The following story by Kim Colucci – “Volunteers Build Castle Rock Bike Park” – was published February 23, 2012, in the Town Crier, which is distributed in Lewis and Cowlitz counties.
A volunteer crew of dedicated mountain bikers has contributed many hours to building a new bike park in Castle Rock. The ground breaking of this project took place on June 23, 2011 and it is anticipated to be complete sometime this fall.
“With a project like this, it will always be a work in progress,” explained Jim LeMonds, who was reluctant to take the title of “Project Manager.” He and his volunteers working are not much for official titles. He went on to explain that they will have the primary “features” completed in the fall but there will always be new ideas in the works.
LeMonds is a member of an unofficial mountain bike club called Growlers Gulch Racing. It is primarily members of this group, in cooperation with the City of Castle Rock, who have spent their weekends in the rain, snow and wind building the park. They have put more then 1,000 hours into development and building, and under the non-profit group North County Recreation Association they have collected over $17 thousand in donations.
“About half of the funds we have collected were from businesses, the other half has come from members of the mountain biking community”, explained LeMonds. He went on to say the project has been completely funded by donations. The land belongs to the City of Castle Rock, approximately three acres, but all the materials have been salvaged or purchased with the donated money.
“The Cowlitz PUD donated old power poles that were headed for the hog-grinder… (and the) old culverts came from the county,” said LeMonds. He added that large chunks of cement and crushed cement were salvaged from the renovation of downtown Castle Rock.
The sidewalks and streets of old downtown have been given new life by LeMonds and his band of volunteers. Gravel pathways have been made with the crush. The larger chunks have been positioned on top of tall mounds of dirt, forming “platforms.”
Local high school student, Eli Kranz is raising fund to build a rain shelter for the park as an Eagle Scout project. In his presentation for local business owners at the last Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce meeting, Kranz asked the business community and citizen to donate for this worthy cause.
A rain shelter will be much appreciated and used according to LeMonds, who explained that the weather “has to be pretty bad for (mountain bikers) not to be out riding.” But he agrees that a dry place to take shelter will be an added attraction.
He said that when the project is complete riders can look forward to a variety of features including jump-lines, gap-jumps, tabletops, an elevated trail, rock-rides, log-overs, a teeter-totter, and what may be the longest pump-track in the Pacific Northwest.
The difficulty level of the features ranges from beginner to advanced and the park maintains a “ride at your own risk” policy. Some features can be used by a variety of skill levels, such as the pump-track. According to LeMonds, it can be ridden by virtually anyone who can peddle up the mounds, but done correctly the rider should not have to peddle at all. Momentum and the strength of the rider should be enough to propel the bike forward.
Though not yet complete, this park (located on Dike Road and Warren Street in Castle Rock) isalready being enjoyed by bike riding enthusiasts of all ages. Even at its current level of completeness it shows what a dedicated group of volunteers can accomplish.
To make a donation to the Bike Park make checks payable to NCRA and mail c/o Jim LeMonds, P.O. Box 651, Castle Rock, WA. For more information on the visit: http://writeteknorthwest.com/archives/category/biking/castle-rock-bike-park-biking.
To donate to Eli Kranz’s Eagle Scout project make checks payable to “Troop 305”. Donations can be left at the Castle Rock Visitor Center/Exhibit Hall or mail it to Eli Kranz, PO Box 277, Castle Rock, WA 98611.