Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 17th, 2009 at 9:45 am
gearing up for a day of trail
work in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus)
This Saturday, trails throughout Forest Park will be full of mountain bikers. Is it a rogue protest for equal access? No. The off-road riding enthusiasts will have their hands on shovels and pick-axes, not on their handlebars. They'll be putting in sweat equity to maintain trails as part of Forest Park's second annual Day of Stewardship. The event is hosted by the Forest Park Conservancy.
With excitement building around the idea of increased access for bicycles in the park, advocates hope for a big turnout.
With a a push started back in December to have more of a presence in the Forest Park Conservancy, the Portland United Mountain Pedalers -- a group that has recently gone through a major overhaul -- sees this event as a way for cyclists to stand up and be counted as productive members of the trail community that do their part to support and maintain the park.
In a flyer for the event sent to local mountain bikers, advocates wrote:
"Yes, there are a lot of people sitting on the sidelines until they get some more access, but there are also a lot of people that have been working in the park all along. It turns out we haven't done a good job publicizing ourselves as cyclists, so there is a perception that we (cyclists) aren't involved in the park in any positive way. It should be easy to change that perspective, and we're getting it started now."
PUMP and other advocates see this event not only as good PR for mountain bikers, but as a way to show that increased access for bikes in the park comes with more hands and labor to maintain the trails. That sentiment is also shared by Parks Commissioner Nick Fish, who sees increased bike access as a way to make more Portlanders feel invested in the park.
Fish and his staff plan to hold a meeting with PUMP and other riding advocates in early April to discuss the access issue.
At the FPC's stewardship event, work parties will split up into various sites throughout the park to focus on habitat restoration, clearing non-native invasive species and planting native trees and shrubs. Pre-registration is encouraged so organizers know how many tools to bring. A party and raffle (with prizes from Patagonia, Keen, and others) is planned at the Lucky Lab after the event.
Here are more details:
Forest Park Day of Stewardship
Sat. March 21st 9am-1pm
Four different worksites
See details and pre-register online (organizers say to note yourself as a "cyclist" when pre-registering)