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Conservancy reports Land Rovers drove on Forest Park trails

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 7th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

PUMP's Forest Park Mountain Bike Tour
In Forest Park, near location where Land
Rovers were spotted.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Back in February, dogged by intense media attention and reprimand from Portland Parks & Recreation, mountain bike advocates were forced to defend an illegal trail that was discovered in Forest Park.

Now comes word that a pair of Land Rover SUVs were caught illegally driving on a trail in Forest Park and it's likely that you haven't even heard about it.

According to Stephen Hatfield with the Forest Park Conservancy, on March 17th one of their board members, Barbara Nelson, was running on the upper section of the Saltzman Road fire lane when she heard a strange sound. Hatfield says, "She happened to hear some activity over the side of the trail and she looked over the edge and there were two Land Rovers on a connector trail - a short piece of single track."

Hatfield says the Land Rovers must have gotten around the closed gate on Saltzman Road just below Skyline Blvd. and they were trying to drive down the trail. "As to why they were trying to do it I have no idea."

Hatfield thinks one of the vehicles got stuck in a hole and the second one was trying to winch it free. He also says that Nelson tried to engage the drivers and they initially tried to lie to her. "Their initial response was, 'It's cool, we're with Friends of Forest Park and we're doing maintenance and there's nothing to worry about."

Nelson called them on the lie (not only is she a board member of the Conservancy, but they haven't been known as the Friends of Forest Park for years), and they quickly admitted they were busted. According to Hatfield, Nelson called the Conservancy office and they dispatched their trail crew to check it out. Meanwhile, another runner called the cops.

But, says Hatfield, "By the time our trail crew got back and over there they [the Land Rovers] were gone and the cops weren't able to find them."

Portland Parks & Recreation says they're still waiting to confirm that the incident actually occurred. As of this morning, Parks spokesperson Beth Sorensen says "We only have reports of those vehicles as hearsay, third-hand. We don't have any specifics. We'd love to have more info."

Hatfield says a police report was filed in the case. When I mentioned that to Sorensen she hadn't heard of it and checked with Parks' security director Mark Warrington. He said it hadn't come across his desk yet.

Dan Moeller, the natural resource supervisor for the Parks bureau says he didn't notice any major damage from the incident. He also pointed out that Parks trucks sometimes travel near there so it would be difficult to distinguish those tracks from the illegal Land Rover tracks.

In the end, Hatfield says, "It just further indication of the lack of enforcement and lack of full-time staff in the park able to enforce this kind of thing."

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Comments
  • Racer X April 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Those 12 [bike] lane wide trails will always attract more car traffic. ;-)

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  • Rich, Your Neighbor April 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Nobody thought to get a license plate number? Hey, where were the fellas from Rubicon-Orbea on this day?! :P

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  • Jackattak April 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    OK wait a second this Conservancy board member, Nelson, took the time to engage these idiots and didn't get the plates? I'm assuming she didn't anyway as these fools would've been arrested/apprehended, right?

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  • matt picio April 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    There are still people out on the trail without a cellphone camera?

    I don't want to cast aspersions on Ms. Nelson - I've not met her to my knowledge, and I don't know how the Forest Park Conservancy operates - but it seems like there's a lot of reports suddenly about illegal trail use, right when discussion is happening about access to the park.

    I'll take this opportunity to reiterate a point I made in a prior story on Forest Park. A park is intended for accesss and public use - the proper designation for land reserved for conservation is a refuge. Portland has them, and if the city wants to preserve the natural character of some or all of Forest Park, they need to designate part or all of it as a refuge, and manage the rest of the park AS A PARK.

    These classifications exist for a reason, and they should be used rather than creating special-case scenarios or encouraging those who live adjacent to the property to consider it as their own private backyard.

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  • Stig10 April 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Why is this being posted on BP? Land Rovers are not bikes. Have there been any studies that show that cars do more damage to trails than bikes?

    /s

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  • wsbob April 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Mr. Picio, how have you come to the notion that 'park' precludes the ability of land set aside within city limits, to allow both access and public use, and provide for refuge and conservation as well?

    The words 'park', 'refuge', and conservation are not mutually exclusive terms when the land so designated is deliberately intended to be a natural area. There are certain kinds of human activity allowed by the public on these lands on a case by case basis.

    Boneheads driving their Land Rover SUV's onto trails not marked for motor vehicle use are not part of that deal.

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  • Dave April 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Amazing. I can understand thinking you'd get away with poaching a trail on your mtb, and I can almost understand thinking you'd get away with building a trail out in the nw end of the park, but driving a LR down saltzman? That's ballsy.

    Wonder what they were in exactly - some of the true off-road capable LR's are pretty rare anymore. Might be entirely possible to track them down just on descriptions of the two vehicles.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Stig10,

    i posted this because I thought it would make for an interesting comparison to the illegal mtb trail incident. Also, it speaks to an issue that is gaining steam in the Forest Park advocacy community that they need more money for enforcement (a big part of that thought also has to do with bike access).

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  • Aaronf April 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    See, illegal driving will continue on forest park trails until politicians and land use wonks wake up and realize that Portland needs to provide facilities for these folks so they can drive around up in forest park. Try and tell me that doesn't sound fun.

    Besides, off leash dogs are a bigger problem anyway, so the point is mute.

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  • beth h April 7, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    @ #4:

    "There are still people out on the trail without a cellphone camera?"

    Yes.

    Some of us still live without a cell phone, a Twitter or Facebook account, and are happy to do so. Amazingly, some of us don't even watch television anymore. Crazy, huh?

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  • Psyfalcon April 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    #7

    If you get a SUV stuck on Saltzman... it is not anything close to an off road vehicle. As the article says, they send work trucks up it.

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  • Jen April 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    but were they wearing helmets?

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  • Anonymous April 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    "mountain bike advocates were forced to defend an illegal trail that was discovered in Forest Park. "

    How was anybody forced to defend an illegal trail?

    From what I saw, the majority of mountain bikers did anything but defend the trail.

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  • Jason VH April 7, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Great post. I love how the media went crazy over a social trail and rocks placed in a stream, but homeless individuals living by and peeing and crapping in said stream isn't worth reporting on. And now SUVs are driving in this "Pristine" park, and it doesn't even get a nod.

    Is it just me, or are there strong anti-mountain bike interests at work here? Apparently they own the local mainstream media.

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  • Burk April 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    "Yes.

    Some of us still live without a cell phone, a Twitter or Facebook account, and are happy to do so. Amazingly, some of us don't even watch television anymore. Crazy, huh?"

    So your posting about your rejection of technology.... on the internet? I support your choices but for some reason my brain hurts now....

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  • Blah Blah Blah April 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    They must have been mt bikers shuttling that illegal trail.

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  • thumb April 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    um, a land rover on the short piece of connector singletrack off saltzman??? how does a large motor vehicle fit in between those trees?
    and just how did said motor vehicles get past the gate? does not compute. pictures don't lie, too bad there aren't any.

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  • thumb April 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    um, a land rover on the short piece of connector singletrack off saltzman??? how does a large motor vehicle fit in between those trees?
    and just how did said motor vehicles get past the gate? does not compute. pictures don't lie, too bad there aren't any.

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  • lIsa April 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Jason at #14: What is a "social trail" and is it different from an unapproved and illegally built trail?

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  • nigl groundwater April 7, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Burk,

    I side with Beth(#10). She doesn't claim to reject technology but appears to intelligently be selective about the technology she allows to intermediate her interaction with the rest of the world. BP may be bannered with an increasing number of advertisements but it still bears no relation to television. And cell phones...Well the idea of this being a necessity escapes me as well.

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  • Barney April 7, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Jason #14

    Great to point out the double standards in play here. Wait, I ride Lief Ericson occasionally and have pee'd in the stream too. I guess I can make an exception for myself though!

