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In defense of Platinum, Fish responds to League on Forest Park issue

Posted by on October 25th, 2010 at 11:26 am

“As Parks Commissioner, I take this challenge seriously—and I am pleased to report that we are making progress on city-wide solutions.”
— Commissioner Nick Fish, a letter to Andy Clarke

City of Portland Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees the Parks Bureau, has responded (read in full below) to League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke about the issue of bicycling in Forest Park.

When Commissioner Fish announced at the end of last month that he would not improve trail access opportunities for bicycles for at least two years, Clarke called the decision, “disappointing“.

The City of Portland is very proud of its “Platinum” Bicycle Friendly Community rating, and one of the criteria for that designation is urban singletrack cycling opportunities. In response to the Forest Park decision, the Northwest Trail Alliance has made it clear they will use the potential of a Platinum downgrade as leverage in their continued pressure on City Hall to move on the urban trail access issue.

Read Commissioner Fish’s letter to Andy Clarke (which was also CC’d to Mayor Adams, among others) below:

Andy Clarke, President
League of American Bicyclists
1612 K Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006-2850

Dear Andy,

I write to follow-up on my recent announcement regarding singletrack cycling in Forest Park.

Portland is proud to be considered a “Platinum” bike-friendly city. Thanks to the League’s formal designation and the support of our local advocacy groups, we are working to expand our network of bike infrastructure.

Jonathan Maus reported on BikePortland.org that an important criteria to maintaining our “Platinum” status is expanding off-road biking opportunities. As Parks Commissioner, I take this challenge seriously—and I am pleased to report that we are making progress on city-wide solutions.

Last year, we launched a public process to look at how we can improve singletrack cycling in our biggest natural area, Forest Park. The committee produced several trail options to explore in the future. At the same time, the general consensus of the committee was that we needed to invest in the ecological health of the park.

In response to this widespread concern, the Parks bureau has committed to a number of important management actions that will have an immediate impact on the environmental needs of this critical natural area.

We also committed to improving some of the existing 30 miles of unimproved roads and firelanes currently open to cyclists in the park. Within the next two years we will narrow at least one firelane so that more of the trail meets singletrack criteria, adding switchbacks and enhancing the existing recreational loops. We are also laying the groundwork for successful land use applications to expand singletrack cycling in two years.

In addition to the improvements within Forest Park, we are working to improve singletrack cycling city-wide. For example, in Powell Butte Natural Area we are providing access to the Mt. Hood trail and re-designing segments to improve the cycling experience on over 10 miles of trails open to cyclists. We’re also in the process of creating two new bike skills parks through a partnership with NW Trail Alliance.

With the full support of Mayor Sam Adams and our regional partners, we are taking the lead on Gateway Green, a new 35 acre park that will prioritize off-road cycling.

These are important and long-over due steps. We also recognize that, when it comes to expanding access to active transportation options and recreational opportunities, there is a lot of work left to be done.

Continued collaboration between public agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses and bicycle advocates is vital to advancing Portland’s vision of a “platinum” level bike-friendly, nature-friendly, people-friendly city.

Thanks for your continued support and leadership.

Sincerely,

Nick Fish, Parks Commissioner

CC: Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland
Zari Santner, Parks Director
Jonathan Maus, BikePortland.org
Tom Archer, NW Trail Alliance
Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance

— Read past coverage of this issue in our archives.

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Comments
  • matt picio October 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Note to activists: Hold Mr. Fish, Mayor Adams and the Council accountable for what they say they are going to do over the next 2 years. It sounds great, but unless the pressure is kept up, promises – even those in writing – can be forgotten.

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  • Lee Duncan October 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I am sad but not surprised. I have emailed with Commissioner Fish, and he truly does not get it!

    I worked for years in Boulder Colorado to get more trail access, and it worked, but only after we got the less-than-helpful politicians out of office.

    I’d like to see somebody organize this here!

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  • BURR October 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

    sounds like obfuscation on the Forest Park issues to me.

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  • Steve October 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Dear League,

    PLEASE downgrade Portland, OR. (bronze, lead, etc). The only thing our politicians seem to value is the perception that we are bike-friendly.

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  • Eric October 25, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Look! Over there! Something shiny!

    Now forget about what we were just talking about.

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  • Ethan October 25, 2010 at 11:53 am

    The legacy of the rogue trails will be delay.

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  • Charley October 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I second Ethan. The rogue builders were so interested in providing riding opportunities for themselves that they screwed everybody else over (and ended up losing their own private playground anyway).

