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A new plan for MTB access in Forest Park

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 17th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour
A rider enjoys the rare piece
of singletrack in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Frank Selker is like many people in Portland who wish there was more opportunity for mountain biking on singletrack trails in Forest Park.

The issue has been batted around by a number of individuals and groups over the past two decades. But so far, not much has improved for those who crave the experience of riding narrow trails.

Currently, the all-powerful Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan (adopted by city council in 1995) states that mountain bikes are only allowed on "trails" (roads really) that are at least eight feet wide.

Currently, in the over 5,000 acres of Forest Park, just 1/3 of a mile is set aside for singletrack mountain bike riding. That short (but very sweet) stretch of trail, Firelane 5, was built by volunteers (with major help from the Forest Park Conservancy), and was officially adopted by PUMP in 2007.

The Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP), Portland's 20 year-old mountain bike advocacy group was founded on the issue of access in Forest Park. However, the group has not yet been able to build the relationships necessary to thaw the glacial bureaucracy that hinders progress on the issue.

Enter Frank Selker.

Selker on a recent trip to Utah.
(Photo: Frank Selker)

Selker is a 50-year old Southwest Hills resident who describes himself as a "passionate" mountain biker. He feels that 1/3 mile of singletrack in Forest Park just "doesn't do it" and last week, he went public with an idea he had been stewing on for a while -- that the key for more access lies with the Forest Park Conservancy.

The Forest Park Conservancy (formerly known as The Friends of Forest Park) is a non-profit group that preserves and protects the park.

Selker's plea is for a "bunch of cyclists" to join the conservancy. In his statement (that he first posted to the Cross Crusade forum and then emailed to me with additional thoughts), he writes:

This group (the FPC) has the most cred of anyone involved...They have earned the respect of Portland Parks and others through real work in the park for many years. I know some think they have opposed bikers, but I think that can evolve if they see that we will be contributors to the real work of taking care of the park.

Selker thinks that the gesture of support (FPC membership will set you back $35 minimum), cooperation and goodwill just might lead to reciprocal support from the FPC. Just what form would FPC's support for mountain biking take?

Selker writes:

"I believe they may support devoting parts of the Wildwood Trail (the main nerve of the Forest Park trail system) to cycling on certain days of the week."

"For a variety of reasons, both known and unknown, a culture of distrust between the mountain biking community and FPC seems to have built up around these issues."
-- Stephen Hatfield, Forest Park Conservancy Stewardship Director

According to Selker's math, if 150 mountain bikers join the FPC at the $35 membership level, that equals $5,250 -- or, about 50% of the annual trail maintenance costs for eight miles of the Wildwood Trail.

"I think that's an excellent place from which to start conversations."

Selker is aware that even with the Conservancy's support, a major hurdle exists with Portland Parks & Recreation. They're likely to be very conservative about any new mountain bike access due to the confines of the adopted management plan and potential opposition from runners and hikers.

To that, Selker writes, "However, visibly joining the FP Conservancy starts to make cyclists players, not just jaw-boners. It is a constructive way to start."

And he's not all talk. Selker has made a pledge; if 100 cyclists join the Forest Park Conservancy by March 1, he promises to:

  • Give the group a $500 donation.
  • Set up a meeting of between mountain bikers and the Forest Park Conservancy leadership "to assure ourselves that we have an ally that will listen."
  • "Try to get a meeting with elected officials to highlight our quest and demonstrated willingness to work together and support the park."

Stephen Hatfield is the stewardship director at the Forest Park Conservancy. I reached him today and asked what he thought about all this. "I think Frank's idea is a great one, and we are thrilled at the potential for this level of collaboration and engagement," Hatfield replied.

PUMP's Forest Park Mountain Bike Tour
This type of riding is what many
Portlanders are looking for.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Hatfield went on to tell me that, "For a variety of reasons, both known and unknown, a culture of distrust between the mountain biking community and FPC seems to have built up around these issues." That distrust, says Hatfield, has led to "a resistance to working together."

Most of the history between the two groups predates Hatfield's involvement with the issue, and he says his goad has been to "foster collaboration and partnership, and hopefully redirect the energy in a constructive manner."

"There has been some very positive progress to be sure," said Hatfield, "but there is still a great deal of room for improvement. I think that Frank's plan could be instrumental in helping us get there."

So, who's game to join the Forest Park Conservancy and help get this new partnership rolling?

-- For more coverage of mountain biking in Forest Park (or the lack thereof), browse our "Forest Park" tag.

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Comments
  • Anonymous December 17, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    not a chance...

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  • Nick December 17, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    One thing I failed to research before moving to Portland was access to MTB trails. In short, it's a serious black mark regarding the likelyhood of my permanent residence here. I like to be able to ride REAL trails without having to drive a hour (or more). If Mr. Selker's plan picks up speed, I might well join the FPC before March. It seems to me that the area northwest of Germantown is ripe for a single-direction MTB specific trail with technical side options. Arizona has done it well with McDowell Mtn park in Phoenix and Fantasy Island in Tucson. Regarding the inevitable shouts of "erosion" from the established user groups, see the excellent armored trails built in the UK MTB centers, particularly in Wales, as well as the very technical, very steep, and very sustainable work done in Vancouver BC by the NSMBA. Seem like Portland out to be on the forefront here. I for one am willing to help.

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  • K'Tesh December 17, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Another thing that I though of, is if the number of cyclist members increases by a large margin, perhaps they could vote out the opposition (given time).

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  • DaHoos December 17, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I think riding in the more popular running sections of the park should still be off limits to avoid user conflict. That park is huge however. Head north and you won't see anyone on the trails during a beautiful weekend day. Bike designated trails that offer other users a warning about cyclists could offer a safety factor. I feel more than money needs to be offered to the FPC however. When mountain bikers come together, positive things can happen. Look at Blackrock Freeride Park.
    Bikers could contribute their time to the trail construction/maintenance to help keep the park safe and upkept. Mtbrs would give the city more recognition as being truly "bike friendly" if allowed to ride in a large urban park such as F.P. This topic has been a heated discussion on MTBR.com in the Oregon forums. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=470132
    I'm glad to see that Frank has a plan of action. I hope it will get off the ground with help, which I plan to offer.

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  • Zaphod December 17, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Anonymous says, "not a chance..."

    Such a negative statement is really not productive. Either explain why it's a bad idea or don't post. Weak.

    I'll dig into this a bit further and likely join over the holidays. If those who manage FP, which is in desperate need of invasive plant mitigation, realize what the collective energy of the bike community could do to resolve this and other maintenance, this could work.

    Just looking at the topology, FP *could* offer long and amazing trails if we were given the opportunity to build them. If such a network existed, it would be a big boost to businesses in the NW area. Any restaurant with bike valet and good beer on tap would be an overwhelming success.

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  • Roy December 17, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Anyone who has spent time in FP knows that trails in the innermost areas of the park are poorly maintained, often overgrown. They're also difficult to access at a hikers pace unless you've got several hours to devote, but easy to get to by bicycle. I support the idea of MTB'ers banding together to put our money where our mouth is...trail maintenance! Sure...I've..um...heard of people that ride illegal trails. Unleashed pets in the park are illegal too, but as a tax payer I think its reasonable to expect access to singletrack (under dry conditions, not on weekends, etc) After all there is plenty to go around!

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  • Icarus falling December 17, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    While I agree this sounds like a good idea, I wonder if Frank himself knows that PUMP has been trying to knock down this wall for many many years, with only one real short trail to show for it. ( I realize it is related to in the above article, I am just pushing the point home)

    The "Friends of Forest Park" have proven to neither be friendly, nor Friends of the Park really.

    I could point to many reasons why I say this, though I will now digress.

    While this on paper appears to be a good idea, I think the best idea is not to support the Friends of Forest Park, not to give them extra funding, and instead to go over their heads through the proper channels and get changes made.

    The largest city park within a city in America should have limited access to anything other than motorized vehicles.

    While I do agree that some trails should stay hiker only, (and by hiker I do not mean runners, I mean basically walkers) the largest percentage of them should be completely and totally multi-use.

    I do not think that supporting a group that has spent at least 20 years oppressing what could be it's largest user group/supporters, is worth supporting at all, even at the level of $35.

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  • Kevin December 17, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I want to look into it a bit, but this sounds like a great idea!

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  • BURR December 17, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    There are lotsa trails to ride in Forest Park, just not legally. Without legal options to chose from, guess what happens?

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  • Neil December 17, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    New trails can be for bikes, but the existing trails should stay hikers only. Has PUMP offered to create new trails in Forest Park?

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  • John December 17, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    This discussion always comes back to the fact that the political entities that control access to the Park choose to hoard it despite any credible evidence that making more areas available to cyclists would create insurmountable problems.

    "New" trails are a red herring. The sheer complexity of pushing that sort of project through a bloated bureaucracy makes it a non-starter from the get-go even if the funds to cover the enormous cost of such a project could be found. PUMP cited a total of $20K spent on the FL 5 project, which works out to a bit over ten bucks per linear foot of tread.

    There is more than enough trail in the Park to accommodate all users-the only reason cyclists are excluded is because they can be. Even if cyclists were to take over the FPC lock stock and barrel there is nothing to prevent Portland Parks from simply marginalizing the newly constituted organization and maintaining the status quo.

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  • AllOver December 17, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    "Neil
    December 17th, 2008 17:32
    10

    New trails can be for bikes, but the existing trails should stay hikers only. Has PUMP offered to create new trails in Forest Park?"

    Yes they have, however it's not as simple as getting a group together with some tools and building a trail these days. Very expensive environmental studies must be done which has made it difficult for them to achieve building singletrack trails of any real length.

    My hats are off to the PUMP members though, they keep on trying which is what needs to be done.

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  • Anonymous December 17, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I wholeheartedly support mtn bikers joining FPC. FPC has been very supportive of working with the mtn biking community over past two years- they are a partner not an obstacle. We all share goals of improving the park, building and maintaining sustainable trails (for bicyclists, runners, dog walkers, and hikers), removing invasive species, and reducing illicit and illegal activities. The maintenance work PUMP has done on the routes open to bikes, along with behind the scenes work of several devoted advocates has helped greatly to change attitudes at FPC. However, there are still huge challenges in convincing the Park to improve experiences for mountain bikers. Working with FPC can help cyclists and other trail users gain better park experiences.

