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Timberline Bike Park on Mt. Hood set to open any day now – UPDATED

Posted by on August 6th, 2019 at 10:49 am

Riders at the entrance to the new park at a preview day last week.
(Photos: Timberline Lodge & Ski Area)

After nine years of court battles and delays, a new mountain bike part at Timberline Lodge is finally ready to ride.

Trail map

“We’re very close,” said Timberline Lodge & Ski Area Director of Marketing and Public Relations John Burton when I spoke to him yesterday. As of now there’s no opening date, but Burton said it’s imminent and likely to be announced any day now.

The new bike park hosted a preview day with industry partners last week. About 80 people showed up to test out the operation. They rode the trails and lifts, bought tickets, and rented bikes. Early reviews are positive.

“The current trails, I would rate as being perfect for beginner and intermediate riders. During my three-hour pre-ride I made 6 runs and for about 20 miles/6,000 of descent,” wrote a rider on Facebook after attending the preview day. “There were multiple trails which allowed for routes options down the mountain. Each run was about 3 to 4 miles in length.”

[Stills from Timberline Bike Park promo video embedded below.]

Burton said this first phase of the park will open with about 10 miles of trails and will evolve over time. “We’re working hard to set the right expectations. This is a year-one bike park, and as you know, a bike park is a continual work in progress. It takes years of work and maintenance and building and re-working ride lines, hearing user feedback, soil compactions, seeing how trails fare over winter. This is a multi-year build process.”

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Timberline has also made an intentional effort to start with trails that appeal to families and a wide variety of abilities. The freeride and jump-lines aren’t ready yet (“still a few weeks out”) so there won’t be chair-lift access on opening day. Burton says most of the effort has gone into green (easy) lines that are about 4.5 miles from top to bottom; good for a 35-minute ride down the mountain. At five feet wide, the green trails is, “Designed for positive user experiences,” Burton says. “It’s perfect for someone’s first time in a bike park without much experience.”

Phase one also includes blue (intermediate) and black (advanced) trails as well. You can see the trails in the promo video above.

All day tickets are $36 for adults (13 years and over) and $32 for kids. Bikes and safety gear are also available for rent.

The entrance to the new park is in front of Wy’East Lodge right off the main Timberline Ski Area parking lot.

It’s been a very long road for Timberline and mountain bike advocates to reach this point. It was 2010 when we published the first notice of a comment period from the US Forest Service that set the project motion. The USFS approved the permit two years later. In 2013, environmental advocacy groups appealed the permit. Despite having their appeal denied, they took the project to court and caused years of delays. A final lawsuit was dismissed in April 2018.

Reps from Timberline are now focused on marketing the trails. “We want everybody to come up with the right expectations and just have a really good time,” Burton said.

Follow @TimberlineLodge or @BikePortland on Twitter for the opening date.

UPDATE, 8/8: Opening day has been announced as this coming Monday August 12th. Read all about it via this email from Timberline Bike Park.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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57 Comments
  • Avatar
    Paula August 6, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Good news. Also glad to read the focus was on a decent amount of family-oriented, green trails. So many trails only have a token amount of easier lines.

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    dan August 6, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Exciting! May be a dumb question, but are there any options to ride up, or are all the trails descend-only, with the lift offering the only access?

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      Paolo August 6, 2019 at 11:44 am

      As far as I know to ride the park you have to buy a ticket.
      You can’t ride the dirt road up.
      There might be a way to connect to the old paved road that goes up, or the Glade trail or the T2T trail but since you have a ticket why would you do that?

      Can’t explain how they don’t know exact day for opening, yes not all the trails are done, but as they said it is a work in progress…

      Hopefully they don’t have to put protection to all the bridges that they built or we can wait till the snow comes again.

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        dan August 6, 2019 at 12:40 pm

        I’m primarily a roadie, the climb is at least half the fun 🙂

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          DR August 6, 2019 at 2:56 pm

          Both the highway and West End Road are great climbs.

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        SERider August 7, 2019 at 9:02 am

        That’s too bad. Some bike parks only make you pay for a lift ticket (like ski resorts on public land) to use the lift, you technically don’t have to pay to just ride up/down. Would be nice to have some fire road climbs available (esp. considering this park is on public land).

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        SERider August 7, 2019 at 9:09 am

        Interesting that they’re trying to gear this roll out more to families and kids (which I think is a good move), but didn’t include any women or kids in their promo/preview video.

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    Richard August 6, 2019 at 11:42 am

    I accidentally poached one of trails earlier this year because of lack of signage and thought it was a good beginner trail but am not impressed that the trails cross the road so many times. If Timberline overserves a customer in one of it’s bars and they runs over a mountain biker drunk driving down the road, it’s game over for this bike park. I’m guessing nobody ever considered this?

