The grand opening for phase one of the Ride Park at Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park is set for this summer, coinciding with the annual Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival in June.
Phase 1 is 90% complete, per a presentation from the Kitsap Public Facilities District meeting Feb. 27. Last year’s bike festival brought thousands to Kitsap County.
As Phase 1 nears completion, the Sound to Olympics Trail design in the park is still in the design phase. Concerns include the engineering and construction of segments A and B and cost estimates that have tripled since 2019 due to labor and supply costs, along with its topography.
There are potential impacts to natural systems so the county is assessing alternative routes, including some that avoid wetlands, rivers, ravines and other natural features, documents state. Design and permitting for the STO Trail portion at PGFHP is scheduled for the end of the year.
“We were looking to go entirely through the woods,” county policy manager Eric Baker said. “Unfortunately, going entirely through the woods involves going through an entire series of environmental features and along a series of slopes that created unattractive grades…and likely very difficult to build.”
Phase 2 of the Ride Park will consist of 75 vehicle stalls and vault bathrooms. The STO redesign will impact the final parking lot design. A new 33-acre education and recreation area will be adjacent to the Ride Park. That phase is in permitting and scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.
There is also a Stottlemeyer trailhead in the works. It would have 25 parking stalls and five equestrian stalls and a future area for bathrooms. Timber rights have been acquired in that area. Permitting is in process and construction is set to begin this summer.
Regarding the framework of PGFHP, over 93% of the 3,493-acre park is dedicated to conservation and passive recreation, per documents. Going forward, funding for the park would consist of taxes or special districts; donations, grants or partnerships with nonprofits or institutions; general park user fees; and specific facility user fees/concession arrangements at the park.
Budget specifics for each portion of the project include: Ride Park Phase 1 ($70,000), Phase 2 ($305,000), framework ($40,000) and Stottlemeyer trailhead ($285,000) for a total of $700,000.
Due to the increased costs, the county is asking the utility district for an additional $350,000. It already has provided $1.6 million. Baker said the county would need the funding by the start of summer.