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  • [...] a social trail in Forest Park, (although it is apparently easy to poach trails in the park in an SUV. We’ve got Police on the search for mountain bikers with hoodies for putting rocks in a [...]

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  • Frank Selker April 8, 2010 at 12:39 am

    I want to support and work the the FPC, but this story reinforces the impression that I have reluctantly come to over the past 18 months: Their primary focus is protecting their pedestrian-member-contributors' experience.

    Sure the wacko's driving there should be busted, but this bizzare and flukey incident isn't a threat to the park! They can't even identify tracks among all the tracks already there from 'friendly' trucks.

    It's part of the recent patter to justify more enforcement of the status-quo - which incidentally does not include bikes getting time on trails. Instead of spending to improve the park, they would spend the next $85,000 per yr - from a WOEFULLY underfunded Parks department (capitalized, that's like devoting over $2,000,000 of bond money) -keeping "the gem that is Forest Park" firmly and exclusively on their own finger. They would turn away support - ivy-pullers, trail-workers, money, new people enthusiastic about Parks bonds - rather than see it change.

    Let me share a little story. Soon after starting this effort, I confided to Stephen at the FPC that the lumber at the intersection of Leif and Saltzman was fun for cyclists. Although it had been there for a very long time, it suddenly dissapeared. Did it hurt the park or anyone that we would stop for a few minutes of balancing fun in a gravel clearing where roads meet? No, but it's not the right kind of fun for Forest Park.

    They have done TONS of great stuff over the years and they have great people on thier staff and Board. But I would like them to be user-neutral and more focused on the health and condition of the park (experts put invasive plants at the top of the list, not rogue cyclists or Land Rovers) than on a particular and non-inclusive vision for how it should be enjoyed.

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  • wsbob April 8, 2010 at 1:05 am

    "i posted this because I thought it would make for an interesting comparison to the illegal mtb trail incident. ..." maus #8

    Let's see how it might compare:

    How common might it be for people to be illegally driving their SUV's onto Forest Park trails? How common might it be for people to be illegally taking their bikes onto Forest Park trails?

    Which of the two types of illegal usages might be tend to be greater in number than the other?

    I'm going to guess that instances of illegally taking bikes onto park trails number greater than SUV's on park trails. Anyone else want to guess?

    People shouldn't be operating vehicles on trails unauthorized for such use in the park. How about a policy to deal with that?

    'Unauthorized use of a vehicle in the park results in automatic forfeiture of said vehicle, to be sold at auction with proceeds deposited into the city general fund.'

    Snagging a couple newer Land Rovers could drop a nice little pot of cash into the general fund. Got to hold them though, once they've been spotted. Parks didn't do so good on that count with this incident.

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  • Bjorn April 8, 2010 at 7:43 am

    @23 amen to that Frank, I gave money when you started forward on it but as I started to interact with folks it became clear that they really aren't interested in any kind of compromise. It was to the point where when the mountain biking trail thing came out my initial suspicion was that one of the hikers only folks built the trail to disrupt the process for bikes, in the end I think the trail was probably built by bikers, but found much earlier than when the info was released. They sat on it until they could make the biggest splash/disruption with it because they don't want anyone else to touch what they view as their private park.

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Re #23 & #25: Exactly. I'm glad people are finally willing to call a spade a spade on this. The FPC people hate mtn bikers and cannot even be honest about it. Their passive-aggresiveness and lies are shameful.

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  • RWL1776 April 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

    #24 wsbob: they don't have the resources to write tickets for humans allowing their dogs to run offleash; the revenue in one week from these tickets would easily cover the yearly salary of an enforcement officer. How would they find the resources to track down the rare vehicle encroachment?

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  • SkidMark April 8, 2010 at 9:30 am

    beth h: you might wish you had a cell phone if you ever got lost or injured in the woods.

    wsbob: You must admit that a 4-wheel drive truck is going to do more damage to a singletrack trail than the occasional MTB illegal trail user.

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  • Jason VH April 8, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Lisa @#19:
    A social trail is the term land managers use for any trail that was not designed previous to being created. Social trails can be started by animals walking through the bushes, and further developed by the users that follow. For example, if you were to hike off trail, and enough people followed your tracks, you just created a social trail.

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  • lIsa April 8, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for the clarification of the term.

    Have you seen the unauthorized trail in question? I wonder if you would continue to call it a social trail.

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  • wsbob April 8, 2010 at 10:12 am

    "...the revenue in one week from these tickets would easily cover the yearly salary of an enforcement officer. ..." RWL1776

    RWL...forward your thought about this to Parks Commissioner Fish and the Forest Park Conservancy. I think that's an excellent idea. Resources to track down the rare vehicle encroachment? The resources were there in the form of park users with watchful eyes. That's a very inexpensive resource. The problem was that someone did not think to get a license number or a cell phone pic of the SUV illegally on the trail.

    "... wsbob: You must admit that a 4-wheel drive truck is going to do more damage to a singletrack trail than the occasional MTB illegal trail user. ..." SkidMark

    No question about that, and it shouldn't be allowed to happen. One point of the comparison I suggested was that it seems that instances of SUV tresspass onto park trails are very rare, while the same by bikes on park trails aren't.

    Some of you other folks seem to have a very bad case of sour grapes. Portland Parks, The Forest Park Conservancy, and countless private individuals and groups represent the general interest of the public with respect to maintaining the park's health and beauty so that it can be used by everyone.

    You're apparently determined not to be happy unless the park is divided to serve your own particular special interest. As you wish.

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  • Frank Selker April 8, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Maybe we should have the city confiscate cars when their meter expires, confiscate dogs that are off-leash, and confiscate people's shoes and clothing if they walk on the unauthorized trails in the park. Why not go after their houses too? The potential is endless, really.

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  • Stephen Hatfield - Forest Park Conservancy April 8, 2010 at 11:01 am

    @Frank: Jonathan opted to write this article, not FPC. In any case, yes - we are certainly concerned when Land Rovers are found driving on single track trails in Forest Park. Unfortunately, it illuminates one of the greatest challenges facing Forest Park right now: current enforcement efforts are woefully underfunded, and therefore quite inadequate. Portland Parks has only one full-time ranger for their entire system of 250+ parks. Forest Park is merely 1 of 250 parks, and at 5,000 acres you can imagine the inherent difficulty in enforcing existing regulations.

    What FPC has said all along is this. If, after formal evaluation, there is wide agreement that it makes sense to increase single-track mountain biking access in Forest Park (and it is important to note that this is not FPC's decision to make - we are not able to establish, alter or enforce any regulations for Forest Park), FPC's strong preference would be to see a new trail constructed - a sustainable single-track trail that is designed and built with mountain bikes in mind, sited in an area of Forest Park that makes sense with consideration for the ecological health/sensitivity and overall biodiversity. For a variety of reasons too long to list here, we have never been in support of trail sharing the Wildwood or Maple trails. We made this very clear in the white paper, and our position has never changed. It is not about "protecting (the) pedestrian-member-contributors' experience", as Frank suggests. Our primary interest lies not with any recreational user group, but with the natural resource first and foremost - that is absolutely our first priority, which is not to say that recreational use cannot be compatible. Hopefully, all of our members - mountain bikers included - would agree with that approach.

    Frank and others are quick to express disappointment in our efforts, but we have been working with Tom Archer and other NWTA efforts for more than three years to work toward a compromise. We launched the white paper effort in an attempt to engage mountain bikers, to sit down at the table together and work in partnership. Regardless of what many will think and say, we have come a long way in that time - and the work is not yet finished. I have been telling folks for years that any progress is going to require a long-term concerted effort. Forest Park remains an incredibly unique natural resource - we must adhere to the Forest Park Natural Resource Management Plan, and beyond that, the precautionary principle must apply. Any and all change in Forest Park, not just that related to mountain biking, often takes many years - including pre-approved projects. Unfortunately, many mountain bike advocates (I certainly don't include Tom in this) have not been willing to listen or fully engage with a long-term approach. Rather, they only appear to be interested a short-term fix, even if it is against the best long-term interests of the natural resource, and anything less is viewed as a disappointment. Apparently, it is much easier to paint FPC and others as obstructionist. I'll say it again: this has never been about any particular user group - it is about Forest Park. We would not endorse expansion of the recreational footprint for any user group without careful consideration.