    They kneecapped us. It’s too bad they were never found out and charged with the crimes they committed.

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  • Sean G October 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Pointing out that there will be new opportunities on the outskirts of town doesn’t make up for the fact that the premier central location is still being neglected. Ignoring the requests for singletrack access in one of Portland’s main recreation destinations show that this aspect of Portland’s bike culture is not a priority.

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  • BURR October 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    The ‘rogue trails’ may be a convenient excuse, but they are not a valid reason.

    If anything, the ‘rogue trails’ symbolize pent-up demand. Any politicians that don’t recognize this have their heads buried in the sand.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I think the rogue trails absolutely had an impact on the Commissioner’s decision. Even though he says otherwise, it was clear that the rogue trail put bicycling in a bad light politically, making it even more difficult for Fish to champion the cause.

    I was in the committee meeting following the discovery of the trail and watched Parks Director Santner chastise the off-road cycling reps on the committee. It was absurd and unprofessional. NWTA reps and off-road advocates do not need to apologize in any way for that trail… but they were put in a position that made it seem like they should.

    It’s very unfortunate. I believe this outcome might have been different if it weren’t for that illegal trail.

    UPDATE: I am not saying the rogue trail was the only factor… just that it was a factor despite Fish saying it wasn’t.

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  • Brian October 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Mr. Fish’s response is laughable at best. “Within the next two years we will narrow at least one firelane so that more of the trail meets singletrack criteria, adding switchbacks and enhancing the existing recreational loops.” He won’t even commit to saying what firelane, and how much of the firelane will be narrowed. Within two years? Unacceptable.
    Then again, if he gets 1/3 mile of any firelane to look like singletrack, he can boast that under his watch PP and R has DOUBLED the amount of singletrack in the park.
    I hope the League follows up with this and digs a little deeper, and holds Mr. Fish and the city accountable.

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  • Fred October 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    So the League of American Bicyclists is going to allow Portland to keep the Platinum designation based on some promises made by Commissioner Fish? Aren’t these some of the same promises that were made to the off-road cycling community?

    I believe the only fair process is to down grade Portland until they (we) actually meet the designated criteria for Platinum status.

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  • Velophile in Exile October 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    If this is what Nick Fish calls “making progress” I can see why he is so at home in Portland city government.

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  • Jim Labbe October 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I am curious about how many miles of public access single track mountain bike trail or unpaved double track open to off-road cycling exist in Boulder, Colorado and Davis, California- the two other BFC platinum-rated municipalities- have within their actual city limits?

    Can anyone answer this question for us?

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  • are October 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    if you narrow a firelane and put in switchbacks, does it still function as a firelane? and why does anyone care what andy clarke thinks?

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  • Andy October 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Another option is to show the commission just how absurd their stance is. Let’s develop a report showing just how damaging dogs are to the park. There are literally hundreds of trails that dogs have made off of main trails. These little trails are a clear example of the type of erosion the board is concerned with. Add to that all the feces and plastic bags left in the park by dogs, the chasing and harrassing of wild life and it becomes apparent that dogs in the park are a serious issue, one that may threaten the health and vitality of the park.

    I think it’s time that the commission took a look at the environmental effects of canine use of the park. Maybe this could be used to show the board the error of their ways. Could the park board be sued for user discrimination? Is it really so outlandish to hold all users to the same standards, not just the extra stringent ones for cyclists

    Just a valid point and idea.

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  • wsbob October 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Readers to bikeportland have Commissioner Fish’s letter to League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke, but where is Andy Clarke’s letter to Comm Fish? What specifically did Clarke ask of Fish to get such a general type of response related to the issue of off-road bike access to Forest Park’s single track, that Fish provided him with?

    I’m interested in what Andy Clarke knows about Forest Park, and nature parks in general, and under what specific circumstances and conditions he believes off-road biking on single track in those types of parks can be a positive addition that will not compromise their integrity and character.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    good question Jim Labbe.

    are, No. It wouldn’t function as a fire lane per se, but the ones chosen are not needed by the fire department.

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  • Alex October 25, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Jim,

    Let me google that for you, here is the best result I could find: http://www.getboulder.com/sports/sports_bicycle.html

    If you add it up, that would be 51.8 miles of unpaved trail. I don’t know how far from downtown you have to go to get to the trails, but if Powell Butte counts…

    This link claims over 48 miles of trail:
    http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3046&Itemid=1038

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  • Thor Tingey October 25, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    As much as I am frustrated with the outcome of this, I think its important to point out that Commissioner Fish is just about the only person in City government that has shown any sort of helping hand on this issue. He knows mountain bikers are not happy, but he also needs more, not less, support.

