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Advocates mobilize as comment period begins for Timberline Mountain Bike Park

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 6th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

"If implemented, this project could cause significant potential harm to soils, water, and wildlife."
-- From letter signed by members of Restore Mt. Hood Coalition

"This will attract more riders to Oregon, increasing tourism dollars in the area. This list of benefits goes on and on... the impact will be minimal."
-- Michael Whitesel, member of Northwest Trail Alliance

As I reported back in April, Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood is making a serious bid to build a mountain bike trail and skills park that would rival Whistler Mountain Bike Park in Canada. And, given Whister's phenomenal success, that's saying something.

The US Forest Service has officially opened the 30-day comment period for Timberline's proposal (as part of the required Environmental Assessment) and already advocates on both sides are making their positions known. The project would add about 15 miles of new mountain bike trails -- from beginner to expert single track -- and a skills park. The 7-8 acre park would also come with a new chairlift, a full-time trail care crew, and an emphasis on sustainable trail design.

Here's a detail of the newly released map of proposed trails:

Detail of proposed Mt. Hood Mountain Bike Park trails map (PDF here)

According to the Zig Zag Ranger District's official scope of work, the purpose of the project is "to meet the growing demand of year round recreation and development of new summer recreation activities." The proposal notes that,

"Oregon is considered the mountain biking capital of the Northwest and more people per capita have bicycles in Portland than any other city in the country. However, there are few Oregon ski areas that offer full-service, lift-assisted mountain biking for all ability levels."

According to the proposal, "mountain biking" is listed as a "Desired Future Condition" of the Mt. Hood National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.

Trails at Whister's Bike Park.
(Photo: Brian Finestone)

However, as with any development of forest land for recreational use, there are differences of opinions about the merits of this project and advocacy groups from both sides of the issue are mobilizing their members to weigh in.

The Friends of Mt. Hood feel that a bike park is "incompatible" with Mt. Hood. A board member of that group wrote a guest column in The Oregonian warning that the project would negatively impact the experience of visitors to the historic Timberline Lodge and would result in a loss of habitat and forest land.

Another group in opposition is Bark. Bark is leading the Restore Mt. Hood campaign and has joined with the Friends of Mt. Hood, Portland Audubon, and the NW Environmental Defense center in opposing the project.

In a letter sent to Mt. Hood National Forest Supervisor Gary Larsen back in April (when Timberline's plans were first made public), Bark's staff attorney Lori Ann Burd shared a number of concerns. She criticized the consultants hired by Timberline Lodge to build the park for not involving "key stakeholders" in the early stages of designing the proposal. Burd also thinks that Timberline Lodge is an "inappropriate destination" for a network of "extreme mountain bike trails" and says, if implemented, the project "could cause significant potential harm to soils, water, and wildlife."

Burd recently told The Oregonian that the type of biking that would occur at the park would be "a niche extreme activity" and that the Forest Service should focus more on cross-country trails for "mountain bikers who want longer day trips" instead. (One source close to the issue found it ironic that Bark would support cross-country trails, given that the group was instrumental in removing over 300 miles of existing mountain bike trails when new wilderness designations were expanded a few years ago.)

The Portland-based Northwest Trail Alliance is also urging members to send in comments to the Forest Service. They feel the project would serve a "huge and unmet need" for this type of facility in the region, that it would provide a family-friendly outdoor activity, and that it would be an economic boon to the local economy. Another point being made by the NWTA is that a controlled and managed facility like this is preferable over having it be "scattered throughout the Mt. Hood National Forest."

The comment period is open until July 30th. You can read more about the project via the links below. Send your comments to comments-pacificnorthwest-mthood-zigzag@fs.fed.us

- Official USDA project website (with links to scope of work proposal and map).
- Mountain Biking at Timberline Lodge
- Bark's action page
- Friends of Mt. Hood
- Northwest Trail Alliance

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Comments
  • RWL1776 July 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    It's worth mentioning that Congressman Blumenauer CLOSED 110+ miles of "some of the best singletrack in the universe" with his Mt Hood Legacy Wilderness Act 2 years ago, so it is about time mountainbikers GAINED some access to new trails in the area. Despite his excellent speech below, he advocated for closing 56% of the trails mountainbikers had ridden AND maintained in the Mt. Hood area for over two decades.

    Excerpt from Congressman Blumenauers Speech: From the Congressional Record: October 7, 2004

    "Mountain biking is a growing activity around the United States. In my State of Oregon, over 400,000 people participated in mountain biking last year. Bike Magazine identified the area around Hood River, Oregon, just to the east of my district, as some of the finest singletrack in the mountain bike universe, lying within an 80-mile radius of Hood River, incorporating all of the area that I represent.
    It is important not just to fitness and recreation. It is also important to the economy. Overall, bicycling and mountain bike tourism is important to local and State economies. We are finding across the country cycling activities are gathering tourists for organized rides, for touring and for mountain biking. In our State, tourism is a $6.1 billion industry, and we are watching as bicycling is becoming an ever-increasing part of that effort, programs like Cycle Oregon that bring together 2,000 people from around the country every year.
    It also is the source of a growing industry just in terms of cycle manufacturing and sales. There are thousands of small businesses across America that are part of the bicycling industry and specifically mountain biking. We just found this last year in Oregon the Chris King Precision Components relocated from California to Oregon because of the local support for mountain biking.
    And they join one of dozens of companies that are a part of that effort, creating a critical mass in terms of the component, manufacturing, sales and service.
    For all of these reasons, in terms of celebrating the spirit of mountain biking, the importance of promoting fitness, particularly among our youth, because it is so important in areas like tourism and small businesses, I rise in support of this resolution and urge my colleagues not just to support it, but find ways that they can translate this back home to their communities to make a difference."

