First and foremost, I hope this message finds you, your friends, and your family healthy and safe.
As the entire world is fighting COVID-19, Evergreen’s board of directors, staff, chapters, and volunteers are all leaning into the challenges that this unprecedented situation presents to our small non-profit organization. You can be confident that everyone on the Evergreen team cares deeply for our community, our sport, and will be doing everything possible during these difficult times to get back to normal operations as soon as we can.
You are all likely aware of Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for Washingtonians that was issued on Monday, March 23, 2020 and becomes effective today. The purpose of this order is to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease. As responsible stewards and members of Washington’s vibrant outdoor community, it is absolutely critical that we, as mountain bikers, help in every way we can to curb the spread of this worldwide pandemic. With that in mind, we implore you as Evergreen supporters to limit travel and only visit trailheads in your immediate neighborhood. It is not the time to be taking unnecessary recreational risks that have the potential to further burden our strained health care system.
With the 2-week order to stay at home now in place, our governor is asking we stay put unless “pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment, getting takeout food, going to work at an essential business, and going outside for walks and exercise, as long as social distancing of six feet is maintained.” In Governor Inslee’s Monday evening address, he mentioned “biking” as a viable and acceptable option for getting outside, but the intent was to encourage folks to get out close to their homes for some exercise and fresh air.
If you do get out for a ride, please consider the following points:
- Keep it local and stick close to home. For now, it is best if we limit our rides to only those we can do safely from our doorstep. Save your gas for essential trips like going to the grocery store or medical appointments. Don’t drive to ride!
- Physically distance yourselves from others. Ride alone or with those you already live with. Also, health officials are recommending that we stay at least 6 feet apart when outside. Absolutely no group rides at this time! #ridesaferidesolo
- Ride responsibly and well below your limit. Mountain biking is an inherently dangerous sport, and it is critical that we do not put extra strain on our already overloaded healthcare systems with recreational injuries. Now is not the time for serious mountain bike skill building and progression.
- Leave if a trail is busy. If you are out on a ride and can’t safely maintain at least a 6’ distance from others, it is time to head home!
- Check for trail and park closures before you go. As of Wednesday, March 25th, all trails on DNR and State Parks land are closed. In addition, King County Parks have stepped up measures to reduce people congregating in their parks and have closed all picnic shelters, including the one in the main clearing at Duthie. All camping on state land is also currently closed. With trail access in flux, please check open status before heading out.
- Change your perspective. Use your bike as a tool for getting fresh air, clearing your mind and relieving stress. Times are tough, so be sure to give that other rider you see a friendly wave (from a safe distance, of course!).
As we move forward, we are committed to keeping our members informed about potential affects this pandemic will inevitably have on Evergreen and your ability to access the trails that you love to ride.
As a reminder, all Evergreen events are canceled statewide through at least April 26th. As we near that date, board and staff will reevaluate to decide on the viability of future events and programs. Our top priorities right now are keeping staff employed, keeping trail projects viable, and making sure that everyone is safe.
We feel confident that Evergreen is well positioned to weather this storm, but with news changing every day and the extreme uncertainty of every aspect of life, we are not letting our guard down. We are carefully focusing on our finances to ensure that we will be able to emerge on the other side of this in the best position possible to continue to deliver on our mission of making Washington the best place to ride.
And, rest assured, our team is already working on ways to make this tumultuous period a time of Evergreen innovation, not Evergreen setback.
Together, we’ll get through this!
-Andy Rigel, Evergreen Board President