    As to the illegal trail building, it certainly influenced the decision. But only because those opposed to trails in all circumstances used it to their advantage so well and the NWTA reps used it so poorly. It was an opportunity for both groups, but only one figured out what to do with it.

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  • ecohuman October 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    By all means, let’s base long-term public policy on what “awards” we can win.

    Because what would we be if we didn’t have awards and labels to tell us whether we’re good or not?

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  • Jim Labbe October 25, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks Alex. I did some calling and inquiring myself.

    City of Davis (Population 64,938)The Parks Department reports that there are ~1.5 miles of unpaved road open to mountain biking within the city limits. It did not sound like Davis has any large publicly owned-wild areas that offered off-road cycling opportunities immediately outside the city that would be functionally equivalent to a city Park.

    I spoke to someone at the City of Boulder (Population 94,268) too. They have an interesting situation in that the City owns and manages a lot of public open space outside the city limits proper. So the actual mileage technically within the City limits is not a good reflection of the total level of access. The total you provide is probably an accurate.

    By my count, City of Portland (population 582,130) currently has just over 38 miles of singe-track, trail, fireline, or unpaved road open to off-road cycling within the city limits.

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  • kgb October 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    echohuman sounds like a label to me.

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  • Steve B October 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    A downgrade to Gold status would be a great opportunity for Portland.

    If we keep the Platinum, there should be a level one notch higher, to distinguish cities like NYC & SF that are going “all in” with serious, innovative bikeways that include cycletracks, road diets, carfree streets and other great world-class improvements.

    Portland has made a great commitment to building a large bike boulevard network over the coming years, but does not seem poised to make some iconic, ambitious projects see the light of day in the near term. Cities who act with gusto should be recognized for taking greater leadership roles in the movement for complete streets.

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  • Alex October 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Jim,

    There is a link to a map on the second link I provided.

    http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2794&Itemid=1036

    It looks like it is very bikeable from downtown.

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  • Charley October 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    What gets me is that the decision was supposedly due to “environmental” concerns, but when you actually read about what those concerns are, none of them have anything to do with allowing people to ride bikes on trails. Like the English ivy- what, do riders go in and plant that stuff for fun? Or, the more general worry cited was that the PPR spends only 1 percent of its budget on Forest Park. So. . . what the heck does that have to do with bikes on trails? Isn’t that Santner’s fault? And, if so, why don’t they just fire hire?

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  • beth h October 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I’m curious… Is the League’s grading system based at all on off-road use.access? Or is the point they’re trying to make that of bicycles as transportation (presumably on paved roads and streets)? Some clarity would be helpful.

    However, I also agree that “awards” from an advocacy/lobbying organization should not be a foundation for public policy decisions.

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  • BURR October 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    the League’s grading system is a whole ‘nother story in itself. For example, miles of bike lanes counts but somehow the actual quality of those bike lane miles doesn’t.

    but that’s another discussion.

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  • Former Audubon Board Member October 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Jim
    38 miles may sound like a lot of miles. But, break it down: For singletrack there’s a mere half mile in FP; Powell Butte has a bit more, somewhere around 3 – definitely well under 6 miles. Firelanes, unpaved roads are not going to attract the average mountain biker. Saying there’s 38 miles of stuff available to mountain bikers to ride in Portland Parks would be like saying there’s thousands of miles of beautiful tree lined roads and streets in Portland that hikers and joggers have available to them, so they don’t need the trails in FP to recreate on.
    If hikers and joggers do not want to share trails with mountain bikes, then build a trail that is specific to mtb use. That can be done. It can be done physically and without damaging the environment/ecology of FP. IF you don’t want new trails built then dedicate a singletrack trail to mtb use. The solution is really simple.
    We’ve been talking about this and trying to get somewhere for 20 years only to have doors slammed in our faces and the issue delayed by more study requests and threats of litigation. The issue about riding more singletrack in Portland is no more advanced than it was 20 years ago.

    David Anderson

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  • Jim Labbe October 25, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Dave,

    There are 5 miles of single track open to cyclists in Powell Butte Nature Park. While it has not gotten a lot of press here at Bikeportland, there is a pending proposal to effectively open all 10 miles of trail on Powell Butte to single-track.

