BMXers knocking at park’s door

Olalla resident Chris Marin has been riding the BMX track at South Kitsap Community Park since 1989, and on Thursday night he went before the Park’s board of commissioners for permission to revive the run-down course for future generations of BMX enthusiasts.

The board asked Marin to submit a proposal so it could formally consider his request, which includes permission to improve and expand the existing BMX area, located just inside the Lund Avenue entrance to the park, and perhaps create a brand new racetrack behind the park’s batting cages.

Marin said his main focus is safety. He regards the current BMX site as little more than an open area with hand-dug jumps.

“The original plan was the move the jumps to the location of the old BMX racetrack,” Marin explained, noting that Kitsap County has designated the site a “wetland.”

“I’m hoping to expand into an area with better dirt,” Marin explained. “Hopefully, we can at least take up a bigger area. As it is now, there’s no space for the kids to ride safely.”

Regardless of the space the course occupies in the park, Marin said he wants to fill in the jumps with a machine, avoiding the dangerous divots and unstable ground inherent to hand-dug courses.

“I told them I wanted to improve the jumps and the safety and give it back to them,” Marin said. “They pretty much shut me down and said I had to become a nonprofit organization. That it would protect me from liability.”

Marin said BMX is very popular in South Kitsap, but interest in the park’s track is dropping, “because of (the commissioners’) inability to produce anything worth riding.”

When he’s not riding, Marin works as a dump truck driver with TNT Excavating in Belfair. He and several friends are at work on the requested proposal.

“We’re thinking of putting in a proposal next week to build (a brand new) BMX track there,” Marin said. “A lot of parents have expressed to me that they would be willing to run the track if I would build it.”

Bicycle Motorcross, also known as BMX, has been a fixture in the South Kitsap Community Park for decades.

A sport that has gained popularity since its beginnings in Southern California in the mid-1970s, BMX consists of a series of very short, sprint-type races over obstacles on a non-motorized bike.

The sport originated in the United States and quickly became a worldwide sport, popular in Australia, South America, Mexico, Canada and across Europe.

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