    If anything, I would argue that Frank's insistence on pursuing trail sharing on the Maple Trail - against the interests of the vast majority of the committee members representing other user groups from the outset - diverted much of the committee's energy toward the most contentious topic, rather than applying it toward solutions. Now that trail sharing isn't going to happen, it is convenient to point the finger of blame at FPC - despite the fact that our position has never changed. And beyond that, the off-road cycling committee is in fact recommending that a new single-track trail several miles in length be constructed, along with opportunities to narrow and re-green several firelanes to improve the user experience. In other words, there is a very good chance that we will be adding to the 27 miles of trail/road currently open to bicycles in Forest Park, and, significantly increasing the single-track mileage at the same time. Instead of celebrating this progress, which represents the full consensus of all committee members, Frank and others want to focus on disappointment and revert to the tired old approach of labeling FPC, Portland Parks and Audubon as obstructionist. It is unfortunate, to say the least.

    One final note for Frank: the removal of the lumber had nothing to do with your mention of it as a source of fun - I never mentioned that to anyone. The lumber is periodically stored there for trail projects, and was used in the repair of a number of bridges.

    @a.O. and @Bjorn: Your comments, in regard this this article and numerous others I have about mountain biking in Forest Park on bikeportland.org, are ridden with assumptions - which isn't generally helpful for moving the dialogue forward. I'm sorry you are so entrenched in your views, and I imagine there is little hope of changing your minds. In any case, I don't expect to be able to do it with a blog comment. As such, I welcome you - and anyone else - to contact me directly. My number is below.

    Thanks,
    Stephen Hatfield
    Stewardship Director
    Forest Park Conservancy
    503-223-5449 x. 104

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  • matt picio April 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

    wsbob (#6) - My opinion, mostly. You are, of course, welcome to disagree. While the terms are not mutually exclusive, the common interpretation of "park" prioritizes recreation. One could also argue that since a "refuge" has specific legal connotations requiring the prioritization of conservation over recreation, that "park" should prioritize recreation over conservation. I would in fact argue that very point. While a park needs to be managed to preserve recreational characteristics for future users, conservation of wildlife should not be the primary concern.

    If conservation is the priority for Forest Park, then it should be given a designation that reflects that. Park in my opinion isn't it.

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  • matt picio April 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

    "Park" in the last sentence should be in quotes.

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

    @ #33:

    Stephen, Why would I want to contact you directly? So you can say you are "engaging" mtn bikers in your "process" and have more evidence to support your false assertions that you are "moving the dialogue forward"? No thanks. I am not interested in continuing to enable your obstructionism.

    You and the FPC are a joke. You have delayed and distracted on this issue for years. You have disingenuously engaged stakeholders and have negotiated and discussed this issue in bad faith all to show advocates of mtn bike access that, no matter what tactics they try, no matter what requests they make, you will study and study it to death, talk about it endlessly, without any concrete action. Any change in the status quo is always put off. Your hope that people will get fed up with your endless "process" has worked, as you point out. People call you obstructionist because that is exactly what you have been.

    And you have done a great job of giving the impression to those who are not intimately fammiliar with the 20-year ongoing "process" of getting mtn bike access in FP that you are the ones who are open to talking and just want to engage in a dialogue and fully understand the issues and impacts. But all those who get involved see the same thing: The dialogue you invite is actually a tactic well-designed to produce endless delay until people realize that you have no interest nor intention of being part of a real process or a real solution.

    I am sorry you are so entrenched in your tactics and unwilling to admit your real views on this issue. When there is single-track mtn bike access in FP, it will be in spite of you and not because of you.

    And I am looking forward to that day not only because I will finally be able to engage in another sustainable, low-impact use of my park but also because I will not have to listen to your passive-aggressive BS any more.

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  • Aaronf April 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Stephen Hatfield says:

    "If anything, I would argue that Frank's insistence on pursuing trail sharing on the Maple Trail - against the interests of the vast majority of the committee members representing other user groups from the outset - diverted much of the committee's energy toward the most contentious topic, rather than applying it toward solutions."

    So you're saying the problem with trail sharing is that a majority of the committee members don't want to share.

    I'm glad everyone can agree on that!

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    @#36

    a.O., those are some pretty strong assertions from someone who isn't even willing to attach their own name and take responsibility for what amounts to a character attack via blog post. As far as I know, you and I have never met - and certainly haven't worked together extensively; so for you to draw conclusions and make public accusations about me and/or my work based on second hand accounts speaks volumes about your character.

    Perhaps you didn't read the entirety of my post. It is likely that single-track access in Forest Park will be expanded, soon, a decision that was a consensus agreement of all committee members - myself included.

    I'll repeat my earlier comment here. In other words, there is a very good chance that we will be adding to the 27 miles of trail/road currently open to bicycles in Forest Park, and, significantly increasing the single-track mileage at the same time. Instead of celebrating this progress, which represents the full consensus of all committee members, Frank and others want to focus on disappointment and revert to the tired old approach of labeling FPC, Portland Parks and Audubon as obstructionist. It is unfortunate, to say the least.

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Stephen, my name is Chris Heaps. I have followed this process quite closely since I moved to the Portland area in 1999 and I know several people involved in the process. You do not know me, but I have talked with you in-person and I have been to various meetings where you and your ilk pretend to give mtn bike access a fair shake. ***deleted by moderator***


    a.O, please knock off the personal attacks on Stephen. Your disagreements are fine, but there's no need for the profanity and other direct stuff going on. I've had three complaints made to me about this already. Thank you for your continued participation in this discussion. -- Jonathan

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  • Brian April 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I think the words "there's a very good chance" is what most of us are concerned about. It's been 20 years in the making. Without trailsharing, I don't see this happening. Altering firelanes will not create singletrack for two reasons-
    1. ATV's still need to get through
    2. $$

    Creating new singletrack won't happen unless there is a huge private donation. The money for completing the environmental impact studies, and actual trail creation, isn't going to come from a strapped PP & R. I, for one, am hugely disappointed that the one easy way to quickly accommodate all trail users, and benefit the park, is to share. If FPC wants what is best for the park, then I am disappointed that all of the resources that come with the mountain bike community are not being utilized. Instead, it feels like we are begin turned away-again. You will have to excuse those of us looking for a short term fix (in addition to long term solutions), but we we told that that was what will be happening when Nick Fish began this process. Unfortunately, the committee is not sticking to finding that promised short term fix. I am blown away that a few people on this committee cannot agree to a day specific, trail-sharing compromise on the Maple Trail. I have spent many hours riding in the park over the last 12 years. I have never seen a single person on the Maple Trail.

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  • redhippie April 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Amen a.O.

    Another question. How do we know that they were actually "Land Rovers"? Most rover owners I know either can afford the $50 to $80k for a newer one, or are afficiando's who spend a lot of time and money to maintaine and restore their babies. Not the typical demographic to do something so highly stupid and irresponsible.

    I would more visualize some kids in jeeps or other SUVs. I do notice that some folks tend to classify all SUVs as Land Rovers or Land Cruisers.

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Jonathan, the problem is that Stephen's and other FPC members' dishonesty and bad faith discussion with respect to mtn bike access, unfortunately, is the issue. It is the issue raised by Frank, Bjorn, and, as Stephen says, many others. And it is the issue that Stephen himself responded to. So when he comes here and defends himself against those accusations, it is perfectly on topic and not a personal attack to say that my considered opinion, based on talking with and listening to Stephen Hatfield, is that he has been dishonest, intentionally obfscutory, and not genuinely interested in allowing mtn bike access in FP. If that suits you better if I say it that way rather than saying he is full of it, then that's fine by me.

