Evergreen's Central Washington Chapter

When you hear the words, “Central Washington”, what comes to mind? One could possibly think high mountains and broad deserts or perhaps rushing mountain streams, rivers and lakes. For some, it may be orchards and vineyards while others may think of men clad in leather shorts dancing around while playing the accordion. Central Washington is all of these things and much more; it is also the home of a growing number of Evergreen members and where you find Evergreen members, you are also sure to find mountain bikes.

Central Washington has one of the greatest growth potentials for mountain biking in the state. The area has already been established as a destination for a multitude of outdoor activities. Gauging by the traffic over the mountain passes on summer weekends, this is where Western Washington comes to play and relax. For us, this means mountain biking and Evergreen is the organization ready to promote, protect, and grow the sport.

Organizing mountain biking in Central Washington has been the goal of a handful of individuals for a number of years. Attempts to this end have had limited success, but have highlighted the need for an effective advocacy group. The Chelan/Douglas Land Trust (CDLT) formed a trail committee a few years ago to address the issues of trail access and development in the Wenatchee foothills. Leavenworth area mountain bikers formed TRAIL Washington at approximately the same time with the goal to develop mountain bike infrastructure in the Upper Wenatchee Valley. Lack of consensus within the TRAIL group has left the organization splintered. Several members of TRAIL have reached out to Evergreen, seeking assistance in their efforts to develop a focused plan for the future. The CDLT trail group has ebbed and flowed over the years, but has recently gained new strength over the past year with several new projects on the table and currently a number of Evergreen members play key roles in this active group of trail advocates.

What role does Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance play in this diverse scenario so far from its birth place?
1. The Evergreen board has, as part of its mission, a clear direction to grow the organization past its traditional Puget Sound based boundaries and to become a regional/statewide advocacy group for the sport of mountain biking.
2. Evergreen has the experience working with land managers, working with diverse user groups, organizing capital projects and in simply creating a culture of mountain biking that Central Washington is in dire need of developing.
3. A critical mass of local mountain bikers, both Evergreen members and non-members, are asking for help and a seat at the table to develop new, exciting opportunities for our sport.
4. Tourism organizations are asking why areas like Bend, Boise, and Oakridge are getting so much hype as destinations for mountain bike tourism, yet no one seems to be banging the drum in support of Central Washington.

The role that Evergreen will play is to take this critical mass of concerned mountain bikers and help them organize into a cohesive group with a common direction, utilize the promotional expertise that comes from working with tourism groups, come to the table with plans and volunteers, and to work with land managers in an effort reach the goal. In the end the Evergreen board has been successful in growing the organization, growing the sport, and reaching out to a broader regional base.

So how will all this work? The Evergreen Board has voted to create a Central Washington Chapter which will work locally to achieve the goals listed above. This chapter will be directed by two Evergreen members from Wenatchee and two from Leavenworth with a fifth member holding a position on the Board. This ensures adequate representation from the entire area and formal communication with the Board and Evergreen staff. With trail efforts now starting in the CleElum area, representation from this area may well happen in the future as well. Numerous meetings have taken place over the winter with local members, Evergreen staff and the Board to develop the scenario. Current group activities involve working with CDLT members on spring trail maintenance.

What will the future bring? A significant number of ideas have been discussed and itemized on a “wish” list, but the solid projects are:
• Continuing work with the CDLT trail committee to help with trail maintenance on their property. A number of reroutes and rehabilitation projects are scheduled.
• Help CDLT with a trail plan for their Horse Lake property west of Wenatchee and a trail plan for their Mountain Home property near Leavenworth. The Mountain Home property is scheduled for an IMBA Trail Care Crew project in September.
• Help the Forest Service with trail maintenance on the Freund Canyon Trail in preparation for the Leavenworth Bike and Brew Festival.
• Work with the Forest Service on the Nason Ridge trail. The west end of the trail needs brushing and treadwork to make it rideable.
• Washington State Parks staff has asked for help in cataloging and assessing the condition of trails in Squilchuck State Park near Mission Ridge.
• Add local rides to the Evergreen trail Wiki.
• Promote local group rides, not only for locals, but also to make sure Evergreen members vacationing in the area have good information and even someone to ride with if they want.
• Finally, the ongoing project here locally is to make Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance a known entity when it comes to outdoor recreation groups and to continue to grow the membership.

We, in Central Washington, are excited and proud to be a part of the Evergreen family. We all have a passion for mountain biking and a desire to be a key part in the future growth and success of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

Matt Rose
Evergreen Board of Directors
Wenatchee resident

 

 

Last modified on 2010-05-03 15:08:58 by Glenn Glover.


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