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Forest Park committee to present recommendations tonight

Posted by on June 14th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Forest Park Singletrack Cycling Open House-15
Committee member Les Blaize at a recent
open house.
(Photo © J. Maus)

After nine months of meetings, the 15-member Forest Park Single Track Cycling Advisory Committee will present their recommendations to Parks Commissioner Nick Fish and Parks Director Zari Santner tonight.

According to a statement put out by Portland Parks & Recreation, the report, “will represent the diversity of perspectives of the committee members, and they will each have the opportunity to share their opinions about the recommendations and the report directly with Commissioner Fish and Director Santner.”

Those opinions are likely to be very different, as there remain divergent views about how cycling opportunities should be expanded in the 5,000 acre park. Both sides of the debate have expressed dissatisfaction with the City’s process, a process that has been strained in part thanks to high-profile media coverage of an illegal trail and a report by the City Club calling for no expanded bike access until a battery of studies are completed (that report has been roundly criticized by bike advocates).

Following the presentation tonight, there will be a “brief period” for public comments on the committee’s recommendations and then Commissioner Fish and Director Santner will outline the next steps in the process. From here, Fish and Santner are expected to come up with their final set of recommendations to be put forward for implementation following a planning review by the Bureau of Development Services.

Stay tuned, and try to show up tonight if you’d like to weigh in. Sorry for the late notice, but details are below:

    Forest Park Single Track Cycling Committee Recommendations Presentation
    When: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 14
    Where: Room B, 2nd floor, Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue, downtown Portland

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Comments
  • karl June 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Don’t you mean this afternoon?

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  • Lisa June 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Was it really the “high profile media coverage” of the illegally built trail that was a straining factor in this process?

    Or was it the fact that a group of mountain bikers built an illegal trail in Forest Park with no authority or permission that strained the process?

    Which is it?

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  • Jim Labbe June 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    It sure would be helpful if Bikeportland focused on the areas of agreement on the Task Force and elsewhere rather than the personalities and rancor. It would allow the community to begin to focus on solutions for the appropriate expansion of single-track in Forest Park rather than the pronouncements of grandstanders.

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  • DirtLover June 14, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Lisa,

    To answer your question, it was, in fact, the “high profile media coverage” that retarded the process. Forest Park has been riddled with illegally built trails, encroachments, neglect, irresponsible trail use and other challenges for decades. Irresponsible cyclists have contributed only a small fraction. All are issues that deserve serious attention, but it’s obvious enough to anyone following this process that the illegal “bike” trail was seized upon by the anti-bicycle folks in an effort to promote their individual agendas, which are not – despite their assertions – necessarily for the good of the park or the community.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Lisa,
    it was both.

    Jim,
    I’m all for figuring out solutions, but I’m also for pointing out what’s going on. Thanks for the feedback.

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  • Lisa June 14, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Then why not write that?

    Why highlight “high profile media coverage” while neglecting to equally highlight the illegality and contentiousness of the deed that summoned the coverage and strained the process in the first place?

    Blaming the media coverage for straining the process is reminiscent of the Catholic church blaming the media for the coverage and resulting furor over the pedophile priest cases.

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  • DirtLover June 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Lisa,

    Your Catholic Church analogy doesn’t really work here. When it comes to public lands and trails, EVERY user group is guilty of abuse. Singling one out for special blame and vilification is its own brand of perversion.

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  • Lisa June 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for your point of view.

    It just seems there is a willful lack of facing the truth about that illegal trail. Pointing out all the other “abuses” or reasons for those perceived abuses does not in fact wipe this particular one away.

    To say that the media strained the process seems to be ignoring the reality that the building of the trail is what strained the process.

    Just my perspective.

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  • DirtLover June 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Lisa,

    You and I are walking the same thin line. You don’t want the politics to obscure the underlying fact, and I don’t want the underlying fact to obscure the politics.

    As a conservationist and trail builder, I have spent countless hours undoing the sins of poor/illegal trail builders and users, so I have little sympathy for any hacks who take it upon themselves to build unauthorized trails. There are fair and reasonable remedies for virtually all the challenges faced by land managers, but if the trails community is busy attacking itself then very little gets done, which is exactly what some folks would like just as long as the status quo favors their view of things (i.e., no bicycles on singletrack).

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  • Trek 3900 June 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Anyone can see by a visit to FP that it is in serious trouble from over use: last time I visited I saw pebbles and pine needles on the trails, dog doo, and some trash near the porta-potty. As you can imagine I was horrified! I believe that with a little help from government bureaucrats things can be improved. I suggest that Sam Adams submit a proposal for a federal porkulus grant to save FP.

    Clearly it is time to limit access using a system similar to the one used for climbing Mt. St. Helens: go online, find a date that isn’t full, pay your $15, and hope it doesn’t rain on that day. Keep permit visible at all times.

    Be careful what you wish for.
    :)

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  • Trek 3900 June 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    It is clear that the mountain bikers of the community are out-gunned by the walkers and joggers as far as access to FP is concerned. There is an organization that might help the bikers, or at least they’ll take your money:
    http://www.sharetrails.org/

    They are very active in the Rocky Mountain region.

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  • Bjorn June 15, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Great analogy Lisa, building an illegal trail in a park that will probably be deforested by ivy is exactly the same as raping a child. I hadn’t noticed that, but now that you mention it they are exactly the same. I wonder though what you will compare to child rape next? Are people who don’t pick up their dogs poop also on par with child rapists in your mind? Perhaps when caught they can be prevented from living within 500 yards of a dog park.

    The whole statement is ridiculous and offensive. The only part of your analogy that is accurate is that most priests don’t rape kids, and most people who mtn bike in the park don’t build illegal trails. However it falls apart quickly from there. No one has been going around trying to cover up the facts, or encouraging people to build more trails. In fact Jonathan has highlighted the damage and how bad it is, precisely the opposite of the response the catholic church had. We all condemn the damage, but using the actions of a couple of people operating completely on their own to disrupt this process was inappropriate, not as inappropriate as comparing building a trail to raping a child, but pretty inappropriate all the same.

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  • 151 June 15, 2010 at 3:20 am

    As interesting as the debate about the article’s language is, if anyone was at this meeting I’d be interested to read a recap of how it went.

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  • ecohuman June 15, 2010 at 5:13 am

    “As a conservationist and trail builder, I have spent countless hours undoing the sins of poor/illegal trail builders and users”

    I need to get up to speed. Can you point me towards some examples of “illegally built trails” in Forest Park that were constructed for walkers?

    Also, I’m confused about why “construct no new bike trails” is such a completely unacceptable choice for readers here to consider, especially ones like “DirtLover” who claim to be conservationists.

