Happy New Year from the Mount Vernon Parks Foundation!!
We have big plans for this year that we can’t wait to share with you, but first I’d like to extend my gratitude and thanks to so many who supported our 2018 efforts toward improving Mount Vernon’s parks; All those who volunteered for Trail Days at Little Mountain, our MVPF members and donors for their generous contributions, our sponsors for financially backing MVPF programs and events, the philanthropic organizations that provided us with grants toward making a positive change in our community, and to our friends at City Hall, especially the wonderful folks at Parks and Enrichment. And last but not least, MVPF’s board of directors. I am grateful to be involved with such diverse and inspired partners. If there is one thing I have learned since joining MVPF, it’s that when like-minded, passionate, driven people collaborate on projects that have the power to benefit our greater community, great things happen.
Here’s the highlights of what we all accomplished together during 2018;
Heart of the Park
MVPF partnered with the City of Mount Vernon Parks & Enrichment Department for a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) toward funding of the Heart of the Park (aka HOP) facility at Little Mountain Park, which MVPF has been fundraising for since 2014. Although we won’t know for sure until this spring, it’s looking very good that the state will be providing a significant contribution to the HOP construction which is currently scheduled to begin this summer.
Our “5th Graders to Little Mountain” program brought over 400 Mount Vernon School District 5th graders on an educational and rewarding field trip to the summit of Little Mountain.
Little Mountain Trail Work
We held 10 official volunteer work days at Little Mountain Park (thanks Sponsors!!), as well as a few special tactical sessions - totaling roughly 1,500 hours all together. As you probably know, the trails at LMP are kept in very good condition, thanks in no small part to lots of hard volunteer work that includes not only trail building, but also maintaining drainage, brush removal, leaf blowing, retread and more.
Began and continued construction of the “Pitch & Roll” trail, the first of its kind at LMP. Pitch & Roll is a one-way (downhill) “mountain bike only” trail that features nice flowy turns, moderate drops, and great berms. Once completed, this new trail will drop right into the upcoming Heart of the Park facility.
MVPF volunteers planned, designed, and installed over 100 wayfinding signs throughout Little Mountain Park. Special thanks to Dan Petrzelka for the wonderful graphic design work he provided and also to the City of Mount Vernon for funding the fabrication.
MVPF was awarded grants from several community minded organizations in 2018 including Skagit Community Foundation, Skagit Regional Health, Skagit Valley Co-op, and Puget Sound Energy - all of which greatly helped MVPF fulfill its mission to improve parks and recreation opportunities all around Mount Vernon. THANK YOU!
In 2018 MVPF disbursed over $35,000 in funds to a variety of Parks Dept programs including playground equipment, scholarships, memorials, movies in the park, special events, and the Mount Vernon Arts Commission.
Our second annual Trail-A-Thon event was a great success, this time featuring three different races held simultaneously across 3 different routes within Little Mountain Park; one for hikers, one for trail runners, and one for mountain bikers. Upon finishing, participants celebrated their feats at our Trail Mixer party where all types of trail users were greeted with food, beverages, live music, and a silent auction. Thanks to all the participants and volunteers who came out and helped us raise over $10,000 for Mount Vernon’s Parks.
For more than a year now, MVPF has been collaborating with local stakeholders to explore potential ways to enhance Edgewater Park through restoration and improvement. The efforts included documenting the consequences of homelessness in the park, participating in fisheries habitat restoration, and improving public trail access. One of our top goals is to bring new recreational opportunities to the park and are looking forward to making an exciting announcement on this front very soon.
Not too shabby, right? And we’re just getting started…
Here’s We’re Looking Forward To In 2019;
Heart of the Park
Spring - Confirmation this spring that the state legislature RCO has awarded grant funding to the HOP, hopefully saving Mount Vernon taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Summer - Break ground on the Heart of the Park construction, putting to work the resources that our supporters have so generously donated over the years. We plan on working with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to ensure the highest quality Skills Park that will continue to serve the thriving mountain bike community that has developed in our area. Little Mountain Park is long overdue for a parking lot and restroom. The HOP will deliver that and more! Learn More about the HOP Project here.
Little Mountain Trail Work
We have “official” volunteer work party dates planned for this year, with first one happening on Saturday, January 26th. We are still in need of Trail Day sponsors for this year so please let us if you or youtr business might be interested in helping us cover our expenses. Click here for more information including our 2019 Trail Building schedule.
And here’s our first volunteer recruitment video for 2019 , starring our Trail Crew leader, Ian Horton - set to some of his favorite music.
Continue and expand our 5th Graders to Little Mountain program. We feel that exposing kids to the outdoors and physical fitness is of paramount importance to our community. This program holds the power to bring all MV 5th graders from the bottom to the top of Little Mountain Park, giving them insight to the options this beautiful area holds and how it feels to be active.
It’s no secret that Edgewater Park is a diamond in the rough. 55 acres of waterfront park is hard to come by. Lucky for us, it’s already there! Stay tuned… we have good reason to believe we’ll be able to begin work on our vision in the very near future!
Mark your Calendars - our 3rd annual Trail-A-Thon event has been scheduled for September 15th. If you haven’t made it yet, you’re missing out! What better way to spend a Sunday than to do your best on a course of your choice with your fellow Trail Heads.
The City of Mount Vernon has invited MVPF to take a significant role in helping to develop its 2019 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan - with work beginning this month! We take this responsibility seriously and look forward to being a voice for parks supporters throughout our community. On that note, we strongly encourage you to join into the process yourself, with your first step being as simple as completing the City’s online parks survey now. Please also consider attending one, or both, open house events to share your thoughts:
Thursday, January 24th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Hillcrest Park
Saturday, February 23th, 10:00 AM - Noon @ Hillcrest Park
Another way we will begin serving parks users this year is with a new website we’ll be launching soon. This new site will include parks and recreation spaces all around Mount Vernon, and will act as a tool to help community groups, volunteers, and donors organize and participate in parks and public space projects around Mount Vernon.
MVPF is committed to enhancing our existing parks, and to look for opportunities that could expand to overall park network. This really is our mission. To support recreational opportunities for our community through access to local parks. And we feel it’s a pretty important mission. If you are like minded in this pursuit, reach out to us out at MVPF.org.
Danny Pickering, President
Mount Vernon Parks Foundation
PS: The best way to show that you support our work is by clicking below to contribute some of your time or funds to help our all-volunteer organization keep going.