A lot has been going on in recent weeks and months, Henry Coe-wise, and an update here is way past due; here’s a brief summary and timeline:
- May 13, 2011: California State Parks announces a plan to close 78 out of its 278 parks due to state budget cuts. The list includes Coe park.
- It becomes clear that due to existing employee contracts, the closure will likely not happen before July 2012
- May 2011: the Coe Park Preservation Fund (CPPF) is formed, by a group of people mostly originating from the existing Pine Ridge Association (a so-called ‘official state park cooperating association’, which was formed in 1975 to assist park staff, create interpretive and educational programs for the public, organizing events and trail work days with volunteers etc). In recent years, mountain bikers in Coe have been very engaged with this group, in particular on the trail maintenance front, and fundraising for the CPPF starts.
- August 2011: we* came up with the Coe Everest Challenge, in order to raise awareness for the closure and more funds for the CPPF; it will run in conjuction with the new edition of our hundred miler (featuring a ‘bonus loop’). Trying to ride over 140 miles with 29k of elevation gain in more or less a single day in Coe (probably more) is somewhat crazy and probably overly audacious, but if we knew it could be done, it wouldn’t be a challenge! (*we = yours truly and a few friends)
- September 9, 2011: an agreement between the CPPF and State Parks is announced and will avert the closure of Coe. CPPF has raised sufficient funds to ensure the park will remain open until 2015.
Some very generous donations from a few individuals made this possible; the Everest Challenge is most likely only providing a very modest contribution, and perhaps the pressure is now a bit off, but it is important to show the state that this park is being frequented by a variety of user groups, including mountain bikers, who care about the place; and the funds will either way go to very good causes, such as trail work, the construction of new trails, an endowment for the future (post 2015) etc. So the challenge is on, more than ever. October 1st, 2011 is the big day!