Bikes & Brus: Benefitting Teanaway Trails
With a slogan like “We work here. We live here. We play here,” it’s no surprise that the team behind the Cle Elum and Snoqualmie Pass-based brewery, Dru Bru, takes a keen interest in trails. When they reached out to us earlier this year to learn more about our work on Towns to Teanaway and explore opportunities to support the system, we jumped at the chance to partner with them!
Our teams quickly realized this was the perfect time to engage the local community in supporting and learning more about the trails in their backyard. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust has facilitated the Towns to Teanaway effort since 2018, with the goal of linking the Upper Kittitas County communities of Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald to the Teanaway Community Forest. The Teanaway Community Forest, 50,000 acres of public land co-managed by the WA Department of Natural Resources and the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, lies just on the other side of the Cle Elum Ridge. Last year, DNR published a final trail plan for the West Fork Teanaway and began working with the Greenway, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA), Washington Trails Association, and Back Country Horsemen of Washington to scout, flag, approve, and fundraise for the trails. EMBA opted to take on the trail that would link the West Fork Campground with the Cle Elum Ridge, completing the very first connection to Towns to Teanaway.
When we laid this news out for Dru Bru’s team, they eagerly proposed creating a brand-new annual event in support of these trails, with this year’s proceeds going directly to that first connector. Our newly minted planning group adlibbed a name – Bikes & Brus – and dove in!
In partnership with EMBA’s Kittitas Chapter, we put together a full-day celebration of the trails on Saturday, August 19. From 9:30-11:30, Greenway staff and EMBA members led nearly 40 volunteers to brush, clear, and provide other TLC for the trails. They were treated to lunch from Stella’s and free drink tokens at Dru Bru. After lunch, the Greenway and EMBA collaborated to run a rare, one-day-only shuttle service to the top of the Cle Elum Ridge, giving riders the chance to skip the arduous climb to the Rat Pac or Brass Monkey downtracks. All proceeds from the shuttles went directly to the trail fund. And if that wasn’t enough, Dru Bru hosted a celebration that stretched into the evening, featuring live music, food trucks, games, and a dollar from every drink purchase donated to the cause. Dru Bru also helped Greenway staff emcee a 50/50 raffle fundraiser and turned over a large chunk of their parking lot to MTB Coach Robbie, who taught a jump clinic with enormous inflatable landing pads.
Although smoke from the Gray and Oregon fires near Spokane thickened throughout the day, plenty of folks turned out for music, dancing, street food, and pints. The event raised $3,500 for the trail fund thanks to many generous donations, raffle ticket purchases, and enthusiastic shuttle riders!
The name Bikes & Brus, while catchy and fun to say, doesn’t quite paint a complete picture of the people who love Towns to Teanaway or the Teanaway Community Forest. Both trail systems are multi-use, nonmotorized, year-round networks. But with only a few months to test run a brand-new event, and EMBA already partnering with the Department of Natural Resources on the West Fork Teanaway link, we focused this event on the local bike community. We hope that next year, all kinds of trail enthusiasts will join us for Bikes & Boots & Ponies & Pints (we’re open to workshopping the name).