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  • Bjorn July 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    BARK's spokeswoman has the nerve to say that the focus should be on building lengthy cross country trails, you mean like the hundreds of miles of trails that your group helped to make off limits to mountain biking through the wilderness designation and the continued erroneous administrative ruling that bikes can not be used in wilderness areas?

    B.S. BARK!

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  • Psyfalcon July 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Yes, mountain bikes will ruin the experience at the Timberline Lodge. But skis do not, nor do mountain climbers, or snowmobiles for ski patrol, and lets not forget avalanche control.

    One would think the company running the lodge just might know how to run it, and its nearby operations?

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  • Velophile in Exile July 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    The utter BS coming from these groups (like BARK) is enough to make long-time environmentalists such as myself wonder what happened to peoples' sense of perspective and think twice about where my donations go.

    And almost enough to make a reasonable person want to vote Republican. Almost.

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  • Barking up the wrong tree July 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I used to support BARK -- but they really need to choose their battles. Basically they are saying mountain biking is one of their larger environmental concerns and must be stopped. I cannot support a group that has such extreme views. Fighting against clearcutting and large scale deforestation is one thing. Fighting against people who want to ride their bikes in the woods -- or in this case an area that is already developed and well used for outdoor recreation with a mechanized landscape -- is another.

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  • wsbob July 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    "It's worth mentioning that Congressman Blumenauer CLOSED 110+ miles of "some of the best singletrack in the universe" with his Mt Hood Legacy Wilderness Act 2 years ago ..." RWL1776 #1

    I suspect this to be a gross distortion of Blumenauer's efforts in regards to adding more wilderness to the national protected wilderness inventory. I've not heard of any reports that people objecting to the loss of off-road biking trail in conjunction with wilderness designation have inquired of Blumenauer or his staff whether removing off-road bikes access from land so designated was part of his primary motivation in seeking that designation.

    About the following quote from maus's story:

    "...(One source close to the issue found it ironic that Bark would support cross-country trails, given that the group was instrumental in removing over 300 miles of existing mountain bike trails when new wilderness designations were expanded a few years ago.)..." maus/bikeportland

    Something about the above statement sounds fishy; intentionally composed to mislead unwitting readers. I don't know much of Bark's ideas regarding off-road biking in wild country, but rather doubt that organization supported wilderness designation to get rid of off-road biking.

    My initial/present feeling about the Timberline's proposal for the off-road biking trails and skills park the resort has in mind, is that it might be worth supporting. I think so for a number of reasons. Timberline has conducted a fairly good study of environmental impact, which readers can find on the lodges's website.

    '7.8 acres' for a skills park isn't an especially big deal. The expanse of the trails shown on the above map, and the picture of off-road bikers on a trail in Whistler aren't probably going to favorably impress the people that need to be persuaded to get this proposal to happen. That's just my guess.

    With the unpredictability of snow in Oregon winters, the ski resort business can be tough of a place like Timberline. Not wanting it to go broke is one reason I might be supportive of this proposal.

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  • Bjorn July 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    @6 I personally contacted Congressman Blumenauer's staff before the designation was made asking for the Congressman to do something about the loss of access. I received a polite but curt response that the protection of the wilderness was more important to him than the bike access and that hopefully in the future new trails might replace the lost trails, or changes might be made in the future but that the congressman planned to go ahead with the wilderness designation with the full knowledge of the loss of trails and with no concrete plans to offset that loss.

    I think many of us contacted the congressman. It was not his main motivation but he knew well in advance of the designation vote what the effect would be and made no attempt to mitigate that result.

    These environmental groups were all aware that what they were doing was going to remove vast amounts of trails that were being actively used by mountain bikers, and while I don't recall BARK even responding to concerns the Sierra Club certainly said "tough titties to you" when questioned about mountain biking in the then proposed wilderness area.

    I would love to know exactly where BARK thinks the new trails should go, and how they propose they be funded, because I doubt there is any trail that could be proposed that they would not object to. They are unwilling to have trails even in this already highly used area so I doubt they are going to support a new trail being cut through some roadless area.

    Bjorn

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  • Tom Archer July 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    A couple clarifications. First, I believe the mileage lost due to the wilderness designations was closer to the 110 miles cited by RWL1776. Second, the boundary of the park would be significantly larger than 7-8 acres. I believe that area (cited in the scoping announcement) includes only the area directly impacted by trails and not the entire area boundary.

    This project should be supported by Friends of Mount Hood and Bark, as the long-term and total impacts will be less with a high-density park. I'd love to see some follow-up with them to hear more about their concerns.

