By Morgan Mitchell
Herald Staff Writer
FARMINGTON – As cool weather gives way to warm spring days, residents and visitors of Farmington are coming out of their winter confines to recreate and enjoy the fresh air. And they are in luck because the city of Farmington boasts no fewer than 50 municipal parks.
The parks range from smaller neighborhood parks nestled in residential areas to large parks that are “landmarks within the community,” said Christa Chapman, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.
Chapman listed the department’s top five favorite parks in the city, including Brookside, Lions Wilderness, Berg, Foothills and Sycamore.
Brookside Park, one of the oldest parks in Farmington, features a “meandering stream,” play structures, a skate park, large grassy areas and is also the location of Bisti Bay, the Farmington outdoor waterpark.
Farmington City Councilor Sean Sharer and his 5-year-old daughter, Scarlett, happened to be recreating along the green grassy area. He said the pair went to the park Wednesday to try to fly a kite, and that he and his daughter go to the park almost every day in the spring and summer. Sharer added the city plans to open Bisti Bay most likely Memorial Day weekend.
Lions Wilderness Park showcases sandstone formations and natural vegetation of the area as it runs adjacent to the Bureau of Land Management’s Glade Run Recreation Area. The park houses the Lions Wilderness Amphitheatre, which Chapman describes as “a stunning venue featuring a stage built into the natural sandstone backdrop and a full dining area and commercial kitchen, making it an ideal place to host special events and weddings.”
Lions Wilderness is also the starting point for the historic Road Apple Rally, the longest continuously run mountain bike race in the United States. The course trails are marked and accessible year-round. More information can be found at www.RoadAppleRally.com.
The park also has a disc golf course that Peter Garner deemed “epic” in a Google Review.
“Most unique course I’ve ever played at in over 8 states! So much fun scrambling around the rock and easy to keep track of your disc,” Gardner said in his review.
Berg Park runs along the Animas River and also features a splash pad, pavilion that is able to be reserved for parties and such, and access to river trails.
George Golombowski, a longtime city volunteer recently appointed to the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Commission, said Berg Park is his favorite.
“My favorite thing about Farmington parks is we have parks everywhere. No matter what neighborhood you live in, there is a park,” Golombowski said. “They are accessible to everyone. My grandchildren use the playgrounds, and they are well-maintained in all of the parks.”
Foothills Park is deemed by Chapman as the perfect example of a tiny neighborhood park that is “beautifully designed” and has a playground, basketball court, walking trail and shelter for small gatherings.
Farmington’s hidden gem, however, according to the Parks and Rec Department, is Sycamore Park. Rachelle Crosby, park planner for the department, said the park “is an amazing collection of amenities that few Farmingtonians utilize.”
The park has a large lawn area with rentable shaded structures that come with tables and barbecue grills, which Crosby said makes the area perfect for birthday parties and other activities. Next to the shelter of the park are two areas of play equipment, a basketball court, a soccer field, skate park and a new pump track for bikes.
The facility also consists of rentable rooms for parties, a rentable commercial kitchen for “prepping large meals or salsa to sell at the farmers market,” computers, bathrooms, an indoor basketball court and parking.
For more information about Farmington parks or to find a park near you, visit www.fmtn.org/Parks.