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  • Frank December 17, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Great to see the positive responses - this will help us get there!

    BTW, when you join FPC put "cyclist" in the "In honor of" field or somewhere, so they can count cyclists.

    I agree that other efforts will also be key (trail work, communications with elected officials, supporting local Mt. bike clubs), but FP Conservancy has an important place at the table and this is a way to build positive bridges.

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  • wsbob December 17, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Frank Selker seems to have the right idea. Better to work to build an alliance with Forest Park Conservancy than to devise strategies for infiltrating and taking control of the conservancy with the intention of opening the majority of the park's trails to mountain bikes.

    If such an intention turned out to be against the interest that Portland residents in general have in the manner that FP is allowed to be used, Mtbrs wouldn't be leaving a very good impression of themselves with the public.

    Selker's idea could have the benefit of producing a much better understanding than exists currently, of just how many people have an interest in mountain biking in the park, relative to the numbers interested in using the park in ways that don't require mountain bikes.

    If he and other Mtbrs follow through in joining up and working with the conservancy, discussions that come out that effort may be very worthwhile. I'm definitely interested in hearing about them. A discussion about how much of a recreational resource such as FP should be dedicated to a use such as mountain biking is certainly one that would be worthwhile.

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  • red hippie December 17, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    good luck, but I think the money would be better spent on an organization dedicated as mission one to open up and maintain bike trail access, PUMP and IMBA. Not Mission number 57 as with FFP.

    As Portland becomes more and more bike focused, especially with corporate bike interests (chris king, Ralpha, showers pass, etc.), a discussion from additional fronts than PUMP and FFP need to be opened up. We need people like ORBike, Oregon Travel Board, PDC to get on the band wagon and work to develop a world class facility.

    The room to do this exists north of German town. The energy in volunteer support exists in groups like PUMP. The money and design can be organized from the corporate and civil interests. We just need to FFP and the Parks department and their fear of opening a slippery slope of MTB'ing in FP out of the way.

    No amount of infiltration into their organization is going to change their ways. They just take your money and use it to exclude you more and block access.

    Start calling your commissioners and city government. Ask the people who you buy bike products from to call. Ask our organizations to call.

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  • tr December 17, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    I am an avid cyclist and frequent forest park for a variety of uses.

    !!No Way!! Keep the bikes on the roads where they are already allowed and leave the trails for peds.

    Maybe there are some areas that might make sense to make "new" trails that are designated Bike/Ped in Washington park. It seems mountain bikers already ride there with impunity anyway.

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  • Icarus falling December 17, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I think some of you may not realize that Forest Park Conservancy is not as into conserving Forest Park as you may think.

    Try googling it.

    I truly feel that The FOFP, or FPC, does not really have the best interests of all users of the park in mind, therefore the term "Friends" is not applicable...

    I must also point out that it is possible to ride from NW Thurman to near, or south of Astoria, off road, only crossing roads at certain points.

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  • Icarus falling December 17, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    I also love how Frank responds to the "positive" responses, but not to the very valid "not so keen " responses here....

    The book has a cover, and also has pages inside.

    Open it, take a look.

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  • BigB December 17, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I thrid that the area NortWest of GermanTown would be perfect for mountain bikers. I have no desire to ride on a high populated part of Wildwood.

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  • Stephen Hatfield December 17, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    First, let me just say that I appreciate Jonathan creating a forum for this dialogue.

    When I came on board with what was then the Friends of Forest Park three years ago, I was aware of the tension between the groups. But I was more interested in finding ways to move on from what was clearly a difficult past, seeking ways to build partnership with PUMP and others. It has taken some time to build up trust and get back to a place where we can all work together. I don't think we have fully arrived, but we are getting closer.

    So much of the tension, while valid, seems to be based on distant history. And to be honest, I am still not fully aware of what the Friends of Forest Park (the group that the Forest Park Conservancy evolved from) might have done to warrant some of the fierce resistance seen in this thread.

    I can speak to what we have been doing over the past three years. We secured the funds and permits for the Firelane 5 project, then hired a Project Manager and AmeriCorps crew to see it through to completion. As many of you know, PUMP volunteer crews were also very instrumental in completing that project. Our partnership with PUMP has evolved well beyond where it ever was, including coordination of quarterly trailwork parties.

    In addition to that, we have formed a committee to work with a small but dedicated group of mountain bikers, to study the issues in greater depth. It appears that our work is now beginning to yield tangible results. Granted, the progress may not be as rapid as some in the mountain biking community might like. Nevertheless, the reality is that we have a bit of forward momentum - and an opportunity to build upon that.

    To Icarus (#18) and others, I welcome you to contact me directly. I am interested in learning more about the history that has led you to your respective positions. I think it would be instructive for both of us to discuss some of these issues at length.

    Note: I will add that the north unit (the section north of Germantown) of Forest Park is managed first and foremost for wildlife habitat. Recreation is a secondary value, and as a result, expansion of the infrastructure in that section of the park is not likely. In the south (and to a lesser extent central) units, which comprise everything south of Germantown, recreation is given a higher priority.

    Thanks,

    Stephen Hatfield
    Stewardship Director
    Forest Park Conservancy
    503-223-5449

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  • Frank December 17, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I know that not everyone agrees: There are diverse views and there is history.

    I would be happy to respond but I assume folks don't just want to hear my views, which are already in the article. In short, I believe in biking access to more single-track and I believe having cyclsts supporting FPC is important to showing we can work with other users and bring material support to the party.

    No one effort is right for everyone. I personally think this is constructive step to solutions, but different people will have their own preferred directions and contributions.

    I would be happy to meet with folks who don't agree (or do) in person so we can talk more about issues.

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  • Icarus falling December 17, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Most folks, including me, have shown support for the FOFP by not riding the trails we are not supposed to. That is as strong of support as a $35 donation, in my mind.

    Following the rules made by a group you may still not agree with is the easiest way to show support.

    But sadly, at the same time, FOFP has shown a total lack of support for access that is totally reasonable, totally called for, and has at times, I believe, almost begged for.

    FOFP has caused this problem, they have had 20 years to fix this problem, and have not taken any more than one real step (albeit a very short, 1/3 of a mile step) towards solving them.

    I for one am not very interested in supporting them through another 20 years of negligence towards a very valid user group within Forest park.

    I am however very interested in being involved in properly fixing the problem.

    Which sadly may involve bypassing the FOFP entirely.

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  • Curt Dewees December 17, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I think having large numbers of bicyclists join the Forest Park Conservancy is a great idea. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And, as any politician and/or policy wonk can tell you, it's much more effective to implement change from within an organzation, rather than remaining aloof and outside of the organization and criticizing its work from afar.

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  • wsbob December 17, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    A lot of baseless assumptions aren't going to help create a good working relationship or improve access of FP to Mtbrs. Attempting to discredit, by vague insinuation, work that Forest Park Conservancy and its volunteers have to done to protect and restore FP, is dishonorable. Anyone seriously interested in working towards any kind of expanded access into FP by Mtbrs would probably be wise to avoid these tendencies.

    Whether Mtbrs eventually gain expanded access to FP will probably depend on a lot of different factors. One of them undoubtedly will be the outcome of study that considers the designated purpose FP is assigned to serve Portland's population, and how or whether the use of mountain bikes in FP might support that purpose. I'm sure that a lot of interesting ideas surrounding this one point, will have better exchange if Mtbrs make the effort to join the discussion table with the conservancy.

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  • robert sanders December 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Just joined!

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  • Max December 17, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    I agree with Frank and Roy.
    Work with FPC. Both full use and conservancy are their objects. If we are supportive and if MTBrs are willing to put up money and time for trail maintenance, I bet at least one new trail could be forged or reclaimed. It has happened before (for hiking).
    Trail builders fear MTBs because ruts dramatically accelerate erosion (it rains a lot in Portland) That's a big issue.

    That can be overcome if there is money and people power to maintain and repair.

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  • Icarus falling December 17, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Baseless assumptions?

    Shows what you know huh?

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  • David Anderson December 17, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    I would encourage anyone who is a mountain biker and loves riding singletrack, and wants access to more singletrack, and wants to help preserve what we do have either by doing work parties or being an advocate for a trail or area to also join PUMP. We need your help and we need your voice. So I would challenge everyone who is joining the FPC and who are not members of either PUMP/IMBA to join PUMP/IMBA. Will you do that?, or will you remain on the outside and not know what we are really doing to help keep trails open and to get more trails open to our use.

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  • wsbob December 18, 2008 at 12:26 am

    "Baseless assumptions?

    Shows what you know huh?" icarus

    Well, since you elected not to post the info you imply suggests the "...Forest Park Conservancy is not as into conserving Forest Park as you may think."....whatever the last part of that sentence is supposed to mean, I googled the conservancy as you suggested.

    Forest Park Conservancy seems to be doing plenty to conserve the park. Perhaps not your idea of what their efforts should be, but certainly no justifiable cause for you to go casting aspersions on their efforts.

    I hope a lot of Mtbrs take Frank Selker up on his idea and join the conservancy. And, if any of them happen to be feeling particularly flush in these down times, throw down $100 and you get a pair of Keen shoes in addition to the membership:

    forestparkconservancy

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  • dan_m December 18, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Nothing is new about these ideas.
    Every couple of years some one gets fired up about building single track in FP. Mostly their words don't go far and they give up in frustration. It going to take a sustained effort over a very long time. Join an advocacy group (PUMP). Learn the history of the efforts of mtbing in
    FP. Create a lasting legacy of involvement in FP. Wait for the day that the Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan is finally up for a renewal(there are no plan for that).

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  • Ryan December 18, 2008 at 6:20 am

    It's not enough to just join FPC, all that does is support FPC as it stands. One would also have to show up at meetings consistently, volunteer and voice their pro-mtb opinion.

    If you only have time & money to join an organization, join PUMP & IMBA, if you have a couple extra bucks join FPC.

    Also if you have time to volunteer, contact PUMP.

    The hostile takeover of FPC is an old idea and not an affective way to gain access to the park.

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  • Fred December 18, 2008 at 7:54 am

    I encourage everyone interested in opening up more single track in FP to mountain biking to join PUMP and IMBA also. Show your support by coming out for the trail work parties and meet the people of PUMP and the FPC. Come out and get to know the people who are working on this issue and understand what is happening and how you can most effectively work to make single track happen in FP.

