The Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce has officially endorsed the project
to construct a motocross track on the Mountain Loop Highway.

The Chamber believes that this project presents a huge economic opportunity for the City and Community of Granite Falls.  We are providing this page on our website in an effort to inform the public about this project. In the spirit of fairness to the community, the Chamber is willing to present facts from project opponents insofar as those facts are presented in a verifiable and informative manner. Such information may be provided to the Chamber at info@granitefallswa.com

Use the same address to let us know anything stated herein that is outdated (this document was prepared in 2009).

Local Economy:

Track attendance is expected to reach 25,000 to 50,000 people per year. Attendance at the track will be five days a week for 40 weeks out of the year. Highest attendance is expected on race weekends and during summer months. The demographics of track attendees indicates that 80% are under 18 and 60% stop in the nearest available community (in this case, Granite Falls) for a wide variety of goods and services.

The average attendance, as estimated in Project Description and Operations Plan, are detailed in the following chart:

Type of Riders # or Riders # of Spectators # of Days / Year Total Attendance
Recreation, Wk Dy 75 30 120 12,600
Recreation, Wk End 150 15 20 3,300
Race, Local 137 206 56 19,208
Race, Regional 250 300 4 2,200
Annual Total Attendance 37,308

Noise and Sound Attenuation:

The Snohomish County Noise Control Ordinance [Chapter 10.01 SSC] requires that the maximum noise level at the property line not exceed 58 decibels. (For reference purposes, a motor cycle produces around 96 decibels and a refrigerator about 55 decibels.)

To insure compliance with sound ordinances, the project coordinator has hired professional sound engineers to develop appropriate noise attenuation requirements. The engineers measured decibel rates at the Bellingham motocross track with 80 racers starting simultaneously.Possible sound generation was then calculated assuming 5 similar races all starting simultaneously (extremely unlikely). Track design was then developed to ensure this level of sound, if it ever occurred, would be attenuated to meet county guidelines. The subsequent track design involves the construction of 25-foot high dirt berms surrounding the track. This noise attenuation design has been proven in many locations such as the Indy track near Las Vegas to be an effective barrier to sound propagation.

Project opponents, however, objected to this highly complex and expensive study, claiming that the report had not been reviewed by a third, disinterested party. The project team subsequently commissioned a SECOND study, which was reviewed and again showed that noise impact will be well within County criteria. A third and final sound analysis was completed in January 2009 which resulted in the current design for a sound berm plus a 362 acre forest buffer with an average width of 1,000 feet completely surrounding the track.

[See Environmental check list, para 7.b]

Location:
Approximately 3.5 miles from Granite Falls, the track construction site is located on a 500+ acre area bounded by the Mountain Loop Highway to the East, the Stillaguamish River to the West and two existing gravel pits North and South.

If this area is not developed now, the gravel pits will eventually merge by mining this area.The track will be developed on approximately 75 acre clear area (track foot print is 50 acres), leaving the remaining 467 acres in its current state. This area has previously been clear-cut and logged and contains no “old growth” lumber. This site was selected by SnohomishCounty and recommended to the developer. Specific details of the track layout may be found in the last two pages of the Environmental Checklist.

Traffic:
Three traffic impact analyses have been conducted (12-3-07, 1-27-09 and 8-25-09).PDS engineers have determined that all traffic issues have been addressed. On normal practice days the traffic impacts are minimal. On race days not all people arrive at the same time, and as races end people trickle out of the park. It is not like a ball game that ends all at once and everyone leaves at the same time. At the track in Monroe they did not have a problem with traffic.

Crime:
The crime rate will not increase in the area from people who are coming to the park to ride, race or watch. These are mostly middle income families as Motocross is an expensive sport. Motocross bikes cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 and each rider needs about $1,000 worth of riding gear. Because motorcycles are transported to the park rather than ridden, a truck, trailer or motor home is also required.  People are coming to the track to enjoy a day or weekend of riding with their families, not to rob the neighboring properties.

Loss of Hiking Area and Recreation Area:
The project site is on private property and is posted “No Trespassing”. There are no trails on the property. This property has been clear cut. 100% of the timber has been logged off this property.  The project will preserve 391 acres of forest land for animal habitat. Under provisions of this permit application, this land cannot be developed and the track area cannot be expanded. If this land had been sold to a gravel company it would be mined and all of the animal habitat and forest land would be lost forever.

Opponents have publish unsupported claims that “…threatened and endangered species such as the Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelet have been seen on or near the site. In fact, the proposed site is outside the Marbled Murrelet habitat.” so an actual sighting should certainly have been reported.  The proposed project area is also outside The Spotted Owl Habitat but there is no evidence of a reported sighting. The project site is within 3/4 miles of a Marbled Murrelet detection sector.  Project coordinators will prepare an assessment to determine if the development site contains all the criteria necessary to be considered a primary associated area for the Marbled Murrelet.

[See Revised Project Description and Operations Plan, page 24, para 10.5]

The Developer:
Opponents claim that “Paul Thomas Motocross Parks, plans to eventually open SEVEN tracks and to host national events with 20,000+ people attending.”  In fact, as stated in the Approved Project Description and Operation Plan, the final build out will include two main motocross tracks, a beginner level track, a children’s track, a freestyle area. The Project has not requested a permit to hold national events. Up to 30 Regional events per year may be held.

Health, Fire and Safety:
Race staff includes a medic with life saving capabilities and two EMT’s to assist at every event. This will avoid putting undue demands on local Public Safety personnel. The Monroe track averaged less than fifteen 911 calls per year.

Fire extinguisher stations are positioned every 75 feet in the parking areas and in all of the spectator areas. There were no fires in the 5 years at the Monroe track. If there is a fire it will be contained inside the park with no chance of crossing the 1000′ clear zone to the surrounding forest.  Riders, campers, motorcycles and vehicles are required to stay inside the park area at all times. A chain link fence will surround the park and security will be present to ensure that people don’t go outside the park.

Environmental Factors:
Opponents have claimed “the area receives more rainfall than anywhere between Mount Rainier and Mount Baker and as a reference they sited a photo of Lake 22. In fact, Washington Precipitation Rankings are measured at Yakima, Seattle and Bellingham (among others outside the subject area) and can be viewed on this very informative site from the National Weather Service.

  • Water Use: Estimated 5,000 gals per day for dust control and site irrigation. Water for this purpose will be purchased in bulk from either Snohomish County PUD or the City of Granite Falls, trucked to the site and stored in a 2.2 million gallon clay lined detention pond. Potable water will be provided from a 5,000 gal per day exempt well.
  • Dust Control: To minimize the creation of a dust nuisance, the track (constructed of compacted dirt) will be watered every 2 hours with a water truck. Daily water usage is estimated at 5,000 gallons per day.
  • Fuel and Oil: All refueling/repair will be conducted in a roof covered area with concrete floor, slopped to drain any liquid into a collection basis which will be pumped out by a professional petroleum removal service and transported off site.
  • Sanitation: No sewage or septic system is necessary. Toilet facilities provided by “port-a-potty” devices.

Links of Interest:

Revised Project Description
Environmental Checklist
Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance
Granite Falls Motocross Park permit status at Snohomish County
Granite Falls Motocross Park – Review Completion Comments
Seattle Times Article, May 28, 2008 Granite Falls Motocross Project – Noise Study Review – July 2, 2008