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  • Blah Blah Blah July 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    As an avid mt biker I am still looking for the effects of the supposed 110 miles of lost singletrack, but this is not what this is about.

    And to say theses trails will harm the soils, water, and wildlife (which I don't agree with) and not mention the tons of rock salt Timberline dumps on the Palmer Snowfield each summer is ridiculous.

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  • One Ghost July 6, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I just have one thing to ask: Why does Oregon, a state rife with amazing outdoor sports and deep in the cycling culture, hate mountain biking so much?
    My company, One Ghost Industries relocated here to Portland because of what we thought was a dreamland of epic PNW trails and endless mountain bike riding but only to find the scene totally underground like it is illegal.

    It seriously makes me ashamed to say my company is Oregon and even Portland based sometimes.

    We need to have a stronger voice and not one that just bitches but one that takes strong action in favor of advocating more open space for mountain bike riding an this includes downhill riding.

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  • wsbob July 7, 2010 at 12:10 am

    "... the protection of the wilderness was more important to him than the bike access and that hopefully in the future new trails might replace the lost trails, or changes might be made in the future ..." Bjorn #7

    In other words, Blumenauer's staff was likely telling you and others you mentioned, that the congressman had a choice: wilderness designation under existing terms of the wilderness act, or no wilderness designation. Something, rather than nothing, or worse yet...those lands being industrialized or developed.

    Since that legislation was passed, what have you and others seeking off-road bike access to Oregon wilderness designated lands been doing to have the wilderness act revised to allow that access?

    "I just have one thing to ask: Why does Oregon, a state rife with amazing outdoor sports and deep in the cycling culture, hate mountain biking so much? ..." One Ghost #10

    Sounds to me like an offhand remark. Probably not true at all. I couldn't say I know all or even many of the places where off-road biking is welcome in Oregon, but I get the sense there's a lot of them outside the metro area.

    If you're distressed that there's resistance to off-road biking access to certain areas you have in mind...which you haven't named...it might pay off to keep thinking about reasons some Oregonians might not be thrilled with off-road biking. Ask those people... not just bikeportland...about possible reasons for that resistance. They might be willing to give you some answers.

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  • Bjorn July 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

    @wsbob there have been articles written in major magazines opposing the administrative rule that bars mountain bikes from the wilderness without reason. I only recently learned that no law bars bikes from the wilderness only an administrative decision, so my activism has only just begun. I think that now that we see that the sierra club is opposing new trail construction many of us will be actively trying to overturn the wilderness ban since construction of replacement trails seems near impossible due to the opposition of groups such as bark and the sierra club. If they don't want bikes in the wilderness now is the time for them to reverse their ridiculous position, otherwise I think they will find themselves overwhelmed by people who want their trails back.

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  • Spiffy July 7, 2010 at 6:35 am

    I've seen the Whistler setup and it's awesome... I didn't ride on it since it was my honeymoon and I was doing other things... I thought it was great that they could use the ski slopes in the summer for mountain biking... bring that revenue in year-round...

    no reason not to do it... sure it's another chunk of wilderness for human use but it would just get developed into something worse anyway... tired of hearing all the "if", "could", and "potential"...

    stop whining about what hasn't happened and let people have some fun!

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  • frank July 7, 2010 at 8:59 am

    #11: There are many other options for land designation, one of which is 'National Recreation Area'.

    Can someone riddle me this: how is trailbuilding for bikes going to cause more environmental damage? All the salt T-line uses on Palmer snowfield, not to mention all the synthetic wax that literally every snow ride applies to the base of the boards and skis that rubs off onto the snow (and thus ends up in the soils and waterways) has got to cause more damage than adding properly designed trails. Bikes don't shed chemicals and they don't require that a resort add massive amounts of salt to the ground for their use.

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  • f5 July 7, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Any cyclists have a list of actual trail names out of the ~110 miles of trials that became off-limits to cyclists a couple years back? I tried to find specifics a while back and didn't have much luck.

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  • f5 July 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Somewhat related, food for thought:
    http://www.newwest.net/index.php/main/article/4873/

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  • Oliver July 7, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Be advised, if it becomes too much trouble to ride my mountain bike, next time I'll spend my money on an ATV.

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  • john July 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Yes i have to agree with One Ghost. I quit riding mtb when i moved from Michigan. I tried mtb here and there, here in Oregon. But in Michigan the singletrack was incredibly fun, here in Oregon it was just incredibly poor and too much trouble. I simply quit riding.

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  • matt picio July 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Jonathan, you wrote in the story that "Bark is leading the Restore Mt. Hood campaign".

    The Restore Mount Hood Coalition (not campaign) is a coalition of more than 20 organizations which support "quiet recreation" in the Mount Hood National Forest. While Bark is the facilitating member of that coalition, "lead" is perhaps too strong a term. Not all members of the coalition support the same stance on every item. Cycle Wild, for example, is a member of the coalition, but at this time, Cycle Wild does not have an official stance on the Timberline bike park because we do not have enough information on the potential impacts of that project on the local environment. Cycle Wild also is dealing with the loss of access to the MHNF caused by Ron Wyden's Wilderness proposal (not Blumenaur's - while Earl was involved, he was not the lead on that one).

