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Washington Voices

Trails to adventure

Beacon Hill map details routes for cyclists, hikers

When it comes to cool jobs in Spokane, Peter Jantz pretty much has it made: He takes care of the Camp Sekani mountain bike park at the bottom of Beacon Hill, just off Upriver Drive. What could be more perfect for someone who loves to ride his mountain bike?

“It’s pretty nice out here,” Jantz said, straddling his bike outside the little house where he lives. “Most people are very nice and there’s really not a lot of trouble here.”

And there’s now a complete map of the trails on Beacon Hill, something Jantz thinks will help both hikers and bikers in the area.

“We didn’t have anything like that before,” Jantz said.

The Fat Tire Trail Riders Club has been the major force behind the Beacon Hill map, coordinating many of the volunteers who have worked with help from Washington State University, Spokane Community College, city and county parks departments and local landowners to complete the map.

“We are really excited about it,” said Penny Schwyn, Fat Tire secretary. “I’ve been involved from the beginning and it’s taken us something like three years.”

The maps are for sale at local outdoor retailers for $8 apiece.

“It’s a fundraiser for other trail projects,” said Schwyn.

The map shows trails, trailheads and local points of interest on one side and a detailed map of Camp Sekani mountain bike park on the other.

“We really want to make sure people know this area is open to all nonmotorized trail users,” said Schwyn.

Many different entities, including Avista, Spokane County, private residents and developers, own land on Beacon Hill, and that has been one of the biggest challenges about mapping the area.

“Everyone has been helpful,” said Jantz.

In addition to bike trails, Camp Sekani has a skills-building course consisting of smaller obstacles bikers can ride on and around.

Trails run up and down the hills, creating switchbacks and dips, natural jumps and curves.

Ryan Leonard, 22, comes over from Post Falls once or twice a month.

“I think it’s an alright park,” Leonard said after completing a couple of jumps. “And it’s pretty quiet. There aren’t too many people here.

Leonard does mostly downhill and free ride mountain biking.

“I just come here to mess around and practice,” Leonard said. “Most of the jumps have pretty low consequence” – meaning it’s not too dangerous if you fall.

Schwyn said it’s been a great experience to see so many groups come together and finalize the map project.

“Neighbors and developers up here are also very interested in the map,” said Schwyn. “By encouraging appropriate use, we also discourage inappropriate us of the area.”