Fort Worth mountain bikers have a new reason to celebrate.

Four miles of new trails will open to the public at 10 a.m. April 1 at North Z Boaz Park.

The project is a partnership between the city, which owns the land, and the Fort Worth Mountain Bikers Association, whose members built and will maintain the trails. 

Michele Kahne is president of the nonprofit and said that businesses and residents of the Camp Bowie neighborhood rallied around the project, which is one piece of the city’s larger master plan to revitalize and reimagine parks and recreational space across Fort Worth — including North Z Boaz

The park in west Fort Worth sits between Interstate 30 and Camp Bowie Boulevard.

“It seems to have united everyone in making this a good neighborhood green space,” Kahne said. “It’s not just about biking trails, though obviously that’s our main focus … But it’s going to allow kids, families, really anyone to be able to get outside without having to drive to the other side of the city.” 

‘Very quickly I became obsessed’

Randall Archie didn’t get into mountain biking until about 10 years ago when he said a new neighbor “tricked” him into going for a ride at Gateway Park for the first time.

“It absolutely destroyed me. It was so hard, but very quickly I became obsessed and addicted to it,” he said. “It really helps peel a lot of the stress away. Things I deal with every day melt away when I’m on the trail.” 

Archie, a co-owner of Archie’s Gardenland, has since joined the mountain bikers association and led the construction of the new trail system at North Z Boaz.

“This January we got the greenlight to start the build process at the park,” he said. “It was perfect timing because it was kind of our off season, so I could get over there with equipment and a crew and work as fast as I could to build a trail suitable for all age riders.” 

As a father, Archie has seen his love of biking expand in his own family. 

“I compete in local races. I normally stay around last place, but it’s still fun to get out and ride with guys and ladies that are way faster than me and learn skills,” he said. “My 14-year-old son has shown a big interest and is now way faster than me and a better rider, which is pretty cool to see.”

‘Nobody sits on the bench’

JJ Cawelti leads the Texas Interscholastic Mountain Bike League, a nonprofit focused on creating mountain bike programs for middle and high school students.

The organization organizes races and helps students train, but their main goal is to get kids outdoors and on bikes – even those who might not be passionate about racing. 

Cawelti knows how competitive athletics are in Texas, especially within large school districts, which is one unique part of mountain bike teams within the league: every kid rides.  

“Nobody sits on the bench. It doesn’t matter if they’re a kid that’s never been on a bike or if they’re a kid that has aspirations and the ability to ride at the pro level. We have a place for all of them. I think that it is really, really unique to have a sport like that where we have highly competitive programs, but there’s a place for every single kid,” she said.

The group works with about 1,000 students across the state.

But, until recently, the number of riders in North Texas who participated was small, Cawelti said.

“We actually don’t have a Fort Worth team,” she said.“Fort Worth is probably one of the biggest cities in Texas where there isn’t a team, and that’s something we would love to change.”

‘A healthy way to get folks off screens and outdoors’

Developing trails that will fit into the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s guidelines will help them get closer to their goal of getting more kids involved in the sport. 

“Currently, our requirements for races are a five-mile loop that has varying levels of difficulty,” Cawelti said. “We like a trail that could be ridden by a beginner with only walking a couple of sections, but has enough difficulty that our elite, varsity athletes are able to get out and race and have a positive experience.”

In addition to the distance and difficulty of the course, it also needs to be able to accommodate large crowds. 

“At our events we have 2,000-plus people, and our families usually come and camp for the weekend. There aren’t a not a whole lot of venues across the state that can handle that big of a group of people with parking, campers, tents and also a five-mile race course.”

The new trails that are opening up at North Z Boaz don’t currently meet that threshold, but the mountain bikers association hopes to further develop and lengthen the trail in the near future. 

Fostering a love of riding for the whole community, and especially young riders, is an important piece of the organization’s mission. 

“It kind of canvasses almost every demographic, age (and) skill level,” Archie said. “It’s really just a healthy way to get folks off screens and outdoors exercising.”

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Marcheta FornoffArts & Culture Editor

For just over seven years Marcheta Fornoff performed the high wire act of producing a live morning news program on Minnesota Public Radio. She led a small, but nimble team to cover everything from politics...