    For those keeping score, the lead organization on the MHNF Wilderness legislation was NOT Bark. Yes, they supported it, but the organization that spearheaded it and rammed it through without proper public input was Oregon Wild (formerly ONRC). This has led to the ironic situation that it is much easier now to obtain access to the wilderness by car than by bicycle. Bicycles are prohibited from access to Wilderness areas since a Reagan-era Supreme Court interpretation of the original Wilderness Act.

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  • f5 July 7, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    John #18:

    Huh?

    I could name at least 150 trails in the state that you then definitely have not ridden on. Remember, there are actual mountains in Oregon ;).

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  • matt picio July 7, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Bjorn (#12) - A 1964 law prohibits them thanks to a 1984 decision that bikes are "mechanized". I'll have to look up the particulars, I can't recall for sure if it was a court decision or an administrative rule.

    In any case, Bark doesn't have anything against bicycles - they are against any project which significantly impacts the land within the forest. Sierra Club is a major factor, but the biggest push locally for Wilderness designations is by Oregon Wild. OW does a lot of good things, I think the main problem is that bicycles don't register on their radar - at all.

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  • rigormrtis July 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    "this project could cause significant potential harm to soils, water, and wildlife."

    Anything COULD cause damage.....come back when you can prove it WILL.

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  • wsbob July 7, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    "...that spearheaded it and rammed it through without proper public input..." picio #19

    What exactly do you mean by 'rammed through'? To me, that phrase implies speedily passed, as in 'the legislation for wilderness designation for forest around Mt. Hood was speedily passed. That did not happen. Wilderness designation of those lands barely passed, because certain members of Congress repeatedly challenged the bill...not because it didn't provide access to off-road bike use in wilderness...but because they thought the land should continue to be classified in such a way that would allow profit to be generated from it.

    "...This has led to the ironic situation that it is much easier now to obtain access to the wilderness by car than by bicycle. ..." picio #19

    Please explain what you mean. Are you saying there are roads making wilderness accessible, but bikes aren't allowed to use them? Sorry...don't believe that's true.

    "...Bicycles are prohibited from access to Wilderness areas since a Reagan-era Supreme Court interpretation of the original Wilderness Act. ..." picio #19

    Did the Supreme Court call their decision an 'interpretation'? Or, a 'clarification'?. I believe the wilderness act was drawn up shortly before the off-road bike/mountain bike boom. So at the time, legislators wouldn't have had a serious reason to consider the idea of anyone even thinking of taking a bike into the wilderness.

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  • Bjorn July 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    @21 matt not sure where you got the info about the court, but according to this article:

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

    it was simply an administrative rule change by the Forest Service, and originally bikes were allowed in the wilderness. As such they could conceivably reverse their position, however with powerful groups like the sierra club opposing such a change that is less likely, one more reason not to support such groups until they stop their anti bike stance.

    Also here is a very interesting legal opinion laying out the foundation of why this particular lawyer believes that the wilderness act has been misinterpreted and did not intend to ban cyclists.

    http://www.imba.com/resources/land_protection/stroll.pdf

    My opinion is that if mechanized transport bans mean no bikes then they also mean no skis/snowshoes/rafts with oarlocks/ etc etc etc. There is no reason why bikes should be singled out as the one non-motorized method of faster transport to be banned from the wilderness when all these others continue to be allowed.

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  • wsbob July 8, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Bjorn...I'll try get through the 26 page document you provided the link to...later.

    "...There is no reason why bikes should be singled out as the one non-motorized method of faster transport to be banned from the wilderness when all these others continue to be allowed." bjorn

    People use skis and snowshoes on snow, and boats with oarlocks on water, because they're basically required for humans to travel over those surfaces.

    Is it arguable that bikes are as fundamentally essential to traveling over trails, as canoes, snowshoes and skis are to the respective surfaces for which they're designed?

    Bikes aren't essential in order for humans to travel over a trail in a natural area or wilderness. Two good working legs serves just fine for that purpose. The idea isn't 'faster transport', but basic transport.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

    So Bob has never heard of swimming or hiking in snow? Or that skis are useles on the same trails in the summer up at Mt Hood?

    Nope, just that anti-bike agenda rearing its ugly head again.

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  • eljefe July 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    BARK opposes commercial development and privatization on public lands for any use. This proposal restricts free access to the area and gives a private company a monopoly on paid access.

    Alpine soils are more fragile than most, and during winter use, the are covered by snow. People are only interested in this area because of the steep slopes. It's a guaranteed recipe for soil erosion.

    Designating lands as wilderness doesn't deny access to any PEOPLE. It restricts USES. Mountain bike enthusiasts are just as welcome in wilderness as anybody else. They can leave their bikes at the trailhead and walk, just like the rest of us.

    The Forest Service's citation of the quantity of bike users in Portland is disingenuous. Most of them are like me: The ride a bike in the city for transportation but have no interest in hauling their bike up the mountain in a car, then up higher on a chairlift, and riding down a ski run. Many of then can't afford a car or a lift ticket. The agency's attempt to evoke the sustainable aura of bikes is plain greenwashing.

