Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 30th, 2010 at 5:14 pm
A work party scheduled for tomorrow will work to decommission a rogue bike trail that was discovered in Forest Park back in February.
The event has been jointly organized by Portland Parks & Recreation and the Northwest Trail Alliance. Volunteers will restore the natural habitat around the trail in hopes of minimizing future damage due to erosion or the introduction of invasive species. On the trail itself, crews will cover up the surface with brush, take down jumps and stream crossings, and remove a cribbing wall that had been constructed.
When the trail was discovered it set off major headlines and proved to be a distraction to an ongoing process led by the Parks department to improve and expand cycling access in the park.
At a recent open house on cycling in Forest Park, I asked Portland Parks natural resources planner Emily Roth whether or not the illegal trail had impacted discussions on the cycling advisory committee she oversees: "I don't think it did. There's so much illegal activity that goes on the park... Once we all got it [discussing the trail] out of our system, by the next meeting we just moved on."
But contrary to Roth's quote, the timing of the trail's discovery (just as talks were heating up about many bike access issues) will have a lasting impact on this issue well into the future. The incident brought the lack of enforcement in the park into stark relief and for some in the committee, it was used as fodder to caution against any new trail access for bicycles.
I'll have more reporting on the situation in Forest Park next week.
For more information on tomorrow's trail work party, visit NW-Trail.org.