    Another way of asking that question might be: how many bike trails are enough? In other words, what are your criteria for determining how many we should build before we stop? Five? Ten? A hundred?

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  • Brian E June 15, 2010 at 5:45 am

    ecohuman,

    Their are 100′s of non-named trails in Forrest Park along Lief Erikson and Lower Fire Lane 1. Most are less than 100 feet in length. They most often lead to a remote spot that is likely used for pee-ing, homeless camping or “whatever”.

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  • Bjorn June 15, 2010 at 7:44 am

    I don’t know of any for hikers in forest park, although I have seen some trails that look like more than just deer are using them. I do however know about miles of illegal trails built by ultra-marathon runners on state land. I’m not going to call out the exact location since there is no need to draw attention to it, but cyclists aren’t the only ones building trails in Oregon.

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  • DirtLover June 15, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Bjorn,

    In Lisa’s defense, I don’t think her analogy was intended to compare illegal trail building to child rape. I think she was comparing the Catholic Church’s blaming of the media to BikePortland’s partial blaming of “high-profile media coverage” of the illegal trail. Still, Lisa might agree that we’d all be better off with less inflammatory analogies.

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  • DirtLover June 15, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Ecohuman,

    My “sins” of the past comment wasn’t actually directed at Forest Park specifically. Maybe I should have limited my focus but I do think the broader context is important here, especially when anti-bike voices are screaming bloody murder about illegal trail construction.

    The plain fact on public lands everywhere – and this no doubt applies to some (many? most?) trails in FP – is that the vast majority of recreational trails were put on the ground illegally (i.e., without proper permissions, environmental assessments, permits, etc.). Today we appreciate, applaud, enjoy and defend most of those trails. So decrying irresponsible mountain bikers for their relatively minor (albeit recent) contribution to illegal trail building (however wrong they might be) is at best hypocritical.

    In the case of FP, I understand that most trail construction probably took place prior to adoption of the 1992 Management Plan, and some perhaps even prior to the City’s acquisition of the Park in 1948. Maybe all that trail building was done in perfect compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in force at the time, but that would be an anomaly in the universe of trail building.

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  • ecohuman June 15, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Today we appreciate, applaud, enjoy and defend most of those trails. So decrying irresponsible mountain bikers for their relatively minor (albeit recent) contribution to illegal trail building (however wrong they might be) is at best hypocritical.

    I’d propose a different way of looking at it: what you do today about it matters more than justifying actions with past mistakes. That means instead of saying “but the other kid did it!”, and mimicing the 4th grade playground defence (which never seemed to work for me), you make a grownup decision to decide to stop.

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  • ecohuman June 15, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Their are 100′s of non-named trails in Forrest Park along Lief Erikson and Lower Fire Lane 1. Most are less than 100 feet in length. They most often lead to a remote spot that is likely used for pee-ing, homeless camping or “whatever”.

    That’s actually not true, for the most part. And the “trails”, typically forged by homeless folks, are ad hoc walking paths, not cut, carved, and improved trails. Left alone, they disappear in a season or two. Should they be there? No. And there are laws about the homeless making a campsite of it.

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  • DirtLover June 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Ecohuman,

    I’m not defending illegal trail construction; I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of the anti-bike folks. Yes, it’s possible to do both at the same time.

    Yes, everybody should stop illegal trail building right away. Yes, there are many creative and environmentally sound options available to address the recreational demands and pressures being put of FP and other public lands. Derailing the entire process in order to point fingers at the just the last guy to build an illegal trail gets us no closer to any solution.

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  • Lisa June 15, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Bjorn @12: Nowhere did I compare the illegal trail to the raping of a child. You might want to reread my comment.

    “Blaming the media” as an offense is generally a non-winning strategy. Those who have used that strategy, like the Catholic church blaming the New York Times for its troubles, generally have to concede that the “media” in fact had no hand in the nettlesome issue. Sometimes sunlight exposes some hard truths.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Lisa,

    I disagree with your characterization that I’m simply “blaming the media.” Are you new to this site? If so, perhaps you’ve missed the many other stories I’ve written on this issue — several of them detailing the illegal trail and its aftermath.

    You are taking one line out of one story and trying to say I am “blaming the media.” Yes, I am blaming the vast amount of coverage the illegal trail got for making this process more contentious. That fact is true. Obviously if there was no illegal trail, there would be no media coverage, I think we’re all intelligent enough to understand that.

    So, my one line in one story is far from a “strategy.”

    Also, if you think that the media in this town has “no hand” in biking issues you are very much mistaken. Because biking is so popular it is ripe for sensationalism and nearly every local media outlet has been guilty of playing up the “bikes vs. (blank)” dichotomy at one time or another.

    In particular, at the outset of this process, The Oregonian took a letter from committee member Marci Houle (who has spread lies and fear-mongered about bikes because she does not want them on trails) and used that letter to publish a story saying the talks on the issue had reached an “impasse” and mischaracterized the actual situation simply because it sounded better to make it seem like there was a fight going on when there wasn’t.

    I’ll stop here for now. Thanks for your feedback on my work.

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  • wsbob June 15, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I second the thoughts of Jim Labbe #3 and 151 #13. Important to everyone, would be far less attention paid to the contentious exchange between 2-3 members of the 17 member committee, and more information reported on the committee majority’s efforts to assemble recommendations for possible bike access to single track in the park.

    There most likely are people reading bikeportland that would be interested in hearing more on the substance of the committee’s means of determining what recommendations it can reliably make.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 10:10 am

    wsbob and others,

    i will definitely be publishing many more stories on this issue.

    Also, please see this link which takes you to all the stories I’ve written about biking in Forest Park.

    Among those stories you’ll find a lot of helpful information about the committee.

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  • Anonymous June 15, 2010 at 10:18 am

    My fear is that after the two years and all the debate and discussion, we’ll actually end up with less biking opportunities than before.

    When the re-branded PUMP got involved in the process, the first thing they did was to advocate the closure/reclosure of Fire Lane 7. Signs were posted and they posted volunteers to diswade folks from riding on this road.

    When I look at the new trail map and see the loss of miles roads/trails I have been riding for years in light of the addition of a half mile in the industrial area around FL1, I get really upset.

    Normally I am a law and order guy, but I side with the guys jsut going out and building the new trails. The only progress is to get enough people out there to a point of critical mass and force the solution.

    In the mean time, I’ll keep riding where I have, pruning trials, clearing brush, etc. etc. and fight it out when push comes to shove.