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  • Brian December 18, 2008 at 8:13 am

    "The hostile takeover of FPC is an old idea and not an affective way to gain access to the park."

    And how exactly will joining PUMP be any more effective? If all ideas to the city flow through FPC, it seems to me that that is the more effective use of $ and support rather than using PUMP as a middle man.

    No one is saying anything about a "hostile takeover." What Frank is saying is that if we join and show our support, we must be heard. Ultimately a group such as FPC is accountable to it's people and $. In the past, how many mtb'ers actually joined the FOFP? 5? 10? What if 100 of us joined today, and started attending meetings and voicing opinions? In addition to that, we start to put a little more pressure on the city as a unified voice. We cannot be sure of the effect as it is most likely never happened.

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  • Brian Johnson December 18, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Typical. Nothing but a bunch of talk with no action.

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  • Bricycle December 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I've been Mountain Biking for about 13 years now and my best friend who introduced me to the sport had a great motto. If you consider yourself a Mountain Biker, you should commit one day every year to trailwork. And if you want to continue to Mountain Bike in the future, you should join IMBA and/or your local IMBA chapter(PUMP). I believe power in numbers will speak loudly on this topic to local officials. With that said there are other ways to contribute other than working with hand tools. If you want to whine you got to give up some of your time! Let's Free Forest Park!

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  • Ryan December 18, 2008 at 9:36 am

    "What if 100 of us joined today, and started attending meetings and voicing opinions?"

    My point exactly, joining FPC is not enough, you have to volunteer in whatever way suits your time & skills. If you're a good organizer step up & organize.

    And if you're not willing to step up (we're all busy people & that's ok) your money would be best spent: PUMP/IMBA then FPC.

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  • Eirik December 18, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Way to go Frank! I joined the FPC to support your enthusiasm and help the cause. I'm an IMBA member as well and I think the more avenues the mountain bike community pursues to obtain singletrack in Forest Park the better.

    It's been far too long that mountain biking has been restricted to the fire lanes. Riding fire lanes is NOT the experience that most mountain bikers are looking for. Legal singletrack within riding distance of Portland should be a priority for the Parks department. It's been far, far too long for this issue not to get resolved.

    Great job Frank!!

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  • Frank December 18, 2008 at 10:17 am

    It's not either or - we need the clubs, trail volunteers, support of FPC... different people have different things that excite them, and that's fine -- all such efforts can be helpful and it doesn't mean that other stuff isn't good too.

    I believe that PUMP and other local clubs are working with IMBA to create a stronger uber-club - I plan to join that as soon as it happens.

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  • brian December 18, 2008 at 10:23 am

    It should be a true embarassment to all that Phoenix, AZ hase singletrack within city limits and we don't.

    No one group has a devine right to trails.

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  • brian December 18, 2008 at 10:44 am

    sorry. i spelled "devine" wrong. the correct spelling is "divine".

    can't we just buy some private land with pooled resources.

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  • Will December 18, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Thanks, Frank. I just joined FPC and think this is a great idea. So much energy is wasted when we get stuck in the "us verses them" mindset. We need to show our support and come to the table to work on the things we have in common, we all have much more in common then any of us realize.

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  • Joel December 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Hey, Icarus Falling how do I find that trail from thurman to astoria? thanks.

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  • SkidMark December 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    What if the shoe were on the other foot, and all the trails except for a few were "Bicycle Only"? Would that be fair? The current situation is ridiculous especially in America's Best Biking City or whatever it's being called. There should be more bike access in Forest Park. There should be bike access in Washington Park, there should be bikes allowed in every park. There should be "bike only" trails, for that matter. We shouldn't have to buy our way in, either.

    I am perfectly willing to do trail maintenence, so please make sure that info gets posted here.

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  • Matt F December 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Hey All,

    First off, let me say that I would love, love, love more single track mountian bike access in FP. Also, I belong to PUMP and IMBA. But, man, I gotta say that this whole rigarmole that has gone absolutely nowhere (yes, I know: new 1/3 mile of trail) for the last 9 years I've been in Portland has been and continues to be infuriating. Why? In my opinion, it's because we don't know how to get there from here. No one seemingy can tell us what needs to be done to get access or new trails built. I mean, if someone (I know this is naive) could just tell PUMP/the mountain bike community "ya'll need to jump through these 20 hoops, gather this many signatures, attend these meeting, put in this many hours of trail building and maintenance, and raise this amount of money"; I have no doubt that we would pull together and do it. But when you have no idea on what it would take for the man to grant our wish, it continues to feel hopeless. How many miles do we have to cross to talk to the boss?! And, more importantly perhpas, who the hell is the boss?!

    Frank, Jonathon, PUMP/IMBA leadership...what about this:

    Step 1: Identify who is the ultimate decision maker.

    Step 2: Confirm with that person/organization that they have the power to make the decision.

    Step 3: Ask the decision maker what exactly needs to be done in order to get access.

    Step 4: Publicize this information/hold the boss to that statement.

    Step 5: No doubt the troops will rally and jump through every last hoop and then some.

    I know that this is a gross oversimplification of things, but I really think that this helps explain a lot of mountain bikers hopeless, cynical attitudes (for example, the first poster "Not a chance....".) I know I feel like it's hopeless at times.

    I'm begging here: Can somebody please tell us what needs to be done?!?!?!?!

    ~Matt f

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  • John December 18, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I'm in, but this will go nowhere if the starting assumptions are that bikes are inherently destructive and that the existing user groups enjoy an inherent right to access that cyclists do not.

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  • Icarus falling December 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    From everything I have heard,it is not easy to follow, and takes some creativity at times.
    I have been on the trails that just go out past Rocky Point Dr., which is out to about Scappoose.

    I recommend checking with sites that deal with equestrian usage, as I know most of it is basically horse trails. But as we know, while horses are not the most ecological users of trails,(actually doing as much damage as motorcycles a lot of the time) equestrian trails are considered mainly to be multiusage.

    I plan to one day ride it myself, as I have the opportunity to crash in some sweet Victorians in Astoria when I get there.

    One day I would like to take TEAM WRECK on a Death March following those trails. It has already been talked about.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 18, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Matt f (#45),

    I hear you.

    The issue is that with politics, you never get someone to say, "If you do X, then we'll do Y" with "Y" being what you want.

    It's just not that simple. That being said, your approach is a good basic plan.

    Folks... there are things going on behind the scenes on this issue I can assure you. BUT, like with all politics and advocacy, the people involved will feel much more pressure to get it done if they know the public is waiting, watching, and getting involved.

    So far, from reading these comments, I'm encouraged by the response.

    Stay tuned for more coverage of this issue.

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  • ROB GROW December 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    This is great to see. People coming together to talk about what matters to us. It is obviously unfair that this organization monopolizes the use of this City Park when most of the city of Portland is EXTREMELY BIKE FRIENDLY and this group of individuals slams the door on rational conversation about what makes sense for EVERYONE to enjoy this park. It is pathetic that we have such a gigantic forested City Park with such varying terrain and little or no mountainbiking trail continuity throughout its vast reaches>PATHETIC. There should be multiple access points accessible by all those choosing to enter through these points into the park without a motor attached that lead to a designated mountainbiking area. Other areas without such a huge population of bikers have a phenomenal relationship of trails and outlying communities>Central Oregon, Hood River, Vancouver/Whistler, apparently Phoenix and Tucson, and many more with much less viable area to work with. When looking at the history of Forest Park and considering the position taken by the 'former Friends' now called the Forest Park Conservancy>this word reeks of the probability that this public organization plans on stonewalling genuine and true efforts to open up legitimate access to mountainbiking... I digress>when considering the founding fathers of Forest Park and its original intended uses it appears this effort made by the 'Conservancy' should be disallowed and their ordinance to allow mountainbiking to 8' wide roads ridiculously passed in 1995 should be repealed. I mean completely thrown to the round files and replaced with a newer more modern all-encompassing plan that works for everyone. Attacking the issue from every angle is the best way. It ensures our deserved success. Those people with limited time and limited resource$ are probably best served committing to those groups that are more specifically geared towards the success of mountainbiking while people with additional means are best serving our communities by making sure that all of our voices are heard...albeit diplomatically, when I prefer to shout profanities to these ignorant shrewds calling themselves the 'conservancy'. Regardless, if you are like so many right now, then last I checked time costs nothing and it can change everything. The more people involved in going in the right direction and committing time and resources to the cause ensures we will encircle the problem to get the right solution.
    When I decided to move back home more than 12 years ago to Portland from Southern California it was so I could be closer to nature again and also to get out of my car. Having grown up mountainbiking along with every other outdoor activity I can get myself involved with, I consider it a travesty that we have to drive more than 1 hour in every direction to consider enjoying the truly legitimate mountainbiking experience. Especially when I can drive to multiple areas of more than 5,000 acres that I can see from my patio in less than 5 minutes. It appears to me that there is obviously enough land area to come up with a viable solution that will work for everyone. We need the 'conservancy' to take a mental laxative and stop their constipation of reason by not allowing reasonable access for everyone that wants to experience the splendor of Forest Park which obviously includes those of us that truly appreciate the joy of mountainbiking. Enjoy and keep on riding!

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  • a.O December 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I'm in. Something needs to move here.

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  • lil'stink December 18, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I would be happy to donate a month's salary to help build singletrack in FP, yet I can't bring myself to spend the paltry sum of $35 to join FPC. There is no logical reason not to have singletrack trails for bikes in FP. FPC has more political sway than any mtb group, and they simply don't want to share. I think the 'critical mass' on Wildwood idea is a good place to start, but it would only work if there is ample media coverage. Any cyclists have friends at local TV stations?

