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Two readers posted online comments— Will Kaiser Woods become a playground for mountain bikers?

I suggest you take a look at the parks that Evergreen has completed in the past few years and your concerns will be no more. They train the volunteers well and

there are no issues with building trails in any location. They have helped fix hiking trails that have fallen into disrepair due to lack of or improper maintenance.
As with any group, there are those that can ruin it for others, but this is not the majority in any group and projects like this should not be shut down due to the concerns of a minority group. If that were to happen, nothing would ever get done, improved, or changed.

—Andrew Campbell

I am one of the park stewards Evonne mentioned in the article. Like Evonne, I was also stunned to find out about the extensive planning already occurring. Not only do I live in Ken Lake, but as the park steward I would expect that I would be contacted very early on in this process. I know the park very well and I am a mountain biker. It is not suitable for a mountain bike only park.

There are four issues that must be addressed before any development, regardless of trail type, can occur. These are the following: buffers around the wetlands, runoff into Westbrook and Ken lake, location of a parking area outside of Westbrook, and toilets. The first two issues preclude the development of trails “in any location” in the park.

Regarding the Ken Lake board, they have not staked out a position in large part because there is at present nothing specific to take a position on. The original proposal has not been presented as a final proposal. When there is a final proposal, I and others will be pressing the board to take a position.

Given some of the comments by mountain biking organizations that I have read, I have wondered whether they have been to the park. You can see these comments on the OPARD website. I suspect not.

FYI: This area, now a city park, has been used by people hiking and mountain biking from Westbrook and Ken Lake for decades.

—Bruce Treichler

One Comment

  1. Evonne Hedgepeth August 2, 2019

    I agree with all of Bruce’s comments and I would add several other important concerns.

    Kaiser Woods is part of a wildlife corridor that runs between Delphi Valley and the Black lake wetland. Elk are just one species that are known to travel this Corridor and they have been spotted as recently as winter of 2019. Birders have noted 51 species of birds there in recent months.

    The existence of the wildlife corridor and habitat which need to be preserved, the buffers required for wetlands and streams and the location of the park next to and uphill from two long established neighborhoods (Ken Lake and Westbrook Park) make Kaiser Woods an inappropriate choice for a “dedicated mountain bike facility. “ A multi-use park for the general public with significant open natural spaces is what Olympia citizens have said they want and is a far better choice for a taxpayer funded park.

    By the time large areas are carved out to protect these critical areas, and planning for control of existing flooding from the park are considered, there will be a little acreage left for anything but what we already have at Kaiser Woods: some hiking and mountain biking trails.

    Also, the parks that Andrew Campbell refers to either exclude hikers entirely or push them to the undesirable fringes of the park. What the city is planning for Kaiser Woods is just what they say it is: a dedicated mountain bike recreational facility.

    Taxpayer money (which is still paying for the purchase of Kaiser Woods) should not be used to dedicate a public park for near-exclusive use for a high risk, elitist and environmentally destructive sport.

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