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  • wsbob June 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

    maus…thanks for the link. I’ve read all of those stories, and all of the comments in response to them. In them there has been not so much coverage devoted to the substance of the committee’s efforts, but a whole lot of coverage on the contentious exchanges between a certain 2-3 members of the committee.

    …I checked Lisa’s comments. In none of them is she suggesting that you…editor of bikeportland…are “… simply “blaming the media.” “. Her comments seem more to me like earnest questions for which there aren’t particularly simple answers.

    The Oregonian and the local tv stations have some notoriety for sensationalizing conflicts between bike and motor vehicle operators on the road. Sensationalism in their coverage about conflicts between people traveling on foot in the park, and those illegally riding bikes in the park has been nominal in comparison.

    Lisa and other people with questions to hers posted in comments # 2 and 6 …two particular members of the single track advisory committee whose views on the issue of off-road bike use of single track in Forest Park is not what off-road bike enthusiasts are hoping for from the committee as a whole, have been repeatedly focused on here on bikeportland by off-road bike enthusiasts. Jonathan Maus, bikeportland Publisher/Editor, notes one of them in his comment #23.

    If you’re so inclined, I’d suggest you search out the original letter he speaks of in that comment(I believe a link to it may be in one of the earlier bikeportland stories), and decide for yourselves whether what he says about that person is valid as fact rather than mere opinion of someone that apparently very much favors off-road biking on single track/single width trail in Forest Park.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

    wsbob,

    points taken. I appreciate your comment.

    I feel it’s a fact that contention between members of the committee is one of the most important take-aways of the committee process. the “substance” of their work has been deteriorated precisely because there has been so much contention in the discussion — most of it by 2-3 people on the committee.

    I agree with you i could report more on the minutiae of what’s being agreed upon and so on, but it’s been constantly changing throughout the process and i’ve been waiting for definitive steps/agreements to be made.

    As for your point about that letter I refer to, Ms. Houle spreading mis-information and fear-mongering is not my opinion. It is fact. I have read it myself, I just have not yet reported about it.

    thanks again for your feedback.

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  • Trek 3900 June 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    That does it! I’ve had it with this bickering! I’m going to ride on the roads in FP and shut up!

    :)

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  • frank June 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I can’t wait to read wsbob’s last word in this thread, as we know he’ll do his best to get it.

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  • Lunchrider June 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I think it is outrageous that you characterize Marle Houle as telling lies. She is one of the most thoughtful intelligent people you will ever meet. You might not agree with her but I challenge you to show that she told “lies”.
    I for one am glad that Marcie was on the committee and has forced them to look at the reality not the pie in the sky that the mt bike community thinks they deserve.
    I do believe that that this was a very flawed process right from the start. Setting up a committee and then not inviting all of the stakeholders. The Mt Bike folks are whining because they didn’t get what they wanted, well tough luck. just because you want it doesn’t make it right.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Lunchrider,

    you might think it’s ‘outrageous’ to say that about Ms. Houle, but it’s true. She has tried to tell people that the Forest Park Management Plan says there can be no bikes on trails because of safety risks. That is patently false. The entire safety argument is a red herring with no factual backing, yet it has been used repeatedly by Ms. Houle to the detriment of the entire process.

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  • Lisa June 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Jonathan @ 23: Your thoughts are interesting. Thank you.

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  • a.O June 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    It should be clear by now to anyone with a brain that the opponents of mtn biking in FP are liars who have hijacked a legitimate public process for their own agenda and used procedural loopholes and passive-aggressive tactics to prevent a rational and informed conversation about mtn biking in the park. Marle Houle and the rest of these clowns should be ashamed of themselves. We see what you are doing, and we are not fooled.

    Maybe now that Maus is finally saying it some of you will pay attention.

    More likely, the anti-bike zealots like wsbob will simply continue their crusade against mtn biking under the same tired guise of “fairness” and endless process.

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  • Lunchrider June 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t think the safety argument is a red herring. I think that people are deaf to ideas that they don’t like. And that can certainly be said for both sides.
    I don’t think that rises to the point of “lies” Sounds like libel to me.
    As to a.O #34 its is the single track people that hijacked the process and tried to ram though and idea that had not yet been vetted by the people of the city. Without the vision and passion of people like Marcie Houle you would not even have a park like this to argue over
    It is not even possible that bikes don’t belong everywhere.
    (and just in case you wonder I ride over 8000 miles per year)

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Lunchrider,

    saying that the Forest Park Management Plan is against sharing trails due to safety concern is untrue, a.k.a. it’s a lie to say that it does. Not sure how I can clearer about that.

    When asked to validate safety concerns, no one can back it up with real data, studies, etc… Trails are shared all over the country safely and w/o issue.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Regardless of how you feel about biking in Forest Park, the issue deserves a fair hearing where all sides can present fact-based arguments and our elected leaders can make the final decision.

    The fact remains that some people in this process have perpetuated information not based on fact but based on emotion and agenda. That action has poisoned the process and influenced people. We’ll see how this turns out but it’s unfortunate that a discussion of the issue that is separate from personal agendas and mischaracterizations had to occur.

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  • ecohuman June 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    The fact remains that some people in this process have perpetuated information not based on fact but based on emotion and agenda.

    The “single track” proponents did exactly that, Jonathan. There is no “fact based” reason for demanding additional bike trails in Forest Park–it’s based entirely on emotion and agenda.

    That you seem to sidestep the irony of that is an odd way of supporting “a fair hearing where all sides can present fact-based arguments”.

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  • Lisa June 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Jonathan, have you ever sat down and had a face to face conversation with Marcie Houle?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    ecohuman,

    people pushing for improved and expanded bike access in the park have had their intentions mischaracterized repeatedly by those who want to maintain the status quo.

    no “fact-based” reason for additional bike trails? I don’t really understand that. The fact is that there are people who want to ride their bikes on trails in Forest Park and there are many reasonable ways to make it happen — but because some very active and influential people don’t want it to happen, those reasonable views have been drowned out.

    of course there’s emotion and agenda on both sides… but the proof is in the pudding. No one on the committee who wants better trail access for biking has resorted to the kind of tactics being used by people on the committee who do not want more bikes on trails.

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  • Zimmerman June 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    There is data that suggests that mountain biking has an equal amount of impact, (and sometimes less) than hiking. Links to the studies have been posted on Bikeportland.

    Here’s just one: http://www.imba.com/news/news_releases/10_06/10_24_mtb_impacts.html

    It is possible to have an agenda, be passionate and come equipped with facts.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Lisa,

    no. I have not. I have spoken at length with Les (the two of them are sort of tag-team partners in putting up road-blocks to bike access in the park), but not to Marcy yet. I regret saying she has lied (it’s not very polite and perhaps it’s too strong of a word for what she actually said), but I think her poor conduct throughout this process is something people should be more aware of.