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      Paul H August 6, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      That road you were crossing is not open to public vehicular traffic. It’s a gated service road.

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        Steve August 6, 2019 at 1:02 pm

        The West Leg Road is a paved public road open during the summertime when there is no snow, it was the original road to Timberline. The trail crosses it in two spots but I don’t know what the plan is for safety considerations. I’m curious if they will sell a discounted season trail pass like skibowl does so you can just ride the road up instead of the lift?

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        Steve August 6, 2019 at 1:04 pm

        I hope E bikes are allowed so we can just pedal up the road. They are allowed at Sandy Ridge now, class 1 only.

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          Jon August 6, 2019 at 2:22 pm

          Do you have any information documenting that ebikes are allowed at Sandy Ridge? As of mid summer the BLM still consider ebikes as motorized vehicles and not allowed on non-motorized trails like Sandy Ridge.

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            jeffb August 6, 2019 at 3:42 pm

            Allowed or not, they’re all over the place out there!

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          Paul H August 6, 2019 at 3:48 pm

          NB: You don’t _need_ an eBike to pedal up the road. West Leg is public and it is paved, but it’s also gated. So I’m not sure there’s any cause for concern. I also expect that Timberline is well-versed in managing liabilities by now.

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            Stevo August 6, 2019 at 5:26 pm

            The West Leg road is only gated during the winter when there is snow on it. I drove up it the other day and looked at the trails. Many of the trails are actually right next to the road, seems like it would be impossible to keep people from riding them when they aren’t open.

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    Chris I August 6, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Parking seems like an issue. Weren’t they trying to add parking at the bottom of Flood?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      Timberline needs MORE parking?

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      Paul H August 6, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      What makes you say parking seems like an issue? Is it an issue in the winter?

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        dan August 6, 2019 at 1:48 pm

        parking is definitely an issue in the winter, but in the summer, I think they’ll run out of room in the MTB park before they run out of space in the lot.

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    DownhillDaddy August 6, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Are there any trails to connect all the way down to Govy? Looks like they have trails planned to connect to the Alpine and Glade trails, they may as well open up those trails to bikes cause they aren’t gonna keep riders off them if they are the only trails that connect to Govy.

    I hope it’s not like Bachelor where it takes 3 years before there are any real downhill trails and downhill bikes are useless. At least the dirt is better than Bachelor if it’s like Timberline to town.

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      Alex August 6, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      Timberline to town already does that.

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    Peter murdoch August 6, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    I was just riding up there yesterday, it’s been exciting following the progress of the building since it started last summer. As of yesterday, Westleg road (the service road that climbs through the park) is still open to traffic, both bike and car. They’ve installed speed bumps wherever bikes cross the road, furthermore bikes are corralled to a stop at these crossings. The awesome Timberline to town trail seemingly will remain open to non-bikepark users (the Glade trail is closed to bikes). As far as parking, always best to use the Mt. Hood Express from Rhododendron, then your last run is the 4500’ descent back to your vehicle

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      turnips August 6, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      back to my vehicle? if my vehicle’s in Rhododendron, what am I riding?

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        Colin August 6, 2019 at 4:39 pm

        Pioneer Bridal.

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        Chris I August 6, 2019 at 4:53 pm

        There is a great trail you can ride all the way back down.

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          Bjorn Warloe August 6, 2019 at 5:40 pm

          The trail all the way to rhododendron really is pretty amazing. You won’t find a longer shuttle route with a higher percentage of downhill travel.

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          Buzz August 6, 2019 at 9:23 pm

          The old road works pretty well, too; very limited traffic if any. ‘Technical’ in ZB lingo.

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          turnips August 8, 2019 at 10:15 am

          sorry. my joke clearly failed. I was trying to suggest that my bike is my vehicle, so if it was parked in Rhododendron, I would have nothing to ride. I wasn’t asking which trail to ride. I have taken that route, and it’s lovely. but I was catching the Mt. Hood Express from Rhododendron back toward the city instead of having ridden it up the mountain.

          as the t-shirt says: driving is for mountain bikers.

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            Zimmerman August 8, 2019 at 11:50 am

            Quick Robin, get to the Batbiodieselmobile! Someone has activated the virtue signal!

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              turnips August 8, 2019 at 1:58 pm

              zam! kapow!

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      TonyP August 6, 2019 at 5:14 pm

      I don’t imagine very many bike park visitors are going to take the bus up, they will want to have all their gear. I’ve been to many bike parks and it seems odd to me that there is already a popular public downhill bike trail at the top of the bike park at Timberline. Also with a public bus bringing riders to the top of it every few hours. It looks like there are going to eventually be 4 or 5 spots with crossings with Timberline to town, how is Timberline/Gravity Logic going to manage them safely?