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Chris, I don't expect to be able to please everyone, and it's obvious that I won't be able to live up to your expectations. Beyond that, I make an easy target for your frustration and disappointment. So be it.

    You and others are frustrated - I hear that loud and clear. The effort to gain single-track may go back 20 years, but my direct involvement with FPC only goes back 4+ years - so I can't speak to the previous history, beyond hearing anecdotal reports from both sides. All I know is that when I came on with FPC I made a concerted effort to wipe the slate clean. I have spent a lot of time on this issue over the past few years - reaching out, trying to move past any adversarial history and ideally, working together to find solutions. And, though you clearly don't want to believe it, being an obstructionist has never been on my agenda.

    I personally secured permits for the Firelane 5 extension, and coordinated all funding, design and construction efforts for the trail, which was built by FPC's field crew with some great help from IMBA (Ric Balfour) and PUMP volunteers. Once the trail was completed, FPC has coordinated regular work parties for PUMP and NWTA volunteers. And soon, we shifted our focus to the white paper effort - which led to Parks implementing the off-road cycling committee.

    Progress is slow, I will grant you that - but we are finally gaining some traction. And while the short-term solutions may not match up with your expectations, it seems a bit odd to hold me personally responsible for that. I never framed any expectations for you, and I certainly don't hold the keys to Forest Park policy. Again, that responsibility lies with Nick Fish and Portland Parks & Recreation.

    In any case, I would love to know what your definition of a fair shake looks like. From your posts, it would appear that anything less than opening up existing trails to mountain bikes equates to obstructionism. That is an odd standard to measure progress by. If this was truly about gaining additional single-track access in Forest Park, the end result of the committee's work should be seen as a step forward. It doesn't need to be the final step, unless you and others choose to walk away in disappointment. The choice is yours.

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Yeah, whatever Stephen. Actions speak louder than words. Quit talking and get something done, or at least do us the favor of getting out of the way. The choice is yours.

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  • Aaronf April 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Filibustering works!

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  • Brian April 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Stephen,
    Thank you for your willingness to come here and participate in the discussion. Can you explain to me how you see singletrack happening in FP in the near future given the constraints I have outlined above if sharing is off the table?
    Thanks,
    Brian

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  • Kris April 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    A couple yahoos in Land Rovers are caught where they shouldn't be, causing zero incremental damage? Yup, round up the lynch mob and demand more spending/enforcement.

    Self preservation is the FPC modus operandi. Sign of the times. Wrap it any way you choose (obstructionist v. conservation first, etc.), but economics always has been and always will be the first priority. I, for one, am excited about the renaming of Forest Park to Paul Allen Off-Road Vehicle Park.

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  • matt picio April 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Stephen (#43) - What's the likelihood of a paved multi-use trail through Forest Park from the St. John's bridge to Skyline? Or widening of the existing roads through Forest Park to accommodate bicycles on bike lanes or a shoulder?

    Speaking as a commuter who lives in north Portland and works in Hillsboro, I don't see the FPC, Portland P&R, or any other agency supporting something like that. There will be some uses that the majority will disapprove of that should go forward anyway. The majority opinion should hold sway the majority of the time, not the entirety of the time, and I think that's a big part of the complaints about the process.

    If this were talk about opening the park up to women, or Catholics, or minorities, or gay men, this wouldn't be an issue. I'm not trying to equate bicycling directly to those struggles, just using them to illustrate that the majority opinion is not always the correct one. There are other uses of the park, and while I'm reasonably certain people's requests and views are being heard, I'm less convinced that they are being addressed.

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    a.O.: again, FPC is not empowered to make policy changes. As to my own actions, I'll stand them, thanks. You can spin it any way you want, if it makes you feel better.

    What about you? What have you done to help move the effort forward, apart from posting comments here to perpetuate the myth that FPC is solely interested in maintaining the status quo, and to assert that I have lied and been deceptive, among other unsavory accusations?

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  • [...] Forest Park. A report on recent talks about that issue is forthcoming (but you can get a preview by reading the comments on the Land Rover story published [...]

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  • Scooter April 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I gave to the FPC when Frank had his campaign a while back. I also volenteered doing trail work at the park. Things looked promising for awhile. Now when I get mail asking for money for the FPC I mail it back saying they will get no more of my money till we get more single track.

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    @#47

    Matt, good question. At the most recent off-road cycling committee meeting, I spoke up repeatedly about the need for a cycling connection to the St. Johns Bridge, to improve access and commuting options for N. Portland residents. In fact, I asked that the topic be added to our next agenda - so we are going to re-visit it next week.

    The Westside Trail is another effort that is underway. The trail will ultimately run N-S through the east end of Washington county, before connecting down to the Willamette River. FPC has been working with Metro and Portland Parks to identify a bike connection from Skyline down to the St. Johns Bridge and then on to the 40-mile loop. The question of a paved trail through Forest Park is not an easy one, for obvious reasons, but we have been exploring options.

    For what it's worth, I am an avid cyclist and bike commute year-round. I also live in N. Portland and occasionally commute to work through Forest Park on my cyclocross bike.

    @#46

    Brian, great question - I'll address it in a separate post.

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  • kgb April 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    After surveying the scene it is obvious that the vehicles entered the park to the north of the gate at the top of Saltzman Road. About halfway between the gate you can see where a vehicle drove into the south ditch. Just before the firelane five single track cut over you can see where a vehicle went wide to turn up into the cut over. If your not familiar with this stretch of trail it is packed with oregon grape , ferns and trilliums. It used to be a tight trail but now it looks like a road. You can clearly see the tire paths and many thrashed plants and smashed trilliums.

    I find this statement lacking:
    "Dan Moeller, the natural resource supervisor for the Parks bureau says he didn’t notice any major damage from the incident. He also pointed out that Parks trucks sometimes travel near there so it would be difficult to distinguish those tracks from the illegal Land Rover tracks."

    If the vehicles had stayed on Salztman this would be true but Parks trucks never drive on this section, ever. And for them to imply that this may have not even happened is a bit mind boggling.

    I don't now if the difference in the reaction to this incident to the rouge trail incident could be much clearer.

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  • Frank Selker April 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Stephen,

    1. The vast majority of the committee did not, and do not, oppose trail sharing. That is factually incorrect. Many people on the committee favored it early and still do.

    2. You were not a passive observer ready to follow the will of the public - you have actively voted against and resisted cyclists getting access to trails. The white paper is a perfect example: I your drafts and the the FPC tried to pull it as far as possible away from cyclists on trails. You don't just observe that change take decades, you do what you can to make sure that is the case.

    3. You repeatedly bring up FL5 - it's 0.3 miles and I rode it both before and after and it isn't even better for your efforts. It proves bikes don't wreck the trails or park, but that's about it.

    4. You mention the Audubon, but I did not. I did not always agree with Bob Salinger, but I felt he was interested in facts and focused on the good of the park, which I respect and appreciate. That is not my impression of the FPC - I think you fear offending old-time supporters who hike.

    After 18 months at this, I agree with Craig that as things stand there is little point in cyclists interested in progress engaging with you or the FPC. It is a conclusion I come to reluctantly and in spite of my respect what the FPC has done for the park historically.

    Frank

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Go ahead and stand by your own actions, Stephen. That's why we have no single-track mtn bike access in FP!

    And that's why most of the people who are paying attention (not just me!) have decided that you and most of the rest of the FPC are a bunch of passive-aggressive obstructionists standing in the way of policy change.

    You can spin it any way you want, if it makes you feel better. But when you come back to reality, you will see what opinion the educated mtn biking Portland public holds of you and your group. Or are you just not reading all the other posts here?

