Video: Rebulding Trails Scorched by Forest Fires in 'Rising From the Ashes'

Dec 4, 2022
by Transition Bikes  

To an unsuspecting eye the forest in Twisp, Washington, looked like a singed wasteland, but under closer investigation it was thriving with new growth. This spring, Transition Bikes took 10 employees to the small town slammed up against the eastern Cascades for an opportunity to revive a dormant trail that had been scorched by forest fires last summer. Tiny pockets of green vegetation and morels erupting from fragile soil inspired building new trail features which unlocked years of our childhoods we thought had long been forgotten. While walking the old trail devising a plan, our boots squished through the barren landscape's hydrophobic soil as if we were walking through a forest floor made of frosting.

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With the majority of the forest in ruin, the ground’s squishy characteristics left us wondering about new life and creation.

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“For a while some people would grumble about things having gotten burned, but I’ve just been looking at it as a way for us to improve and make things different while rebuilding the trails, and I think people are catching on to that.” said Joe Brown, owner of Methow Cycle and Sport as well as active member of Methow’s Evergreen MTB Alliance Chapter board. Luckily for us, Joe’s ideas paralleled what we had in mind for our three days in Twisp. The 1.5 mile stretch of Pete’s Dragon that had been slated for us to work on would be the perfect opportunity for us to color inside–and a whole lot outside–the pre fire lines!

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First we created a plan with Cody Olsen, Evergreen MTB Alliance trail builder, and then walked the trail with tools overflowing by the armful. Cody and Remy Aucoin, a builder and sawyer that Cody hired for the job, had already cleared the threatening dead trees, so we began raking, which led to everyone’s favorite part of digging: dirt work.

“Is Pete’s open?! How long ‘til we can ride Pete’s? Are you guys working on Pete’s Dragon?”, the general public asked, wandering by in a state of curiosity. And on a call with Joe Brown he added, “You know, people care about this place, everything that makes up the landscape is theirs, including those trails up there,” referring to the riding community. It was evident the trail was a must ride if you were visiting the area.

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The Methow chapter of Evergreen MTB Alliance was offered Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER), which is government funding to help revive areas after fires. Because of their relationship with the forest service, they were able to use the money however they wanted, versus the forest service coming in and dictating what would happen. “The fire’s have really put some eyes on us. And with that, along with the help we’re getting to rebuild some of these trails, it is bringing more people into town.” Joe Brown said. With their ability to do things internally, they’ve been able to hire knowledgeable workers to complete tasks and do a quality job managing groups like our crew to increase the variety of riding in the area.

Sure, a beautiful piece of the land had totally been decimated, but for us it provided a space for growth and change. Our group consisted of all sorts of TR employees ranging from warehouse workers, to our Outpost sales experts, and even one of our owners, Kyle Young. Having this opportunity to work together, outside of the “workplace” while helping the community revitalize a prized trail, tightened our own internal community.

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On top of sharing our time together and with some Twisp locals, chaotic party laps ensued after we finished our work. We traded off leading down the fresh ribbon of trail watching everyone add their own flavor to new features that would be accessible by all abilities of riders.

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Morels and fresh dirt were harvest after a few days of digging.
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Thanks again to the Twisp community and Evergreen MTB Alliance for having us out and letting us add our own Transition Bikes twist to a Cascade favorite!

To learn more about this area and how you can help click here!

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Author Info:
TransitionBikeCompany avatar

