Corporate donors boost $1 million bike park at Novato's Stafford Lake

Corporate donors boost $1 million bike park at Novato’s Stafford Lake

By Nels Johnson
Marin Independent Journal

Construction of a $1 million state-of-the-art bike park at Stafford Lake was all but assured this week when a top bike industry sponsor pledged $75,000, propelling fundraising to near the halfway mark.

Officials said construction of the first phase of the park could begin this summer following the success of a unique public-private funding partnership that has generated $367,000, or 43 percent of the project’s $850,000 goal.

“We’re hopeful we can commence construction this year,” said Stephen Petterle, the county’s principal landscape architect.

Petterle added that talks with other potential sponsors are underway that could result in another $125,000.

“This is a great program,” he said. “It’s a model.”

Santa Cruz Bicycles, which won a “fastest-growing” bike business award last year from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, is the Stafford Lake Bike Park’s latest corporate sponsor, contributing $75,000.

In line with agreements with other corporate sponsors, Santa Cruz Bicycles will provide the funding over three years in exchange for naming rights in the park’s main event area, which will take shape in the second phase of construction. The park’s key venue will be called “Santa Cruz Bicycles Main Event Plaza” for seven years. The firm will be listed as a sponsor on the park website, can use the park logo in advertising, and can conduct one single-day event at the park without a fee each year for five years.

County supervisors approved the deal with Santa Cruz Bicycles on Tuesday.

“Job well done,” Supervisor Judy Arnold told Petterle, parks chief Linda Dahl and the parks staff.

“It’s a good project and something we can really get behind,” Santa Cruz Bicycle CEO Rob Roskopp said from his office in Santa Cruz, where 100 employees are based in a business that targets the high-end market, selling 20 mountain bike models that range in price from $1,300 to $11,000. “This project will not stress out the taxpayers at a time when our government is pretty much out of control with taxes,” the 50-year-old Roskopp observed.

The Santa Cruz donation was arranged by a new nonprofit, Friends of Stafford Lake Bike Park, a group that includes bike boosters Julia Violich, Mark Weir and Al Bauman, a cyclist and former county parks commissioner.

Bauman proudly wheeled his new $8,000 Santa Cruz “Bronson” bike into the Board of Supervisors chambers Tuesday and beamed broadly as he noted it had been on order for three months. He called the firm “one of the leaders” in the industry and indicated it and other corporate donors will get a “good return on investment” while Marin will get a superb bike riding facility.

“We’re creating a good project,” Bauman said.

Other donors include the Violich Family Foundation, which has pledged $50,000, and Mike’s Bikes, which also pledged $50,000. A $25,000 pledge came from Wilderness Trail Bikes of Mill Valley, a firm that supplied parts to local bike pioneers decades ago.

The bike fund includes a $50,000 challenge grant from county supervisors. The county also provided $182,000 for design and construction drawing work by consultants Hilride Progression Development Group.

The master plan calls for a sophisticated network of trails, configurations, challenges, riding zones and stations that can accommodate cyclists of all skill levels.

The facility is planned on a 17-acre northwestern segment of 139-acre Stafford Lake Park. It will include a learn-to-ride area; “pump” tracks for beginning, intermediate and expert riders; table-top jumps and hip jumps; elevated ladder bridges; a dual slalom track; skill stations and practice areas; a perimeter trail and shaded viewing areas.

A learn-to-ride area would be near the entrance to the park, followed by beginner and intermediate zones. An advanced zone would provide riders with technically demanding riding features including an advanced track with pumps, rollers and berm turns; advanced dirt jumps, and wood ramp takeoffs with dirt landings linked to curved wall rides.

Construction during the first phase will include features for all skill levels.

Those interested in becoming a donor may call 473-6394.

Contact Nels Johnson via email at Follow him at

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