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  • Frank Selker April 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    By the way, trail sharing (or alternating use, as I prefer to call it) is not off the table. Opponents did an end-run of the committee process and have created obstacles and may even prevent it from being shared in the open house, but the decision is ultimately Park's and Nick Fish's.

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    @#54

    Frank, I'll quote myself: "against the interests of the vast majority of the committee members representing other user groups* from the outset"
    *(read: non-mountain bike advocates) which is indeed factually correct.

    I know that you too are disappointed that trail sharing was taken off the table, and am sorry that you feel the need to hold FPC accountable for it. The reality is that our position on trail sharing Wildwood and Maple were clear from the outset. Our decisions were made according to the best interests of Forest Park, the natural resource, and were not a response to any user group. As I indicated early, I would hope that all of our members, including mountain bikers, would agree with that approach.

    As to the the focus on non-native invasive species, that is indeed our biggest priority. We have a full-time field crew of five individuals working on trail maintenance and habitat restoration, and will be doing much more to raise awareness on this issue in the months to come.

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    @#55

    a.O. yes, it is abundantly clear that you and a number of other mountain bike advocates hold me personally and solely responsible for the lack of single-track access in Forest Park. But thanks for repeating it yet again.

    You still haven't answered my question: what have you been doing to help the effort, apart from dishing out personal attacks via blog comments?

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    No, it is not just you, Stephen. But how narcissistic for you to think so. You merely epitomize the problem.

    You can spend your time trying to change the topic from your obstructionism to my advocacy if you want, Stephen. But I already outlined my involvement above, and the fact you continue to ask just shows you want to focus on something other than being accountable for your opposition to mtn biking in FP.

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  • Jill April 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Stephen- thanks for engaging in this conversation. I appreciate your and FPC's efforts to explore the options for improved mountain biking in Park and still believe that those actions are in good faith. I am not giving up on this discussion or on FPC.

    I do have my concerns about the way in which the illegal trail was used to polarize the debate and distract from the work of the FP Committee. But I am fully committed to working with FPC, Audubon, NWTA, and PPR to create meaningful experiences for cyclists in the Park, while engaging stewards to protect the park for the long haul - whether from Jeeps, ivy, adjacent development, or other assault.

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  • Rob Cunningham April 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    @ Stephen # 33

    As an FPC member I find your response to be both disingenuous and disheartening.

    To say that you don't have a preference among user groups is demonstratively false. You contradict it in the same post with your comments about not supporting trail sharing. Hikers have no greater inherent right to the trails than any other user group. Past discrimination does not justify current or future discrimination.

    To say that there must be wide agreement sets an arbitrary and movable bar for access. It is an example of the type of obstruction that others are complaining about. We should be granted access because it is a community resource and the right thing to do and not because a certain user group agrees.

    You seem awfully quick to pass blame for the impasse on to others such as Frank while taking very little personal responsibility. Apparently, any ideas you don't personally agree with are grounds for stalling the process. I happen to agree with Frank and feel he is well within his rights to express his view and frustration. We have been struggling for access for over twenty years. In my opinion the time for patience is over.

    Is summary, I would like a refund on my donation. You clearly don't represent me or my interests. Thank you for making that clear.

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  • Frank Selker April 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Stephen,

    I stand corrected - you are probably correct that the majority of people who were always skeptical of bikes on trails - maybe 1/3 of committee - opposed trail sharing. People should know that more people on the committee are in favor of sharing than are opposed (It was a tie because the bizzare rule was that you couldn't speak if you voted for it! So one proponent did not vote for it so he could speak. Just a little window on how dysfunctinoal the committee has been.).

    Some clarification: First, although you would like it to be, trail sharing is not off the table. Parks and Fish are the decisionmakers, not our committee. Second, I do not hold you or FPC soley accountable - you and the FPC are just one of several opponents. Third, I believe that your decision has nothing to do with the natural resource - the facts and science don't back you up there. It has everything to do with keeping trails for pedestrians.

    I do very much appreciate the FPC's substantial efforts regarding invasives, and I thank you for that. I look forward to the day that I can again feel like a FPC supporter for this and all the other good you do on trails etc.

    Frank

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    @#46

    Brian: great question, and one that I wish we had spent more time on in the off-road cycling committee.

    New trail construction was discussed in passing a number of times, but the committee was primarily charged with identifying type I and II (land use classifications) modifications. Trail sharing and most new trail construction would fall into the type III category. We are able to include these recommendations, but the primary charge of the committee's work - according to Nick Fish and Zari Santner - was to come up with low-hanging fruit opportunities that could be easily implemented. It is also worth mentioning that we learned from Parks well into the process that trail sharing fell under the type III category - thus taking it out of the low-hanging fruit category. Nevertheless, some folks wanted to keep those ideas on the table, which in the end left us very little time to explore other options.

    However, as I mentioned earlier, one of the committee's recommendations will include construction of a new single-track trail - several miles in length - originating at or near the entrance to Firelane 1. This option was written into the Forest Park Natural Resource Management Plan (FPNRMP) and thus requires only a type II land use review.

    If it passes through the public process and the recommendation is adopted by Nick Fish and Parks, the work could likely start right away. The permitting process would be the first step, while concurrently working on securing funding and/or in-kind resources for design, construction and maintenance, etc. It is impossible to put a firm timeline on how long it would take to make it happen - not for any obstructionist reasons, but as with so many of these issues the variables cannot be managed tightly. But if resources are in hand and the permitting process goes smoothly, it seems possible that construction could begin as soon as this fall. FPC is very willing to commit significant time on behalf of our six-person field crew to help construct the trail, and to help support other related efforts.

    Beyond that, if we want to look at longer-term possibilities, it does get more complicated (and expensive, and admittedly discouraging for mountain bike advocates). But again, not because of any obstructionist actions implemented by FPC. The FPNRMP, adopted by City Council in 1995, is the legally binding plan for management of Forest Park. It identifies a long list of management tools that need to be in place before substantive changes can be implemented, including: recreational use survey, wildlife survey, periodic updates of the vegetation survey, etc. And perhaps most importantly, a dedicated ranger. There are good scientific reasons behind the need to have these management tools in place - and once they have been secured, they will pave the way for further discussion. Trust me, the fact that these tools are not in place is also frustrating for us at FPC, as it greatly limits our ability to get a current pulse of Forest Park's overall condition.

    As you know from following this and other stories, Forest Park is woefully underfunded, and enforcement capabilities absolutely need to be improved. Increasing the recreational footprint without having these management tools in place - and, the funding to address the backlog of existing needs - does not make sense from a management perspective (which would be Portland Parks, not FPC), regardless of how long a user group has been trying to advocate for change. Without adequate funding, Parks is in a difficult spot. I know that is not what many mountain bike advocates want to hear, and it is easy to paint it as obstructionist, but it is important to note that it is not just a reaction to mountain bikers. The same criteria applies equally to all user groups.

    Feel free to contact me directly if I didn't address all of your questions.

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  • a.O April 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    "Increasing the recreational footprint without having these management tools in place - and, the funding to address the backlog of existing needs - does not make sense from a management perspective (which would be Portland Parks, not FPC), regardless of how long a user group has been trying to advocate for change."

    See, there it is. There is always a "good reason" why you can't have a mtn bike trail. And another statement making obvious the lie that Mr Hatfield told about not opposing mtn bike access in FP.

    Instead of rescinding their donations to the FPC, FPC members and Portlanders should start demanding the resignations of people like Stephen Hatfield so we can have a real and fair process for mtn bike access.

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    @#64

    a.O., for the last time, FPC doesn't have any authority to set policy in Forest Park, so removing me would neither help nor hurt your cause. Sorry.

    As you certainly know, there is a substantive difference between opposing access and supporting good management practices. Brian asked me to outline a potential roadmap for long-term advocacy, which I did. You didn't like what you heard and your response is to shoot the messenger. You have repeatedly tried to infer that I am opposed to mountain bike access, which is ironic since I frequently ride/commute through Forest Park on bike.