    I agree, that, for some the standard of progress in offering more off-road mountain biking in Portland has clearly increased over the last 20 years, especially as sport itself has grown and evolved to become more interested specifically in single-track opportunities.

    Jim

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  • Alex October 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Jim,

    5 miles of mediocre single track after 12+ miles each way from downtown is rather unappealing when you have 5000+ acres and so many miles of much better single track closer to town in Forest Park. I think no one talks about Powell Butte because of the quality of the trails.

    When you said “an accurate”, did you mean “inaccurate” or “an accurate estimate”. If powell butte counts for the miles you counted of unpaved trails, then, based on the map I provided, the total was accurate.

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  • Jim Labbe October 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Alex. I meant yours was an accurate estimation.

    I use to ride my mountain bike in Forest park when I was growing up in Portland, but was never very interested in single-track riding. I suspect that is true of many Portlanders; not all mountain bike riders are single-track enthusiasts. Single-track as a sport is a relatively recent recreational activity, especially in parks inside large metropolitan areas.

    In this context and in the context of Portland’s history, I do think the Platinum status issue is a little overblown. Off-road cycling opportunities (and single track in particular) is one of the criteria for determining the Platinum status and it is one Portland is not doing as poorly at as some would like to portray. IMO.

    But more importantly, Portland became a leading city for bicycling because it created a homegrown vision for quality cycling and worked hard to make that vision a reality, not happen because it sought accolades from afar. I think that will be true in the future.

    That said, I greatly appreciate the League of American Cyclists BFC program and their broader policy work on behalf of cycling.

    Jim
    League of American Cyclists member

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  • clodhopper October 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I love single track, and I’m not asking to take over the single track in Forest Park. But is there any reason that Fish and the commissioner can’t give mountain bikers one or two days out of the WHOLE YEAR

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  • Hart Noecker October 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    “I think a lot of people are going to become very angry and they’re going to resort to illegal methods to try to slow down the destruction of our national resources, our wilderness, our Forests, mountains, deserts.”
    ~E.Abbey

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  • toowacky October 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    “A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourist can in a hundred miles.”

    –Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

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  • aaronf October 26, 2010 at 2:21 am

    I grew up here, but if Portland loses Platinum Status I’m moving.

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  • Todd Boulanger October 26, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I concur the bike friendly community scales have been tipped: NYC is leaping ahead to the world class league where Portland is doing great steady minor league work. This point was discussed back at the Portland Carfree Cities conference by the guest speaker. And agree that the LAB scoring needs to be reset or a new top tier be set.

    Conversely there needs to be a new lower level. I was in Lexington KY last week and was shocked at the lack of bike lane facilities (etc) seen for the Bronze level signs I saw. When I compare similar areas to Vancouver WA that I know – also a two time Bronze winner. (I am no longer recommending a Silver for Vancouver given the programmatic and funding cuts to bicycling and complete streets made over the last 2 years).

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  • anonymous October 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

    A lot of you make it sound like your vote actually means something here.
    If Things don’t go your way, vote the guy out, right? Sure, fine.
    Then we have to sit through another election cycle where untold hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on advertising so we can elect another candidate who will be hamstrung by the system, his own ambition, or maybe eventually both.

    Is there any wonder why some feel a disconnect between organizations like LAB and the BTA and what is really happening out on the streets? Where’s the direct action? Why do we have to sit through years upon years of ineffective dog-and-pony shows, each one cast with highly-paid lobbyists and policy wonks who make their living by trading favors or simply by looking busy?

    Seriously, I understand the guys who put in the illegal trails. Direct action still gets the goods, at least in the short-term. Sure, they made it worse for law-abiding types, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, the law is an ass, especially for bikers. And it has been for a long time. What else should anyone expect here?

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  • wsbob October 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    The League of American Bicyclist bike friendly cities program isn’t a federal agency whose criteria has to be met to receive funding for projects; it’s an incentive program.

    The LAB is a good organization with some great ideas. In respect to Portland’s Forest park though, it hasn’t been shown what LAB’s president, Andy Clarke knows or doesn’t know about this park, its character and identity, and specific conditions related to it. Maybe he knows something about the park…besides the simple fact that it’s 5000 acres in size, and directly adjoining the city…or, maybe he doesn’t.

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  • f5 October 26, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Anonymous — illegal trail builders made it worse not just for the law-abiding types, but for themselves as well. their trail is gone, as is any hope for legal trail access in the short-term.

