Monday, July 16, 2012

Let's Create Something Great

The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association is issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design and construction of a new trailhead kiosk/shelter at the Mazama Corral Trailhead and the Town Trailhead in Winthrop.  

Striking architecture and scenic vistas are two of the hallmarks of the Methow Valley ski trail system.  This is a unique opportunity to combine the beauty of local architecture with the scenic beauty of the Methow Valley trail system. A visitor's first and last experience on the MVSTA trails would be a newly designed and built trailhead/kiosk shelter that showcases the best the Methow Valley has to offer.  

All questions and proposals should be submitted to James DeSalvo by August 24th, 2012 to

The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association manages the largest and finest network of winter trails in the U.S. and provides a cornerstone amenity that upholds a thriving local economy year-round, yet our traihead kiosks are antiquated and in some cases, non-existent. Our hope is to tap into local creativity, enthusiasm, and resources in order to provide a "trailhead experience" that matches the quality and care that we invest in our truly unique trail system. 
The kiosk/shelter will meet the following objectives.
a. Provide a functional design that gives users a space to comfortably view trail
b. Provide a unique destination that begins or concludes a trail users experience and in and of itself is something worth experiencing. 
c. Assists in establishing a “gateway” to our trail system so it feels like you are passing through or by something.  

MVSTA serves Methow Valley residents, as well as visiting cross-country skiers and summer recreational trail users from metropolitan areas around the Pacific Northwest, North America, and beyond. We support 40-50,000 skier days in the winter months, and an equal number of hikers, bikers, equestrians and runners in the spring, summer and fall. More specifically both the Mazama Coral Tralhead and the Winthrop Town Trailhead server as the primary "gateway" to our 200km trail system. The majority of our trail users pass by these two highly visible kiosks. The trails are responsible for generating 8.6 million in annual revenue to the Valley (from trail-use related expenditures) and are responsible for creating 128.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) local jobs. (Resource Dimensions, 2005)

The current project will replace our 2 most popular trailhead kiosks. However we would eventually like to replace 7 more within a 5 year period. The majority of our trail-users are visitors who need good information and a welcoming atmosphere in order to feel comfortable using our trail system. Currently, the new Town Trailhead entrance consists of only random signs and structures, as opposed to a central information and welcome center. With the addition of the new Spring Creek Bridge and Rink, the Town Trailhead is one of our most popular trailheads. The Mazama Corral Trailhead is our most popular trailhead due to its significant year round use and the concentration of trails that depart from the location. 

We've received comments directly and via survey results from locals and visitors alike that indicate that easily accessed information and trailhead amenities are the weakest link in the overall trail experience. A 2010 MVSTA trails survey assessed the top priorities of trail-users. When asked: What would you suggest as the most important trailside amenity proposed additions, the top two answers were:
1) Improved trailhead info
2) Addition of warming huts

We have recently received a $2,000 grant from the Methow Valley Community Fund that will aid the material cost to replace our traihead kiosk at the Corral Trailhead in Mazama. We have also received a matching $2,000 from another organization that will aid in the material cost to replace the kiosk at the Winthrop Town Trailhead. 

These very generous gifts are sufficient to only cover the cost of materials for a simple kiosk and represent the funds that we have available for the project. Proposals are encouraged to meet the project objectives above with these funds and provide additional funding to cover any additional costs. Proposals should also include building costs that would be covered by your own building team with potentially some help from our service program members depending on the designs complexity/difficulty. 

We believer the kiosks have the opportunity to be fantastic showcases for design and build firms. 

To allow for as unique and creative design as possible we have minimized the specifications of the design to the following list:
· The kiosk/shelter structure needs to be movable in the unlikely event that the trailhead location changes.
· The design will include at a minimum a small covered area and bench.
· The construction of the kiosk/shelter will meet the budget parameters above.
· Approval for the project has been given by the land owners but final designs must be approved by landowners.
· We currently don’t have utilities at any of our trailheads and don’t plan to bring any to the structures unless additional funding would allow. 

· Proposal submittal deadline, August 24th, 2012
· Top 2 proposals awarded, September 4th, 2012
· Construction of kiosks begins, September 17th, 2012
· Construction completed, October 19th, 2012

Contracts will be awarded to the proposals that best meet the objectives, budget, and design specifications above as determined by the MVSTA Board of Directors with input from trail users. A final vote by the MVSTA Board will be made at the September 3rd board meeting. The design of our future kiosks/shelters will be taken from the pool of proposals we receive and our intention is to have a diverse range of designs represented across the valley. 

A full, printable copy of the RFP can be found here.