Some of us only ride, hike, or run trails. But there are many others who also support outdoor recreation and conservation groups and volunteer their time on trail and restoration projects. We need more of the latter—trail and public land champions like Bill Way and the NEWTS, Diana Roberts, and Bill Kinzel. (OTO)
MTB Trail Hero Bill Kinzel
By Melinda Larson
A typical pre-ride checklist for a mountain bike trip includes staples such as a helmet, water, and snacks. For Bill Kinzel, that list also includes a hand saw and a trash bag. Kinzel is a volunteer whose efforts are well known and appreciated by local land managers and fellow trail users. He has already worked nearly 400 hours this year on our region’s trails clearing downed trees and brush and much more.
Spokane County Parks special projects manager, Paul Knowles, put Kinzel’s recent contributions into perspective. “In the time of COVID, it’s been humbling to see trail volunteers like Bill continue to put in an incredible amount of their own personal time to improving and building out our community’s trail system.”
Chris Conley, president of Evergreen East Mountain Bike Alliance, also praises Kinzel and others like him. “These trail heroes are working countless hours, often in remote locations by themselves because they possess a passion for keeping these areas accessible for all forms of recreation.”
Kinzel became involved with Evergreen by participating in dig days at Spokane-area trail networks. He believes that the outdoors are a truly transcendent place. “A place to clear your mind and a place where time becomes irrelevant,” he says. “I believe as humans time is our most valuable resource and when you can go to a place where time is no longer a factor it really can make a positive impact on your life, your mental wellbeing, and your outlook.”
When asked what motivates him to volunteer, Kinzel explains it’s “the opportunity to make a local impact, get others involved, and see a direct visible result from my work which benefits the trails and the communities in which we live.” Trails, he says, “provide recreational and outdoor health opportunities for all users.” Bill’s advice for other mountain bikers: “The best way to get involved is to become a member of Evergreen and come out to one of our monthly trail committee meetings or trail maintenance events which we promote on social media channels.”
When not out working on trails, you might find Kinzel riding his favorite stretch of singletrack, Mount Spokane State Park’s Trail 140.