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    Marilynn August 6, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    Best thing to happen to Mt Hood in years! I’m sure Mt Hood Meadows won’t be far behind in developing a bike park once they see the success of Timberline. The bus will be more packed with bikers than ever before!

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    Carter Kennedy August 6, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Your article doesn’t explain how you get back up to your car after riding these downhill-only trails.

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      Mark August 6, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      You are paying for the chairlift ride

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    Todd Boulanger August 6, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Nice Gateway! Such drama and function!! (We just don’t use such enough anymore in this Age of Autos.)

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    Mountain Dog August 6, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Are there any cross country trails going up? I would like to see cross country trail development too ( To IMBA specs).

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      Zimmerman August 7, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      Download the Trailforks apps and have a look around Mt. Hood. You’ll find more XC trail than you can probably ride in a summer. This is lift serviced downhill riding, which there is barely enough of.

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      Zimmerman August 7, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      Also, if you’re looking for IMBA spec trails, I’ve heard the Springwater Corridor is a nice challenge. LOL!

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    Buzz August 6, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Lower left photo shows vehicle tracks/washboards that could f you up.

    Just sayin’…

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    Jocelyn Gaudi Quarrell August 7, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Okay, so – I am a huge fan of this project and very much looking forward to riding the trails.

    BUT. It is *unbelievable* to me that Timberline says they made an ” intentional effort to start with trails that appeal to families and a wide variety of abilities” and yet FAILED to include a single person that wasn’t a young to middle aged white male in this preview video. I watched the video three times to be sure and was honestly shocked that there wasn’t a single woman or child included.

    I did click through to the Timberline site and found they produced a second video “Mountain Biking: A family activity” that shows a young family – two young girls, mom and dad – enjoying the trails. It’s a cute video, much shorter than the preview video ( :44 seconds long vs the 1:35 preview video). So I guess they checked the family box.

    But Every. Single. Photo. on the website is of a white male.

    If you’re going to be intentional about building trails for a range of demographics, be intentional in your marketing efforts! It’s 2019 and yet the mountain biking industry largely continues to under-serve existing and potential customers by limiting representation in their marketing and communication initiatives. DO BETTER, it’s not that difficult to include a non white male (or heck, even more than one!) in photos and videos. *Representation matters* and influences purchasing behavior – or, at least, it does mine.

    That they didn’t include a woman that wasn’t in mom-mode leaves me feeling pretty bummed out. Just to be clear, there’s obviously nothing wrong with moms (they’re awesome!), just that there are a LOT of women (and, by the way, other gender identifying folks) that ride off road that aren’t or don’t want to be in the role of mom when they ride.

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      I wear many hats August 7, 2019 at 11:19 am

      Its unfortunate that the lead photo only shows middle aged white dudes, but that is the majority of people riding. Putting a token ‘non white male’ in advertising doesn’t make an advertising campaign inclusive and welcoming. Being the token can be off-putting.
      I’m afraid that the industry will continue to progress towards this paradigm as well. Why would we need trails that we pedal on when we can just sit on the way up and coast on the way down? This style of riding activity evolves our movement’s credibility when asking for access in parks and natural areas. There are many types of mountain biking but bike park riding is not the norm.

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        Dan A August 7, 2019 at 11:41 am

        I think these kinds of parks are probably a lot of fun, but it’s fair to wonder whether they erode our chances of having regular trails locally.

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        Zimmerman August 7, 2019 at 12:42 pm

        Ah yes, the Portland area mountain bike scene: where even a solid win after a 10 year struggle cannot be celebrated without much analysis, hand wringing and virtue signaling… Thank god the resort didn’t act like they deserved to be treated like children at the kid’s dinner table or there’d be no park at all.

        I was there for the soft opening and everyone was having a great time enjoying the new trails. The road crossings are a complete non-issue. They’re signed and the trail design basically stops a rider’s momentum so they can’t go blasting across them. The trails are well built and fun for almost every skill level, up to advanced riders looking to scare themselves who will probably be disappointed in phase 1.

        Anyone looking for a solid day can park in Rhododendron, take the Mt. Hood Express bus to Timberline, ride the park all day and then enjoy the Timberline to Town/Crosstown/Pioneer Bridle trail combination that takes them downhill the whole way back to their vehicle.

        Go ride it when it opens, you’ll have a great time.

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          onegearsneer August 7, 2019 at 2:15 pm

          AMEN!!!!

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          Dan A August 7, 2019 at 2:43 pm

          Portland, where driving 2 hours to ride your mountain bike is normal.

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            Chris I August 8, 2019 at 9:10 am

            You’d have to go about 20mph under the speed limit on 26 to make that drive take 2 hours…

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          Richard August 7, 2019 at 3:01 pm

          I would like to be supportive of the park but I won’t consider it a win for the mountain bike community until it is proven to be a successful. sustainable, and profitable bike park. I’m of the opinion that poorly designed and managed bike parks are actually bad for the sport of mountain biking, and this bike park quite frankly seems unmanageable. This bike park appears to be basically a big tax on the skiers and snowboard customers at Timberline so that they can claim victory over the environmental groups opposed to it. I’ve heard they’ve invested $3 mil. into this project, and doubt they will ever see any returns.

