s quoted in a front page story in the Strib this morning, Chance to enhance Twin Cities parks clashes with cash crunch.
In much more populous areas closer to the heart of the metro area, meanwhile, the pressing need is to expensively re-engineer built-up areas for trails demanded by an aging population eager to bike and walk close to home. John Gunyou, who chairs the Three Rivers parks commission, covering suburban Hennepin and Scott, speaks of “shifting our organization from parks to trails, meeting needs a different way. There’s a huge increase in the use of our trails because of people like me, getting older, but still wanting to bike and jog.”
This is another reason to get him on one or both of the Murphy and Elm Creek beginner MTB trails this year. I want him to see how geezers like us can enjoy these trails, not just paved trails.