Have you ever been to the Herbert Bayer Earthwork, the Robert Morris Earthwork, the Green River Natural Resource Area, or Lorna Jordan’s Waterworks Garden? These four iconic landscapes in Kent, Seatac and Renton are internationally recognized, but not well known locally, despite existing in our regional back yard.
The Kent Arts Commission wants to see that change.
They are inviting everyone to experience these extraordinary land art reclamation projects, by bike! The Kent Arts Commission has developed what will be a permanent, signed bike route connecting the four earthworks, and has partnered with Cascade to celebrate the opening of the new route with a free inaugural ride on Saturday, June 2.
The start line at the Herbert Bayer Earthwork, located at 742 East Titus Street, will be open from 9 to 10 a.m., with parking available in the neighboring Senior Activity Center at 600 East Smith Street in Kent. Greg Williamson’s jazz trio will be playing as you pick up your rider bib and route map. At 9:15, there will be a short dedication ceremony to honor the artists and partners supporting the Earthworks Tour, as well as the recent restoration of the Herbert Bayer Earthwork.
The ride offers three routes for different riding abilities. The Easy Ride, recommended for families, is a 12-mile, flat ride to the Green River Natural Resources Area and back. The Intermediate Loop is a 20-mile ride that takes riders through the Green River Natural Resources Area and out to Lorna Jordan’s Waterworks Gardens. It is also mostly flat with a single, long incline approaching Waterworks Gardens. The Advanced Ride follows the 20-mile route but includes a steep hill climb up to the Robert Morris Earthwork that adds 3 miles. All of the roadways and trails along the tour are paved. Visitors can bike to each location but should plan to walk through the earthworks.
Beginning riders interested in the 20-mile loop and families with children planning to follow the 12-mile route will have the opportunity to ride in a group with experienced ride leaders. These groups will convene at the start line at 9 a.m. Departures will begin at 9:30, with the family group leaving at 9:45. Rest stops will be located at the Green River Natural Resources Area and Waterworks Gardens.
This family-friendly event will include art installations, music, art activities and artist designed prototypes. Artists Clair Colquitt, Johnnie Olivan and Scott McGee will join the ride, along with kayak builder Richard Lovering. At the finish line Johnnie Olivan’s Family Bike Bus and Peter Reiquam’s Walk and Roll will be available for test riding.
At the Green River Natural Resource area you can climb the observation tower to look for costumed flora and fauna in an interactive performance by Theater Simple, while Matt Knox, staff biologist, answers your questions about the wildlife refuge. Levitating Tents by Andrew Peterson will be floating at the adjacent Anderson Park.
If you continue onto Waterworks Gardens for the Intermediate Ride – or detour up to the Robert Morris Earthwork for the Advanced Ride – you can enjoy artwork tours led by 4Culture staff. In addition to a couple surprises planned along the way, be sure to look for the Filaments installation by the Inkwell Collective. Over 50 bright orange poles will point you in the right direction.
As you complete the tour through historic downtown Kent, you’ll pass through the opening day of the Kent Farmers Market. At the finish line, you’ll be greeted by the Pony Boy All-Star Big Band. Unpack your brown bag lunch and explore the Herbert Bayer Earthwork. Take a test ride on a low-impact vehicle, and make a bike tube snap bracelet as a souvenir. The course will close at 3 p.m.
Visit the Earthworks Tour website for more information and to register for the event. Following the inaugural ride on June 2, this permanent bicycle route will be open to the public for self-guided tours.