Cascade gives first-ever STP grant to the City of Yelm

The  Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland presented by Alaska Airlines has an incredible 38-year history of growth and transformation. Starting as a small race from one city hall to the next and growing to a recreational ride enjoyed by thousands each year, the STP has cemented itself into the life of the communities it passes through. As support from the communities has grown through the years, so has the amount given back through registration fees and individual riders. 

Each year, over $120,000 in funds raised through STP registration and sponsorship goes directly back into the communities through which we ride. These funds help support the organizations that run various food stops, load/unload your luggage and bikes, and help you celebrate at the finish. On top of that, STP riders and their supporters are like an economy boost on wheels, patronizing local shops or mini-stops and purchasing food, housing and lots of drinks—hydration is key! While we are extremely proud of the support that STP brings every year, we felt it was time to do more.  

The relationship we have with our partner communities is largely based on an exchange for goods or services. This year we decided to run a pilot grant program to ask what communities would want from us without providing anything in return. Rather than focusing on bike-specific projects, we asked applicants to submit a proposal that reflected the community’s own needs and values. The applications received reflect deep commitments to the many communities along the STP route, and we were excited to learn of the potential for continued growth and engagement.

We could not be happier to announce that our first ever STP grant recipient will be the City of Yelm, Wash. Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes will be granting the Yelm Chamber of Commerce and the City of Yelm $5,000 to help fund two community projects. Here’s a glimpse of the project and its impact on the community:

The City of Yelm and the Chamber Foundation are bringing together military and community service clubs to build a war memorial at the park where STP riders stop in Yelm. The memorial will be similar to the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington DC - flowing along winding sidewalks that the City is currently installing where pedestrians and cyclists will travel along, learn about the wars of the past, and pause to remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It will be located at the park where STP riders stop in Yelm every year. In addition to the multitude of residents and visitors who regularly visit the park, every bike rider will feel a sense of pride when we put up a plaque thanking the bicycling community for being a part of this momentous memorial. 

At City Hall and City Park, which is the gateway of the Yelm-Tenino Trail, we are modifying or installing several features that riders have requested that would make the trailhead more user friendly, specifically: bathrooms, trail map, and water fountain that would allow them to fill up water bottles. We would use the grant to install the last item they've requested, but that we do not yet have funded: bike racks. We would like to install several Dero Bike Bike Racks outside of City Hall at the trailhead and at the City Park next to our new Spray Park (coming next spring) so cyclists can secure their bike as they come to read trail maps, get oriented with the community, use the facilities, fill up their water bottles, and cool off from the summer heat.

Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes hope to continue the grant program in future years and watch it grow and support multiple projects annually. It is only through your support that we can accomplish this feat and really allow this historic event to have an impact on the communities that host us each year. 

We would like to once again thank all of the communities who welcome, support and house the thousands of riders who come to enjoy the ride every year. The success of our ride is largely due to that support, and we will continue to find ways to reciprocate that support in our mission of improving lives through bicycling.  

Rebecca J Sorensen's picture
Rebecca J Sorensen