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  • ecohuman June 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    The fact is that there are people who want to ride their bikes on trails in Forest Park

    And the fact is that there are people who want to preserve Forest Park with the current amount of trails (or fewer).

    No one on the committee who wants better trail access for biking has resorted to the kind of tactics being used by people on the committee who do not want more bikes on trails.

    So? Does that mean proponents wanting trails have some sort of moral superiority over those that don’t? I’m confused, Jonathan, because it seems that you’re looking for a reason to slant the story in a particular direction, but being fairly intellectually dishonest about what *your* obvious bias is–which is more bike trails.

    If nothing else, I’d thoughtfully consider whether or not *you* are “mischaracterizing” the views of some participants.

    If you want to truly bring people together (you do, right?), then you start by seeing beyond the foibles and missteps of the so-called opponents, and start considering their intentions. People opposed to more single track trails aren’t necessarily “anti-bike”–but even if they were, so what? Does their bias make a pro-track view more valid?

    In fact, the entire issue is an emotional one. Attempting to reduce it to some sort of wonkish, faux-scientific weighing of “facts” is one ofthe worst possible ways of approaching such a matter. That approach is what gets us into trouble with the ecosystem in the first place; nature isn’t a resource, Jonathan. That mindset–that the planet is a bank made just for humans for balance debits and credits and exercise its “rights” over–is at the root of it.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    ecohuman,

    i am not trying to reduce this to a wonkish weighing of facts and I am not trying to say I have zero bias or emotion around this issue. I’ve made it known several times that I’ve worked on mountain bike advocacy issues in the past. My heart is clearly on the side of having more places to ride bikes on trails in Forest Park.

    I am not looking for a reason to slant the story. I have seen and heard Ms. Houle in action on several occasions and I simply feel she is not allowing a fair discussion to take place.

    And no, i said nothing about any moral superiority. I’m merely making the point that I feel wanting more trail access for bikes in Forest Park is an absolutely reasonable request that has been made out to be otherwise by people who don’t want it.

    As usual, I feel like you put a lot of words into my mouth that I never said. I do not see Forest Park as a resource for people to use up… you are falling into the dichotomy perpetuated by people like Ms. Houle who think that anyone who wants improved biking in the Park is then somehow against the ecology and preservation of the park.

    Improved trail access for biking is not mutually exclusive with preserving the park and being a steward of the park!

    thanks for your comments.

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  • Lisa June 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Jonathan @ 42: Ok. Maybe it’s time for a sit down conversation/interview with her.

    Divisiveness comes in many forms. You have a large platform here. Your heart wants what it wants. I would imagine Marcie’s wants what it wants. Why not turn that into something productive so your audience can see and hear for themselves?

    To continue to lob divisive words at someone from the safety of a computer wouldn’t seem to be a productive approach. Don’t add to all the divisiveness around this issue. It’s not doing the mountain bikes in Forest Park issue and conversation any favors.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Lisa,

    Thanks for that. I agree with some of what you’re saying.

    As you can tell, this issue is very close to my heart and it has been extremely frustrating for me to sit in meetings and watch Ms. Houle in action.

    I agree my approach in these comments today have maybe not been the best way to move this issue forward. Point taken.

    I hope people read my comments as illuminating the situation and not simply me being divisive — although I understand how that is not what comes across for some.

    Stay tuned for more reporting on this issue.

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  • Nostradamus June 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I like to ride in FP just the way it is. I go up to the top of Thurman, ride on Leif to Saltzman then up to Skyline and back. It is a good 1 hour workout and in places is plenty fast to be a lot of fun. You have to watch for peds and for poop, but that’s just part of the territory.

    I also hike in FP. In the wet season (Sept thru June) the trails can be absolute boot-pulling slop holes of mud. I would not want to ride a bike there. I would be concerned for my safety on a single track trail if bikes were allowed. Some bikers would ride fast and hit people, or almost hit them. There just isn’t room for both on the existing trails.

    I would not be opposed to a plan to add more trails only for bikes, or to have an even/odd days schedule for bikers and walkers. If the bikes end up causing too much damage, then the trails could either be hardened or they could stop biking and say that they tried and it didn’t work.

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  • DirtLover June 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Ecohuman,

    Your arguments here are becoming strained – especially for a smart person like you. Your assertions that Maus is suggesting moral authority on the part of access proponents (simply by virtue of their advocacy) smells like more political misdirection.

    Contrary to your characterization, what Maus seemed to be saying is that people who don’t resort to dishonesty and obfuscation are, in fact, morally superior (your words, not Maus’) to those who do. Is that not a reasonable view of things?

    If you’re still asserting that the bike opponents are innocent of anything but an honest defense of the public interest, then I suppose we simply have a very different interpretation of their documented behavior. You seem to be willing to label some of their behavior as merely “foibles and missteps” rather than the well-managed and deliberate perversion of the public policy process that it actually is. It’s not reasonable to suggest that Marcy Houle and others have “accidentally” been inserting half-truths, mis-statements and unfounded fear into the process. When someone is giving public testimony and submitting “facts” for publication in the Oregonian and other important forums, “Oops, I did it again” is not an excuse that can be made for them.

    As for the role that facts should or should not play in the process, refusing to examine or acknowledge them at all might be one reasonable indication of who actually does or does not have morality on their side.

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  • ecohuman June 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Your assertions that Maus is suggesting moral authority on the part of access proponents

    Nice try at paraphrasing, but wrong. What I said was: “So? Does that mean proponents wanting trails have some sort of moral superiority over those that don’t?”

    That mark at the end of the sentence means I’m asking Jonathan a question, not telling him what he’s saying.

    If you’re still asserting that the bike opponents are innocent of anything but an honest defense of the public interest

    I’m confused. Can you point me to where I asserted that?

    You seem to be willing to label some of their behavior as merely “foibles and missteps”

    I am. I’m also willing to label the behavior of *others* as “foibles and missteps”. The rest of what I said was to look at intentions–if you want to bring people together.

    When someone is giving public testimony and submitting “facts” for publication in the Oregonian and other important forums, “Oops, I did it again” is not an excuse that can be made for them.

    I really don’t care who has decided to set themselves up as deciders of Forest Park’s fate, and haven’t defended anybody on any “side”. I also don’t believe that just because somebody has an idea that they get a “fair and honest” public discussion about it. And that’s rarely true anyway; political agendas of locally elected leaders normally trump that sort of faux equanimity.

