Wenatchee’s Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Gains Trails and Members
By Jaana Hatton
It started out in 2004 with five guys in Wenatchee who loved mountain biking. Now, fifteen years later, there are five hundred members in the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and a twelve-man board. The organization seems to be on the right track.
A Mission of Respect and Love for the Outdoors
Travis Hornby, the President of Evergreen Central Chapter, emphasizes the group’s mission to teach its members to respect the land and to connect with the outdoors. He also believes in building community, and what better way to connect people than by giving them common projects? Not only to be discussed at meetings, but to be tackled with two hands and a shovel, building new trails and closing old, unusable ones.
More Trails in Wenatchee
In 2018, the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance added eighteen miles of new trails in the greater Wenatchee area. They closed seven miles of degraded paths. In 2019, the group hopes to add up to seven miles to the trail system.
“We have a total of 150 years of trail-building experience in our organization,” said Hornby with a happy smile. “We want to build sustainable trails with the least impact on the environment and the least water accumulation on the track.”
Trail building is hard work, and it’s expensive. Volunteers and donations alike make all the difference in the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance’s function. In 2018, they received $250,000 in grants, donations and in-kind contributions, logging 4,800 volunteer hours. The volunteers aren’t all individual people, but businesses participate as well.
Building Trails and Friendships
The Alliance organizes weekly work parties as well as weekend work/barbeque events. Their plan is to develop thirty more miles of trails, so there is work a-plenty for anyone who would like to help out, make friends and enjoy the beautiful outdoors around Wenatchee.
Wenatchee, Leavenworth and Chelan Trails
Currently the usable mountain biking trails are at Squilchuck State Park, No. 2 Canyon, Devil’s Gulch area, Sage Hills, Leavenworth Ski Hill, Mountain Home Trails, Echo Ridge, and Peshastin Mill Site.
Squilchuck State Park is a popular location for a mountain biker to practice and compete. It is where the youth and adult training camps take place, as well as at Leavenworth’s Ski Hill, where the new Ribbed Trail awaits users.
“We need more aggressive trail,” Hornby pointed out.
They are slowly achieving that; the Black Diamond trail at No. 2 Canyon Road opened on June 3rd and Ski Hill has a Black Diamond-level trail, as well.
Partnerships, Big and Small
Hornby is especially happy about the partnership with Crunch-Pac. He feels this particular connection helps the mountain bike organization to involve the underserved community.
The Alliance has also built strong connections with the U.S. Forest Service, State Parks, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, TREAD and Our Valley, Our Future, not to mention several businesses and countless individuals.
Camps and Fun for All Ages
“Young families are our biggest group,” Hornby explained. “This is a family adventure. Our youngest member is six years old.”
In 2018, the organization held six youth camps, and they were all booked to the last spot. In 2019, they are going to offer twelve training camps, some for youth and some for adults. They will be week-long, either half or full-day options. Besides biking, the full-day option includes rock climbing at Wenatchee’s Riverfront Rock Gym.
On Thursday, July 25, the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance will present the movie “Return to Earth” at Pybus Public Market. The core message of the film is that when we lose track of time, we make the most of it.
The Alliance’s monthly board meetings take place in Cashmere at the Milepost 111 restaurant. The occasion is open to all.
For more information, go to www.evergreenmtb.org.