Landon wants a pump track, so does Marysville parks

The proposed Marysville Pump Track will be similar to the Leavenworth Pump Track. SOURCE: City of Marysville.

MARYSVILLE, Wash., March 10, 2023—At a Park Board zoom meeting during the pandemic, board members listened as soft-spoken 7-year-old Landon Oliphant pitched his idea to build a pump track where families and bike riders like him could hone their skills through paved pathways and steep turns.

The wheels began spinning in the minds of park officials.

Assistant Parks Director Dave Hall said city staff internally had already met with a pump track company, with the idea to one day build one of the outdoor tracks that are gaining in popularity, with an eye toward Jennings Nature Park.

“So, when Landon showed up, we thought ‘here is a community member saying the same thing, so let’s have him come give a presentation, and maybe we can build some momentum,’” Hall said.

“Pump tracks have like rollers, jumps and turn and stuff like that,” Landon said, now 9 and attends Sunnyside Elementary School. “Once you get pumping right you can go kind of fast.”

A pump track is made up of a series of small and large hills, turns and a looped circuit of banked corners and smooth rollers that allow you to ride and keep up your momentum without pedaling. It works for bike, boards, scooters, inline skates or even little kid bikes where kids use their fee to push themselves.

His dad, Mike Oliphant, added, “Landon’s main goal in the presentation he made was that he wanted people and families to get outside more instead of being at home on their televisions or tablets.”

On February 9, roughly 26 people attended an open house to look over details about the pump track.

Hall said the track area itself covers an area of about 50 by 100 feet, with 2,400 square feet of 6 ½-foot overlapping paved track. It would be located on a raised, relatively flat, grassy hillside halfway between the playground and parking lot entrance on 64th and north to Jennings Ballfield. The largest costs will be asphalt and drainage improvements.

Hall said it was an eye opener when he was researching pump tracks and discovered that they were not only popular with kids and teens, but young families and adult as well. One open house attendee included a man who is pushing 70 years old, and he has been a downhill mountain biker his whole life. He lives about a mile away from the pump track and plans to use it for training runs to boost cardio and conditioning for his downhill riding.

At the open house, many other attendees hailed from South Everett and Mount Vernon. They came to share their support for the future pump track.

The Oliphant’s home is close to the pump track, so the family will be able to ride, with Landon’s younger sister Logan able join them on days where there are fewer bikes on the track.

Other pump tracks in Washington they have visited include Leavenworth, where Landon celebrated with a birthday party; Wenatchee, and closer to home, Bellingham.

Hall said the city hopes to go out to bid in April, with construction later this year. The project is expected to cost up to $300,000.

Mayor Jon Nehring added that Jennings Nature Park is already slated for new playground equipment and public restrooms later this year.

Landon was asked how often he and his family plan to go to the new Marysville pump track when it opens.

“Maybe once a week,” he said.

“Oh, no, we’ll go twice a week,” said his father, who now serves on the city’s Parks, Culture and Recreation Advisory Board.

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