Bike jumps have been part of the gulch for years | Letter

May 07, 2014

Editor, The Beacon:

I have been watching these discussions about the BMX jumps in the gulch from the sideline. I'll be honest, I have considered responding to the accusations that these jumps were "vandalism," but Phillip Karl's letter back on April 16 eloquently stated what I was thinking, so I let it go.

But last week's article titled "Report: Jumps are serious damage to Japanese Gulch" [The Beacon, front page, April 30] really ticked me off. Accusations that the BMX course "was constructed recently so it could be grandfathered in the Japanese Gulch Master Plan" are so ridiculous that I can't believe they are given credibility.

Anyone who has been back in the gulch in the last five years knows that course has been around for at least that long. I have a photo of a bicyclist coming off one of the jumps from 2011, and I can show anyone interested exactly which jump that picture is of – it still exists today.

The idea that a bunch of kids saw that the city was acquiring the property and then set about building a BMX course to get it grandfathered in as part of the master plan is, well, the stuff of conspiracy theory.

Can any of us who have teenagers believe that a group of them could be so savvy as to pull something like this off? I think not.

Look, I understand the report says that the "jumps appear recent and ongoing," but the only part that I agree with is that they have been ongoing (as my photo shows, they are not "recent").

The kids who have built these jumps are constantly working on these and improving them. I'm not arguing that there hasn’t been some damage done to the woods in that immediate area (which is currently only a tiny portion of the 140 acres the city purchased), but seriously, anytime I can associate the words "kids" and "work" together, I'm not going to discourage it.

I don't endorse damage of any kind to the forest, but the solution isn’t to destroy what has already been built and ban a recreation that many enjoy. The BMX course should be considered as part of the master plan. With proper planning and guidance, this could be done correctly and safety, without incurring any more damage.

I know people will still argue that we shouldn't allow something that is potentially dangerous in the gulch, but I'm not going to address that here.

Honestly, if you are that worried about protecting your child from every possible risk in the world and don’t see the benefits of providing them with opportunity to try something new (especially when it doesn't involve electronics), then I'm not going to win you over with any argument I can make.

One of my favorite spots to go in the summer is the area between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains: Great views of the mountains, Fitzsimmons Creek rushing under picturesque bridges – and a BMX course where kids perform incredible athletic feats.

If it can work there, I can't see why it can't here.

Phil Wrobel,


Comments (3)
Posted by: Terry Preshaw | May 07, 2014 17:33

I do not believe that "kids" engaged in deliberate gulch destruction without being enlisted by trusted adults. In fact, two biker "kids" in the gulch told me that there was a specific adult who was responsible for the new mega dirt jumps and the destroyed wetlands. When I asked why he did this they said it was because this individual wanted to create You Tube videos featuring himself.

Folks are upset about this flagrant disregard of the law. And I have to say that the vituperation that has been heaped on me by the BMX Biker community has persuaded me to reconsider my previous support of this group.


Posted by: August Mueller | May 07, 2014 21:05

You can see even more pics from the area all the way back to 2009:

So yes, jumps have been there for a long time.

Posted by: Charlie Pancerzewski | May 08, 2014 21:33

The bike jumps have been illegal for a long time. This was private property that you and others trespassed on. That is illegal and the owners have posted signs for the public to stay off which some have disregarded and somehow think this has been their property to use as they wish. It does not matter a bit how long this illegal activity has been going on. If someone came onto your property and started moving piles of your dirt you would call the police and have them arrested, exactly what the City should have already done by now for you and others who have destroyed property and wetlands. When will you and others in the Japanese Gulch Group come forward and identify all who were involved and put up the money to restore the property as much as it can be restored?

The Japanese Gulch Group has been raising money for years with the public told their contributions would be used to help purchase the Gulch property but no money has ever been given to the City for that purpose. Now the Japanese Gulch Group has been raising money to develop the Gulch without any permission from the City to do so. It is time for an accounting of the money that has been raised and where it has been spent. Why would the public keep contributing to a Group that has not done what it said it would do? And why would those affiliated with the Group enter property they do not own and make any unauthorized changes on it, destroying trees and the other environmental features.

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