After years of dreaming, lots of planning, and more than 1,500 hours of volunteer work, three miles of new mountain bike trails are now open for the public’s enjoyment at King County’s Dockton Forest on Vashon-Maury Island.
Thanks to hard work from a dedicated group of volunteers and with support from King County Parks, mountain bike enthusiasts living on Vashon-Maury Island no longer need to catch a ferry in order to ride trails that have been specifically designed for their sport.
On Saturday, April 22, King County Parks, the Vashon Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) host a grand opening of three miles of new mountain bike trails through the County’s Dockton Forest.
The dedication celebration kicks off at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a full day of food, bike demonstrations with Transition Bikes and rides along the new trail networks. The event also marks the culmination of several years’ worth of planning and coordination to bring trails to Vashon-Maury Island.
“While it was easy enough for me to take a ferry and meet friends at some of the popular mountain biking destinations such as Duthie Hill, Tiger Mountain or Black Diamond, these places were out of reach for Vashon kids who relied on their parents for rides,” said Larry Dubois, a Vashon Island resident, VMBA board member and volunteer.
The sport’s popularity on Vashon-Maury Island is reflected in the mountain biking elective offered at McMurray Middle School, where students learn basic skills, safety and stewardship. This class, which Dubois and others have taught since its inception in 2009 has served more than 350 students – and it made Dubois aware of the need for on-island mountain bike-specific trails.
In 2013, a group of Vashon-Maury Island mountain bikers organized by Vashon Forest Stewards approached King County Parks about creating mountain bike-specific trails on Parks property.
That group became VMBA, whose mission is to enhance the mountain biking experience on Vashon/Maury Islands through stewardship, education, and advocacy.
The VMBA received a $75,000 grant from the King County Parks Community Partnerships and Grants Program for building the trails.
Construction included more than 1,500 volunteer hours of work and resulted in beginner and intermediate loop trails miles that feature six descending trails and two climbing trails within Dockton Forest.
VMBA contracted with EMBA to support planning and construction. EMBA trained volunteers in how to flag a trail, as well as trail-building techniques. That effort paid off as volunteers were able to help lead trail design and construction.
“I am out in the Dockton forest several times a week and love to watch kids swooping through the trees as I work to maintain the trails,” Dubois said. “Over the past several months I have met a number of groups of riders from off island who have heard of the new trails and are here to explore.”
Following the 10 a.m. dedication ceremony, guests can take guided rides along the new trails – and Transition Bikes will offer demonstration rides of some of their bike models (liability waiver must be signed). A free BBQ lunch will be available at noon, and the bike demos and rides will continue until 2 p.m.
For more information or to get involved with VMBA, visit vmbadockton.wix.com/vmba; or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About King County Parks
King County Parks - Your Big Backyard - offers more than 200 parks and 28,000 acres of open space, including such regional treasures as Marymoor Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 175 miles of regional trails, 215 miles of backcountry trails and a world-class aquatic center. By cultivating strong relationships with non-profit, corporate and community partners, King County Parks enhances park amenities while reducing costs.