    If the mountain biking community pushes the idea that public land managers have an obligation to accommodate everyones wishes, they will regret it when ATVs, then helicopters, then feller-bunchers invade your favorite trail. Read the Multiple Use Sustained Yield act of 1960.

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  • Bjorn July 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Erosion concerns are a red herring, if groups were actually concerned about erosion they would be pushing to ban horses from the trails.

    http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/WKeenImpacts.html

    Bicyclists do not have significantly more impact on trails than hikers, and in some circumstances bikes have less impact per pass than hikers. The real key though is properly designed trails, which given the revenue source and monitoring Timberline should boast. From the look of it on the proposed maps the trails wind down the hill largely contouring with the hill, i.e. designed using IMBA standards to prevent erosion. None of these proposed trails appear to be going straight down any of these hills, and the lower part of timberline is largely not very steep as anyone who has skied there can attest. I think these erosion concerns are being severely overblown.

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  • ride dont slide July 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    #27

    If you weren't so persistent about kicking us mountain bikers out of the wilderness and restricting trail access, perhaps we would cut you some slack on this commercial development idea. But remember the ski area is ALREADY commercially developed. Why aren't you advocating for shutting down the ski resorts that are on the mountain right now and restoring the area to it's natural state? I can't see why you can think it is ok to allow skiing and snowboarding, terrain parks, a hotel / resort, chair lifts, etc but not bicycles on the same exact area.

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  • ride dont slide July 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Also, to clarify: dh mountain bike park trails are typically not on the steepest slopes, as a lower grade is generally more fun since you don't have to use the brakes so much. There are some steep sections, but the general idea is to flow down the mountain and work with the terrain instead of against it. Prevent hard braking, use bermed corners, etc.

    This area was chosen not because of the steep slopes, but because it already has the infrastructure to support an operation like this with minimal change.

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  • wsbob July 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    "...never heard of swimming or hiking in snow? Or that skis are useles on the same trails in the summer up at Mt Hood? velo #26

    Nope...never heard of swimming in snow. Agreed, skis are useless where there isn't snow on the ground. That's why people start walking after the spring melt.

    Bjorn...read the ted stoll 26 page document. He's a crafty talking lawyer.
    As I said before, I don't buy the argument that bikes are equivalent in natural and wilderness areas to ski's, canoes, kayaks, etc. etc. If there are enough other people that do though, I suppose that's all that's necessary to change the wilderness act to allow bike use in wilderness.

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  • Psyfalcon July 9, 2010 at 12:25 am

    27, enough with the alpine soils.

    This is proposed to be below Timberline Lodge. It is below the treeline, and is no longer "alpine" by definition. It is disingenuous to claim they are alpine soils which are relatively well known for their limited distribution and fragility.

    This is not an alpine meadow, but a forest. It needs to be treated as such, and not like rare soils and habitat above it.

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  • wsbob July 9, 2010 at 1:34 am

    "...This is not an alpine meadow, but a forest. ..." Psyfalcon #32

    Technically correct! Thank you Psyfalcon. But it's not just any forestland such as the low elevation commercial timberland out near Scappoose that's been clearcut and logged more than once. It's a high elevation forest with rare soil and habitat of its own.

    How much regard do off-road biking devotees have for this distinction? Interesting thought to ponder. (By the way, the above snapshot of off-road bikers in Whistler seems to show them in surrounding terrain that looks like it may be alpine.)

    In the French Alps, there's the mountain bike marathon spectacle, the Megavalanche that starts out at Alpe D'Huez (world renowned downhill ski location too). In spring, I saw parts of this event on television, the riders sending spiraling clouds of dust far over their heads as they descended en mass through both alpine and high elevation forest. Quite a sight to see.

    eljefe #27's comment may contain some technical and/or factual errors, but the gist of the comment seems heartfelt.

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  • ride dont slide July 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    The Megavalanche event is NOTHING like what happens at the North American bike parks.

    How much alpine soil has been displaced for the parking lots and road going up to Timberline? Why isn't anyone pushing for reclamation of that area?

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  • Psyfalcon July 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    True, it probably presents different challenges than a lowland forest soil. I think the difference though is that the alpine areas are islands. Species on Hood can't easily migrate to Rainer or Jefferson, or even reach Government Camp. There is little chance for species to come back if they are strongly affected.

    Many of the forest species are species found lower (plants and animals) that there is a better chance of them recovering due to nearby populations.

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  • wsbob July 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    "...How much alpine soil has been displaced for the parking lots and road going up to Timberline? ..." ride dont slide #34

    And Mt. Hood Meadows ... . Why do you think conservationist groups worked so hard to help retain forest land on the north side of Mt. Hood as wilderness rather than allow it to be subject to commercial development, possibly becoming another ski resort?

    Seems certain that skiing has far greater and broader support from the public than off-road biking does. Almost '0' chance exists for evicting ski resorts from land they operate on, and reclaiming it. I'm quite certain that some years back, when Meadows presented plans to expand, there was a lot of resistance to them on environmental concerns; went to court, etc. Can't recall off the top of my head how it worked out, but skiing is a major industry whereas off-road biking parks aren't, at least not yet. Seems like Meadows got at least part of what it sought, on the strength of its business.