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  • Blue Healer December 18, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    By joining you become a member of a group that has a say in what happens in Forest Park. If all you do is gripe and ride trail posted for no bikes you just make it worse for all riders. And it is not just about us riders. Others need to be respected as well. This needs to be a compromise not just one group getting all they want. I agree we riders need more trail access, but we will not gain any by being jerks instead of team players. We do need to ride, but we also need to take good care of Forest Park. It is not just one big bermed downhill run waiting to be carved, but one of the most unique areas of this city. Lets do in a manner that brings users together instead of pushing people apart. We have to remember how much we owe the wonderful people that saved this beautiful area from becoming nothing more than paved roads and houses like the rest of the west hills. I thank them for giving us this option in the 21st century.
    BH

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  • Fred December 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    I'm not so sure that the FPC is the only organization that is the barrier to MTB access. You all can correct me if I'm wrong, and I am sure you will, but my understanding is that Forest Park is owned and operated by the City of Portland Parks and Natural Resources Department. The City has the authority to grant access and permits for projects, but they are bound by State and Federal environmental regulations for construction activities. The issue with construction of new trail is the cost and time for processing of environmental review. I would assume that there isn't budget at this time for processing permits for new trails. Cost to construct would likely be picked up through volunteer labor.

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  • Brian December 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    As a holiday gift to myself, I'm joining up with FPC. I also plan to ask others to do the same by writing up an email and sending it out to anyone I know who may be sympathetic to the cause. Just make sure that everyone signs up as a "cyclist."
    I also heard that Fat Tire Farm is giving a 10% discount to ALL FPC members, which is an awesome gesture (and really helps *us* since it is coming from a bike shop). Lets keep the ball rolling and get the word out.
    Now is the time to get involved, one way or another. Hell, just having a discussion on this public forum is having a positive effect.

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  • toowacky December 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I'll spend $35 to be counted as a cyclist in FP, just spent my $$ for "Democracy in Action"... I challenge others to do the same and show up for the meetings with me, as a cyclist. This in itself won't change it, but it can't hurt.

    Matt F, been here 10 yrs, share your frustrations, and agree that if someone showed us the hoops, we, as MTB'ers, would jump thru them, but Jonathan, I get your points, too.

    A mass ride wouldn't hurt either, for visibility's sake-- with media coverage.

    Frank, I'm sure we'll talk in the future. Thanks for doing _something_ and getting a ball rolling.

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  • King of the Night December 18, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    So many great ideas, so many old issues, yet so much energy available. Sheer numbers will be a REQUIREMENT.

    A FEW OF US WILL HAVE ZERO EFFECT.

    Frank, Are you keeping a succinct list of these ideas and issues?

    Single track Critical MASS is a great idea...we need media attention though. Maybe we should do it in Hoyt Arboretum where it will really stir the emotions....I know that is extreme but...

    In the meantime I will keep ripping the trails.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I just posted a new story about the Fat Tire Farm stepping up with a 10% discount for everyone who joins the FPC.

    RE: Critical Mass.
    I'm all for it and I would help promote it and cover it if/when someone stepped up to organize it. HOWEVER, I sincerely hope it is not called anything remotely similar to "Critical Mass". I shudder to think how that moniker plays with many of the people who walk/hike/run in Forest Park who are already not too happy with disrespectful bike riders zooming by them and poaching illegal trails.

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  • Brian December 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    RE. Critical Mass
    That was an idea I had and posted on mtbr (as Free-Agent) out of frustration and a desire to do SOMETHING. The idea was to do an organized ride on **legal** trails, and a fundraiser for Oregon Food Bank at the same time. I was hoping to get media, bike shops, cyclists of all types involved to shine some light on the FP situation (and help a local non-profit at a tough time). I have since heard that we would need to get a permit to do an organized ride in FP, which may not be so easy to obtain. I still plan to look into it, especially if others feel it is a good idea. I don't want to cause conflict when the ideas of others are being implemented already, and having a positive effect.

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  • brian December 18, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Jonathan Maus,

    This is the most important bike issue in this city. Thank you for the support.

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  • Stephen Hatfield December 18, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Since there appears to be a bit of confusion surrounding policy, let me take a stab at clearing things up. The Forest Park Conservancy in no way sets policy for Forest Park. That responsibility lies solely with Portland Parks & Recreation.

    The Forest Park Natural Resource Management Plan (FPNRMP) was adopted by City Council on 2/8/95, replacing an earlier version from 1976. The 1995 FPNRMP was the outcome of a collaborative effort between staff from Portland Parks & Recreation and the Bureau of Planning. A Technical Advisory Committee and Citizens Advisory Commitee were also involved in this process. The Friends of Forest Park was represented by two individuals on the Citizens Advisory Committee.

    The FPNRMP does outline a strategy (p. 106-7) for managing recreation in a manner that is consistent with protecting natural resources. The Forest Park Conservancy is in full support of these principles and the overall vision found within the FPNRMP.

    That said, it is worth noting that the FPNRMP is now 13 years old, and that recreational use of Forest Park (primarily in regard to mountain biking) looked very different in 1995.

    For those wishing to read the details of the strategy, or the plan its in entirety, you can access it online at:
    https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/handle/1794/5401

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  • Icarus falling December 18, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    A mass ride on the Wildwood is highly illegal (even a single rider on the Wildwood is illegal), and would do much more harm than good. And would only serve to drive more of a wedge between MT bikers and the FOFP, if that is even possible.

    It is possibly one of the worst ideas I have read on this site, or anywhere for that matter.

    And, connecting it to the travesty that is Critical Ass is the second worst idea I have ever read .

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  • gabriel amadeus December 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I haven't read through the comments, but this is fantastic!!!! Finally some new life breathed in to the Forest Park relations. Good luck!

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  • Brian December 18, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Anything named Critical Mass (or remotely similar to it), or any organized group ride on illegal trails is not going to happen. Please don't confuse my idea with illegally poaching trails.
    So lets just put that idea to rest and focus on the positives taking place, and what else can be done to promote positive mtb access in PDX and beyond.

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  • King of the Night December 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Is critical mass seen across the board as a negative thing? Sorry to have dug this up...
    If it needs to be law abiding then fine but it needs to generate a reason for a story to be written about it.

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  • John December 18, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Critical Mass-style idiocy has done more to drive the wedge deeper between Portland cyclists and the community at large than any other thing. I'm not convinced that an element of civil disobedience won't be a necessary part of the solution to this problem, but large numbers of riders congregating on closed trails during this time of the year and damaging them in the process isn't the answer.

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  • John December 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    @Stephen

    The .pdf of the FP management plan is image-only. Is there a searchable text version available somewhere?

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  • David Anderson December 18, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Someone asked why they should join PUMP, or IMBA? IF you are a mountain biker and are not a member of PUMP/IMBA do not think that PUMP has not been able to get things done. We have been there representing you the non-dues paying bike rider who expects everyone else to get things done for you. We have maybe less than 200 active members. IF all of the mountain bikers in Portland joined PUMP what would our membership base look like? The Audubon Society of Portland can say they have over 4,000, yes four thousand, dues paying members. That's double the number of PUMP members with another zero on the end. That my friends holds a lot of weight with bureaucrats. Two hundred? Excuse me? You want me to do what for you? Why should the parks people listen to a group that has only 200 dues paying members.
    Do you want to know what percentage of mountain bikers belong to IMBA? IMBA is the premier group that represents you - if you ride a mountain bike. Got an idea? It's about 1%. Yes, only one percent of mountain bikers belong.
    Do you want to ride single track in the Mount Hood area? Or, do you want some wild land now open to us permanently closed to us because of pending Wilderness designation. How many members does PUMP have? How many do the pro-wilderness groups have? Excuse me? Who are the politicians going to listen to.
    So, my advice to all the silent majority of mountain bikers. JOIN PUMP/IMBA. NOW. There is strength in numbers. PUMP is the local IMBA affiliate.

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  • Rob December 18, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Frank - Thank you for your work on this issue. I just joined FPC in support of your efforts.

    I also like the idea of a large legal group ride to show support for increased access. Please, please, please no association with critical mass. That is the last thing we need.

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  • wsbob December 18, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Stephen Hatfield, (comment #60), thanks for taking the time to offer that clarification about FPC's role in advising Portland Parks about use of FP.

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  • Charlie December 18, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Wow, 70 comments. That in itself is encouraging. Lots of great stuff here, thanks Jonathon for the support!

    I have recently joined Pump/Imba and will soon join FPC.

    I have also done my fair share of trail maintenence and have personally adopted Three Corner Rock, spear-heading an effort to get it cleared up this fall.

    I would love to take part in a mass ride on totally legal Forest Park "trails." What a hoot that will be! Can't wait for my turn on FL5!
    Sarcasm aside, how can we demonstrate that riding Leif is not what any of us thinks of when we utter the phrase, "mountain bike riding." Maybe that's the disconnect?

    Pretty simple:
    Join your local advocacy groups. It sucks, but democracy ain't free.

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  • bryan December 18, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I for one am all for this. I believe the future of forest park has bikes in it, and not just on Leif. FPC put out a newsletter saying that 44% of FP is in Fair to severely degraded condition. it is hard to go do trail work on a trail you are not allowed to do your favorite activity on. allow cyclists legal single track and they will come not just to ride but to work. it seems so simple.

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  • Kris December 19, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Great initiative! I just signed up and I'm looking forward to my new pair of Keens.

    Frank (#39) is right: "It's not either or - we need the clubs, trail volunteers, support of FPC..." More is better. Thanks Jonathan for doing your part to keep this issue on the radar and help move things forward in a positive, constructive "can-do" spirit.

    David Anderson (#67) is right: "There is strength in numbers." So if you're passionate about mountain biking and want to help preserve/grow access to trails, you should join IMBA and/or their local affiliates.

    BTW: If below article in today's NYT is any indication, things seem to be changing in a positive direction for mountain bikers and their access to trails in parks nationwide:

    http://tinyurl.com/4s749b

    Or in response to Anonymous (#1) "Not a chance", I'd say "Yes we can."

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  • casey December 19, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Just wanted to add my voice to the converstation- although I am extremely leary of the so called "friends" of forest park due to previous experiences with them, it sounds like their new configuration at least acknowledges that there's an issue here that is worth discussing. It should be very obvious by now that this issue is long overdue for some serious focus. The beaurocracy involved is just baffling to me, when considering what this town has been able to achieve in other aspects. Apparently the massive roadblock of access to FP is just going to take a lot more effort than should be necessary. We've tried everything else, I suppose this plan of becoming involved with the FPC is worth a shot.

    I'll be watching the FPC in the coming months to see if they actually have progressed beyond the FFP's old ways, and are willing to actually support some changes.