    As for the role that facts should or should not play in the process, refusing to examine or acknowledge them at all might be one reasonable indication of who actually does or does not have morality on their side.

    Honestly, I think you may not be paying attention. the end of my comment #43 explains what I think about the “fact-based” approach to an issue like this. Do with it what you will.

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  • wsbob June 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    maus #28…thanks for your comments in that post.

    Regarding your comments in posts #32 and #36; Are you sure Ms. Houle is lying rather than simply expressing a heartfelt opinion? It seems to be your opinion that she’s lying, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she is lying. You’ve got no quotes from the gal to back up your claims against her. That puts you in hearsay territory.

    At any rate, as just one member of the committee, it shouldn’t affect the committee’s work that much whether she’s lying or not. If the vast majority of committee members are being honest and forthright, possible lies on the part of one member or another likely won’t derail the work the committee’s assigned to do.

    I looked on the committee’s web page. There doesn’t seem to be a chairperson listed for this committee. Is there one? Such a person could help to keep the committee’s efforts on track and exchanges between members on a higher, more productive plain.

    Single Track Cycling Advisory Committee Frequently Asked Questions

    note: just noticed your comment #42:

    “…I regret saying she has lied …” maus #42

    That’s good. In reporting details related to what people say in the committee meetings, a clearer distinction made between ‘lie’, ‘opinion’, and ‘conduct’ should result in a higher quality of information to people reading here.

    I agree with Lisa’s #45 comment; perhaps you should sit down and have a discussion with Houle.

    “…As you can tell, this issue is very close to my heart and it has been extremely frustrating for me to sit in meetings and watch Ms. Houle in action. …” maus #46

    For crying out loud…it’s one person out of 17 on that committee. I assume the other 16 have something in their noggins that allows them to make an independent appraisal of affairs in the face of an overbearing personality…assuming that is the situation.

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  • Minnow June 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Marcy Houle is a shy woman. Trust me, she does not have an overbearing personality. I don’t understand the frustration. As everyone knows, who has attended the meetings, the recommendations that went to Fish and Santner were voted on by the majority. One, two, or even three people could’t prevent it from going to Fish for consideration. But good reporting should have already pointed rhat out. So what is the problem? Sounds like you are looking for a scapegoat to me. And all options which were voted on to go to the open house was a consensus
    vote. There were many members against the sharing of
    Ridge and Maple. Get the facts correct.

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  • DirtLover June 15, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Minnow (and wsbob),

    I think the reason that people get so upset over the actions of just one or two members of a larger committee is that the issue is not really limited to the work of the committee. The committee’s role is to make recommendations to the Commissioner, but the Commissioner is subject to many additional pressures – both internally and arising from the community and media. However demure and insignificant you may think Ms. Houle is (or should be) on the committee itself, when she writes an inflammatory and misleading guest column in the Oregonian she is operating outside the committee – and some would even say at cross purposes. Sadly, it became a bit of game of “she started it” but I can certainly see why supporters of the committee process have felt sabotaged and offended. Of course, any of the committee members is free to speak and write whatever they like outside the committee as well, and if any of them had gained the type of traction and exposure that Ms. Houle has enjoyed, you can be sure that they would be attracting enthusiastic criticism as well.

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  • Waffle Stomper June 15, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    The hikers don’t want you bikers on their trails so you can fuggitaboutit. Feet came before wheels. Granddaddy rights. Vamoose you stinkin’ bikers!

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  • Minnow June 16, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Hmmmm. On page 174 of the 1995 Forest Park Management Plan it states the standards for bicycle trails. “Width-mininum 2.4 meters (8 feet)”

    Perhaps it is not about safety. Perhaps the writers of the Plan just wanted cyclists to have enough room for their feet to pedal.

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  • f5 June 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Keep up the good work Maus. It’s a miracle you haven’t gone insane dealing with all the BS being crammed down your throat in these comments. I can’t believe the lengths people will tangentalize to keep an argument…any argument…afloat.

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  • sierraclubber June 16, 2010 at 9:34 am

    As a hiker and environmentalist who has followed this issue for some time I believe that we need to think bigger about this issue; beyond our backyard that is Forest Park. Is the better option to continue to force all of these cyclists into their cars to drive to Mt. Hood and the Coastal Range for a two hour ride? That’s two hours of driving for two hours of riding. Or would the better option overall be creating some 18″ wide single width trails for them, or create a multi-use plan for the trails that already exist that they can ride their bikes to? It is clear that cyclists are a passionate group with a lot of energy who not only love their sport, but the places they recreate. On many Saturdays while hiking in Powell Butte I have seen cyclist work parties, caring for the trails we ALL use. Would it not be a better option to have these people on the side of the Park, bringing more labor and dollars into the Park in exchange for some equitable access? I do not see the benefit of total opposition to the their inclusion on single width trails. If the concern is safety, there are many options to consider. Lets all think beyond our personal preferences that continue to perpetuate all of this divisiveness, and move onto solutions that will benefit our Park and the environment.

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  • DirtLover June 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Thanks, sierraclubber. And so now we’ve come full-circle to the exact place the cyclists were 6 months ago, 12 months ago, 2 years ago, 5 years ago…a simple request that we all work together towards a reasonable, sustainable, fair, safe, responsible plan for sharing some small fraction of the public lands and growing the community of Forest Park supporters. Let’s do it.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 16, 2010 at 9:53 am

    DirtLover (#57),

    Yes! And that’s why I’m frustrated… because we had an opportunity to move this issue forward and come to agreement on a responsible plan for the park, yet it was derailed by a few influential people not acting in good faith and not acting within the process.

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  • RWL1776 June 16, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Minnow #54: that is the SAME standard for Firelanes. According to the Plan, that is all bicyclists are allowed to ride on, for safety concern. Also read about WHY 8 foot wide is the standard: Firelanes must be passable by a 1/2 ton pickup in the summer in case of fires, and they want the cyclist to have a long sight line to see others traveling the other direction. Lets see: wide gravel pathway + long sight line + Firelane going downhill and straight = that means going fast is the only way to make it fun to ride.

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  • DirtLover June 16, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Thankfully, the Plan clearly states, “…there are so many special settings and constraints that setting standards is too limiting. Instead, these ‘design guidelines’ establish a range of materials and widths so that trail designers can design trails more flexibly.”

    So let’s move forward.

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  • Bjorn June 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    @56, the sierra club is actively working to eliminate current mountain biking trails and prevent the construction of new ones. They are open and unabashed about it, which is why I am not longer a backer.

