Duthie Hill mountain biking competition sweetened with all women riders

July 10, 2012

Women from across the United States and Canada flocked to Duthie Hill Park to prove that women belong in mountain biking.

Hailey Starr, an amateur rider from British Columbia, dons her protective gear before heading out on the course. By Brittany Cardoza

The Sugar Showdown on July 8 was the first women’s freeride competition in the state of Washington. The sold-out event featured 20 professional female bikers and 45 amateurs.

The two-day event was about “building sisterhood in freeride,” said Kat Sweet, founder of Sweetlines, a women’s-specific training program.

The event was a way for women to improve their skills, compete and bond with other female freeriders.

Freeriding is a style of mountain biking that focuses on riders doing tricks and using trail features to show off creativity, style and speed.

The first day of the Sugar Showdown consisted of a clinic taught by the pros. It focused on providing inspiration to women mountain bikers through building confidence to try new things and improve their skills.

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Future parks funding is mission for King County task force

July 3, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders June 26 to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

Members include representatives from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Washington Trails Association and other outdoor groups.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

The county park system includes the 3,115-acre Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Grand Ridge Park and Duthie Hill Park in the Issaquah area.

Countywide, the system includes 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space.

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King County task force to examine future funding for parks

June 27, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 27, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders Tuesday to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

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Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival offers muddy thrills

June 12, 2012

By Lillian Tucker The Jump-Off Huck Contest at the Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival gave riders the chance to catch air on some of the largest jumps at Duthie Hill Park.

Walking along the trail through Duthie Hill Park on June 9, the only sign that a mountain bike festival was taking place was the occasional rider that whizzed past.

Nearing the center of the 130-acre park, the tops of tents began to peek out through the trees. Soon, music seeped into the air and a clearing gave way to booths, bikes and people with mud-caked legs.

“We are celebrating mountain biking. This is just a great chance for everyone to get together,” said Stacy Karacostas, communications and membership director for the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

For the third year in a row, the non-profit group hosted the Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival. The event attracted more than 1,200 people.

“This is our biggest event of the year…we are definitely hopping,” Karacostas added.

Karacostas was busy that day renewing memberships, selling raffle tickets and handing out information packs. Around her, local vendors sold bratwursts, bike companies held demonstrations and a few festivalgoers paused for a break in the beer garden.

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Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park hosts Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival on June 9

June 5, 2012

See bike demos and races, and shop vendors June 9 at the Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park in Issaquah.

The free event is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be races and competitions; free bike demos all day; fun events for kids, both on and off bikes, including prizes and a special kids raffle; all the big bike brands with the latest bikes and gear for guests to check out; a beer garden with beer available for sale from the Snoqualmie Brewery; and food available for sale from local vendors.

The competition schedule is:

  • 8-10 a.m. — “Duthie Dash” Cross Country Time Trial Race, courtesy of Project 529
  • 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — “Dueling on Deuces” Dual Slalom Race (Pro/Open & Amateur classes)
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m. — Jump-Off Huck Contest courtesy of Go Huck Yourself (Pro/Open & Amateur classes)

Learn more about the Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival at www.evergreenmtbfestival.com.

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King County could outlaw smoking in public park areas

April 17, 2012

King County could join almost 600 local governments across the United States in creating no-smoking zones in county parks.

Legislation before the County Council aims to prohibit tobacco use in parks’ busiest areas, such as athletics fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds and trailheads.

The proposal calls for voluntary compliance, so, just like littering, failing to keep a dog on a leash or using alcohol in a park, enforcement occurs only if a problem is reported. Officials plan to use a federal grant to pay for signs denoting tobacco-free areas.

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Join hike, barbecue to celebrate Grand Ridge Park milestone

April 3, 2012

The effort to link the High Point Trail to Duthie Hill Park on the Sammamish Plateau consumed almost a decade and more than 40,000 hours from Washington Trails Association volunteers.

The public is invited to join King County Parks and the Washington Trails Association on April 5 to celebrate the yearslong push to complete the trail connection. Citizens can join a hike through Grand Ridge Park and a barbecue at Duthie Hill Park.

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Volunteers complete Grand Ridge Park boardwalk

March 6, 2012

The boardwalk in Grand Ridge Park is complete, after more than 4,600 hours donated by volunteers.

Washington Trails Association volunteers added the last spike to the 600-foot-long boardwalk Feb. 24. The boardwalk is the last link the trail. The trail network connects King County-run Grand Ridge and Duthie Hill parks.

The completion marked a milestone for the organization. Washington Trails Association volunteers spent a decade building and upgrading the 9.5-mile trail network inside the park. The group joined the effort to complete a 40-foot-long footbridge near on the park’s main trail in 2010.

Grand Ridge Park — a 1,200-acre park featuring groves of Western red cedars — rises 1,100 feet in elevation above Issaquah along Interstate 90.

The trails organization and King County Parks enjoy a long partnership. Washington Trails Association volunteers provide about 10,000 hours of service on backcountry trail projects in county parks each year.

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Holiday gifts can benefit King County Parks

December 20, 2011

King County Parks leaders encouraged people to consider holiday gifts to support the county parks system.

Shoppers can browse King County Parks’ online store to create custom holiday cards, purchase parks-themed stamps or donate to the King County Parks Legacy Fund.

Sales benefit King County Parks’ 26,000 acres of public land, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Duthie Hill Park near Issaquah, plus hundreds of miles of regional and backcountry trails systems.

The online retailer Zazzle donates up to 27 percent of net sales from purchased items back to King County Parks.

The agency has also joined www.41pounds.org, a nonprofit organization formed to reduce waste and pollution by helping people to limit the amount of junk mail they receive, to raise dollars for parks and programs.

The organization has pledged to donate to King County Parks for every subscriber referred through the King County Parks page, www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks.aspx.

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Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance seeks $15,000 in stolen tools

December 13, 2011

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members need help to recover $15,000 worth of equipment and tools stolen from Duthie Hill Park near Issaquah.

Thieves broke into the nonprofit organization’s storage boxes and trailer late Nov. 29 or early Nov. 30, and then stole chainsaws and other trail building and maintenance equipment.

Mike Westra, project manager for the nonprofit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, learned about the incident Nov. 30, after another staffer called to report the gate to the equipment storage area had been left open overnight.

“He called me while he was driving down the access road to get into the central clearing where all of our stuff is to tell me, ‘Hey, somebody left the gate open last night,’” Westra said. “Immediately, alarm bells went off in my head, because he didn’t know it, but I was the last one out on the night before.”

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