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Time to speak up for bikes

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 29th, 2005 at 10:15 am

There are two urgent issues that need input from Portland cyclists.

First, please submit your comments on the River Plan Concept draft before they are due December 1st. The River Plan includes the Willamette Greenway Trail and city planners need to hear that you want this new trail that will connect Cathedral Park to the Eastbank Esplanade (wouldn't that be amazing!?).

The River Plan Committee will take action on the draft plan December 12th and forward their recommendation to the Planning Commission for adoption. Please take one minute to email them at riverplan@ci.portland.or.us!

And for mountain bikers, now is the time to speak up for access to the Mt. Hood Wilderness. If you want to continue to be able to ride your bike in the backcountry you need to show up in Hood River or PSU this Saturday (Dec. 3rd) and let Congressmen Earl Blumenauer and Greg Walden know how you feel. Visit the PUMP website for all the details.

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  • Scott Mizée November 29, 2005 at 10:21 am

    It looks like you can come to a meeting in Portland regarding the mtn biking as well?

    Hood River - 9:00 -11:00 AM, Best Western Hood River Inn,1108 E Marina Way; Hood River, OR 97031. Portland -1:30 -3:30 pm, Portland State University, Hoffman Hall, 724 SW Harrison St, Portland, OR 97207

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  • Curt Dewees November 29, 2005 at 11:33 am

    Re: "speak up for access to the Mt. Hood Wilderness." I think the issue with the Mt. Hood proposal is that hundreds of miles of trails within the vicinity of Mt. Hood are currently NOT in a designated Wilderness are, so MTBers can--and do--ride them. (The trails are on National Forest land, which is open to a wider variety of uses than Wilderness areas.)

    But if the Lewis & Clark Wilderness Proposal is enacted into law, thousands of acres of Mt. Hood Nat'l Forest land will be re-designated as Wilderness, which would legally cut off all access to bicyclists. That's what PUMP and others are afraid of.

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  • Jonathan Maus November 29, 2005 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for that Curt. You're right. Getting more acreage designated as "wilderness" is an old tactic to keep bikes out of the backcountry. Anti-MTB groups are using this method all over the country and we faced a similar battle back in Santa Barbara years ago. In that case, we won and I hope for the same outcome this time around.

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  • Lenny Anderson November 30, 2005 at 10:41 am

    Sorry Jonathan, protecting wilderness is not a "tactic," it is an essential strategy for protecting the planet.
    There is no stronger an advocate for bikes as transportation and recreation than me, but we really can't have too much wilderness.
    There will remain lots of riding possibilities on the vast public lands of the west, most of which are unprotected and open to use and, unfortunately, abuse.

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  • Jonathan Maus November 30, 2005 at 10:47 am

    Lenny, I agree, more wilderness is good. But the issue is how wilderness is defined. Why should mountain bikes not be allowed in wilderness when hikers, dogs, and equestrians are? That is the crux of the issue.

    Responsible mountain bike riding has no more ill-effect on wilderness areas than horses and hikers. All these modes have the same or similar capacity to litter, damage trails and hurt ecosystems.

    If wilderness is set aside as being off-limits to everyone that is one thing. But as long as they allow equestrians and hikers, I find it hard to justify excluding bikes.

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  • Ayleen November 30, 2005 at 4:58 pm

    Can we get some PUMP commentary in here? I for one thing that if PUMP is involved, it's bound to be responsible use (thus my addition of that option to the sidebar poll ---> )

    PUMP is a group of solid, responsible riders. They're not out to see how much they can get away with, they are true to their mission of sustainable mountian biking.

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  • Ryan November 30, 2005 at 5:47 pm

    Take a look at the IMBA position on Wilderness: http://www.imba.com/resources/wilderness/wilderness_toolkit_6.html

    Basically it says IMBA supports protecting public lands, but supports alternate designations & boundary adjustments where wilderness adversely affects mountain biking opportunities.

    PUMP basically has the same view.

    We'll see what this proposal is all about as the details are made available..

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  • eric aldinger November 30, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    Our species builds as it expands its population. The world we build is alienating both in its derivitive simplicity and its formal tendancy to isolate our kind from our origins in the biosphere. Protecting the natural world ensures a chance for healthy biospheric interaction. Intercation with natural diversity allows us to relocate ourselves from a agent in the built world to an integrated part of the natural world. We are not as natural as we once were and we need to make allowances for our technological dependacy. Wilderness protection, as currently defined, does not allow for the greatest number of people to colocate themsleves in the natural world in a way that is psychologically effective. We need to preserve the experices we currently have with the Mt Hood Nat. Forest, not revoke them out of fear of sharing.

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  • Dan November 30, 2005 at 9:20 pm

    As a longtime mountain biker, PUMP member (and former board member) I want to state that Jonathan is EXACTLY right. Mountain bikers are not opposed to Wilderness Areas, we are however opposed to unequal treatment. If a Wilderness Area banned all recreation use, we would swallow that bitter pill, but the fact that it excludes mountain biking, while allowing horses, dogs, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, etc. is the problem - especially when many of the responsible members of the mountain bike community put in blood sweat and tears towards building and maintaining sustainable trails (for all).

    PUMP has adopted trails throughout the state, and when we maintain them we make sure they are accessible for all user groups.

