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Mountain bike group signs historic agreement with Oregon State Parks

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 25th, 2010 at 10:32 am

Portland-based mountain bike advocacy group Northwest Trail Alliance has signed what they are calling a "landmark agreement" with Oregon State Parks. The agreement -- the first of its kind between the agency and a user group -- gives the NWTA the authority to design, build and maintain a network of new mountain bike-specific trails in L.L. Stub Stewart State Park (in western Washington County about 30 miles west of Portland).

The agreement is welcome news for the NWTA, who just last month found themselves having to respond to an illegal mountain bike trail that was discovered in Forest Park.

NWTA president Tom Archer said this partnership is important on several fronts. Not only will it allow them more autonomy to design and build maintain bike trails in the park, but it could be a template for similar agreements with other public agencies:

"We see this as a mechanism that we can use to approach other land managers, both public and private... The fact that the agreement has been vetted by the State of Oregon's Attorney General Office should give other potential partners a lot of confidence from a liability standpoint."

For Oregon State Parks, this type of partnership allows them to create and maintain new trail opportunities for a fraction of the cost of doing it themselves. In addition to saving money in a time of very constrained budgets, Archer says it's also an acknowledgment that mountain biking is growing in popularity. "There's a growing recognition on the part of land managers that this is a sport that's growing and the facilities haven't kept pace."

When all the work is done, Stub Stewart State Park will have 3.5 miles of mountain bike specific single track trail. Check out NW-Trail.org for more info and details on upcoming trail work parties.


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  • sh March 25, 2010 at 11:12 am

    A very meaningful 3.5 mile step for mountain biking; great work NTA!

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  • Pete Cornell March 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Archer says it’s also an acknowledgment that mountain biking is growing in popularity. “There’s a growing recognition on the part of land managers that this is a sport that’s growing and the facilities haven’t kept pace.”

    Mountain biking has been an Olympic sport since 2000 - the fact that mountain bikers have to jump through this many hoops shows that most land managers are way out of touch. My congratulations and thanks to NWTA; it shouldn't have to be so hard.

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  • Joe R March 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    There's 15+ miles of shared use trail in the park as well. Much of it natural surface.

    Great destination for heading out for ride with family.

    Several day use areas and hundreds of campsites and some cabins too.

    Best to park at Buxton trailhead on Banks-Vernonia trail and ride couple miles to park then up on Hares Canyon trail. Once mtb zone trails are opened then you'd be able to ride the singletrack loop and back out to Buxton.

    This route includes mix of paved, gravel paths, and natural surface trails. Nice variety for beginners to start to stretch their skills.

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  • Scott Mizée March 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Congratulations NTA! This is great news!

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  • Coaster March 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks NWTA!
    I'm really pleased to see all the great progress made after the re-organization of PUMP. I feel like I have real MTB advocates working on my behalf on so many projects now; LL Stub, Sandy Ridge, Forest Park, Gateway Green... Perhaps we should start a new (in city) project to help retain our Platinum Status? Something like Seattles' "Colonnade Park"?... I'm off to renew my membership now....

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  • twilliam March 25, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Is Tom Archer at all related to Sterling Archer?

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  • Joe R March 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Joe Rykowski
    Date: Thursday, March 25, 2010
    Subject: Re: stub stewart agreement
    To: Jonathan Maus
    Cc: kris@nw-trail.org, Tom@nw-trail.org, toms@nw-trail.org

    the following are my unvetted and candid remarks.   I'll leave the
    official statements to Tom or Kris.

    I can give you a trail project update as one of the co-trail stewards
    for this project.   John Joy is other involved volunteer co-trail
    steward.

    There are volunteer work parties scheduled up on nw-trail.org event
    calendar.  Sign-in to site, then choose event you'd like to help at,
    and click sign up.  Nice to know how many tools and snacks to provide.