Member since Feb 17, 2009
136 articles

35 Comments
  • 53 1
 I lost everything in the Camp fire. House, cars, SC Nomad, everything. Made it out, running from the fire on crutches with the clothes on my back and my dog. It's all too easy to see the human toll and be blind to the fires effect on nature. Building a trail seems like such a small thing given the scale of these disasters but I can tell you from the inside, it's a big deal. I applaud Intense and their work here. Wouldn't it be great if all the Manufacturers followed suit?
  • 7 0
 *Transition rather than Intense Smile
  • 3 0
 @droppedthelimes: Oops! Thx...sometimes my brain and fingers disconnect.
  • 12 0
 Great to see a manufacturer supporting community trail building, immediately makes me consider buying one of their bikes. Orbea moved their HQ to Boulder and provided a large part of the funding for the front ranges hardest sanctioned trail. Very high on my list of next bikes now.
  • 4 25
flag DetroitCity (Dec 4, 2022 at 14:45) (Below Threshold)
 So their virtue signaling worked!
  • 11 0
 @DetroitCity: Eh. Compared to Trek or Specialized, Transition has regularly made positive impacts to cycling in Washington State. They invest time and money into trails regularly. Every now and then they pop out a video talking about a project. Look at Blue Steel.
  • 10 0
 @DetroitCity: Virtue signalling. The action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.

virtue signalling implies a lack of tangible investment in the issue. In this case the people who make up transition invested their time and money to help build trail.

Why would you even be salty about this.
  • 3 18
flag DetroitCity (Dec 4, 2022 at 18:13) (Below Threshold)
 @huvudvind: imagine if they did all that same work, but didn't post an article on Pinkbike. Then it would not be virtue signaling.

It would be community service, or giving back. Not advertising.

Look at us, we are so great.
  • 1 11
flag DetroitCity (Dec 4, 2022 at 18:14) (Below Threshold)
 @grumbly: Specialized invests way more than Transition into trails. Trek sponsors the strongest women cycling teams. They don't need to virtue signal though.
  • 21 0
 @DetroitCity: imagine if you didn't post your opinion on Pinkbike. That would really be a community service.
  • 1 11
flag DetroitCity (Dec 4, 2022 at 19:48) (Below Threshold)
 @warmerdamj: then who would you direct your virtuous signals towards in the name of stoke
  • 10 1
 @DetroitCity: I often wonder if the people who like to use the term “virtue signalling” appreciate that they’re usually using it ironically.
  • 1 3
 Such a great thing to do for humanity, indeed. Wow. I will probably buy 2 or 3 bikes from them now.

(Will not mention the bikes are made in Taiwan where the minimum wage is 850 USD/month, or that there recently was another PB/outside article CRYING over some ski patrol people with 1000 USD jackets earning as little as 3 200 USD/month)
  • 12 0
 The best time to build. There are so many opportunities because you can see for so far around and ahead..
  • 5 0
 Thanks to all of you that helped reopen one of my hometown trails! There was a lot of work to be done. (There was a fair amount of local frustration at how long it took to get the "okay" to work on those trails, and then there was all the new rules that went along with building post-fire). To have a crew your size to show up and work on Pete's was much appreciated for the rest of the season! Thanks again.
  • 6 2
 Eastern Washington is an often overlooked amazing PNW riding zone. Lots of Transition videos secretly (or not so secretly) filmed in the 509. Kudos to Evergreen and all the locals making it happen.
  • 6 0
 No it sucks and housing isn’t cheap. Stay away
  • 4 0
 Let's keep it overlooked. The dirt can't handle tourism as well as the west side of the state.
  • 8 1
 Evergreen rocks!
  • 5 0
 Why do they wear bicycle helmets when they dig?

CM!
  • 17 0
 Because of the danger of standing burned trees falling in the work zone, the forest service required us to wear helmets anytime in the area. The trail was not open to the public while this work was done. It opened the day after as other crews were working on getting hazard trees on the ground.
  • 5 0
 Rebulding
  • 6 4
 Only mountain bikers dig with their helmets on. Love it. #safetythird #bmxbackground stay safe out there folks !
  • 8 2
 Welcome to Forest Service rules and regulations
  • 2 0
 @bermbred See above what @codyolsen said. We were required to wear them.
  • 3 0
 Pretty much anything tied to transition...is really f-ing fun looking.
  • 2 0
 top work, I love to see it happening.
  • 1 0
 Great work Transition Bikes and @codyolsen! Bummer wasn’t able to make this one to drop sticks with Remy.
  • 2 0
 Amazing!
  • 2 0
 Building life
  • 2 0
 Good stuff!
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