SEATTLE — Beacon Hill's new crown jewel was once a diamond in the rough.
"It took over a decade to make it happen," said neighborhood resident Joel DeJong. "There's a desire to access woods, especially in a densifying city."
DeJong is the chair of Cheasty Trails and Bike Park, a group of volunteers who have worked to transform this natural space.
"We're part of the Green Seattle Partnership which cleans up greenbelts all over the city," he said.
They've removed invasive species and planted more than 16,000 new trees and plants.
"Basically planting the next canopy of forest out here."
To make the 43-acre Cheasty Greenspace accessible to neighbors, volunteers built trails for walking and riding.
"We got support from the Seattle Parks Foundation. We got support from private donors."
They've completed Phase One of their mountain bike trail project.
"We've got two mountain bike descent trails and a connector trail for hikers and bikers," DeJong said.
They have big plans.
"Phase Two is coming in the future, which is going to have even longer mountain bike experience," DeJong said.
The result is a place where families can enjoy healthy activity in the nearby outdoors, at an urban oasis where humans and nature can benefit from each other.
"It's their woods," DeJong said. "We need connection to nature to live healthy lifestyles. If people can access the space, and they feel a connection with it, they'll want to come back. And then they'll want to contribute and participate in maintaining the health of it."
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