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  • anonymous October 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    f5:

    What would the world look like if more bikers got tired of waiting for the dog-and-pony show we call politics and simply took their next best steps in the name of actively promoting bike use and discouraging car use?

    I’m just saying that these illicit trail-builders are not the only impatient people in the bike scene, that’s all. These guys aren’t the first, and won’t be the last, to take direct action while lobbyists and elected officials twiddle their thumbs or make meaningless “legal” gestures.

    Not everyone in bicycleville is on board with the likes of the LAB and BTA, that’s all.

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  • Jim Lee October 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Platinum schmatinum!

    Mountain bikers are no different than off-roaders of any stripe. They think they have an inherent right to go into any part of the world they like and rip the hell out of any piece of nature they choose. And cook up up a stupid rationalization to allege that they are the most wonderful people on the planet.

    When I am mayor we shall go for the “scandium” rating: keep EVERYONE out of Forest Park for 300 years; that should give it a good start on its way back to real wilderness, which is by far its most valuable asset.

    Remember: Scandium is twice as costly as platinum!

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  • Brian October 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Jim Lee,
    I disagree with your statement regarding inherent “rights.” Mtb’ers are not claiming it is a right: “any basic right or freedom to which all human beings are entitled and in whose exercise a government may not interfere (including rights to life and liberty as well as freedom of thought and expression and equality before the law).” What we are asking for is the “privilege” of recreating in the park, and it is a “privilege” we are more than willing to earn if given the opportunity by our local government. There is a big difference, and your mischaracterization is unfair.
    Brian

    P.S.
    We are the second most wonderful people on the planet, we finished just behind microbrewers in an international survey.

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  • OnePissedOffOffRoader October 26, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    How does Commissioner Fish justify saying: ” For example, in Powell Butte Natural Area we are providing access to the Mt. Hood trail and re-designing segments to improve the cycling experience on over 10 miles of trails open to cyclists.”? Over the last 2 years we’ve lost 30-35% of the walking, horseback riding and mtb single track on Powell Butte (city has fenced off numerous trails to reclaim them for wildlife and vegetation). 30% of the dirt double track is now heavily graveled (City water reservoir construction required that some of the dirt double track be graveled). Other trails have been pretty much decommissioned for riding because of an application of 3-4″ of wood chips and other trails are closed by the use of Hawthorn Cutting (nasty thorns lambs piled up to block connector trails).
    PUMP/NW Trail Alliance had done allot of the re-design work at Powell Butte, not the City.
    OnePissedOffOffRoader

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  • Hart Noecker October 26, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Wilderness does not exist for you.

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  • Frank Selker October 26, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Last time the LAB said off-road cycling progress was needed, and it hasn’t happened. In fact, we are actually worse off – Powell Butte has a loss and Nick publicly said we get no trails anytime soon in the one great place that we could ride in Portland. “Re-greening” firelanes is probably a joke and remarkably, even that is opposed by people who don’t want bikes.

    If all they need is talk, they just need to re-read Nick’s letter as many times as ncessary to feel warm and fuzzy. If they want and judge action and results, and want their standards to be taken seriously, it’s another matter.

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  • Zimmerman October 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    #45

    Good thing we’re not talking about riding in the wilderness, right?

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  • Lisa October 27, 2010 at 4:32 am

    To the guy who said he’d leave Portland if the city loses it’s Platinum status: really? Your whole existence in this town is based on that? Yikes.

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  • beth h October 27, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Jim Lee (#42) wrote: “When I am mayor we shall go for the “scandium” rating: keep EVERYONE out of Forest Park for 300 years; that should give it a good start on its way back to real wilderness, which is by far its most valuable asset.”

    ********

    Interesting strategy.
    In the face of Portland’s growing population and increasing demands for housing and infrastructure, good luck with that.

    The problem here is a question of finding the right balance. While Forest Park does not simply exist FOR us, we do exist WITH it. Pretending that we can maintain an absolutely pristine wilderness cheek-by-jowl alongside a city of more than half a million people — in a metropolitan area with over two million! — is delusional at best.

    Managed growth — selective, careful use and regular maintenance of the trails, combined with rotating closure of certain spaces every 10 years (or less, or more, depending on environmental studies and other information) to promote regeneration, and trail-user fees may all be steps that are needed to allow ongoing access to Forest Park. But let’s stop pretending that we live next to a real “wilderness”. That myth is destroying rational discussion around this issue and serves no one.

