Hermosa Tours was approached by a government working group made up of various land managers in NE Washington to help strategize a coherent recreation tourism vision for the region. NE Washington is often referred to as the "forgotten corner" of the state. In particular we were asked to comment on mountain bike tourism and how they might attract more of it. Hermosa Tours operates a 5-day tour in NE Washington, our Kettle Crest Tour. 5 quality days of riding is hard to find in any destination, but it definitely exists in the Kettle Mountains and Colville National Forest. Here's a quick trail video I shot last summer on "Stickpin Trail":
This is just a taste of the riding there! Anyway, we discussed many things, but I offered up a handful of suggestions:
- Do NOT allow the area to become Wilderness. This area has been highly sought after as a Wilderness area for many years now. If it goes Wilderness, mountain biking is done there. Alternate designations such as National Scenic Area could protect the region just as well without banning legitimate, historical recreation.
- Smart trail connections, rehab existing/neglected trails and conduct trail maintenance with mountain bikers in mind. In particular, I'm interested in a few trail connections that would really open up the trail network and create some terrific loops.
- The need for a conveniently-located bike shop. The small 'burgs around the Kettle Mountains are without a bike shop. We actually pack in extra spare parts for tours as we are 2 hours from the closest shop.
- Publicity in the form of grass roots message boards and industry publications. I tried to step out of my Hermosa Tours' shoes for a minute and try to remember - how did I discover new destinations when I road-tripped as a regular mountain biker? Internet "ride reports" with great pictures or destination pieces in MTB publications.
I was very pleased to get this phone call and to be able to lend some ideas. Opportunities like this are far and few between and I hope my continued involvement has an impact on shaping mountain biking policy in that area. Whether with Hermosa Tours or not, I encourage you to plan a trip to the area. It's very much a hidden gem.
Tour group on the Kettle Crest last summer....