"The Coalpad"


LOCATION: Glacier, WA  /  ESTablished: 2016

 

the history

 

The "Coal Pad" is a slab of concrete that was a coal deposit from mines in the hills of Glacier Wa. It's a spot where dirt bike jumps were built and where eventually an area was swept and skated on. Skateable features popped up and the vision for a true DIY skatepark started to form. Dedicated skaters and locals poured evolving features and set up various fund raisers. 

Sometime in the midst of building, land owner Joe King came upon construction on his land... he was taken a bit back and worried about the various liabilities with such a project. The crew that started the Coal Pad was faced with the fact that all their work could be shut down. Through passion and research the skaters talked to Joe about their vision and the history of the community using the Coal Pad as a place of recreation. Joe listened and through a bit of legal work and help from a land use manager, the project was turned back on with the agreement that proper permits would be pulled.

 

 

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The future seamed bright, but red tape and the eventual lack of the kinds of funds to get an up to code skatepark built by volunteers became too much. Progress slowed and winter came on and the conditional use permit expired.

Flash forward a few years and skateparks are becoming more common in small communities and the NW sees the worst snow pack in 40 years. The community of Glacier that is at the base of Mt Baker Ski Area is floored. The lack of snow impacts so many that rely on the mountain traffic. It also is hard on the locals who are drawn to the mountain as their source of livelihood.

In 2014, for the first time in its 29 years, the annual Mt Baker Legendary Banked Slalom is canceled due to lack of snow. Every year snowboarders around the world converge on Mt. Baker and the town of Glacier Wa is peppered with legends, pros and everyone in-between hoping to rip a run down the LBS course and win a coveted Duck Tape trophy... So left without the LBS event, people were still coming to town. They had booked cabins, taken time off work and even though the crowd wasn't as big as if the snow pack was typical for Mt Baker, there was over 100 travelers coming to town.

A group of us had been going out on skate / camp trips over the summers and on the way back from the past summers trip, we had talked about the idea of lighting back up construction on the Coal Pad. We reached out to brands, bands and artists to throw a party during the "not LBS year" and raise funds to build a bowl at the Coal Pad. It seemed like the whole community of Washington State snow people came out to support the Mt. Baker Bowl Benefit at Chair 9. The party was epic and when the smoke cleared, we raised nearly $25,000 in one night. It was a blur from there and within weeks the community came together again and compiled all resources available and in the summer of 2014 built the Mt. Baker Bowl at the Coal Pad in Glacier, WA.


 

 

 
This has really been a community effort from day one.
— Ryan Davis
 

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In the process of the bowl build, we had to work with Joe King and the county to comply to the conditional use permit and make sure we were meeting the wishes of Joe for allowing the park build on his land. In the process we realized the impact that the park was having on the community. There was a major source of pride and the draw to come work on the park became infectious.


 

 

 

A group of us formed the GSA (501 C3 non profit) as a means to raise funds and spread the word of building community skate parks. After re-organizing over the following summer and building a concrete mini-ramp as a feature at the Coal Pad, we continued to host fund raisers and reach out to donators.

Currently we have just finished Phase 2 at the Coal Pad, integrating a section of the original build with a fully functional new section that ties the Bowl into the rest of the park. We now set our sights one Phase 3 where we will tie Phase 2 into the mini and take another step towards a dream come true.

Thank you to all who have supported the progress of the Coal Pad. There are too many to list here, but check out our supporters page to see the names of brands, bands, builders and locals of the Coal Pad.