REI donates $20K for Swan Creek Park mountain bike trail

Metro Parks Tacoma officials announced Tuesday outdoor gear retailer REI has donated $20,000 to help build the second phase of a mountain bike trail system in Swan Creek Park.

The grant will be used to help pay for the construction of about 2.5 miles of additional trails in the park’s 50-acre woodland area, where a two-mile trail system opened last year. The trail system is being designed, built, and maintained through a relationship with the non-profit organization Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Plans for the second phase of the project are now complete and construction is expected to begin in the fall. The funding from REI will pay the alliance for construction materials, oversight, and recruitment and management of volunteer trail builders. Other capital expenses related to the second phase of construction will come from the $198 million bond issue approved by Metro Parks voters in April 2014.

“REI has been a huge supporter of Swan Creek by contributing employee volunteer time, but this is the first contribution of money,” said Metro Parks Tacoma natural resources division manager Joe Brady. “I believe this a critical relationship for Swan Creek moving forward.” According to Brady, the system is a magnet for local riders who have logged an estimated 7,800 visits. With the expansion, Metro Parks Tacoma plans to create a regional attraction that will lure mountain bike enthusiasts with the opportunity for hour-long rides through progressively challenging Swan Creek terrain.

“All of us here at REI are very excited to invest in the project at Swan Creek,” said Wendy Miller, REI outdoor programs and outreach market manager for Puget Sound. “The new mountain biking access created from this project will allow local adventurers more opportunities to get outside and explore the phenomenal places in their community. We look forward to getting out on the trails and having fun at Swan Creek.”

Swan Creek Park consists of 373 acres along Swan Creek, a salmon-bearing Puyallup River tributary running north-south near Tacoma’s East Side. Besides the woodland trail system, the park features a wooded canyon, pedestrian trails, a community garden, and a one-acre permaculture plot or food forest. Ownership of the land is divided. Metro Parks Tacoma manages 290 acres east of Portland and Roosevelt avenues, while Pierce County owns 83 acres on the north end, south of Pioneer Way.

More information about Swan Creek Park is available online here.

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