          The road crossings are potentially a huge issue, especially in the state of Oregon with the liability laws that severely punish any negligence on the part of ski resorts. There is no other upside down bike park in the world with a paved public road through the middle of it for good reason.

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            Brian August 7, 2019 at 4:51 pm

            You’ve piqued my curiosity. What poorly created and managed bike parks are you referring, and how are they specifically bad for the sport? What exactly does “bad” mean in this context?

            Also, I’ve ridden that road up multiple times each Summer for the last number of years and have yet to see a car on it. Maybe I’m just an anomaly, though.

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        Jocelyn Gaudi Quarrell August 7, 2019 at 4:38 pm

        I’m not talking about token representation. It’s not about majorities. It’s about effective marketing. It’s not like photos of women mountain biking are going to discourage men from riding there too – it’s likely to have the opposite affect. So, again, why not include them in photos and videos?

        And @I Wear Many Hats – do you have any data to support your opinion of bike park’s negative impact on the “industry”? People have been riding lift access mountains for decades and yet cross-country and all-mountain cycling not only exists but has been thriving.

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          I wear many hats August 8, 2019 at 11:36 am

          @ Jocelyn. I truly recognize the fail in their advertising. I don’t disagree with your assessment. I do think the ‘community’ is mostly made up of entitled white dudes and that ‘we’ need to be more inclusive. I feel that inserting “x demographic group here” into advertising doesn’t change the status quo. I think getting out and riding and exposing everyone to everyone does however. Maybe we’re splitting hairs here.
          In regards to fractured advocacy goals, I’ve escaped the PDX vortex of MTB hostility and I’m active in another IMBA chapter, of which the board is 50/50 lift accessed vs trail riders. I’ve experienced a true conflict between our group in regards to trail construction, maintenance, and advocacy goals. I frequently encounter people who NEVER pedal their mountain bikes, and they drive an hour to ride the chairlift when there are open legal trails within riding distance of town. Lift accessed riding is a different entity, and its creating more mountain bikers yes, but at the expense of those who pedal. I fear that soon every expert rider will want a 6 foot groomed tread leading to table tops with perfect groomed landings. The trails we have long advocated for will go unused, because this new wave of ridership will want to ride the equivalent of sanitized quad tracks and jeep roads rather than singletrack. I’d love to spread the movement so that we can have it all. However the Forest Service and BLM move glacially and I doubt they have the bandwidth to provide these different types of MTB ing. Lets hope we can have it all.

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      Dubya August 8, 2019 at 8:14 am

      95% of the people up here at Timberline are younger white dudes with tons of disposable income and few family commitments. You can’t really knock a companynfor knowing EXACTLY who sleeps overnight in the lot up here.
      As age increases fewer women are found on the mountain skiing snowboarding and yes MTN biking I’ve watched the crowds from my trailer and the families aren’t the ones who will be paying the bills…at least not this year.

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    Salt Creek August 7, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    ASTHMA WARNING: As an asthmatic who has suffered badly after riding Timberline to town 10 times in 3 days last year during the dry weather I would advise riders to use some type of breathing protection if they are going to ride all day in the park and inhale the volcanic dust particles because it took months to get my breathing back to normal and I always wear a dust mask now riding up there. I hope it’s better than Bachelor and not another gravity logic disappointment.

    https://www.corgin.co.uk/blog/pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

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      Zimmerman August 7, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      Yeah, because that other Gravity Logic park, (Whistler) is a HUGE disappointment. Well, it’s disappointing that it’s 6 hours away from Portland, I guess.

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        Brian August 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm

        Yep, barely any drops or jumps. And don’t get me started on the lack of tech.

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          I wear many hats August 8, 2019 at 11:38 am

          Bring back technical riding! If we wanted to ride down steep jeep roads we can already do that.

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        brians August 8, 2019 at 3:04 pm

        Part of the reason Whistler is great is because all the best trails were designed before gravity logic went family friendly with their bike trail designs in general. You can ride Whistler without a chain on a dh bike and have a blast, Bachelor and Timberline aren’t even fun to ride on a working dh bike. They’ve built some great trails, but in my opinion are overly concerned with controlling grade and you get lots of pedaling like you see at Bachelor and the first trails on Hood. They are constantly controlling the speed of the riders and it gets old after a few runs. Any downhill bike park where you can’t have fun on a dh bike is a failure.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 8, 2019 at 10:04 am

    UPDATE, 8/8: Opening day has been announced as this coming Monday August 12th. Read all about it here.

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