No doubt about it, Mountain biking is a popular sport among youth and adults on Bainbridge Island and throughout Kitsap County. There are lots of excellent beginner to advanced biking trails in the Grand Forest and other parks throughout the island. You’ve probably run across a biker or two while walking or running on any number of multi-use trails dotting the island, or in other local areas, such as Port Gamble.
Now a new move is afoot to create a separate dedicated bike park on Bainbridge, adjacent to Strawberry Hill Park. It’s all coming about thanks to a generous $1 million donation made last year to the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation from an anonymous Bainbridge Islander. The money was used to acquire the 10-acre Hayashida property, located northwest of the park that’s being added to the existing Strawberry Hill Park. Eight acres will be used for the new bike trails, with the additional two acres being set aside for the expansion of the dog park.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Bainbridge Island to take advantage of a donated piece of property that is so well suited for mountain biking,” says John Benjes, a long time board member with the Bainbridge Gear Grinders Mountain Biking Club. “The key point is to create a community where mountain bikers can meet and have fun, and anyone who wants to learn can do so – from beginner to advanced.”
This coming Sunday, Nov. 13, the public will have an opportunity to tour the proposed Strawberry Hill Bike Park site from noon to 3 p.m., as well as review the park’s preliminary plans and provide input.
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has been selected to design and build the bike park. The Alliance has built similar bike trails throughout the greater Seattle area. Our own Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, along with the Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails Foundation, formed an advisory committee to help address the needs of the Bainbridge biking community and to raise funds to build it. According to Benjes, a committee member as well, the new bike park will be built with the following attributes in mind:
- The design will accommodate various skill levels with dedicated bike trails that offer different experiences depending on rider ability;
- Jumps, drops, and berms will be part of the trail design, and will include less technical, alternative routes;
- The park will have features built to maximize safety and meet a wide range of riding abilities;
- The trail design and routes will use the existing landscape and geography to maximize trail length and quality, and preserve forest character.
Adds Benjes, “The mountain bike park will also be a place where kids can get outdoors, exercise and socialize with other kids.”
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