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  • Jim Labbe December 19, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Over the last year I represented Audubon Society of Portland on a committee convened by the Forest Park Conservancy to help develop a set of recommendations to expand single-track in Forest Park in way that avoids and minimizes negative impacts to other users and to the natural resources values of the Park.

    We have made good progress in developing relationships, discussing the issues, challenges and opportunities to expanding single-track in Forest Park. I personally enjoyed working with folks like Tom Archer, Kirk Slack, and Mark Pickett. There are definitely some unreasonable expectations by some single-track advocates that start with the notion that riding trails is some sort of entitlement. But it is my hope that we are on the way to crafting some thoughtful recommendations for moving forward.

    There are real user conflicts and natural resource impacts associated with expanding any and all recreational use of Forest Park and we are seriously lacking in resources to manage growing impacts. Dogs off leash and trail poaching by cyclists are two activities where there is a particular need for better education and better enforcement. In the case of latter, it makes sense to combine this with expanded single track in the right places and with the best low-impact design. I hope that any single-track expansion in Forest Park will be an opportunity to address the larger need to better manage the full range of recreational use. We are at serious risk of loving Forest Park to death.

    Jim Labbe
    Portland Audubon

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  • brian December 19, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Jim Labbe,

    Poaching is what illegal hunters in Africa do. Mountain Bikers just want to recreate in nature. And the entitlement problem has been with hikers, they have all the trails. We are the excluded group, who just want to live healthy lives, and enjoy the forest.

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  • wsbob December 19, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I appreciate Jim Labbe having noted the unrealistic expectations some mountain bike riders have in regards to their use of bikes in FP:

    "There are definitely some unreasonable expectations by some single-track advocates that start with the notion that riding trails is some sort of entitlement." Jim Labbe

    Mountain Bike riders aren't an excluded group. They're as welcome as any other individual or group into FP. With some exceptions, it's only their bikes that are excluded from the park. The reasons for exclusion of bikes from the park are solid ones, yet commonly, it seems that Mbkrs or single-trackers are oblivious to, dismissive of or contemptuous in regards to those reasons.

    People being ready to work in the park, maintaining, building trails and so forth only on condition that bikes are allowed to be used on the park's trails, doesn't speak very highly of their regard for the park.

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  • King of the Night December 19, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Jim Labbe,
    I agree whole heartedly with Brian. For me personally, and I think I speak for many riders out there, riding trails is an incredibly uplifting, fun, and relaxing activity. The feeling of entitlement is not what I see here. I see a huge group of people BEGGING to ride the trails and offering to put in sweat equity to do so. Forest Park has made Portland livable for me personally. If it weren't for the trails, whether running, hiking or riding, I could not continue to live here.
    I think by adding a huge group of conservation minded riders to the equation we could help greatly to prevent the 'loving of the park to death'

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  • brian December 19, 2008 at 11:25 am

    again, does Wsbob even like bikes?

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  • Jeff TB December 19, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Jim Labbe said "Dogs off leash and trail poaching by cyclists are two activities where there is a particular need for better education and better enforcement."

    Jim, These are user conflict issues. But the context in which you point out these two activities suggest that bikes and dogs are high on a list of park habitat and wildlife threats. I find this hard to believe. I can think of several other threats with far greater impact and greater need for better education.

    Sorry to get a bit off topic.

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  • Jim Labbe December 19, 2008 at 11:56 am

    wsbob: Just to clarify, mountain bikers with their bikes are NOT excluded from Forest Park. There are 28 miles of unpaved road and firelines open to mountain bikes in Forest Park. The issue in Forest Park is single track riding which is one type of mountain biking.

    Brian:
    I obviously don't agree that this is an issue of entitlement, for hikers, cyclists, or any subset, or sub-sub-set of user. There are a lot of Portlanders who never go to Forest Park who still want it managed in a way conserves its resources for present and future generations. Those values are articulated goals and policies in the Forest Park Management Plan.

    I agree the long-term success in managing impacts from single-track mountain biking will necessitate enlisting responsible single-track users with other park users and advocates in fostering low impact trail development, maintenance and use.

    I think we all need recognize that Forest Park has a limited capacity to sustainably provide recreational opportunities including single-track. While I support the conditional expansion of single-track trails in Forest Park, there needs to be greater focus on efforts to develop single-track trails outside existing protected natural areas. The work of on the Gateway Green project is a great example of mountain biking and greenspace advocates working together to expand the parks and greenspace system to accommodate single track uses.

    Jim

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  • wsbob December 19, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Jim, thanks for that clarification. I wrote:

    "With some exceptions, it's only their bikes that are excluded from the park."

    That could have been expressed in a different way to emphasize how much of FP actually is accessible to MBkrs with their bikes. As you remind us: "...28 miles of unpaved road and firelines open to mountain bikes in Forest Park." Actually, that seems like a lot of already available riding opportunity in FP.

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  • toowacky December 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I thought that the following link might be relevant to this discussion of single-track in FP. In it, Jim (Labbe, contributor to this thread on BikePortland) is interviewed as well as an IMBA representative on the issue of increased single-track access in FP:

    Portland Mountain Bikers Seeking Increased Access to Urban Singletrack Trails

    http://www.bicyclepaper.com/articles/2008/07/portland_mountain_bikers_seeking_increased_access_to_urban_singletrack_trails

    I think it's a well written article that helps bring a greater understanding to the challenges that exist.

    Also, I believe it's important to respect where people on the many sides of this issue are coming from. Jim's position as an Urban Conservationist for the Audubon Society obviously will conflict, IMO, by definition, with increased access by any user of the park. However, I appreciate the efforts that go into the conservation of FP that keep it the wonderful place that we, as MTB'ers, want to access.

    In that article, Jim states that the Audubon Society "support(s) expanded singletrack mountain biking in Forest Park in the appropriate places and with

    1) A design that avoids, minimizes and appropriately mitigates impacts to the Park’s natural resources [and]

    2) Increased resources to manage the existing and added recreational impacts to the park."

    With the proper planning, and stewardship of mountain bikers, hopefully we can work to expand access to single track trails for MTB'ers in Forest Park _and_ help provide these "increased resources" to manage the access. Win-win, perhaps?

    T

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  • ME2 December 19, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I am all for developing single track in FP. Saying that mountain bikers aren't excluded from FP is like saying cyclists aren't excluded from commuting by bike in Dallas. It's now the number of accessible miles, but the design that makes all the difference. By WSBOB's rationale bigger cities are more bike commuter friendly because they have more roads cyclists can ride on.

    One big political lever that I can see resonating with the City is climate change. The prospect of a carbon free ride is appealing to me. I now that a lot of the time I'd much rather bike 30 minutes from my house to access a trail in FP than drive my car for 1 to 2 hours
    to go riding in Mt. Hood or Tillamook.

    Also Jim of Audubon why don't you need give up some specifics on what you consider unreasonable expectations of MTB riders? Saying they are unreasonable without backing it up doesn't exactly promote a positve dialogue.

    Lastly, I'll echo the calls to join PUMP. Access is only part of it and PUMP is the logical choice to have insight in trail design and maintenance. For those who are concerned about constructing trails in such a rainy environment, you should check the Wilson River Trail, which PUMP had a hand in building. The WRT is a shining example of designing a trail that minimizes the impact from a rainy climate.

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  • John December 19, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    "There are definitely some unreasonable expectations by some single-track advocates that start with the notion that riding trails is some sort of entitlement."

    Jim Labbe

    My retort would be that there are definitely some unreasonable expectations by some non-biking advocates that start with the notion that excluding bicycles from the majority of the Park's trail system is some sort of entitlement.

    Nothing I've heard from this commenter to this point strikes me as anything more substantial than a simple belief in exclusivity based on incumbency.

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  • Charlie December 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Not to sound redundant, but for many mountain bike riders, "28 miles of unpaved road and firelines" plus 1/3 miles of legitimate single track does not equate a mountain biking experience. Maybe cyclocross (the bike I usually employ while riding in FP).

    This dialogue is great, but there is definitely a disconnect if one side is saying, "hey look, you've got 28 miles of unpaved road and firelines and 1/3 of a mile of sinle track on FL5 to ride mountain bikes, what's the problem."

    On the other hand, if the bureaucracy and resistance is so great for FP, maybe it is better to concentrate on some of these other green spaces to promote mountain bike riding. Just seems like a shame when Forest Park, as large as it is should be able to accomodate multiple users without conflict.

    And wsbob, concerning trail work as a condition for access as you suggest in #76, I think you are stretching that a bit. What has been implied is that if mountain bikers (single-trackers) are welcomed to the park as a legitimate user group, that will necessarily bring with it the benefit of an active and energetic group willing to participate in trail maintenence, not as a condition, but as a residual benefit.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 19, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    "Nothing I've heard from this commenter to this point strikes me as anything more substantial than a simple belief in exclusivity based on incumbency."

    Folks,

    Jim Labbe is a very smart guy who has thought deeply and at length about this issue. Yes, he has a conservation/preservation perspective, and that's necessary to consider in this conversation.

    Please don't judge him too much by one comment on a website.

    The "entitlement" I believe Jim wrote about is a feeling that some mountain bikers and mtb advocates in Portland have had a tone in the past that they simply deserve and therefore should be given access to the park.

    The reality is that a more tactful approach (like the one espoused in this story) will likely yield better results.

    By tactful, I don't mean take the pressure off and play in the bureaucracy, I mean that the framing and tone from the community is very important.

    "We demand singletrack now because it's not fair!" has a much different impact than "We are willing to work with you because you need us to keep this park healthy and we want more singletrack so badly that we will not go away until progress is made."

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  • dan December 19, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    There's a lot of talk about entitlement and of conservation in the park regarding cyclists. Go up there any day of the week and you'll get a sense of the entitlement that joggers seem to possess regarding the trails. As for conservation, it's out-of-date, backwards logic that creating true mountain bike trails is a direct threat to conservation.

    As for Jim Labbe's statement that "There are 28 miles of unpaved road and firelines open to mountain bikes in Forest Park": yes, they're open to mountain bikes, but those simply aren't real mountain bike trails. I don't mean to be complaining, I certainly need to put my own energy into working for access...but I feel a need to help make sure people who don't mountain bike are aware that a gravel road or 8 foot wide fire road are NOT mountain bike trails. When so many cities around the country have a network of singletrack trails, it is simply disgusting that Portland has continued to essentially ignore the issue while misinformation of what constitues a mtb "trail" is perpetuated.