    The fact that the original Wilderness designation was created prior to the invention of Mountain bikes yet still excludes this method of non motorized transportation is baffling.

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  • Roger Louton November 30, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    As a current PUMP Board Member, and having personally been involved with the various meetings between the environmentalist groups and MTB'ers, I can say with confidence BOTH groups agree on 98% of the whole aspect of 'saving the forest' for all. We just disagree on the best tool to be used for acheiving such a goal.
    We could be their biggest ally, but their staunch refusal to allow us to maintain access to trails that people have been riding their bicycles on for over 20 YEARS just astounds me to this day. Do people think we want to cut down the trees and ride thru glorious clearcuts? Pollute the streams with dirt laiden runoff? No Way!
    I like to use the following analogy: When all of your problems look like nails, the only solution is a hammer. In their case, there is ONE tool in their toolkit, the Wilderness Hammer: they acheive everything they want, saving the forest (which we agree upon) and they maintian 100% access to the same forest (which we obviously disagree upon: Wilderness= no bikes!). By accessing the http://www.imba.com website and clicking on the 'Wilderness' link, you will be able to find OUR entire Legislative Proposal for the previously submitted 'Lewis & Clark Wilderness Proposal'. In there are our 4 OTHER tools to be conisdered:
    1. National Protection Areas: NPAs have all the fundamental land protections of Wilderness, prohibiting mining, timber harvest, construction of roads and dams, and motorized travel. But NPAs allow bicycling and do not include the complex, restrictive philosophy of Wilderness.
    2. Hood Pedaler’s Demonstration Experiment Areas (PDX): Senator Wyden proposed this new designation in his 2004 bill. These lands would be managed just like Wilderness, except bicycling and clearing of deadfall with chainsaws would be allowed. This gives us the chance to PROVE we should be allowed in Wilderness Areas in the FUTURE.
    3. National Conservation Areas: NCAs represent a middle ground between Wilderness and regular national forest management. The ORMBA/IMBA proposal improves on previous NCA designations by prohibiting the construction of new roads and water projects. However, NCAs can encompass existing roads and developments, limiting their expansion. This designation would also allow limited, sustainable logging and motorized travel on designated routes.
    4. Singletrack Trail Designations: The proposal states that bicycling may be permitted on specific trails identified on the map, despite the overlying future Wilderness designation.

    I MUST clarify ONE important detail: The Walden/Blumenauer Summit III on December 3rd is in no way linked to Senator Wyden's Lewis & Clark Wilderness Proposal! PUMP, ORMBA and IMBA are withholding comment until we get to review their entire proposal, then we will be able to make an informed opinion and make a comment after December 3rd. We have seen no maps, no trail lists, only a brief comment about converting Forest Roads to Single-track trails for mountain bicyclists. About that point, in MY opinion, why would I drive 2 hours (wasting fossil fuels) to ride on 8 foot wide pathways? If that is the only trails I liked to ride, I'd just cruise up to Forest Park and ride the 8 foot wide pathways up there! Ahha, Forest Park and the lack of passive recreational facilities for mountain bikers in Portland: That's another posting alltogether right there.........

    So, exercise your right to Free Speech, attend the Summit Saturday, educate yourself, get the scoop straight from the source, not the press or second hand, then form your own opinion, then present a letter to the Congressmen, and don't forget, they are doing it right: asking the opinion of the people THEY work for: the VOTERS!

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  • Scott Mizée January 21, 2006 at 2:15 am

    --------JANUARY 19, 2006 north portland, oregon, usanpGREENWAY will hold its next public meeting on January 31st at the Kenton Firehouse at 7:00PM 8105 North Brandon. You will find the Firehouse 6 blocks north of Lombard and 1 block west of Denver Avenue at the corner of Schofield and Brandon. It is also home of the North Portland Tool Library and across from the Kenton Post Office.

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  • Roger Louton May 31, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    Want more singletrack?: Please see the information below about this meeting hosted by Parks.

    You are invited to a presentation on the
    Strategy for Regional Recreational Trails within Portland.
    Thursday, June 1, 2006
    6:30 - 8:00 PM
    Portland Building - Second Floor, Room C
    1120 SW Fifth Avenue
    Portland, OR

    June 3rd is National Trails Day! What better time to think about
    Portland's trail system?

    Toward the end of June, Portland Parks & Recreation will be taking our
    Regional Recreational Trails Strategy to City Council.
    Regional Trails connect our city to adjacent communities and to
    regionally significant features such as rivers and streams.
    Portland has 22 existing and planned Regional Trails, totaling 221
    miles. Of those, 146 miles (66%) are complete!

    Now, working within the context of other regional planning frameworks,
    Portland Parks & Recreation has developed a 20 year strategy for
    completing Portland's Regional Recreational Trail System. Please join us
    to learn about the strategy and how it will be used to guide future
    regional trail development decisions.

    This presentation is intended to provide trail advocates and other
    interested citizens with an in-depth overview of the draft Strategy and
    an opportunity for Q & A and further discussion.

    As of May 26th, the document will be posted on the PP&R web site under
    "What's New".
    http://www.portlandparks.org

    Please pass this along to others who may be interested.

    Thank you.

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