The Parks Department confirms that this Saturday’s planned cyclocross race at Lincoln Park is now canceled. We got first hint of this last night when CC’d in an e-mail exchange from a West Seattle resident to Parks, in which the resident wrote, in part:
Several years ago, a cyclo-cross race at Lincoln Park caused major damage to native shrubs, grasses and trails. At that time, a large number of complaints led to (I thought) a ban on this kind of race in our Parks, and a revocation of a permit for a future race.
However, I just learned that the Parks Department has issued a permit (or so the organizer claims) for a similar race in Lincoln Park for this Saturday. …
The attached map (and photo!) shows clearly that this Cyclocross race will cut through the forest, on social trails, and given the previous damage, and the stated intent of this race, will cause irreparable harm to the native vegetation and shrubs.
I ask you, as a resident and frequent user of Lincoln Park, to please cancel this inappropriate permit, and prevent the damage from being done (as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure).
In a reply shortly thereafter, Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter replied to the original writer:
… Parks has taken a look at the event coming up this weekend, and we have decided to move it to another, more appropriate venue. Our staff will evaluate its success there, and make a decision about whether and where to permit future such events.
We checked back with Parks today, to see what that venue might be, and spokesperson Joelle Ligon just replied, “The cyclocross folks have cancelled all together. There will not be an event this weekend.” We will be contacting the race organizers too – they had also posted in the WSB Forums recently to get the word out about park-access changes in connection with the then-scheduled event. ADDED 2 PM: A little more information from Parks’ Ligon, answering our question about why this all played out at the last minute:
About four years ago, there was a cyclocross event at Lincoln Park. At that point, the community let us know that they did not like having cyclocross there. We made a commitment to not hold cyclocross at Lincoln again. When our files went electronic about two years ago, the prohibition on cyclocross at Lincoln did get translated into the new system; hence, permitting staff were not aware that they should not have permitted the event at all.
We just heard from the cyclocross organization, and they have let us know that they intend to hold their event on Nov. 15 at Lower Woodland Park. We will waive their permit fee for the Nov. 15 event, and we have refunded the Lincoln permit fee.
3:35 PM UPDATE: As Zac announced in comments, the race promoters’ website now has a long explanation of what’s transpired from their standpoint, and what’s next — read it in its entirety here. WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The race will be held at Lakewood Park in White Center instead – as announced on Twitter by MFG Cyclocross, and confirmed by this post on the King County Parks news site.