    This is the latest, a follow on to last years land grab in with hundreds of miles of trails were swallowed up into a wilderness designation that allows their erosion by pack animals but prevents their continued use as mountain bike trails.

    http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2010/jun/02/appeals-put-the-brakes-on-stevens-bike-park/

    If you currently give money to the sierra club I urge you to stop, and tell them why.

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  • Daniel Boone June 16, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    The Sierra Club has done a good job of helping get legislation passed to preserve a lot of wilderness and for that we should all be thankful. As a backpacker and climber, I am thankful for that. And I am pleased that mountain bikes, motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc are not allowed in wilderness areas – I do not think they belong there.

    However, I think they have gone too far on some issues such as this one, and the Steven Pass one in the link above. Also, these liberal groups have expanded into every liberal cause imaginable, good or bad, and are now just “liberal groups” and not environmental groups; plus they do not support all of our constitutional rights such as the right to own and carry firearms, etc. Thus, I have stopped supporting them. At one time I was simultaneously a member of Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, Washington Wilderness Coalition, The Mountaineers, and the Mazamas. I am no longer a member of any of them. I’m glad to not be getting my trash can full of junk mail each week also.

    They have, like the government, become huge bureaucracies and they are totally out of control. It’s a shame.

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  • wsbob June 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    sierraclubber #56…in your comment, you used the terms ‘cyclists’ and ‘cyclist work parties’. Of course, I’m sure you’re likely aware that the type of cycling for which access to single track trail is being requested, is ‘off-road biking’.

    If you aren’t already familiar with the various forms that off-road biking takes, there’s a lot of information online, and at good magazine racks. The activity generally involves speeds far greater than that of a walking pace. Greater speed, and the fact that the activity involves a vehicle(bike) has further implications in addition to the safety concern.

    This issue isn’t about simple access to the park for people with their bikes; that access already exists. It’s about whether this particular natural area park, should host off-road biking on single track; how much of what the term ‘off-road biking’ represents, the park should host; whether there should be any limitations on the type of off-road biking allowed in the park, and what those limitations should be.

    maus #58…It seems to me that the process this committee was provided with and relied on was seriously flawed from its inception. It’s hard to have good faith in something that doesn’t inspire good faith.

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  • wsbob June 16, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    From his remarks in comment #61, I wouldn’t conclude that Bjorn is lying, but the claims he makes certainly do not seem to not be accurate. The Sierra Club actually supports responsible off-road biking:

    “…A. Purpose

    The Sierra Club recognizes that bicyclists can be legitimate users of many non-Wilderness backcountry trails and supports responsible off-road bicycling. …”

    Sierra Club Conservation Policies Off Road Use of Bicycles

    Bjorn makes the following claim in his comment:

    “…They are open and unabashed about it, which is why I am not longer a backer. …” Bjorn #61

    Bjorn…got a quote, or…anything…to support that claim, or are those of us reading supposed to regard the claim as just a casual remark?

    From the Wenatchee World article he references in his #61 comment:

    “….A press release on Conservation Northwest’s website charges that current plans for development at Stevens Pass “do not address effects to wildlife reliant on the area, such as wolverine.” …”


    Appeals put the brakes on Stevens bike park…Environmental group says Forest Service hasn’t addressed impacts to wildlife, including wolverines

    Conservation Northwest is just one of three groups, that includes the Sierra Club, cited in that article as appealing the approval of the “…mountain bike park and trail system…”. The third group appealing the plans is the Tulalip Tribes.

    In some of the comments to this bikeportland story, there’s been quite a bit of discussion about the negative consequences of people not telling the truth, or carelessly making remarks that have no basis in reality. This seems to be something that reasonably intelligent people would be able to understand is important to make an effort not to do. And then despite this, Bjorn, a fairly regular commenter, goes ahead and posts what he did in comment #61.

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  • wsbob June 16, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Correction:

    “From his remarks in comment #61, I wouldn’t conclude that Bjorn is lying, but the claims he makes certainly do not seem to be accurate.

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  • Bjorn June 17, 2010 at 1:15 am

    The leader of the Sierra Club went on NPR on an story that was broadcast on OPB which I listened to in which he said that he recognized that the wilderness bill would remove over 300 miles of currently in use mountain bike trails from legal use but that he did not care because he thought it was more important to protect the wilderness. They were asked to try to create some sort of compromise that would allow the continued use of these trails by mountain bikers but declined to attempt to participate in that process. In that interview he said that mountain bikers could just use non-wilderness areas.

    However at steven’s pass we see that they are actively opposing the use of what is obviously not a wilderness area (there is a ski area on it). I fully expect that they will appeal the Mt. Hood park planned for Timberline at the last possible moment as well, probably with some fuzzy animal as the spokescritter for that too.

    google sierra club and mountain biking, you will find other cases of the sierra club openly opposing mountain biking, I have yet to find one where they actively campaign for it. If the president of an organization goes on a statewide, possibly national radio program and says I don’t care one bit that 300 miles of trails which people are using for mountain biking will no longer be accessible and in fact I think it is a good thing and have no plan to help replace those lost trails then I think that is in fact unabashed opposition to mountain biking, and it came straight from the horses mouth.

    Here is another case where the sierra club was actively fighting a government plan to allow mountain biking in a park.

    http://ventana.sierraclub.org/conservation/nisene_marks/nisene_court_limits.shtml

    Sure “It’s for the wolverines” sounds like a great thing, but the Sierra Club always have a reason and the always seem to be coming down on the “NMBIMBY” (no mountain bikes in my back yard) side of things. I am sorry that I don’t have a link to the radio program for you Wsbob, whoever you may be, but I listened to it and someone from the NWTA may know how to find one since some bend mountain bikers were also interviewed. It was that broadcast that convinced me that the sierra club was an organization to be opposed.

    Personally I don’t want to end up regulated to only being able to mountain bike on a few roads where dirt motorcycles are also in use. While occasionally the Sierra Club throws down some rhetoric that Mountain Bikes should not be lumped in with motorized vehicles their actions do exactly that. Bikes are quiet and in most of the rides that I took in the areas that are now marked wilderness I never saw anyone on foot more than a half mile from the parking lot. Cyclists were the only ones actively using a lot of these trails. Protecting them from development was a good idea, but removing them from use was a stupid one, especially since the sierra club still fully supports people taking hoofed pack animals on these trails even though they do at least as much damage as someone on a bike. Plus most cyclists are potty trained unlike these “pack animals”.

    The Sierra Club is out their promoting their brand of outdoorsyness and only their brand. I don’t think it is disingenuous to point that out.

