Washougal bike park back on track

With donations, additions to delayed skills course could be done by 2020

Children participate in opening day of a bicycle skills course at Hamllik Park, in Washougal, in October 2016. The course, which makes its way around the perimeter of the park, includes natural rock and cedar log features, ladder bridges and ramps. (Post-Record file photo)

Ed Fischer, owner of Camas Bike and Sport (left), talks with Wayne Hodgin (right), Monday, Feb. 18. Fischer is a fervent supporter and fundraiser for a Washougal-based bike park inside Hamllik Park.

Delayed by more than a year, construction on two additions to the Washougal bicycle skills course could be completed as early as the end of 2019 — but only if community organizers can raise more than $37,000.

Washougal has been in discussions with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (MBA) to construct a pump track, with jump lines at Hamllik Park. A pump track is a continuous loop of dirt berms and smooth mounds that bicyclists ride without pedaling. A jump line is a successive line of jumps.

The nonprofit Evergreen MBA has an Evergreen Southwest chapter that focuses on projects and opportunities in the southwest region of Washington State.

State law limits Washougal to spending $2 per resident annually for public improvements. With Washougal’s population at 16,020, the city is able to contribute $32,040 to the bike park additions.

Washougal City Attorney Kenneth Woodrich, along with Washougal City Manager David Scott and Washougal Public Works Director Trevor Evers recently determined that state law will allow the city to contract with community service organizations, such as local sports or service clubs, for public improvements.

With construction of the pump track and jump lines expected to cost approximately $70,000, donations of $37,960 are needed to move forward. Project organizers hope donations, fundraising and grants will provide the funding.

Bike park project stalled

In December 2017, city of Washougal officials terminated a contract with Evergreen MBA for the design and building of the bike park’s Phase II, after determining that prevailing wage and state and local permitting requirements were not fully considered.

The city had invited professional bike park builders to submit proposals to design and construct a new pump track, with possible jump lines, at the bike park in August 2017.

At that time, Evers said the city had been unsuccessful in a grant application, so city officials decided to send out a request for proposals to see if Phase II could be delivered with very limited funding using Park Impact Fees.

Evergreen MBA submitted a bid of $34,560, and Hilride Progression Development Group submitted a bid of $162,180.

‘Pied Piper’ of bike park will fundraise for second phase

Ed Fischer, owner of Camas Bike and Sport in downtown Camas and the self-described “Pied Piper” of the Washougal bike park project, the first of its type in Clark County, said he will help with the fundraising efforts for Phase II.

“It will be a boost for the community and Washougal and people who want to play on bikes,” he said.

Fischer predicts that adding a bicycle pump track to Hamllik Park will positively affect businesses in the Camas-Washougal area. The skills course is located at Hamllik Park, 4285 Addy St., Washougal.

“Bicyclists get hungry and thirsty, and they need gas,” he said.

Fischer said he has seen some children run and climb, rather than ride bicycles, on the bike skills course that opened in October 2016. That phase, which makes its way around the perimeter of Hamllik Park, includes natural rock and cedar log features, ladder bridges and ramps.

The first phase of the bike park was built using hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars in donations and in-kind contributions.

Fischer said people who are not cyclists should appreciate the variety of amenities in their community.

“I’m not a soccer player, but I like seeing soccer fields in my community,” he said. “I want my kids to be able to play soccer, or I may go play soccer. The same with a basketball court. It brings diversity.”

“It’s really cool to see Washougal on the forefront of the movement here in Clark County,” Fischer added. “It’s going to be the first bike park in Clark County.”

He said there are bike parks in Castle Rock, White Salmon, North Bend and Redmond, Washington, and Hood River and Bend in Oregon.

“It’s going to be commonplace at some point, why not be on the leading edge of the movement?” Fischer said. “Phase one (of the Washougal bike park) is not a complete park. It’s like putting in a basketball court and then not adding the hoops. We need to get the rest of it in. Then it will be a full feature and a full destination, so that others outside of the community will want to use it.”

Eventually, Evergreen MBA will accept donations for the bike park’s second phase online at evergreenmtb.org.

Evergreen MBA Executive Director Yvonne Krause said she is working with the city of Washougal to get the final project quote and funding plan in place, before donations can be accepted.

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