By Reader Staff
Sandpoint’s local bike club and trails organization, Pend Oreille Pedalers, has a full calendar of programs and events lined up for the community in 2021, including group mountain bike and road rides, trail work parties, kids’ clinics and camps, and club meetings.
The club, formed in 2004 to develop trails in Dover’s Sherwood Forest, took on its first ever paid staff person last year, with longtime volunteer and board member Jason Welker stepping into the role of executive director. Since then, POP has overseen the expansion of local trails in Pine Street Woods and VTT (both recent additions to the Syringa trail network, accessible via the Greta’s Segway Trailhead or the Pine Street Woods parking lot off of West Pine Street) and in the Little Sand Creek Watershed, where the club has a license agreement with the city of Sandpoint to build and maintain trails in the Lower Basin.
In 2021 the club plans to build a new, three-mile, climbing trail from the Lower Basin trailhead on Schweitzer Mountain Road to allow for safer uphill travel for both mountain bikers and hikers. This trail is the first phase of a two-year Lower Basin buildout that will be followed in 2022 with a new flow trail higher up in the Basin and a new downhill trail to further broaden the options for non-motorized users of varying ability levels.
Meanwhile, in the Syringa system, POP is working with Sandpoint residents Julie and Steve Meyer to develop and build several new trails on the 100-acre VTT property, which, lying immediately south of Pine Street Woods and west of Sherwood Forest, was acquired by the Meyers last year and will soon be placed into a permanent conservation easement with Kaniksu Land Trust. By late summer this year there will be a new trailhead close to Highway 2 on West Pine Street, with parking for 15-20 vehicles and a kiosk with maps and other information about the property. This trailhead will provide access to a nearly two-mile VTT “perimeter trail,” known as “Rotary Green Heart,” after the local Rotary Club, whose generous donations will make the trail possible. Trailhead infrastructure is being funded by a national Placemaker grant secured by the Selkirk Association of Realtors. The new trail will provide a beautiful loop around the lower flanks of the VTT property, and offer a 200-foot ascent up rocky slopes to connect with the narrow trails of Pine Street Woods.
Beyond its many trail projects in 2021, POP is also expanding its youth programming and opportunities for group rides for its membership. On March 28 registration for a six-week after-school mountain bike clinic opens up, which will see 30 area youth join four coaches for instruction on the beginner friendly trails of Pine Street Woods. Over two weeks in mid-July the club is offering summer mountain biking camps for up to 64 kids aged 7-12. More information about POP’s youth programs can be found at pendoreillepedalers.org/programs.
As a nonprofit, member-supported organization, POP depends entirely on community support, with a robust sponsorship program and membership fees providing 100% of its operating budget, with the generosity of local groups like Sandpoint Rotary Club and Selkirk Association of Realtors providing funding for projects like the expansion of the Syringa Trail Network. Meanwhile, state and federal grants, as well as support from the city of Sandpoint, allow POP to expand opportunities for outdoor recreation on the public lands in the city’s watershed and beyond.
To learn more about Pend Oreille Pedalers, attend its first club meeting of the year at Matchwood Brewing at 5:30 on Wednesday, April 14. More information, including a full calendar of events, programs and club activities, are at pendoreillepedalers.org.
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