    The fact that I showed up here today and tried to engage folks makes me a convenient scapegoat. I get that, but the bellicosity is getting a bit old.

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  • Vance Longwell April 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    It's bad enough to have to endure jack-booted-thug-tattle-tails out at the 'Butte. The thought jack-booted-thug-tattle-tails in FP makes me sick to my stomach. Life carries with it risks. If that doesn't suit feel free to remain in your home.

    I'm fully capable of 'enforcing' the leash law up there but what happens if I do? Yeah, therein lies the problem. Just say no to cops you control-freak mamma's boys and girls.

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  • wsbob April 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    You're doing just fine Mr. Hatfield. I've appreciated your calm reasoning in the face of irrational self serving hostility directed towards you, the park, and everyone that cares for it. Hang in there.

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  • Frank Selker April 8, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Stephen,

    Once credibility is lost, it's hard to win back, so I suggest being careful with the facts:

    1. New trail construction is identified in the FP Mgmt. Plan as type II, not III (Item 5, page 216). That said, BDS indicatet some new trails could be III, but ...

    2. As Parks said repeatedly during our meetings, no one knows what type permit is needed for trail sharing (or anything definitively) until BDS can respond to a specific application. BDS initially said probably II, then opponents directly lobbied BDS and they said probably III. The fact is, they cannot rule on this, and no one will know, until and unless an application is filed. Preliminary opinions (which BDS is asked to provide with incomplete information) are not the final word and in the past have differed from the final ruling.

    3. Things already in the plan may be allowed without either Type II or III review (although see 2 above).

    4. Construction can not start right away under any realistic scenario. First the permit process must occur, then design, securing funds, and opponents will likely fight it. Les Blaze already said to me regarding the trails that the committee agreed to "I could blow those trails up." I'm guessing he or others would try. These possible trails are likely years away, if they happen.

    5. The FPMP does not prevent change, rather it defines the process. It also does not stipulate that all actions in the plan must occur before any change can occur. Parks was explicit and clear about this during the meetings, but it hasn't prevented opponents and you from continuing to repeat this myth and attempt to use the FPMP to keep bikes off trails.

    6. Yes Parks is underfunded, but funding is not why opponents care. I said I would raise all the money and labor needed to enhance and care for trails, and scores of stalwart local businesses immediately backed me up. Opponents response "You are trying to buy off the Park!" But I don't think they'd welcome us if we promised to bring no money either.

    They have made it clear they would rather see Parks forgo our support and spend the scarce available funds to keep us out. Parks found a much better solution than more enforcement against skateboarders, and I'm hoping they will on this issue as well.

    Frank

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  • Bjorn April 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    @Stephen

    I was very excited when Frank started spearheading this latest effort, and the one thing I certainly agree with Chris on is that this is only the latest in a very long line of efforts. Look at Frank's comments over the last couple of years on bike portland stories about the park, he is always the voice of reason, asking people to help the FPC and saying we are moving in the right direction, the fact that his opinion has been changed so dramatically really says something to me about the state of things.

    From my reading of things Frank is correct that there is nothing stopping trail sharing from a legal point of view at this point although there are rulings that would need to take place along the way. Initially it appeared that those rulings would allow for trail sharing. The idea that a trail might be used by hikers and runners 6 days a week but by bicycles 1 day a week seems like a pretty small amount of sharing to ask for, especially when other trails would be hiker only on that day. However it definitely seems to have been torpedoed by some very vocal members of the FPC whom I refer to as the "hikers only" crowd. They got the preliminary estimate changed, and then started saying in the meetings that it was off the table. That isn't working towards compromise, that is back room dealings and locking cyclists out of the existing trail system.

    We obviously disagree about if trail sharing could be a long term solution but if it is off the table as you say the reason is the vocal advocacy of members of the organization you represent. I fail to see how part time use during periods where the trails are dry enough to prevent damage is less invasive than building a separate trail system.

    Also when I joined FPC I made attempts to do trail work, but was told that they already had too many people. Maybe FPC likes to keep the work groups small, but it seemed like Frank brought a lot of bodies in who wanted to help and there wasn't a lot of opportunity to do so.

    Realistically if we had a bunch of rangers up there ticketing people for violations it is pretty obvious to me as someone who hikes in the park that the number of off leash dog fines would far outweigh the number of fines for cyclists poaching the trails. Neither is particularly concerning to me when compared to the amount of ivy in the park. I believe I read in the Oregonian that if they could pay 200 people for a year they wouldn't get it all out, so it seems odd that when people want to volunteer to help at the park there is not room for them and to me it just added to the feeling that really while FPC was glad to have my money there wasn't actually any room at the table for me.

    I don't have anything against you personally and I want to make that clear, my impression is based on my dealings with the FPC between the time I joined and now, I put all of the negative past things out of my head when Frank asked us to join in good faith, but I don't feel like everyone is working to a solution that allows multi-use of the park. I hear what you are saying about some possible future uses, but those future promises are outweighed by the other experiences I have had.

    Also another specific example of why I feel unwelcome is Marci Houle, whose well documented stance is "not one extra bike in the forest or the world will end".

    As an aside I have been spending a lot of time in North Carolina recently, and in Chapel Hill there is a large forest owned by the University that is also a wildlife preserve. Initially there were no official trails and they had problems with people building their own for running and biking. Now they have made some official trails which are well built and enjoyable to ride. As far as I can tell this has pretty much put an end to the illegal trail building in the forest. I do not support the building of trails outside the process in forest park and discourage people from riding outside the allowed areas. I have never myself ridden on any trail in Forest Park where bicycles are not allowed, but I do believe that there is plenty of room for sharing. In my opinion by sharing the park we will actually reduce the overall impact on the park as a whole and gain a large number of people willing to donate their time to help protect the park from the real dangers like the ivy problem. However if people do not feel welcome, and if the park is not shared at least to some extent, then those benefits will not be realized.

    Bjorn

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    @Bjorn, thanks for your thoughtful response. To the best of my knowledge, the only time we have turned volunteers away is during our larger events such as the Day of Stewardship. We typically have 200+ volunteers for these events, and we have limited tools and a limited ability to effectively manage so many folks in a brief window of time. But even then, we do our best let folks know that if they are willing to bike to the event (parking is always a challenge) and bring a pair of loppers, we are happy to have them. In any case, I'm sorry you had a bad experience and welcome you to join us again.

    The FPC field crew worked with more than 1,500 volunteers in 2009, and logged over 10,000 hours of on-the-ground stewardship in Forest Park, working on trail maintenance and habitat restoration projects. We are hoping to increase our efforts in 2010, and can always use the additional help.

    And for what it's worth, in regard to the committee's work, I was the only one formally representing FPC.

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  • Bryan April 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    one thing that i keep hearing is with more user groups there needs to be more enforcement and there is no money for that. More enforcement? seriously? what your enforcing i dont quite understand...dogs off leash? what else? maybe mountain bikers can be thought of as part of the solution here. IMBA has trail patrol crews. i think it is obvious people on bikes can cover a lot more ground than someone walking or even someone in a truck in some instances. these people could be the eyes and ears of PP&R. The portland police have adopted bikes into their enforcement why cant something like that happen in FP? there just seems to be more excuses than creative solutions from people who dont want bikes on single track in forest park, its getting tired.

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  • Howard Phillips Craftwell April 8, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Maybe Forest Park should be federalized by the US government and have the USGS and Dept of Interior determine what land should be put aside for conservation projects and mountain biking trails. At least we will get an anwer in the next three years since the local governance has just ignored the needs of the local populace.

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  • RWL1776 April 9, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Frank Selker: Expect to have NWTA Board Members contact you via email and attempt to censor your future postings. It has happened to me! I am not a NWTA member, nor IMBA member, yet I have them critiquing my posts AND suggesting I not use such a tone. Good Luck, and I hope they don't lash you as harshly as they did me.