    "The Megavalanche event is NOTHING like what happens at the North American bike parks. ..." ride dont slide #34

    That event though, is an example of one aspect of off-road biking's values and regard for natural environment.

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  • Bjorn July 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I'm sure that the event in Gloucestershire where everyone chases a cheese down the hill probably isn't too great for the vegetation on that hill side either but it has about as much to do with hiking as the Megavalanche race in France has to do with what is being proposed at Timberline.

    "Look at these hikers, they are destroying the hill side stop all hiking now it is horrible for the environment..."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpzEF0D2xfE

    Do you have some sort of a fishing boat where you get all these red herrings from or do you buy them at market?

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  • wsbob July 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Bjorn...and how are you describing what is being proposed for Timberline in terms of riding opportunity for off-road biking?

    By the way, earlier in the comments to this story of maus's, I've already more or less said that the Timberline's proposal stands a good chance to get approved.

    As off-road biking goes...off- road bike racing actually...the Megavalanche is extraordinary, yet it's the type and style of riding that racers do that many recreational off-ride bike riders are likely to want to experience for themselves without having to travel to France and be in a competitive event.

    It would seem as though this is the intention of having off-road biking trails follow the the route of Timberline's winter downhill ski runs.

    Check out this excerpt from Maus's above story:

    "...Burd recently told The Oregonian that the type of biking that would occur at the park would be "a niche extreme activity" and that the Forest Service should focus more on cross-country trails for "mountain bikers who want longer day trips" instead. " maus/bikeportland

    Burd, as reported in maus's story, is "...Bark's staff attorney Lori Ann Burd ..."

    Don't know much about chasing Camembert down hills, and I don't watch silly videos, or any vids unless they're really good, because it takes too long to download. One thing I've noticed though, is not too many walkers seem to want to pattern their gait after that of race walkers. Suppose doing so could help them win a prize...or a cheese?...but the race walking style just aint got nothing on the graceful, fluid movement of bike racers.

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  • ride don't slide July 11, 2010 at 4:19 am

    wsbob #38

    dude

    no

    speaking as an experienced rider who is in tune with what is going on at bike parks, dh racing, and the freeride scene

    we are not looking for a megavalanche experience at Timberline

    we are looking for a Whistler experience

    totally different!

    please give it a rest

    they are NOT similar other than they both involve bicycles

    thanks

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  • Atbman July 11, 2010 at 10:40 am

    And yet the UK forestry Commission has been actively engaged in developing the areas under their control for mountainbiking for years.

    And there has been no damaging impact on the environment AFAIK, altho' some trails have been amended where experience has called for it. Perhaps Whistler has become a much debased shadow of its former self, environmentally speaking?

    On the other hand,poor riding technique, particularly skidding and riding round puddles can damage the trail, leading to erosion. Perhaps both sides should put forward their factual evidence. Until that happens, this is likely to persist as a yah boo type of "debate"

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  • wsbob July 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

    "... we are not looking for a megavalanche experience at Timberline ..." ride don't slide #39

    rds ...What different experience are you thinking of, other than one that doesn't have 2000 people all riding together in one competitive event? The terrain megavalanche riders were going over sure looked similar to what's up on Timberline.

    I should have made it clearer that I didn't have in mind that locals were looking to have an actual megavalanche type race, or any kind of race up on Timberline, but rather, the opportunity to ride the technical challenge of terrain similar to that on the megavalanche route.

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  • ride dont slide July 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    wsbob:

    I respectfully recommend that you look for some videos of Whistler Bike Park trails on youtube and compare them with what you see on the Megavalanche videos. It should be pretty obvious.

    It is a completely different style of riding. Whistler is much more controlled and constrained. Nobody goes off trail up there.

    I can understand some confusion if you aren't familiar with this style of riding and don't take the time to really look into it more than a quick glance but I can assure you Megavalanche is a completely different animal.

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  • metaphor works well. July 11, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    @38/41, take the time, watch the video in number 37, the cheese chase is the megavalanche, normal hiking is the whistler experience. Timberline isn't proposing a megavalanche event they are proposing something more like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDY89GqWvjg

    you won't see much skidding, just well designed trails with banked corners, people letting their bikes roll due to well designed slopes that control speed, and wood features that protect sensitive areas that may be prone to erosion.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 12, 2010 at 11:25 am

    @ #42: You have to understand that wsbob hates mountainbikers and mountainbiking. He gives the impression that he is interested in dialogue, and gives it a good show with endless pointless posts here, but he isn't. He is just writing to promote his anti-mtb agenda. All the time you spend engaging with him here in his faux attempt at dialogue is less time you spend doing real advocacy. Let this jobless old Beavertonite spend his time trolling on bp and let's spend our time riding and convincing the real stakeholders.

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  • wsbob July 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    "...You have to understand that wsbob hates mountainbikers..." velo #44

    My, my we're wordy today velo. Thanks for providing the opportunity to respond. It's a good exercise for me.

    Actually, my interest in the dialogue is more than an impression. I'm very seriously interested in it. That's why I work very hard to carefully think through the points that others raise, and compose and respond in kind.