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  • Bjorn June 17, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Also say what you will about lift assisted riding, I have only been one time and that was in Northstar. One thing that you get with lifts though is a team of people constantly monitoring an area of use to ensure that people aren’t cutting new trails and keeping any erosion issues in check. Lift assisted mountain biking like what is proposed at Stevens Pass creates a revenue stream that allows for the kind of active management that a place with that level of use really needs. I also don’t see how people riding their bikes during the day on some trails at the ski area could ever be more disruptive to the wolverine than the freeway that cuts that pass in two. That just doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense.

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  • Bjorn June 17, 2010 at 1:38 am

    I also disagree fundamentally with the interpretation of the wilderness act which has come to be accepted and is championed by the sierra club that it should prevent mountain biking at all. Here is what they have to say:

    I. POLICY

    1. Use in officially designated wilderness: The Sierra Club reaffirms its support for the Wilderness Act’s prohibition of “mechanized modes of transport,” including non-motorized vehicles, from entry into designated wilderness.

    However there isn’t a thing in the wilderness act that says no mountain biking and in fact mountain biking was an allowed use for many years after the act first passed. Here is some background, and if the sierra club reversed their wrongheaded decision to oppose all mountain biking in the wilderness I would go back to supporting them.

    Not all wilderness trails should be mountain bike trails, but the trails that have been mountain bike trails for decades, ones that mountain bikers have maintained as volunteers should come back and as soon as possible. Here is an article with more background on the situation.

    http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/hikers_wilderness_groups_should_re_think_mountain_biking/C41/L41/

    My feeling is that if I can use my telemark skis to explore goat rocks wilderness in the winter then why on earth can’t I use my mountain bike in the summer. It is a huge double standard.

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  • DirtLover June 17, 2010 at 8:10 am

    wsbob,

    Bjorn’s characterization and examples regarding the Sierra Club (SC) are fundamentally correct. Although SC has a national policy that would seem to be somewhat supportive of at least non-Wilderness cycling, and a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) regarding support for off-road bicycle use, the problem is that the national policy is broad and general while local SC chapters and individuals tend to operate under their own rules. In fact, I am certain that most local chapters and representatives have no idea what the national policy or IMBA MOU actually are. Unfortunately, local SC behavior has been decidedly anti-bicycle in many many settings. Although most SC objections are dressed up as legitimate concerns over ecology and safety (just like at Forest Park), I think they’ve largely been transparent efforts to simply preserve exclusive use of the land for a particular type of user.

    The big issue of federally designated Wilderness, which we dare not get too deeply into here, is a sticky one. As Bjorn points out, the Act itself did not ban bicycles and it is very unlikely that it would have if bicycles had been specifically considered in the debate. “Mechanized transport” meant something quite different to the authors. For the Sierra Club, as you can imagine, any suggestion that bicycles might actually be ok in Wilderness has been a impossibility for internal political reasons. But it will be interesting to see that policy evolve over time as the SC’s membership – and the overall political climate – evolves and matures.

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  • wsbob June 17, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Bjorn and DirtLover…both of you…those were quite well thought out comments, though I think you either miss the point of the Sierra Club and other conservation groups efforts in conserving wilderness, or reject those groups conservation priorities out of bitterness over reductions off-road bike enthusiasts have experienced in trails they’ve coincidentally had access to in past years.

    As I understand it, conservation of natural lands that might otherwise be developed for commercial and industrial profit is among conservation groups’ key priorities. Joined with that priority, is helping to conserve in identified wilderness areas, the availability to people that visit them, of an experience that exemplifies wilderness.

    With those ideas in mind, it’s not difficult for me to understand resistance to off-road bike access in wilderness areas. It may be, or perhaps I could say, apparently is difficult for other people to understand this; or maybe it’s a question of difference in their philosophy and interpretation of what wilderness is. This is something people should talk about more and work out a common understanding of.

    There’s no question in my mind about whether bikes are a mechanized mode of transport: They clearly are. The idea that they are a less offensive mode of transport than some other mechanized modes of transportation is something I’d readily agree with. That they are one of the least offensive mechanized modes of transportation does not particularily mean their presence in a wilderness setting contributes in a positive way to providing wilderness experience to people visiting wilderness areas.

    Advocating for the conservation of wilderness areas consequently involves opposition to off-road biking within those areas, but not to off-road biking in general. It logically follows that conservation groups aren’t seeking to establish wilderness areas for the purpose of blocking off-road biking enthusiasts access to trails they’ve enjoyed with their bikes. Conservation groups efforts are dedicated to conserving wilderness, and the wilderness experience it will thus be able to offer visitors to it.

    If off-road bike enthusiast want off-road bike access restored to areas they’ve been riding that are now wilderness, I’d think they’d be well advised to get busy and develop some serious, persuasive proposals for what they believe is in the best interests of everyone that values the availability of accessible wilderness experience on lands locally and beyond.

    I don’t think the ‘grandfathered in’ argument is going to be sufficient to do that.

    Regarding the Stevens Pass and possible Timberline bike plan being planned, it’s probably a mistake to pass off easily or not consider, the effects that bike activity…even if it’s lift assist bike activity…could represent to the environment there. That’s why conservation groups attentions are focused on questions associated with this new activity in those places. I’d tend to think that bikes’ speed of travel means, among other things, the potential for a great increase in the number of people using the resource. Whether such a concern proves out is, I suppose, part of the whole point in submitting the appeal with the possible outcome of having certain studies conducted that would answer such questions.

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  • Lunchrider June 17, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Jonathan #58
    I know people who went to most of the meetings as observers and their view was that the Single Track people were the ones who ignored the process, were disrespectful and acted in bad faith, quite a contrast to what is read here.
    Just shows how different people can interpret things in different ways.
    Time to lower the volume and listen.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Lunchrider,

    thanks for making that point. we can place blame all over the place. All i’m sharing is my opinion based on what I feel and what I’ve read and heard from people’s mouths. I stand by my assertions made in the comments above.

    Also, I can point out clear evidence of how Ms. Houle acted in bad faith. Can you do the same with the “single track people”?

    And thanks, I have been listening, and I’m speaking up because I’m afraid the volume has been too low and if it’s not heard than people will make decisions without knowing all the information about what happened.

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  • f5 June 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    When I took Wilderness Survival at the UofO in 1999, it was taught by Jim Granger, who at the time was (and may still be) the director of the UO’s Outdoor School, an accomplished Ranger, usually a leader where ever he was working. One of the basics of sensitivity to nature in backcountry travel, especially in winderness areas, was the importance to not camp/urinate/defacate/generally ‘hang out’ within 100′ of water sources. Both to protect the water source itself, and to not encroach upon wildlife territory, among a host of other reasons.

