Hello Friends of Little Mountain Park,
Over the past nine months the Mount Vernon Parks Foundation has been exploring how to continue volunteer work at Little Mountain Park in a way that meets the new requirements of the City’s insurance underwriter, WCIA, without significantly impacting our volunteers. Unfortunately, we were unable to accomplish this by January 1st, the date the rules became effective, and all work was suspended. Even so, thanks to the spirit of of cooperation by Mount Vernon Parks & Recreation Director, Bill King, we were still able to begin work on a new trail while simultaneously fulfilling our prior commitment to Skagit Valley College’s Wildland Firefighting program.
That said, we are now very pleased to announce that our new volunteer program agreement with the City is set to be officially authorized at the next Mount Vernon City Council meeting - Wednesday, April 5th at 7:00 PM. We at the Mount Vernon Parks Foundation encourage all Parks and Trails supporters to attend this meeting to show their City officials that our community supports continuing fulfillment of the trails and facilities promised in the 2009 Little Mountain Park master plan.
Upcoming “short-term” work noted in this new agreement includes:
- The new, “yet-to-be-named” trail, providing a road-free route between the park's east & west trail networks.
- Finishing the lower portion of the "Flow Trail" that was started last year, and then following through with the upper portion next.
- The mountain bike skills park featured at the upcoming "Heart of the Park” trailhead facility, which the City intends to begin work on this year.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the hundreds of different Mount Vernon Trail Builders volunteers who have to-date donated more than 14,000 man-hours toward improving Little Mountain Park. The City has valued this work at over $400,000. It is because of their past accomplishments that we were absolutely committed to see this new agreement through to a solution that assures the work they started will be completed. I would also like to acknowledge Jim Taylor, who has tenaciously lead the trailblazing (literally) work of Mount Vernon Trail Builders for nearly a decade, as well as my predecessor as Foundation President, Rick Levine, whose vision and tireless perseverance has completely revitalized Mount Vernon's once languishing Parks Foundation. Kudos to both of you for the critical role you’ve played in turning our community’s vision for Little Mountain Park into a reality.
Beyond our new volunteer agreement for Little Mountain Park, I’m very excited about several new initiatives the Parks Foundation already has underway, including:
- Introducing a new trail building leadership team
- Smartphone Map Apps featuring Little Mountain Park trails through support from REI’s Adventure Projects
- Providing outdoor educational field trips for Mount Vernon School District students
- Trail building sponsorship program (to offset the thousands of dollars in new costs that will allow volunteer work to continue)
- Progress on the Heart of the Park Public Trails Facility and Bicycle Skills Park
- Little Mountain Park 2017 Trail Run & Appreciation fundraising event
- MVPF’s upcoming Membership program
- Our desire to introduce Volunteer & Support programs for other Mount Vernon parks
Danny Pickering, President
Mount Vernon Parks Foundation
Update: The City Council meeting will be at the Mount Vernon Police/Court Campus at 1805 Continental Pl, Mount Vernon, WA