Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's All About the Kids

I am on the Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board. We advise the City of Spokane on things related to bicycling. Seeing change and the effect of our work is a long long process -- measured in years. So I was pretty skeptical when I wrote off a quick e-mail a couple weeks ago to the park manager at Bowl and Pitcher (B&P) State Park suggesting they add bike/hiker camp sites.

B&P is a great local thing to have: basically a full-service campground on a giant river with hundreds of acres of unique topography just a couple miles from downtown. If you look around Spokane, you see a lot of amazingly cool things like this (trails on the bluff, Fish Lake Trail, Minnehaha, Dishman Hills, etc etc) -- but anyway. The great thing about B&P is that you can kind of spontaneously decide to go bike camping with the family on a Friday or Saturday afternoon: load up your bikes with the minimalist gear in an hour, then a short ride (a good chunk of which is on the Centennial Trail) and you're camping. There's swimming, hiking, exploring and just general camping/outdoors stuff.

So anyway: the email. I'm getting there. Last year, Maddie and I did one of these spontaneous deals and showed up at B&P on a Friday afternoon and the place was full. I was shocked that they turned us away -- two people on a bike. Our overall footprint was one 2-person tent and the bike. The park is sprawling and huge. They wouldn't even let us set up in the day use area on cement! Policy is policy. We ended up going further down the river and camping in the bush, which is fun too, but with Maddie, we would've been happier in the campground.

Anyway: I sent an email to the park manager/ranger, Rene, who emailed me back the next day informing me that the park officials were about to meet to discuss issues for the upcoming season. And then about a week later, she emails me back:

Hello John, We are going to establish two

hiker/biker sites that are on a first come first serve basis.

They will be located at the Bowl and Pitcher.

I'll let you know the locations when we receive

the approval from our parks planner. Thanks Rene'

That may be my biggest and best contribution to the world of cycling in my life. And I want it documented here.


Web said...

Attaboy John!

BTW, where's Bowl & Pitcher; is it part of Riverside SP?

Larry Lagarde
Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better futu

John Speare said...

Yeah Larry, you're right. Riverside State Park is the proper name of the park. "Bowl and Pitcher" is one of the main attractions. More here:

Anonymous said...

By "two sites" does she mean two camping areas for multiple tents or just room for two campers?