    In class, he showed us slide upon slide from his many years as a Ranger in the Rainier Wilderness of Sierra Club camping groups camping basically on lakeshores and right next to creeks and rivers.

    I decided to steer clear of them then, and whenever I read misinformation from them regarding mountain bikes always affirms that decision.

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  • f5 June 17, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Correction: Jim Blanchard from the UO, not Jim Granger.

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  • DirtLover June 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    wsbob,

    Your note (#70) does a good job of highlighting some of the complexity surrounding federal Wilderness and land conservation in general. At this point, I think we’re talking more broadly about conservation organizations and advocates in general rather than just the Sierra Club specifically, but some generalizations are probably fair enough.

    One thing you wrote is that Bjorn and I might be missing “the point of the Sierra Club and other conservation groups efforts in conserving wilderness” or that we may just be bitter over outcomes. What I tried to suggest in my previous post was that there’s generally very little objection to or mystery surrounding the “point” of conservation organizations like SC. All of that can be read in policy documents and position papers. If you can show me a mountain biker who is opposed to the preservation of open space, I’ll show you a land developer in stretchy pants. The problems arise on the ground when specific lands or projects are being considered by real live people who are trying to deal with issues far more complex than an overarching policy.

    Although there certainly are examples of places where “conservation” advocates have sought land designations and/or statutory/regulatory interpretations for the purpose of excluding bicycles, I agree that the overwhelming motivation for conservationists is, in fact, conservation. God bless ‘em.

    In most situations, cyclists have simply been in the way and, because the cyclists lack clout, their concerns are often just ignored. If cyclists were actually opposed to conservation, then this approach would make perfect sense. But cyclists are as interested in preserving the backcountry as anyone else. You suggest that simply by virtue of their willingness/desire to ride bicycles in the backcountry, the cyclists must have a different “philosophy and interpretation of what wilderness is.” But I don’t think that’s true. In fact, there are sociological studies that show it’s rather difficult to differentiate among non-motorized trail users with respect to their basic views and philosophy. You appropriately suggest that the user groups should talk to each other more in order to come to common understanding. But the cyclists have had a terrible time getting other users to talk at all, again because conservation goals have been achievable without buy-in from cyclists.

    On a related point, you suggest that cyclists should “get busy and develop some serious, persuasive proposals for what they believe is in the best interests of everyone that values the availability of accessible wilderness experience on lands locally and beyond.” Done. Ignored. IMBA as well as local groups have developed and presented a number of ideas for existing or new alternative land designations that could preserve areas in perpetuity but not lock out cycling. Wilderness proponents have had no interest – for exactly the political reasons I described.

    So where does all this leave the cyclists? Unfortunately, they are just as bitter as you imagine. And just as bitter as many conservationists would be if someone else’s interpretation or philosophy of wilderness included no visit longer than 30 minutes, or no boots, or no shoes, or no humans at all. So what can we expect from bitter, powerless cyclists? The answer is bitter, power-hungry activists who have learned less from their peers about the value of cooperation and dialogue and more about just gaining enough clout and constituency to turn the tables and cram their view down the throats of others, just as they’ve experienced. The good news is that the cyclists aren’t trying to exclude anyone else and all they want is the opportunity to quietly ride their bicycles in wild places that they love and respect.

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  • wsbob June 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    “…You suggest that simply by virtue of their willingness/desire to ride bicycles in the backcountry, the cyclists must have a different “philosophy and interpretation of what wilderness is. …” DirtLover #75

    I don’t think I suggested anything so broadsweeping as that. Only that off-road biking enthusiasts for some reason, possibly philosophical, don’t seem to recognize or appreciate that the presence of bikes in wilderness areas doesn’t apparently, in the view of people represented by conservation groups, enhance wilderness experience.

    Ideas that off-road cyclist groups have put together as they seek access to natural and wilderness areas may have seemed persuasive to those groups, their members and supporters, but obviously their ideas have been slow to inspire the confidence of conservation groups, their members and supporters.

    Sure, conservation groups have clout. Lots of reasons for that, but one likely reason, is that many, many more people support general conservation efforts than they do off-road biking in natural and wilderness areas.

    Look at at a couple of examples showing the difference between conservation groups, and off-road biking groups that have an interest in conservation. Conservation groups such as the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy have been around much longer than off-road bike enthusiast groups. There’s a lot of smaller, more recent conservation groups too. Though I haven’t looked up numbers that would support the thought, I would tend to think than many, many more members and supporters are represented by those groups than are by off-road biking enthusiast groups.

    Supporting this I think, is the fact that conservation groups are able to muster huge support and economic capital to actually go out and buy hundreds…even thousands of acres of land to add to wilderness and natural land inventories. This is happening locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

    I suppose off-road biking enthusiast groups with a concern for conservation could be doing this too…with a clearly stated intent that land they secured also allow off-road bike access…if they had the broad based support for their ideas that conservation groups do for theirs.

    At any rate, I’m looking forward to reading the suggestions that the advisory committee has presented to Fish and Santner.

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  • Bjorn July 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    and cue the immediate objections to increased mountain biking in the non-wilderness parts of mount hood. One thing that some of these “environmentalists” should realize is that when you remove 300+ miles of access to mountain biking trails the trails/areas that are left will see increased use…

    It is completely disingenuous for the same folks who fought to eliminate literally 300+ miles of ” trails for mountain bikers who want longer day trips” to now say this kind of mountain biking is no good the forest service should be developing new trails for people who want longer day trips. We had those trails Lori, and they were taken away by the Wilderness act that your group helped push through.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/07/oregons_timberline_ski_resort.html

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  • Shadow ops December 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Just to recap, countless people spent all that time an energy trying to convince the city to build a couple trails…what was it..2 years? And what did you guys get? NOTHING. Not a single thing. Shovel brigades unite! The system is broke and dominated by a single influential user group. We tried the right way and it failed. Take to the woods and build your trails. I pay taxes. ALLOT of taxes, I’m not some out of work 26yo barista.
    So all the people getting all bent about us illegal trail builders doing harm and ruining the process can stew in it. You can blog while we are out building.
    We walk among you.

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    • wsbob December 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      “…I pay taxes. ALLOT of taxes, …” Shadow ops

      O.k. …You say you’re paying a lot of taxes, which means you’re probably making a lot of money that can be taxed. Why not take some of your money, get together with some friends, pool that money and theirs together and buy a parcel of land to build the trail you want?

      Recently in response to a different story having to do with Corbett area residents regard for people cycling through Corbett, someone actually proposed such an idea.

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