    P.S. PUMP Rules!

    Hi Kris and Tom!

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  • RWL1776 April 9, 2010 at 12:14 am

    TWENTY YEARS! Many thanks to PUMP for FL 5, too.

    http://bikeportland.org/2008/03/13/mountain-bike-club-celebrates-20-years-of-riding-advocacy/

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  • wsbob April 9, 2010 at 9:15 am

    It's a relatively small, special interest group that seems to be demanding off-road bike access to single track in the park. The vast majority of Portland's public appears to prefer the park continue to be a place where the natural resources of the park, the wildlife and plants, are protected, and where they can, if briefly, go to get away from the commotion of the busy, vehicle dominated world.

    Once off-road bikes were welcome to the park. They came to be restricted from the park through demonstrating that the attitude and behavior of riders of off-road bikes commonly was not compatible with the park as it has been established as refuge for the public, the plants and wildlife within the park.

    Are 'off-road bike access in the park' proponents offering suggestions for guidelines that would limit the actual type of riding itself that could take place in the park?

    Speed limits? Specific procedures for bikes passing foot traffic on trail (like for example, a dismount 'x' amount of feet from foot traffic, bike to shoulder, pass, remount. Cross riders do this in competition. Why haven't 'off-road bike access in the park' proponents suggested something like this to perhaps make the entire potential for off-road bike use in the park more feasible?).

    Off-road bike access in the park proponents have spent the last...what was it? 20 years...unsuccessfully trying to make a persuasive case for the access they want. They may well spend another 20 years seeking the same, and receive the very same response from the public about their proposal that they continue to receive to this day.

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  • Brian April 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    wsbob,
    Assumptions, fallacies of logic, and more assumptions. Do you have any data to support what you write? I don't remember the Portland public being surveyed as to what we prefer for FP.
    Were bikes restricted because of the behavior of cyclists, or because they did not have a strong lobby (or data) to go to bat for them against other user groups?
    Mountain bikers do have a set of guidelines to which we hold one another accountable:
    http://www.imba.com/about/trail_rules.html
    Brian

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  • kgb April 9, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Hey wsbob did you happen to see your head in there while you pulling that out of your a$$.

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  • Aaronf April 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Come on guys, he did say "seems"

    :-)

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  • wsbob April 10, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Brian, this thread is in the archives now, but in case you're checking back on it...I suggest you do some research of your own if you hope to see bikes on single track in the park.

    There might be some people in Portland still around that have some personal recollection from the time, of how bikes came to be restricted from many of the park's trails. It was a long time ago.

    There would be newspaper stories about the situation and the decision to restrict bikes. Digging them up might take some time. Portland Parks probably has info somewhere in there files too. Someone at Forest Park Conservancy might know the story, or know someone that does.

    I don't believe restriction came by the simple autonomous sweep of some bureaucrat's pen. Basically, the story is, as I'm familiar with it...in the early, early days of 'mountain biking', a bunch of lame brains started bringing their bikes onto the trails, tearing them up and terrifying people on the the trails.

    Lots of complaints rallied individuals, groups and organizations to join together to request that the parks department restrict bikes. Mountain bikers weren't really organized with political savvy back then, if they were organized at all....so compared to today, they had '0' credibility.

    Go ahead Brian...do yourself some research and find out just how much "...Assumptions, fallacies of logic, and more assumptions. ..." account for why bikes are restricted from the park, and why their re-admittance is not being regarded anywhere as warmly as is for example...Sunday Parkways or Bridge Pedal.

    I think that...if you do bother to start finding out some details about the original restriction...you'll find that it's a complicated story. That's not unusual when the subject of concern is the major municipal resource that Forest Park is.

    The impression comes across through some of the comments of proponents of single track biking in the park posted to this forum, that they don't exactly understand what the park is. My sense is that the general public of Portland understands what the park is, far better than do the people posting those comments.

    That's what off-road biking proponents are up against. Not just those two old, crotchety valiant defenders of Forest Park, but most of the city itself. Of course, if that's wrong, off-road bikers would likely be getting the red carpet right up to Forest Park.

    kgb #77... I'm doubtful that you have the mental capacity to contribute anything to this discussion besides that imbecilic remark.

    If you did, you might at least attempt to credibly establish that what I suggested was anything less than the truth and reality of how most Portland residents regard the idea of off-road bike access into the park being expanded to single track.

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  • a.O April 12, 2010 at 10:27 am

    @ #65:

    Stephen, it is irrelvant to my point that FPC does not have authority to set policy. You are a ***deleted by moderator -- come on Chris! *** as the posts by Bjorn and Frank show, so there is no point to taking the bait of engaging in a fake dialogue that only leads to continuation of the status quo and more obstructionism from you and yours.

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  • kgb April 12, 2010 at 10:39 am

    wsbob,

    Why would I try to argue with your made up bs. Why don't you provide some reference to show that what you are saying is anything other than your opinion? Oh because you can't because you are just making it up. BTW - I live in Portland my taxes pay for the Park, where do you live?

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  • Stephen Hatfield April 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

    @#80

    a.O.: good morning to you as well. I have not lied to anyone, though constructing such a scenario clearly makes you feel better. All I have tried to do is lay out an accurate portrayal of what a path forward might look like - whether you like it or not is a separate manner. Some folks appreciate a better understanding of the process (which I don't in any way control), and are willing to engage, and others respond with bellicosity.

    If you want to revert to sour grapes, fine - that is your choice - but repeated attempts of malicious defamation directed at someone you don't even know is more of a reflection on your character than mine. We can agree to disagree, but let's move on from the puerile accusations.

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  • wsbob April 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    kgb..."...making it up..."? Not hardly. As I said before...do some research of your own, because it's more likely you...not me, that's going to be the benefit of that effort. You're not going to argue or discuss because, besides simple minded rudeness, you have haven't made the effort to produce anything to argue with.

    Seriously, I don't think you're really interested in knowing. This may also be one of the big reasons off-road biking advocates for single track access in the park, beyond their relatively small circle of fellow enthusiasts, get little traction with the public.

    And where do I live? Relative to this discussion, here's what you and other advocates for off road biking on single track access to the park might keep in mind. I live 6-8 miles from the park, as do many people in Beaverton and Hillsboro too I expect.

    Were Forest Park single width footpath to become the closest accessible single track in the metro area, where do you think those people might most likely go for that kind of riding? Forest Park, of course. Do you imagine they want to drive to Hood River, Scapoose, or Government Camp any more than you do?

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  • wsbob April 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Correction:

    "You're not going to argue or discuss because, besides simple minded rudeness, you haven't made the effort to produce anything to argue with."

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  • kgb April 12, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    wsbob,

    Again, the point is that you are stating your opinions as if they are supported by something other than your own personal beliefs. You don't provide any thing to back those opinions up because you can't because no polling or surveys have been done to support your position. Where is the data wsbob? By saying, "do your own research", you are implying it exists so where is it, put up or shut up.

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  • a.O April 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    @ #82: Just re-read Frank's post at #68. It's pretty obvious that your dishonesty and obstructionism are part of the problem, and fortunately everyone who reads this thread can see that.

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  • wsbob April 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    kgb... . The world does not revolve on 'polling' and 'surveys'. Those items are at best, tools than can sometimes help to provide information about certain things. They are by no means absolutely definitive, and are often highly susceptible to subjective interpretation.

    If you however, are only comfortable trusting 'scientifically obtained' information, maybe you should attempt to draw on some that off-road bike enthusiasts have already gathered. What do their polls and surveys say about the extent to which the Portland public supports off-road bike access to single width trail in Forest Park?

    Do they even have any such polls or surveys? I doubt it. I hear that polls of that kind that are any good cost a lot of money to conduct.

