Home Culture Newsroom, spring 2021

Newsroom, spring 2021

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Gravel Unravel race map.

By Conor Wilson

Peninsula Adventure – Gravel Unravel 

After canceling its Gravel Unravel race last June due to the pandemic, Peninsula Adventure Sports will return to hosting the event in 2021, but this year the event has been turned into a three-race series.

Gravel Unravel is an endurance bike race over the gravel trails of the Olympic Peninsula, featuring both competitive and noncompetitive races.

Roger Burton photo.

The first race of the series, Hoh-ly Roller, will take place May 1, on the west end of the Hoh and Clearwater rivers. The second race, Sol Grinder, on June 5, uses the gravel roads west of Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Forest. Bon Jon Pedal Vender, the final race, happens June 26, starting and ending at Worthington Park Village in Quilcene, and climbing Bon Jon Pass.

All races come in three distances: short (25-35 miles) medium (45-55 miles) and long (65-85 miles). For adults, the races cost between $60 and $85 depending on the distance. For minors, all races are $35. Rides will get $5 off each ride after their first one if they sign up at the same time. 

For more info or to register, visit
peninsulaadventuresports.com.

State parks offer free day access

Washington state residents will be allowed free day access to state parks on designated days throughout 2021.

Vehicle access to state parks usually requires a Discover Pass, which costs $10 for the day or $30 for the year. On free days, visitors can enter any state park without a pass.

Free access only applies to state parks; a Discover Pass will still be required on lands managed by the state department of fish and wildlife and the department of natural resources. Free days also do not apply to overnight camping or sno-parks, which require their own pass.

Here are the remaining free days in 2021:

• Saturday, April 3 (Springtime Day)

• Thursday, April 11 (Earth Day)

• Saturday, June 5 (National Trails Day)

• Saturday, June 12 (National Get Outdoors Day)

• Sunday, June 13 (Free Fishing Day)

• Wednesday, August 25  (National Park Service Birthday)

• Saturday, September 25 (National Public Lands Day)

• Thursday, November 11 (Veterans Day)

• Friday, November 26 (Autumn Day)

The parks commission manages over 100 state parks, including Birch Bay State Park, that make up 120,000 acres of land in the state.

Aspire Adventure Running

Aspire Adventure Running organizes single and multi-day running adventures in wilderness terrain across Cascadia and Northern California, and has several trips for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

Trips consist of long-distance runs, of varying miles and difficulties, through mountains and beaches during the day, while nights are spent camping, eating and sitting around a fire. Trips cost between $300 and $450 for a weekend, and $1,000 to $1,600 for longer trips. Prices also rise as dates approach.   

The next trip will take place May 28-30, on Sucia Island, and will be an educational course for runners looking to receive a Wilderness First Aid certification, focusing on skills for backcountry runners.

In June, the company will offer four trips to several locations including: Desolation Peak Trail, Ross Lake and the Lost Coast Trail in California. Longer trips, ranging from 50 to 95 miles will be scheduled in July and August.

To view the full schedule and register, visit aspireadventurerunning.com.

Experience International

Experience International, a Bellingham non-profit that promotes technical and culture exchange in fields related to agriculture, business, and resource management, has created Bike Northwest. 

Bike Northwest is a new project with goals of reconnecting community members during the pandemic, through guided bike tours, while learning about food systems, ecology and natural history of the Pacific Northwest.

Bike rides will go through a variety of locations including: The Skagit Valley, Galbraith Mountain, farms around Everson and the Olympic Rainforest. Single and two day rides will range from $250 to $750.  

The next available ride will be: Tulips, Artists and Beer: The Best of Skagit County on April 24 and 25. Riders will bike through the Skagit tulip fields while learning about grains and barley from nearby farms, and enjoying local food.  

For more information and a full schedule of rides, visit espint.org.

Quest Races

Quest Races has set dates for adventure and swimrun races taking place throughout Washington. 

During an adventure race, teams are given maps with checkpoints, identified 30 minutes prior to the race, and must decide the best route to take to reach the finish, combining several different endurance sports. 

The first race on the 2021 calendar is the Kulshan Quest on June 5. It will involve mountain biking, kayaking and trekking through the Chuckanut mountains. On October 2, Quest Races will host Island Quest, which will run through the mountains and coastline of the San Juan islands. Both races offer a three- and 12-hour option. 

Quest Races will also offer two upcoming swimruns, of which teammates will both run and swim a distance between three to nine miles, while remaining within 10 meters of each other. The two swimrun races are scheduled for June 6 at Lake Padden in Bellingham and August 1 at Seward Park in Seattle. Both races will offer a long, and shorter ‘sprint’ course options. 

For more information, visit questraces.com.

Woodstock Farm in Bellingham, Wash.

Recreation Northwest

Recreation Northwest, a Bellingham advocacy group that promotes outdoor recreation and improvement, has announced a series of plans and partnerships for the rest of 2021. 

The group has partnered with Bellingham Parks, WWU Recreation Management & Leadership and Woodstock Farm, and will continue several of its programs as well as its education and advocacy for the improvement of parks and recreation.  

The group plans to use its main stewardship location at Fairhaven Park, continuing to improve trail conditions, public access and connecting the park with Woodstock Farm. The group will also to work with doctors and health care providers for its parkscptions program, which helps treat community health issues by providing equitable access to recreational opportunities. 

Come spring they plan to offer small group outdoor classes, teaching basic and advanced skills in hiking, backpacking, camping, van lifestyle and more. They will also to lead park tours teaching about the social and natural history of Bellingham’s parks. The classes will be hosted at its native plant gardens in Fairhaven Park.

Recreation Northwest plans to release its calendar of events for the rest of the year in April. Visit recreationnorthwest.org.    x