Story & images provided by Leavenworth-local, Angie Peterson.
A little over a year ago, a dear friend of mine, Ellie Pryor Booher, was killed in an avalanche in Canada, leaving behind her husband Chris and two sons, Conrad, 4 and Jackson, 7. Ellie’s passion, energy, kind spirit, and love for the outdoors inspired countless people on her path through life. She was a dedicated and compassionate daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. In hopes of continuing Ellie’s goal to instill her love of the outdoors in the Leavenworth community, the Blue Lotus Foundation was born. One of its main missions is to provide opportunities for children to explore, enjoy and cultivate a stewardship for the outdoors and their community. The first project is to build a pump track for the community of Leavenworth,WA.
So, what is a pump track? A pump track is a continuous loop of berms and rollers that cyclists ride by “pumping” or shifting their weight in conjunction with the contours of the course, with the goal of not having to pedal. Pump tracks help build bike handling skills, are a good workout and most importantly, are just plain fun for young and old alike. All abilities from a small child on a push bike to an adult expert mountain biker can enjoy the same pump track.
Pump tracks provide a fun low risk environment for cyclists, roller bladers, skaters and scooters with minimal environmental impact while also providing a community gathering area that will attract visitors to Leavenworth. If you are unfamiliar with a bike pump track, check out this video which shows a pump track in Switzerland.
When we began dreaming about this project, our goal was to do it right. Most pump tracks are made of dirt, and while they can be elaborate and fun, they are not always attractive and require a lot of maintenance. Dust, erosion and weather are all concerns with a dirt project. This led us to researching hard surface pump tracks that have become very popular in Europe. Asphalt and cement pump tracks can be used year round, require very little maintenance and can be used by anyone with wheels.
We wrote a proposal to the City of Leavenworth and sent it to Herb Amick, the Director of Public Works of Leavenworth, who then presented it at the monthly Parks meeting. This led to a meeting with Herb and Jon Schons, Park Supervisor, which led to another meeting with 3 City Council members and Joel Walinski, the City Administrator for Leavenworth. We have received nothing but positive feedback, excitement and encouragement from the City of Leavenworth so far. They have offered us a prime piece of Parks real estate down in Enchantment Park, where there are parking and bathrooms, along with a playground and ball fields. Alpine Bike Parks out of Whistler, BC has drawn up a potential plan for this site.
We have one more meeting with the full City Council on July 14 to discuss our last hurdle: FUNDING!!!
When we presented the different pump track options to the city, they too were excited about the hard surface option. The low maintenance and clean look of the hard surface was very appealing. However, a hard surface pump track can cost two to four times as much as a dirt track! So it’s time to get busy! Through grants, donations and fund raising, our goal is to complete the pump track during the Spring of 2016. Our first fundraising event is at the Munchen Haus, Monday, July 20, featuring live music from Sergio, Rib and Erin McNamee and a raffle with great prizes. Icicle Brewery Company is generously donating 25% of all sales at the Munchen Haus that night from 6PM to close. We are hoping to see a big community turnout.
The most exciting thing about this project has been the great community response. We have over 280 members on our Leavenworth Pump Track Facebook page. We have received great swag from local businesses in support of our fundraiser. The city is excited to make this project a reality. But most of all, the enthusiasm and offers of help from our local community have been the most exciting since one of the goals of this project was to create something WITH the community FOR the community. We hope to see you at the Munchen Haus on July 20th!