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.
With the majority of the forest in ruin, the ground’s squishy characteristics left us wondering about new life and creation.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
Morels and fresh dirt were harvest after a few days of digging.
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