    Seriously, I'd welcome any off-road bike advocates to venture opinions in comments to this thread, science based or not...as to how fully the general public of Portland seeks off-road bike access to single width trail in the park.

    From what I've been able to tell from stories on bikeportland and elsewhere, and comments posted in response to them, this kind of support has never been cited by off-road bike advocates as an argument favoring the access to the park they seek. Why? I believe it's because that kind of support doesn't exist.

    If it did, don't you think Adams would be making a very strong pitch for this kind of off-road biking in the park? I do. It's just a guess, but I'm almost certain he would. Instead...silence. That's just one example.

    Just popped over to the NWTA's website to take a look whether they had any poll or survey info. Nothing. But they did have this bit of info: Some entrepreneur has come up with a marvelous caterpillar track type machine: "...The Single Track ST240, built specifically for trail construction, comes with a price tag of $94,000 ..." Sweet! I hope it burns that cooking oil fuel instead of stinky polluting diesel or gas.

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  • Jim Labbe April 12, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    An fyi tothe self-ascribed single-track advocates hurling insults and innuendo at the Forest Park Conservancy and Stephan Hatfield. If it was not for Forest Park Conservancy- and Stephan Hatfield in particular- there would not be any single-track in Forest Park today.

    http://forestparkconservancy.org/trails/trail-management-1

    http://bikeportland.org/2006/06/30/permit-granted-for-new-forest-park-trail/

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  • Frank Selker April 12, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    First, I do not think any of us need to insult each other. I stand by my assessment of the FPC and Stephen's position and role to date, but I have nothing bad to say about Stephen as a person - in fact quite the contrary.

    Second, Jim you are wrong. Our 0.3 miles of paradise preceeded Stephen. The FPC worked on it, but it was legal and ridden (including by me) prior to that. I personally don't think it was even improved, but that's a matter of opinion.

    Frank

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  • matt picio April 12, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Stephen (#52) - And for what it's worth, I'm against trail-sharing. As an avid hiker, I don't like having mountain bikes whiz past me on the trail. They have as much right to use the park as I do, however, and I absolutely believe that there should be dedicated single-track for mountain bikers in Forest Park - the park is large enough to accommodate the use, and I think that all parties involved can manage to find a mutally acceptable solution that no one will be entirely happy with.

    But wsbob notwithstanding, whether "park" is generally accepted as the term for land use that has recreation as the priority, some term needs to reflect that, and some areas of Forest Park should accommodate that class of land use.

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  • wsbob April 12, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Matt...look at other great protected natural areas across the nation and the world that use the word 'park' to describe themselves. They all achieve conservation objections, offer refuge in various forms to plants, wildlife and people. Those places also offer people recreation opportunities, in some cases, off-road biking as well, I suppose. Olympic National Park, for example.

    Use of the word 'park' in part to name them does not necessarily oblige them to be one thing and not the other. I would think though, that there's significant differences between national parks and a metropolitan natural park such as Forest Park in terms of their relationship to the people they serve.

    One difference, is that in terms of acreage, almost all of them are probably much bigger than FP. Another, is that most people that visit them don't make lands next to them their residence. They aren't going to be coming to those parks multiple times in a month or a week, as many visitors to Forest Park likely do.

    By virtue of a bike's greater ability to cover distance relative to foot travel, and due to the minimal lack of bike single track in the metro area, Forest Park's 5000 acres could get very small, very fast, with legal access for off-road bikes to it's single width trail.

    This doesn't mean Portland shouldn't make a decision to provide more single track mileage in the park for the purpose of riding off-road bikes. The city's residents though, should be very careful to consider what such a decision could mean to the experience they hope to have when they visit the park. Good or bad? It's for them to decide. I think a lot of people outside of Portland will be interested in how they decide on this issue.

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  • wsbob April 12, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Correction:

    "They all achieve conservation objectives, offer refuge in various forms to plants, wildlife and people.

    Where is my editor!

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  • fab April 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

    wsbob, bikes gaining access to existing trails or adding new trails to Forest Park isn't "...for them (city's residents) to decide" -- It's for the parks department/Nick Fish/advisory committee/related interest groups to decide. Portland Parks doesn't issue ballot referendums for policy tweaks.

    Your quotes like this are exactly why people are flagging your arguments as opinion and conjecture.

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  • J.R. April 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

    In my experience, it is better to have more trail stewards of all interests (birders, bikers, hikers, equestrians, etc) than to shut out particular groups or let one group dominate the discussion.
    You get more interested eyeballs and caretakers to monitor a place they all value and parks are always understaffed.

    Example (believe it or not): South Mountain Park, Phoenix Arizona - One of the biggest municipal parks in the country. Housing right up in it. Multi-use trails. Reinforcement of common sense etiquette and many opportunities for interest group stewardship and interaction. A delicate balance still balancing.
    http://phoenix.gov/PARKS/hikesafe.html.

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  • wsbob April 13, 2010 at 11:19 am

    fab...Portland Public Parks works for the the people of Portland. That department's responsibility is to make decisions representing the public's interests. This is fundamental to the relationship between government and the public.

    That's my opinion, but not only my opinion. It's also the opinion of those that believe in the democratic way. Whatever decision Fish, the advisory committee, and Portland Parks decide should reflect what the general public wants, and not simply that of some relatively small special interest group.

    Decisions by the Parks Dept, the advisory committee and Commissioner Fish, addressing this issue are not some minor 'policy tweak'. They're major decisions that could fundamentally affect how the park could be used in future.

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  • Kt April 13, 2010 at 11:21 am

    fab, #93: If you read WSBob's posts, he clearly states that what he is saying is his opinion. Pay attention to the language he uses, it's very clear.

    Stephen, thanks for writing in; being on the outside of this issue, I am interested to know the "other side"'s story.

    I think I'll take WSBob up on his challenge and see what I can find from the 80's regarding mtn biking and Forest Park. As he says, there should be archived Oregonian articles, and maybe Stephen can dig back into the FPC's archives and help enlighten us.

    Maybe that would help the Mtn Biking Advocates find a better way to go about getting what they want.

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  • Brian April 13, 2010 at 11:26 am

    wsbob,
    Mountain bikers are the public, as well. Not sure why you continue to see mountain bikers as any different than every other user group. Policy decisions are not based on what the majority wants. We don't even know what the majority believes on this issue, as I tried to point out to you a while back in this thread. You anti-mtb bias is without merit, as has been pointed out time and time again.
    Brian

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  • kgb April 13, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    wsbob,

    To summarize. Everything you have said with respect to the will of the people and the wishes of the citizens of Portland you made up. You have nothing to back it up.

    "The world does not revolve on 'polling' and 'surveys'. Those items are at best, tools than can sometimes help to provide information about certain things. They are by no means absolutely definitive, and are often highly susceptible to subjective interpretation. " As opposed to your opinions which you seem to think very highly of, that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.

    You told me to do my own research as if you had done yours and now it comes to light that you weren't even around in the late eighties and early nineties. But I'm sure you know more about it than those of us who were.

    You believe you know more about what people support then could be revealed by polling, surveys or really any scientific method.

    Even though you don't live in Portland you think it is fine to tell us how to manage our park.

    Commissioner Fish supporting this idea has nothing to do with broader support from the community but the Mayor , who is not head of the parks department, not actively pushing it is an indication that there is no support and broad opposition.

    Weak, very weak.

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  • wsbob April 13, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    "...it comes to light that you weren't even around in the late eighties and early nineties. ..." kgb #98

    Oh really? Where did you come by that idea, and some others of yours that aren't even worth mentioning? Never mind. I'm going to leave you to your box of Kleenex while Kt does a little leg work to see if she can dig up any of those old stories about how the mountain bikers came to get the boot from Forest Park, way back when.

    Kt, check old records and old timers with city hall, Portland Parks, and the Conservancy, formerly Friends of Forest Park. Just a nice phone call from you to the Conservancy might get you a good reference.

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