    It's a lot of fun working side by side with other mountain bike riders
    to build singletrack specifically for mountain biking.  Each work
    party will include a "door prize" drawing (items donated by NWTA
    sponsors) - this Saturday we will be drawing for tickets (donated by
    Pedal Nation) to Portland premiere of Follow Me movie.  There's also
    optional meetup afterwards at a campsite, and volunteers who want to
    camp can have their fee waived (contact park Welcome Center for
    details and to reserve your campsite).

    This spring, our focus is on finishing a short initial crosscounty
    loop at north end of park.  1.5 miles of singletrack for loop.  Later
    this summer/fall, another 2 to 3 miles will be built from south end of
    park to connect with initial north loop.   There's also  currently
    more than 15 miles of shared use trail on the ground in the park
    already with much of it natural surface.

    The mountain biking area of park and singletrack trails are not yet
    named but hope to reveal names during a special event memorial day
    weekend as part of work party/group ride for local riders and
    volunteers.

    Westside Trail Federation is also on track to have a freeride skill
    area project approved for construction this year.

    Both the NWTA proposed XC trails and WTF Freeride skill area are pilot
    projects under OPRD draft policy for proponent groups.  I'm naturally
    stoked to have opportunity to construct singletrack trails which are
    designed and built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers!
    This certainly didn't happen overnight and it's been a long 3 year planning
    process (just for the mtb zone trails).  Now that there is proponent
    volunteer group framework in place I'd expect other projects within
    State Parks to flow easier from proposal to design to construction and
    maintenance.

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  • Tom March 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you, thank you.
    This is a win for everyone! and we will see you on the trails.

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  • Oliver March 26, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Thanks NWTA and all others involved in getting this area off the ground. I'm really excited to get out there and ride.

    Thanks again.

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  • John Lascurettes March 26, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Cool. I'm headed out to LL Stub Stewart's cabins this weekend. I'll envision MTB trails while I'm there. :)

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  • matt picio March 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Joe R (#3) - Even better, MAX out to Hillsboro and ride low-traffic streets to the Banks-Vernonia trail and to the park. No car involved. (granted, it's a bit more effort - 22 miles one-way, but for an enthusiastic cyclist, it's quite fun)

    John (#10) The cabins are great, hope you enjoy them. Stub is one of the underadvertised gems of bikeability in the state park system.

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  • rwl1776 March 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Coaster: It WAS PUMP who attended the LL Stub Stewart planning meetings WAY back in 2004 and 2005. If it wasn't for PUMP, there would be no language in the Park Plan approving mountain bike trails AND technical trail features. We showed up and made sure MTBers access needs were recognized.

    I would all thank Ric Balfour, former IMBA Trail Care Crew Member and PUMP Board Member for getting PUMP involved. MANY huge thanks are due for Joe Rykowski's awesome enthusiasm, hard work and for taking the reins out there.

    Kepp up the good work, NWTA.

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  • DK March 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Nice work NWTA!

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  • Coaster March 29, 2010 at 10:23 am

    rwl1776,

    I do thank PUMP! and Ric and Joe for all their great work. I know it was PUMP that got this started, and I'm glad to see that the group, despite the name change, has been able to forge forward and make great progress.

    With a name change, I was worried there would be an identity crisis and all that work would be lost... but it appears to be the opposite, things are getting better and going quicker.

    thanks everyone!

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  • Kris Schamp (Northwest Trail Alliance) March 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    rwl17776: Thanks for the nod to Ric Balfour, Joe and all the other unsung PUMP folks.

    It might seem ironic that Ric moved overseas before he got to see all his hard work come to fruition, but it just goes to illustrate that MTB advocacy - like most grassroots advocacy efforts - commands a lot of patience and stamina.

    And the continuous influx of fresh blood is an important element to keep the heat up an the progress going. One more reason for offroad cyclists of all colors and stripes to consider joining Northwest Trail Alliance. With a bunch of new local and regional trail development opportunities on the horizon, we really can use all the help we can get.

    PS: Our upcoming Portland Trail Fest will (4/22) be an excellent opportunity for folks to learn more about what NWTA and IMBA are all about and how you can get involved: http://www.nw-trail.org/trailfest

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