    If those thoughts don't agree with the the diminutive 'Velophile in Exile' and his pals ...them's the breaks. If they don't like them, they'll have to find themselves some other place where they feel safer, less annoyed, and don't have to face the realities of open, civil conversation.

    I figure all Oregonians are stakeholders in how our states natural lands are managed and used. We should all be working together to have a coherent discussion about how they're used and managed. Seems to me the comments of 'ride don't slide', 'metaphor works well.' and some other people's posted earlier, are mostly consistent with this idea.

    The land around Mt. Hood and on upon which Timberlines operations take place are very beautiful, and certainly seem to qualify for this kind of discussion.

    Incidentally, other than what I've written here on bikeportland, this person 'velo' hasn't met me and doesn't know me. I'll leave it to all of you reading to decide the truth of what this person has decided to allege.

    To any of you that really feel my comments posted to bikeportland are out of line, certainly contact bikeportland Editor and Publisher Jonathan Maus about your concerns.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Blah, blah, blah. Read between the lines and you will see the truth. I do know bob and I have met bob, he just doesn't know that.

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  • wsbob July 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    There's no 'between the lines' in what I write.

    Yes...do see the truth. I'll say again, this person has not met me and does not know me, at least not in an honorable circumstance where they've introduced themselves. As far as I'm concerned, that doesn't constitute having 'met' someone.

    The topic though, which still seems to be far more worthy than velo's minor squabbling, is Timberlines proposal for off-road biking on the slopes of Mt. Hood. Thanks to all of you that have made an effort to seriously consider what that proposal may mean to each and every visitor to the area.

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  • Zimmerman July 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I'm personally not threatened by wsbob's constant commenting on a type of biking he'll probably, (and unfortunately) never participate in. Regardless of how 'thoughtful' and 'civilized' he tries to claim his dialogue is it's readily apparent that he's anti-mountain biking. I'll also not be bullied away because I challenge his comments.

    As for the bike park at Timberline: we're talking about a professionally designed and maintained trail system specifically built to withstand daily use in an area already set aside for recreation. One of those uses is mountain biking which already occurs on trails there daily. It'll meet a current demand not already met in the area. I'm all for it and plan to visit it regularly.

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  • wsbob July 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    "...it's readily apparent that he's anti-mountain biking. ..." Zimmerman #48

    And that conclusion, though you're certainly entitled to hold it as a personal view...would be incorrect.

    In past comments to stories on both main page and to topics in the forums, I've encouraged efforts to seek out and develop off-road biking opportunity within Washington and Multnomah counties. In Washington County, Tualitan Hills Parks and Recreation districts somewhat recently acquired Mt. Williams estate was one such area I encouraged off-road enthusiasts to contact the park district about in regards to possibly developing off-road bike single track there. Not that it didn't happen, but never did notice from a bikeportland source whether anyone approached THPRD about this.

    But no, as an independent citizen entitled to the same free voice everyone is entitled to, I'm likely not to give a pass, silently or otherwise, to every single request made by this group or that for access to resources that we all share common responsibility for.

    z ....I'm glad you're not feeling threatened by my comments, because having people feel that way is the opposite of what I'm working to do. Most of the people commenting to bikeportland seem to want friendly and informative discussions taking place, and I think for almost everyone commenting to this story, including myself, that has actually happened. Thanks again to everyone that helped out in this respect!

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  • bjorn July 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    The park bob appears to be referencing looks to be an extension of thornbrook park and both together look to be no more than 5 city blocks on a side surrounded by houses. It is a little hard to tell from the map but it also looks to be basically completely flat. It would be great if someone built a pump track there but I don't really see why bob continues to compare apples and oranges...

    http://maps.google.com/maps?um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=thornbrook+park&fb=1&gl=us&hq=thornbrook+park&hnear=Portland,+OR&cid=0,0,9464274275383207154&ei=-Nw7TOjJJI-isQOwu8zaCg&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=4&ved=0CCMQnwIwAw

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  • wsbob July 12, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    "...it also looks to be basically completely flat. ..." bjorn #50

    Go there personally if the westside isn't too far out of your way. Mt Williams isn't flat at all. Well...at the very top, it has a small, relatively level area where a house and outbuildings used to be, but other than that, it's mostly steeply sloping. I'm guessing it might have an elevation range of 300'.

    In fact, standing on the Westside trail at Millikan Way, looking to the south, Mt. Williams can be clearly seen jutting up on the horizon. I've mentioned in comments before that this point on the Westside Trail is easy to arrive at by light rail.

    It is a small park at 30 acres, but it could be (perhaps 'could have been' may be more appropriate if people haven't spoken up before plans for the park have already been established...I don't know for sure...check it out) have been the start of something bigger.

    The point as far as off-road biking in the metro area is concerned, is that very little effort by off-road bike enthusiast seems to be directed towards seeking areas for the activity outside of a few specific spots. And there should have been.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

    -Ignorance of the basic aspects of mountain biking (e.g., he called singletrack "single-width trail" for about six months) and the experience of mountain biking.

    -Excessive recitation of others' statements implying opinions not held by the author or conclusions not drawn by the author or warranted from the facts.

    -Endless posts focusing on insignificant or non-issues to create the false impression that there is disagreement or controversy.