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  • David Anderson December 19, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    The current discussion on bikeportland is a healthy one - especially if it ultimately gets more singletrack available to mountain bikers in the City of Portland. There have been a few comments made though that need commenting on.
    There was a time when this 56 year old mountain biker was a birder. When I was actively birding I harassed more birds than I ever have from the seat of my mountain bike riding on the sweet singletrack I love riding. There was a time when I thought mountain bikers had horns and tails and that bikes tore trails up. I would have agreed with a friend of mine at one time who doesn't like trails being blasted through a forest and having mountain bikers harassing bambi and tweetie bird. That friend is a roadie, and has no problem riding on paved roads that encourage fossil fuel consumption. Motorized vehicles harass and kill more birds and animals than an equal number of mountain bikers ever would.
    I enjoy natural areas and old growth forests and the animals that live in them. I want to see natural areas protected but I also want to be able to recreate in them. I used to go on long hikes, and backpack, but my knees don't like that anymore. So, I took up riding a mountain bike. I can now access old growth forests that are still open to me. I can ride to areas that are visually beautiful. I can still stop and do some birding when I see, or hear something of interest. One thing I've never seen is a deer or elk run from me in terror. I've never seen a deer or elk killed by a mountain biker.
    I have to drive in a fossil fuel burning vehicle for 1 to 2 hours to enjoy the long sweet singletrack that I really enjoy riding. When I do I am spending my hard earned money outside of town, as are most of the other mountain bikers that I know. There are only a couple of miles in the City of Portland and the vast majority of that is on Powell Butte. Proposals for a mountain bike park at Gateway Green, which I fully support, will not add significantly to the total of singletrack available for me to ride. I can't imagine there could be a trail system there that would support 12 or more miles of singletrack trail there.
    The City of Portland has the opportunity to gild the platinum status it now has by opening up, or creating, many miles of singletrack available to the thousands of mountain bikers who live in this area. It can, and it should be done.

    David Anderson
    a former Board Member, and Field Trips Chair for Audubon Society of Portland
    and Redwood Chapter North Group, Sierra Club.

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  • John December 19, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    The "entitlement" I believe Jim wrote about is a feeling that some mountain bikers and mtb advocates in Portland have had a tone in the past that they simply deserve and therefore should be given access to the park.

    And pedestrians "deserve" the exclusive access that they currently enjoy?

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  • DHormann December 19, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Alright! I just pushed the button on my $100 membership to FPC and will see what happens. I would dearly love to see more opportunities for mountain biking in the park and hope that common ground can be found between mountain bikers and the FPC. Here's to a bright future and a wonderful park. I might even get out and pull some English Ivy!!!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 19, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    John (#89),

    Mr. Labbe will I'm sure respond on his own about what he meant.

    But since you asked me, the point I was trying to make is not that mtb'ers don't deserve access, but that, given the nature of the political-bureaucratic situation as it stands today, the framing of the demand is very important.

    As for "exclusive access". I do believe that hikers should have exclusive access to some trails. This is for no other reason than the trails were built with foot traffic, not tire traffic in mind.

    When bikes are allowed on trails in Forest Park, the trails will hopefully be rebuilt/renovated with MTBs in mind and/or new completely new trails will be built specifically for bike use (which requires much diff. trail-building techniques in order to better manage erosion, sight lines, wear-and-tear, runoff, etc...).

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  • King of the Night December 19, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I've been a member of the Friends for many years, but let it lapse last year. I will rejoin in hopes that our collective 'votes' can help to legitimize our requests.
    Here goes...

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  • Stephen Hatfield December 19, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Just posted this in a separate thread, but given the expressed interest in volunteering I thought it would be worth mentioning here as well...

    PUMP has done some great work in Forest Park - no doubt about that. But to be fair, it is a relatively small portion of the overall work done on trail maintenance. The Forest Park Conservancy coordinates all of PUMP's quarterly work parties, which also entail the guidance and expertise of our Trails & Restoration Manager Jeff Hough.

    In addition to these quarterly efforts, FPC volunteers have logged in excess of 2,000 hours of work in Forest Park this year. We also hire an AmeriCorps LINKS crew to work with Jeff four days a week between the months of May and October. Although the majority of our work has been centered on trail maintenance, our focus on restoration (removing non-native invasive species, and planting natives) has been steadily growing in recent years.

    It should also be emphasized that all of our work is done in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation.

    The Conservancy welcomes volunteers to join us each Thursday morning, and we host larger work parties on the third Saturday of each month. We have a volunteer tree planting event scheduled for the morning of Saturday, January 17th. We encourage any and all to join us for these events. Check our website for more info, or feel free to contact me directly.

    Thanks,

    Stephen Hatfield
    Forest Park Conservancy

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  • Realist biker December 19, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    People! Pay attention! Listen to Dave's comments, this is the way, got it **insult deleted**?
    Lets confuse the city officials by offering a "fractured" approach, this will get nothing done! Just like Chris King trying to stick his nose into our issues out here, there have been efforts for years now, this isn't new. What good does some small organization suggested by Selker do to improve our initiatives? What needs to be done is join the organizations already in place, already doing your job for you and improve their chances for success. The city people only want one "unified" group to talk to, not a bunch of groups saying "they have the answers" or "they represent the best interests of riders". How can an organization such as Selker is suggesting will actually benefit cyclists when they in fact have not represented our interests. This is one of the very disappointing problems here in PDX, a bunch of people exercising their rights to free speech, now how about we actually talk about real solutions to our issues. PUMP is getting rid of "old stuck in the mud jackasses" and really trying to improve their reputation, if you are a critical thinker then you'd realize the importance of joining and improving the "only 2 true advocates for mtn biking" IMBA and PUMP. Wake up Portland, stop the BS and get to work, correctly!!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 19, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Realist biker,

    i appreciate your enthusiasm, but I think you've read Selker's plan wrong. he's not talking about a new group... he is saying to join an existing group - The Forest Park Conservancy.

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  • John December 19, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    PUMP can't be faulted for a lack of trying, but it's hard to ignore their conspicuous lack of success with moving this issue forward. The FL5 project, a lovely little bit of trailbuilding in an of itself, also exists as a monument to the futility of a process-centered approach that embraces the status quo with regard to the existing trail system.

    Like it or not, the FPC is going to be a principal player regardless of the direction this thing takes. It seems far more efficient for the mountain biking community to exert its influence from within this organization than to have an entity such as PUMP thrown back into the mix as another layer of bureaucracy. That's not to say that PUMP can't or shouldn't continue to have a role, but I think that there is convincing evidence that it's time to try a completely different, access oriented approach.

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  • Eric December 19, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I would love more ST in the Park. It's frustrating having to drive 30+ minutes to reach good ST. Any all the restaurants along Thurman would probably see a jump in business if more people were going to/from the park to ride.

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  • JJ December 19, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Rather than assume that people aren't thinkers if they choose not to join PUMP, PUMP should be asking itself-why are people willing to pay $35-$100 to join FPC and not $25 to join us? What do we need to change in order to increase advocacy membership? I, for one, applaud Frank and others for trying a new approach. Personally, I would like to see a new, unified mtb advocacy group (and advocacy only) take shape here in Portland that address Forest Park and all other mtb possibilities in the area. There are many who are ready to get involved.

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  • brian December 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Seriously, a mountain bike trail is conservation. Land designated for mountain bike recreation portects that land in its natural state. Unlike the clearcuts, road development, and building construction. You either want wild spaces, or you don't. Mountain bikers want wild spaces for future generations to feel the beauty of life, not the present desperation of so many suffering at Old Navy. Whether you like it or not there is a large diversity of forest recreationists and users. Birders, walkers, even unicyclists, we are all the same.
    So what it comes down to is a fair distribution of space. And don't mention erosion, because that is just the boogey man non-bikers have used for decades to exclude citizens from their public space.

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  • David Anderson December 19, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    So, all of you who are waiting for something to happen. My question is what do you expect? What can a group of less than 200 with no paid staff do vs groups that have thousands of members and paid staff do? Are you going to join a group that advocates for trails on Mount Hood, and another group that advocates for trails around Mount St Helens, and another group that advocates for trails in the Tillamook?
    I applaud people joining FFP. I however, am critical of people who have not joined PUMP to help build it and improve it and now criticize it for what hasn't happened (because you didn't join in and be an active member - you can). PUMP is an active group that right now relies on volunteers. What could we do with thousands of paid up members? A heck of a lot more than we can right now with volunteers. That will only happen if YOU help us.
    I helped coordinate several advertized work parties on the Smith Creek Trail at Mount St Helens - and to all who rode it after we put in over 200 work hours I hope you enjoyed your ride. We had 2 to 5 people show up on 8 different work parties. My conclusion is that there are a lot of people in the peanut gallery saying this, or that, should be done, but there are few people out there willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work necessary to help get things done.
    So, don't forget the PUMP volunteers who are out there advocating for continued access with land managers and who are out there putting in the sweat equity keeping the trails open so you can enjoy riding. I, as one person, can only do so much. But PUMP with thousands of members could do a lot.

    Oh, I forgot to mention in a previous post that I am a past president of Oregon Field Ornithologists and current PUMP Board Member.

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  • Frank December 19, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    I have no problems with the various points of views - all are legitimate and need to be heard, and this is helpful in getting to know each others perspectives. I think there are solutions that can help resolve the existing conflicts while protecting the resource. Portland is better than conflict without innovation -- we've proven it in so many ways and now it's time to prove it in Forest Park.

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  • bryan December 19, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Just joined FPC.

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  • wsbob December 20, 2008 at 1:26 am

    A lot of additional comments since I left the house today. ME2, I couldn't really follow the analogy you were trying to make in comment #83. In #81, I just noted the bit Labbe mentioned about 28 miles of FP open to mountain bikes and thought, 'Hey...that's quite a lot of ride opportunity in the park for bikes already'.

    Maybe there should be more, and maybe, somewhere in FP, it should be single track. I couldn't say for sure. Learn the park, the management plan, and the work involved in caring for the park.

    Anyone doing that is probably going to come closer to knowing whether and where there's a place for single track that's compatible with the need FP is set aside as a park to serve.

