Van Dorn Park Master Plan



The Mountain Bike Facilities Master Plan by Lincoln Parks and Recreation and Lincoln Botanical Garden Master Plan by others are happening now. This is the perfect time to understand and develop the community’s long-term vision for Van Dorn Park too.

Click to open Van Dorn Park Timeline(JPG, 264KB)


Open House Presented Information

Download: Van Dorn Park Master Plan Open House Presentation Boards(PDF, 6MB)

What is a Master Plan?

A master plan is a vision for future implementation. It provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development. Master planning is about making the connection between buildings, social settings, and their surrounding environments.

A master plan will identify future park features, landscape enhancements, and the aspirational vision as a planning tool.

Goals of Master Plans

  • Understand aspirations of the bordering neighborhoods (South Salt Creek, Indian Village, and Irvingdale).
  • Coordinate neighborhood aspirations with the needs and desires of the mountain bike community and Lincoln Botanical Garden.
  • Develop a master plan to guide the long-term vision for the park.

Promise to the Public 

We will work with you to ensure your concerns and aspirations are directly reflected in the alternatives developed and provide feedback on how public input influenced the decision. 

Master Plan Timeline:

In general, master plans are long-term visions that can be implemented over 20 years or more.

Is there funding for implementation?

Right now, funds are not available for implementing the proposed features of the master plan. However, having a master plan in place would allow the City to make funding available in the future as part of the Capital Improvements Program.



Mountain Biking Insights

Fat tire bike with riders standing near.

Existing Mountain Bike Facilities in Van Dorn Park

In June 2020, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB approved Van Dorn Park for a two-mile mountain bike trail as a temporary use until the development of the proposed Lincoln Botanical Garden was built.
In August, volunteers organized by THOR (Trails Have Our Respect) created the single-track trail. Lincoln Parks and Recreation embarked upon a master planning effort to look at the future of mountain bike facilities in the community in September of 2022. A working committee of mountain bike enthusiasts has been assembled to help the City determine what facilities are most needed and how they can be distributed around the community in order to provide equitable opportunities to all who are interested.

Master Plan Goals

  • Discuss range of Mountain Bike Facilities in Lincoln and determine a Level of Service.
  • Recommend priority locations for facilities to serve the community equitably.
  • Discuss different frameworks for design and management of Mountain Bike Facilities.
  • Discuss timing for projects and different funding strategies.

Plan Update


  • Spent the last several months reviewing potential locations for future development of MTB facilities.
  • Narrowed the list to 19 park properties the can be viewed on an interactive map.
  • Each area is marked with elevation lines and features color-coded slope information.
  • Viewers may add their observations at each location.


  •  Accepted online comments until January 23rd

For more information about the Mountain Bike Master Plan, visit


Botanical Garden Insights

What is a Botanical Garden?

A botanical garden is a multi-generational destination to celebrate community, culture, and art in the setting of curated botanical collections. A botanical garden is a multi-generational destination to celebrate community, culture, and art in the setting of curated botanical collections. It is a place where people can gather, learn, and experience the brilliance of flowers and other plants no matter what time of year.


In 2015, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) approved Van Dorn Park as the future location for the Lincoln Botanical Garden. In order to implement the facility, the Lincoln Botanical Garden committee is required to show they can build and operate the facility. A master plan is the next step.

Vision for Lincoln

Vision for Lincoln Provide a venue to celebrate and cultivate appreciation for horticultural arts. The Lincoln Botanical Garden will expand the public vision and mission of Van Dorn Park while enhancing the current tree, trail, and recreational resources.

Create a world-class addition to the existing public gardens in Lincoln that will enhance the use, community engagement, and preserve the natural features of the historical park.

Provide safe and accessible park connectivity and access to the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond.

Proposed Lincoln Facilities Implementation


  • Year-long indoor gardens, plant collections, and programming
  • Community gathering space
  • Garden demonstration and classroom space
  • Cafe in a future phase


  • Children’s gardens and interpretive play features
  • Native, pollinator, and curated gardens
  • Art Installations
  • Tree-top canopy boardwalk


  • Location: Van Dorn Park is well positioned to neighborhoods, arterial corridors, downtown, and within proximity of bus routes, trails, and Highway 77.
  • Trail Access: Located at the trail head of Bison Trail and in close proximity to the Jamaica North, Salt Creek Levee, and Helen Boosalis trails. Entry to Haines Branch Prairie Corridor: Van Dorn Park will serve as the entry to the Haines Prairie Corridor on the Bison Trail. Both projects have shared missions of environmental stewardship, landscape preservation, and restoration. Co-location is an opportunity to highlight their missions and environmental stewardship.
  • Tree Canopy: The park’s mature tree canopy provides mature specimens to be celebrated and preserved. The trees create opportunities to curate gardens within and around the existing tree resources.
  • Topography: Like Sunken Gardens, the topography of the site provides an incredible canvas. Western facing slopes provide optimal growing conditions.
  • Adjacencies: The rail line and industrial uses are compatible with back-of-house features required for a garden facility.
  • Opportunities: The garden’s generation of users coupled with the new bypass provides opportunities to implement safe crossings, signals, or other improvements to make the park more accessible to the adjacent neighborhoods and beyond.

For more information about the Lincoln Botanical Garden plan, visit


Site Conditions


Moving Forward


We hope you will attend Engagement Session #2 in MARCH 2023 to provide feedback on a proposed master plan.


Your Insights and Comments


We appreciate your interest, insights, and feedback to develop a vision for Van Dorn Park.

Comments will be accepted through this form until March 15, 2023.