    -Spinning impacts of mtn biking to appear more serious then they actually are to create more controversy where there may be disagreement.

    -Unwillingness to be educated or change opinion based on factual information or logical arguments provided by other posters.

    -An obsession (count the posts on every mtb story) with an an activity he does not do and has never done.

    -And occasionally -- just very occasionally -- he lets slip that he hates getting stuck behind cyclists when driving and he hates getting intimidated or buzzed by mtn bikers when hiking trails.

    When read as a whole, the conclusion is inescapable:

    WSBOB is an anti-bike zealot who cleverly disguises his agenda with rhetorical techniques designed to frustrate and prolongue discussion to prevent, delay, or disrupt bike advocacy.

    He is not interested in a "coherent discussion." He is interested in distracting you from your advocacy so he can limit your rights to ride on public land.

    His posts are not civil, but crafted to give the impression of being civil. Smart bp readers are no longer fooled, bob.

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

    velo...rail away as you will.

    As long as Jonathan Maus's site policy allows free and open expression, you may have to find yourself facing my remarks for an indefinite period to come. I trust that most people reading here recognize the sincerity of my ideas and thoughts expressed on this weblog.

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  • f5 July 13, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Your ideas are sincerely insulting to cyclists. Everything you 'propose' is always based on your own narrow views, not facts, and always result in you suggesting cyclists being severely hampered in every way and segregated off in some tiny, out of they way strip of unused land that has nothing to do with cyclists being able to enjoy nature and everything to do with you and your ilk not wanting to have to see people with bikes in any nature setting.

    SHARE, wsbob. And for the love of god just stop trolling with your constant attempts to try and represent the extreme and fringe as the norm. Everyone who rides a bike and frequents the BP forums is sick of your 'sincere' misrepresentation of us.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I'm not in the slightest bit worried about "facing" your remarks, bob. And as long as you keep posting this crap, I will keep exposing your true motivations.

    If you are paying attention, it should be clear to you by now that people who follow the mtn bike threads here on bp are sick of you and that the only people who take your bait are those who are not yet familiar with your bs.

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

    "...Everyone who rides a bike and frequents the BP forums is sick of your 'sincere' misrepresentation of us." f5 #54

    f5 and everyone else still reading...that's nonsense, which I'm not going to bother to counter. I don't know who you're referring to as 'us', but I highly doubt that's everyone that rides a bike and frequents the BP forums, or that they all believe I'm misrepresenting them.

    I'd suggest to anyone that objects to my comments or those of anyone else on bikeportland, and thinks they aren't appropriate for bikeportland...let editor Maus know. Seriously, maus has the ability to block any commenter's url or whatever you call it.

    Or he can drop me a line and let me know, If he doesn't feel that further comments from myself are beneficial to the sites well being. I occasionally have objections to things maus says on his weblog...which I and some other commenters point out because I think someone should, but for the most part, respect and appreciate what he's doing.

    I'll respect a written request he makes in a personal email for me to post no further comments, if that's what he thinks is best.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    The only thing that's nonsense is your inability to understand what you are being told, repeatedly. How many more times do you have to hear that your anti-bike trolling adds nothing to the discussion? The message is loud and clear.

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    velo...I understand well enough, but I won't cave to your intimidation. You can go on being angry or not as you choose. You can rail on as long as you care to if that's your choice. I think this is something maus generally permits.

    I don't represent you, the NWTA or anyone else, and I don't think I've ever implied anything different. I claim to represent only myself. To what extent others agree or disagree with me is another thing. When I disagree with what you or what anyone else says, and I feel like doing so, I post a comment. If you don't think that's the way it's supposed to work...contact maus for his view on the situation.

    Knowing you to the extent that's possible from your comments posted on this weblog, I don't really care whether or not you feel my comments add to the discussion. I care whether or not certain other people feel my comments add constructively to the discussion, but not you or some of the other people that consistently respond in mean, uncivil terms.

    You don't own this weblog, nor do off-road bike enthusiasts. Neither do I or does anyone else but Jonathan Maus. You and whatever other people that may object to my comments do not determine the editorial policy of this weblog. That's also maus' exclusive province.

    As best I know it(though I'm not aware that it's officially posted anywhere), I attempt to follow that policy out of respect for Maus and the majority of readers here.

    Anyways...looks like that's about it. Have a good one, velo ... .

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  • Velophile in Exile July 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    You think it's civil and high-minded to post obsessively about something you know nothing about, but you call people who criticize you uncivil.

    You're that guy who won't leave the party even though you just puked on the rug and you are creeping out all the girls. You can't tell that everyone is laughing *at* you. Even the host is uncomfortable but he does not want to bad vibe everybody by kicking you out.

    You're a pathetic hater. And I'll be here to point it out on every thread.

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  • wsbob July 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    It's your life. Do with it what you will. Have a good one, velo ... .

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  • Velophile in Exile July 14, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Hey, at least I have a life...

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  • Atbman July 16, 2010 at 12:21 pm
  • mike November 30, 2010 at 2:59 am

    pleease build a park. I have wanted nothing more my whole life then too live an hour a way from riding the likes of whistler. It would be a dream come true

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