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  • Rob Burkhart December 20, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I just joind FPC. Thanks for the work you're doing Frank! Let's ride sometime (Forest Park?).

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  • lil'stink December 20, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    As far as the 'critical mass' (I know this is an unpopular term, but for lack of a better one...) idea goes, I would support a situation where mtb'ers turned out in large numbers to walk on Wildwood with their bikes. It would have a more visceral impact than just riding on legal trails or hiking on Wildwood, and would not open the door for quite as much easy criticism from the anti-bike crowd.

    Several months ago a local news channel (KATU I think) ran a story about what a huge success the Blackrock freeride area has become, and how it has helped the economy of nearby Falls City. Blackrock, along with Post Canyon in Hood River, showcase what mountain bikers are capable of. I'm not saying we should turn FP into a freeride park, but the basic idea is universal; Build it, ride it, maintain it, preserve it.

    Singletrack in Forest Park would bring more business to the area, make Portland a true bike town, and have a positive impact on the environment (fewer 200-mile round trips to the Surveyor's ridge area). Are you listening Mayor Adams?

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  • ME2 December 20, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    To wsbob #103.

    My analogy is that it is a matter of quality not quantity. To me saying that there is plenty of access already because there is 28 miles rings hollow because that statement doesn't consider the design of the trails.

    Its akin to saying LA is a better city than Portland for bike commuters because cyclists can access more roads in LA.

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  • wsbob December 20, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    ME2, so 28 miles of riding opportunity in the lush, verdant, natural environmental setting of FP doesn't amount to very much to you, apparently because of something having to do with the design of the trails.

    You didn't specify, but I'll take it that what you consider to be wrong with the quality of the trails accessible to bikes in FP is that they're not single track. Correct? If true, is it correct to understand from you and some of the other mountain bike riders having commented on this subject, that no amount of access to FP by bike would allow for a 'quality' experience, unless that access was single track?

    Is this the general feeling of MBrs about their experience in the forest? If they can't be astride their bike, riding single track...doesn't matter how beautiful and precious the setting is... it's not going to be a 'quality' experience?

    I noted a reason Dave Anderson (#88) mentions as why he mountain bikes:

    "I used to go on long hikes, and backpack, but my knees don't like that anymore. So, I took up riding a mountain bike. I can now access old growth forests that are still open to me."

    Amongst reasons argued for bringing mountain bikes into the forest, that's a pretty good one.

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  • David Anderson December 20, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    wsbob - comment #107.
    If I can ask you a question. There are plenty of dirt roads that traverse beautiful natural areas. Given the choice, would you hike along a dirt road, or on a hiking trail? Would you use a dirt road to hike along to enjoy an area? Probably as a last resort would be my guess.
    For me part of the enjoyment is the journey on a well designed and built singletrack trail, not a road, not a paved bike path. I am sure you would prefer using a well built and designed hiking trail over using a road. So to answer your question, in my view, the 28 miles of what mountain bikers call double track are not what I prefer to ride. Maybe after the trails dry out we could take you up to Powell Butte with a mountain bike and show you what we mean and you could see for yourself what we like.

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  • ME2 December 21, 2008 at 9:46 am

    WSbob, when I want to enjoy the lush verdent setting of FP I hike there, but there are also times when I want the mental and physical challenge of negotiating a single track. As has been pointed out before, my only option is to drive 1-2 hours one way. This is increasingly difficult for me to do with 2 young children at home.

    The option of a nearby single track would be very valuable to me as someone who wants to minimize his carbon footprint and balance the time demands of being father and an individual who loves the physical and mental benefits of mountain biking.

    Your comments seem to suggest that mountain bikers should just be happy that there are trails there. This is the same attitude I hear from nonbikers when bikers complain about poor bike boulvard design like NE Tillamook with a stop sign every other block or SW Broadway where riders are subject to regular right hook risks.

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  • a.O December 21, 2008 at 10:33 am

    You have to understand that Bob is not a mountain biker, doesn't live in Portland, and that his lack of understanding regarding the difference between riding on a logging road and singletrack won't prevent him from making public comments in which he takes a position that presumes people who bike are in the wrong. On the other hand, it seems that there are many Portlanders who still need to hear the basic case that singletrack is the sine qua non of mountain biking and that a world class biking city needs singletrack. But that case is best made to the folks who have control over access to FP and who are working on the bike Master Plan. I urge you to focus your energy there.

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  • Brian December 21, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I crave the same trail experience when I hike or mountain bike, a well designed and maintained singletrack loop. While most of us truly appreciate what we have in Forest Park, we also would like to enhance our experience as cyclists. When I am riding in FP and taking in its beauty, I am also saddened by what I see with regards to invasive flora. I am happy to see that the other user groups are now starting to recognize that siding with mtb'ers will help to make the park a better place for everyone now, and in the years to come. I have done trail maintenance and ivy-cutting (I took a class of mine there once, and some of my students have never been in the wild before that day!), and know that I and many others would be willing to do more if we are allowed to have more enjoyable riding experiences in the park. Time is a precious commodity, so we are more likely to spend that time where we see the most benefit for our choice of recreation.

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  • wsbob December 21, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Thanks, you guys. Yes, I understand, people that enjoy riding mountain bikes are looking for the technical challenge that riding single track represents. If this is what they really want, need, and believe should be available closer, somewhere within the Portland area, then they should work to get it.

    Other people know FP, the people it's intended to serve, and the FP management plan far better than I. Maybe I've got this wrong, but what I understand about FP, is that first and foremost, FP is a nature park. The idea being, to make the area available to people as a nature park with the least amount of necessary intrusion.

    People today mostly need some kind of shoes to go into the park, but that's about all, though going otherwise naked probably wouldn't be a great idea, for obvious reasons.

    I do think mountain bikers should be happy that the trails currently accessible in FP are there, and it seems that some are. If mountain bikers would like more, or for some of it to be single track, I hope they'll do what's necessary to learn whether and to what extent that kind of accessibility really is or some how can be compatible with the purpose FP is set aside to serve.

    The limited accessibility of mountain bikes to FP isn't just the simple result of a small group of people imposing their personal management viewpoint on the public. I'd guess that the current management guidelines of FP are widely supported by the public. I may be wrong about that, but I doubt it.

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  • wsbob December 21, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Some additional notes, since a.O (#110) takes occasion to comment on details about me he seems to think are important: I live in Beaverton and ride a road bike, do not ride a mountain bike. I've lived in the area for decades, and during those years, have spent a lot of time in and around the Portland area also. I've done a fair bit of hiking in different places, including FP.

    About FP, I may disagree with people about certain aspects regarding accessibility of mountain bike to that park, but do I consider them 'wrong'? That's not something I even consider, because the question being discussed here has to do with the uses that are compatible with the purpose that FP is set aside to serve.

    Also, aside from comments I've made here on bikeportland, a.O has not met me and does not know me.

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  • Frank December 21, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    For most of my life I aws exclusively a road rider and hiker, so I can relate to bob and others'.

    The thing that you get once you fall in love with trail riding is that it's about the trail, the route, the challenges as well as the setting. The most beautiful paved road through a National Park is a wonder, but is nothing like off-road cycling (or hiking). The vast majority of that 28 miles isn't off-road, it's gravel road. That's great but it has little resemblance to trail riding.

    If you are a skier, it's the difference between the runs you love vs. the cat track that gets you there. If you are a road rider its the difference between your favorite ride and a trainer in the basement. It's hard to imagine, but it's that big of a difference to many of us.

    How do you explain your favorite recreation to someone with different interests? Please take our word for it that - for us - single track trails are a totally, completely, and wonderfully different experience from what is now available in FP.

    By the way, most of us love sharing the discovery of something as fun as trail riding - I would be happy to take a group that hasn't tried it out to some trails when the weather gets better. But be prepared for a long drive.

    And yes, FP must be preserved and all the trail cyclists I know accept and understand that responsibility.

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  • ROB GROW December 23, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    MY GOODNESS, FRANK. ARE YOU A POET? YOUR TRAIL RIDING IS PROBABLY POETRY IN MOTION. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN WONDERING IF THAT STEEP OR THAT TREE IS AND WILL BE YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN. BY THE END, IT IS THE RUSH BECAUSE THERE IS NO OTHER THAT CAN REALLY COMPARE... UNLESS JUMPING OUT OF AIRPLANES AND TIGHT TREE RUNS IN THE SNOW ARE YOUR PREFERENCE. WE ARE BLESSED WITH YEAR AROUND CONDITIONS THAT ALLOW THAT SAME KIND OF PLEASURE AND WE ARE LACKING THAT QUINTESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNDERSTANDING OF THE GROSSLY UNDERESTIMATED INTEREST AND HUGELY ANTICIPATED CHANGING OF THE TIDES. RIDE ON SINGLE TRACKERS... AND GO BLAZERS:-) WENT BIKING IN THE SNOW TONIGHT. THE FAT TIRE SAVED ME MORE THAN ONCE. PEACE AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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  • brian December 24, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    It is about equity. Simple as that. Most hikers(walkers) only use the first couple of miles of the park anyways. Give MTB's their fair share, and the discussion is over. Otherwise, this subject will never die. In the end, we all are the same-just looking to recreate in nature. Merry Christmas all trail users, equestrians, hikers, bikers and all other low impact trail users.

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  • Charlie December 24, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Seems to me the division here is not unlike that between biker and automobile: there are plenty of drivers out there that think bikes have no place on the road.

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  • brian December 24, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Amen, Charlie. Roadies pay attention.

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  • brian December 24, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    We can all work together to keep land from being developed, and lost forever. Long live open spaces.

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  • John December 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    How about an update on the number of cyclists joining the FPC since the original appeal to do so was made?

