Methow Trails Summer 2018

14 | Methow Trails The Sun Mountain trails have been popular with mountain bikers for as long as they have been rolling on the trails of the Methow Valley. The easily accessed network of gravel roads, wide ski trails, and segments of singletrack trail span National Forest, State, and private lands and have been a constant in the Methow Valley mountain biking scene. As the sport has evolved, however, bikes and riders have become more capable and the demand has increased for a more complete singletrack experience, without road and ski trail sections, that almost any route at Sun Mountain includes. The Methow Chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (Methow Evergreen) formed in 2012. It identified singletrack connectivity and the importance of high-use areas as priorities in its work and began efforts to improve the singletrack trails at Sun Mountain. In coordination with Methow Trails, Sun Mountain Lodge, and the Forest Service, an array of desired improvements were identified that would add to the quantity and quality of singletrack available for all trail users. Initially approved and completed trail projects involved small reroutes and construction of trail segments that addressed maintenance or environmental issues such as erosion that plagued some existing trails at Sun Mountain while improving the trail user experience. Building on the success of those early projects, Methow Evergreen followedwith bigger trail projects such as the Pete’s Dragon overhaul and the rehab and extension of the old “downhill” trail, rechristened Wild Turkey. The Pete’s Dragon project took a poorly aligned trail plagued with drainage and erosion issues and restored it to a more interesting, challenging singletrack experience offering a fun and flowy trail for intermediate riders. A little-known trail used in the late 1990s for downhill mountain bike racing was redesigned and extended to create Wild Turkey, the most advanced mountain biking trail at Sun Mountain. It opened in June 2017 and its use of the landscape and natural features to provide an advanced level trail has proven extremely popular with local and visiting riders looking to develop their skills. These projects were completed by Methow Evergreen in partnership with Methow Trails staff and equipment. The biggest improvements are yet to come however. In 2014, Methow Evergreen partnered with the Forest Service to secure a state grant for planning and permitting of an expansion of the Sun Mountain trails. This partnership resulted in Methow Evergreen proposing approximately 20 miles of new singletrack to create a variety of connected, cohesive singletrack trail experiences from the Chickadee trailhead. The proposal, submitted to the Forest Service in fall 2016, underwent official review by the Forest Service during 2017 and a decision on the proposal is expected in fall 2017. Methow Evergreen with assistance from Methow Trails will begin construction of the approved new trails and connections in spring 2018 and progress as funds and resources allow. These new trails will provide new singletrack loop routes from a few miles to over 25 miles in length, creating a range of trail experiences not yet seen in the Methow Valley and easily accessed from Winthrop and the surrounding communities. If you have not been on the Sun Mountain trails in the past few years, grab your bike and explore the Methow’s most popular trails. With continued improvements and additions coming in the next few years, this easily accessed trail network will continue to offer great recreational experiences for users of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the work that Methow Evergreen Mtb does and hopefully to inspire you to join, check out . Refreshing a Methow Mountain Biking Favorite