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People are 'pumped up' about hidden gem in Washago (5 photos)

Pump track draws young and old from far and wide; 'The surface material is really good quality; there is nothing like this in the area,' says Orillia skateboarder

Spring has sprung and that means, for many, it’s time to head over to Centennial Park in Washago to try some tailwhips and bunny hops.

Whether you like to ride a scooter, skateboard or bike, there’s a hidden gem of a facility in Centennial Park where local riders are having fun testing their skills.

A professionally-designed pump track was created at Centennial Park in 2019 and then in 2020, a half pipe was added, all in an effort to provide more opportunities for children and youth to get outside and be active.

“Our recreation committee wanted something different,” said Pat Harwood, manager of recreation & facilities with the Township of Severn. “I looked around at other recreation departments, researched some elements, and came up with the pump track.”

It’s something that local families and young people are discovering and enjoying – for hours on end.

Robin and Jennifer Rogers and their family visited the pump track for the first time last week and were surprised by how much fun their sons, Liam, 11 and Lochlen, 9, were having speeding around the asphalt track, with its rollers, berms and curves.

“What I like best is trying tricks,” said Liam. “And we like to practise going really high and doing tailwhips and bunny hops,” added Lochlen.

“They’ve been having fun on the track all afternoon,” said the Rogers. “They love being on their scooters. We’ve also enjoyed visiting parks in Orillia and Coldwater, but this is such a nice setting, and not crowded.”

Chris and Kim Peacock agreed. As their kids, Morley, 6, and Henry, 4, pumped and pushed their way around the track, they enjoyed the relaxing setting.

“We’ve made a day of it,” said the Peacocks. “We stopped in at R’Cottage for some takeout and had a picnic. And Morley and Henry have been on the track non-stop for hours.”

Morley, on a scooter, says he loves the challenges of the obstacles – the bumps and turns, while Henry enjoys speeding up and down the slopes of the track on his bike. The track is designed so that momentum “pumps” the rider around the track using rollers and berms to maintain speed without pedaling or pushing.

For skateboards, a new half-pipe, which was installed alongside the pump track last year, is getting rave reviews from boarders.

“This is a rarity,” said Cory Goss of Orillia, who was practising some moves with his friend, Adam Melnyk, of Bracebridge. “The surface material is really good quality; there is nothing like this in the area.”

“I happened to notice the half-pipe while driving by on the highway,” said Melnyk. “It’s such a great setting, right by the lake.”

Both Goss and Melnyk are thankful to have discovered the facility. “It’s our quarantine activity, a way to get outside and keep active.”

And that’s what the new park facilities are all about. It appears that the innovative addition to the park is accomplishing what the community set out to do – find new ways to help people get out, have fun, and stay active.