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  • Realist biker December 27, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Jonathan, thanks for the props, but Frank's group IS a NEW group when it comes to the this issue of MTB access. Do we close PUMP and start another group who will have to establish themselves? Do we really have that much time? PUMP hasn't done their job, I've known these people personally, some not good, but the majority are good people. So how about we vote with our money and support the groups that should have the best chance for success if properly supported? I think if people really did their research they'd find that our best chances are through the two current groups already doing the work for you. In any state, if you want trails, you'll need the support of IMBA, research what has happened in other states that have taken the correct approach involving IMBA. PLEASE DO THE RESEARCH, THE ANSWERS ARE ALREADY OUT THERE. We should join the FPC just so that we can control the voting process, shut it down if necessary, or how about this, FPC members show your support and stand behind PUMP and IMBA. David has a great point, now that the issue is on your minds, who do you think has been doing the work for you all along? Do those trails clean themselves, do new trails such as the FL5 improvements happen on their own? This work has been going on for decades now. My fear with all the comments coming in so far is that this issue will not get resolved, too many people will be trying to further "their" issues and it'll turn into a "pissing match". Support and improve the organizations that are already doing your job for you. People, you know what you need to do, join PUMP and IMBA, force the issue with these other "splinter" groups to join the process.

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  • Brian December 28, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Realist Biker-
    Your post is a little confusing. You seem to be for and against these groups at the same time ("PUMP hasn't done their job," then you ask people to join it).
    Tom has proposed a unified advocacy group, WITH the support of IMBA (as he posted on the PUMP website). Hopefully PUMP will support the idea as it seems to me that it will be MUCH larger than any one group operating individually. The mtb public is not stepping up to join PUMP, so it is time to rethink the strategy. It will only become a "pissing match" if the decision makers make it so. Individuals such as myself cannot make it a "pissing match" as I have no power to do so.
    I was one of the people that did the work days on FL 5, and I'm not a member of PUMP. We had a larger group of people working that day because some people rallied the non-PUMP community to work with them, for the first time. It was a very successful and empowering event, and only a small example of what is possible if PUMP worked with the rest of the mtb. Lets get unified people, the time is now!
    Respectfully,
    Brian

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  • Brian December 30, 2008 at 9:06 am
  • dcufan December 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I ask.. how many miles of singletrack has PUMP opened up in FP since thier founding?

    A: Not much.

    sorry, but time to start working with folks that get it done. A new voice is needed. I'm gonna gonna go poach some FP.....just kidding!

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  • dcufan December 30, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I, for whatever reason do not have the desire to join PUMP. However, feel more attracted to groups like CAMBA, COTA, DOD..etc.

    I want to be a part of something new and exciting. look at what those groups are doing. Maybe its time to let go of FP and look elsewhere in the city for dirt insted of fighting against a bunch of other groups. Lets look for areas where others are willing to have us. The I-5 bike park in seattle is a great example of an area where no one else wanted to go that was ressurected by mtn bikers.

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  • Charlie December 30, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I share a bit of your apathy towards Pump, but we should join for the same reason Frank is encouraging us to join FFP. Pump is only as good and as strong as its membership. For better or worse they have represented Mountain Bike Advocacy in Portland for over 20 years and that means something to the establishment (for better or worse).

    We are a much stronger lobby by uniting than by splintering off into small factions. And don't discount what Pump has accomplished against a well-organized and entrenched establishment. It is our case to make with the City Parks Bureau and if we become a strong voice representing both FFP and Pump, the City will listen.

    That is not to say we shouldn't pursue other venues a la the Collonade in Seattle, but let's not give up on Forest Park. I'm tired of being a scofflaw.

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  • Realist biker December 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Brian,
    I understand your confusion, how can I critique and support an organization at the same time? We're in a tough situation where people that dont understand the nature of "legacy" clubs like PUMP, that never intended to be advocates, it's what happens in a volunteer club who relies on membership. How can anybody achieve major results with only volunteers to work with? The uninformed public would natually assume this as a result. If the public doesnt see the obvious need to support the existing groups then maybe a group representing all factions should be put together as a central focus group. Results do need to happen, I hope we can focus on the correct issues.

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  • Brian December 31, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    I'm with ya Realist Biker. I have been reading the listserve and forums on the PUMP website, and some members of PUMP seem to think a central group is a good idea too. There has been some great ideas posted there too, particularly by a fellow named Ted.
    One large group, with separate subgroups to address different needs, seems to make the most sense. We have to unite, and as soon as possible! I'm ready to get my hands dirty, and I think so are MANY fellow riders in the area. I'm looking forward to hearing what comes about after PUMP's next meeting.

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  • Anonymous January 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    John
    December 27th, 2008 12:12

    How about an update on the number of cyclists joining the FPC since the original appeal to do so was made?

    Anybody there?

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  • John January 3, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    John
    December 27th, 2008 12:12
    120

    How about an update on the number of cyclists joining the FPC since the original appeal to do so was made?

    Anybody there?

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  • Realist biker January 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Portland, welcome to 2009! My goal is 2009 is going to be "mine". We should all do something for ourselves and others around us to make 2009 a year to be proud of. Let's start this year with new focus, the process must move to the next level. It will only do that with true community cooperation, we all need to step up with our donations of time, focused effort, and most of all money! Yes, unfortunately money(memberships) will give the tools for success. Come on people, let's get together and make changes, changes that everyone will enjoy.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) January 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    re: how many people have joined.

    The holidays have made it tough to follow-up on this story, but rest assured that we'll be covering this issue closely ASAP.

    thanks for your interest.

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  • Scooter January 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Here is a survey FPC has just releases. Express your wishes for more singletrack in FP.
    http://org2.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=FkQL61xMjQc4z2VHI%2F77zINK%2BEaxGK5j

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  • Lanny January 9, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I've run, hiked and biked in the park for 20 years and worked with PUMP and Friends of Forest Park off and on along with working with the City Parks folks off and on. It's frustrating that over 20 years... very little progress has been made.

    What we really need is a "bike trail" that runs parallel to Wildwood all the way out. How much impact to wildlife could there be by a bike trail that stays within 50 yards of the existing trail. You could make it one way going out and bikers could come back in on Leif if that was needed for safety.

    Bike advocates should promote this idea and see if we can get answers from folks as to what needs to be done to make this happen. I fail to see how any reasonable person could argue against this type of proposal.

    I agree with a previous poster that way too many "car trips" are made from Portland to Mountain biking trails just to get some trail riding in when we could all hope on our bikes and pedal power our way into the park.

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  • pedestrian January 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    What all of the bikers need to realize is that Wildwood is a pedestrian-only trail because it cannot maintain the deep, scarring tracks that bike tires make. Bikers who are illegally riding Wildwood now are causing so much erosion that parts of the trail are already sliding down the hillside.

    As technology strengthens its grip, nature is viewed less as a sovereign entity and more of a tool (at best) or an enemy (typically). I imagine within two years, the entire trail will be completely destroyed. It obviously can't take bike traffic, but there's a large enough group of people encouraging each other (like on this forum, for example) to ride it that traffic will only increase. Portland Parks doesn't have the manpower to patrol it, so they just get to keep it, and it's a big F-OFF to all the runners and hikers. I noticed a "Pedestrians Only" sign that I haven't seen before, and it's already almost completely unscrewed from the tree it was on. Anything mentioning "No Bikes" is completely defaced.

    Way to go, Portland bikers. You're ruining the trail for the rest of us non-biking citizens, ruining the trail for the wildlife and eventually even for yourselves when the entire trail collapses.

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  • velocipede January 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Pedestrian, you seem to be under the impression that the "Portland bikers" you refer to are (a) all scofflaws who would ride the Wildwood illegally, and; (b) not also avid hikers of the Wildwood. Speaking only for myself, I can assure you that neither of those are true.

    I am like the vast majority of mountain bikers in Portland in that I would never ride on the Wildwood. Also, I love to hike there.

    I do have one question for you though: If the mtn bikers really are ruining the Wildwood, why not let them have their own damn trails?

    Sometimes, when people get stonewalled for 20 years, they adopt guerilla tactics. I'm not defending it, only pointing out that there's an obvious solution here, one that allows a park that's owned by everybody to be used properly by everybody.

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  • muddyfeet January 19, 2009 at 10:43 am

    There's no reason mountain bikers shouldn't have their own single-track in Forest Park. But in the meantime, you realize that it's not the fault of hikers and runners that the Wildwood wasn't built to withstand mountain bikes, right? There's a bizarre current throughout many of these comments that directs the anger and frustration at a lack of bike-specific single-track toward non-bikers, for some reason.

    Loving the trail and not wanting it destroyed doesn't mean hikers hate bikers. Along with running on Wildwood a few times a week, I also spend dozens of hours every year as one of the many volunteers who maintains trails throughout Forest Park, and I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that biking on single-track that wasn't built to withstand it rapidly accelerates trail erosion. It's not an act of defiance toward some oppressive organization; it just damages the trail and makes it dangerous for hikers and runners (particularly when those muddy ruts dry and harden into ankle-rollers), forcing volunteers (if they're even available) to spend far more time than usual attempting to re-grade and support deteriorating trails.

    Bikers and pedestrians aren't polar forces. We all love Forest Park and its trails, and rutting the trail doesn't help anyone's cause. I'm one of the pedestrians who thinks single-track should be constructed for mountain bikes, but the more that people ride Wildwood -- the area around Ridge Trail is currently the most tire-scarred I've seen it in ten years -- the more alone I'm going to be in my opinion.

    Please, please, please be a steward for Portland trails. They're part of what makes Portland great, and together we can keep them healthy for decades to come.

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  • Scooter March 31, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    So did frank meet his goal?

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  • ROB GROW April 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Hey There Mr. Muddyfeet and other naysayer individuals to riding in the park and its original intended uses. Take a ride back in time with me back to the days of Mr. Pittock>you know THE PITTOCK MANSION. Pittock is largely responsible for the park and its trails as he was an original steward for this park because he was AN AVID BIKE RIDER ON THE FOREST PARK TRAILS. Why do people have to stick their heads so far in the sand that they take away from the experiences that were originally intended to be and use BS excuses like 'preservation and conservation' to block what should have always been and should always be>>>>>TRAILS OPEN TO PUBLIC USE FOR NON-MOTORIZED ACTIVITY! Sure we will be happy with a portion of the park exclusively for mountainbiking although the truest reality is that this entire park was intended to be ridden and ridden hard. Pittock was also an original member of Mazamas>dude tore it up. Anybody that believes 2wheels gliding across the earth are any more impactful than stomping feet needs to travel the hundreds of miles in Central Oregon or make a trek up to Whistler so they can realize their foundation of rationalization is simply a LOAD OF CRAP. MAKE IT HAPPEN. Peace

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