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  • Eric October 27, 2010 at 8:29 am

    beth h #49

    I’d like to just say one thing. Bravo! A sane, rational approach and one that should work.

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  • wsbob October 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

    “… But let’s stop pretending that we live next to a real “wilderness” …” beth h #49

    Why? So off-road bike enthusiasts can more easily have Forest Park’s single track conform to use by off-road bike enthusiasts? That’s the only reason it appears that anyone would not be willing to regard and support this nature park as the closest thing many Portland and metro area residents may have opportunity to experience as wilderness.

    Though it doesn’t and probably never could meet official federal criteria for ‘wilderness’, Forest Park is effectively wilderness for Portland residents. Consistent public response over the years suggests the park’s natural area, that offers much of the character of wilderness, and that has the potential to present it much better than it’s currently able to today…is far more important than offering the use of the park’s single track by off-road bike enthusiasts.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

    wsbob (#51),

    I hear your point, but this is all about balance. Do you have statistics or a report/survey to back up your assertion that “the public” prefers the “wilderness” over being able to access the park for recreation?

    Actually, two recent surveys showed that way more Portlanders use Forest Park for running and recreation than to have solitude and a “wilderness experience.”

    Again, it’s about balance. And right now, things are very UN-balanced and it’s people who want improved bike access who are on the short end of the stick.

    It’s also extremely important to remember that there is no factual basis to support the claim that improved bike trail access will equal environmental degradation. IN FACT, the park’s current poor health is due to the overuse by hikers/birders/dog-walkers, etc… so it seems a bit unfair to make bike trail access the scapegoat for the current problems.

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  • David October 27, 2010 at 11:54 am

    It could also be argued that the poor state of environmental health that Forest Park experiences is due to the fact that it is a very skinny strip of land surrounded by urban housing and gardens full of non-native ornamental plants. In the grand scheme of things the habitat in the park is not at all special, since that habitat exists in the millions of acres throughout the western portion of Oregon and Washington. What does make this park “unique” is it’s size within a major urban area, and the fact that it is not “developed” in an urban sense; and hopefully will never be. The impact of ‘man’ on this park will always be severe because of it’s size in relation to the surrounding highly developed urban habitat, and by the sheer numbers of people who will now use the park and who will use it in the future – regardless of whether they are riding a non-motorized mountain bike on a singletrack trail or not. If you feel allowing mountain bikes access to singletrack trails in Forest Park will be a harmful thing to the park, then maybe you should consider not using the park yourself, since the presence of people – joggers or hikers, and their accompanying canine friends – is also a contributing factor to the ongoing environmental changes within the park.

    David Anderson
    Lents.

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  • BURR October 27, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Wilderness does not exist for you.

    Sorry, but Forest Park is not ‘wilderness’.

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  • f5 October 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    @ #53 Jonathan:

    It’s also extremely important to remember that there is no factual basis to support the fact that improved bike trail access will equal environmental degradation

    I think you mean “perception” instead of “fact” there, yeah?

    yes! thanks for catching that f5. it now says “claims” — Jonathan Maus

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  • sw resident October 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Jonathan – You’re right, it’s “people who want improved bike access.” People, not animals. Animals get the short end of the stick, not mtb’ers (or anyone else for that matter).

    Access for all needs to be reduced, not increased for anyone. The squabble between various park “users” clamoring for “sharing” is just like Colonialism. Exploiters (hikers, joggers, mtb’ers) duke it out for land that isn’t theirs and that isn’t being put to “good use” and the natives (animals, plants), who are powerless and can’t fight back, are ignored. It’s rather arrogant to demand a share of stolen property. The park is home to animals. They don’t want people riding bikes and hiking through their homes and I’ll bet they are not in favor of “increased access.”

    Objectively, the Forest Park issue has nothing to do with bikes per se. What is at issue is the increasing encroachment of people into areas of the park where they were not before. By making new bike trails, there is more impact, and that is a fact. I think the advocates for bike use are just too fixated on the word “bike” and are missing the big picture.

    No one is forced to buy a mtb or hiking boots, but animals are born into that park and deserve a life free of humans. Increasing trails would be a victory for people, turning the park into something more like a preserve would be a victory on a grander scale for all. Try to think beyond your recreational “needs” and show some respect for the most innocent and vulnerable among us. On this issue, their needs far outweigh ours.

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  • Hart Noecker October 27, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: “The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with roads, pipelines or other industrial infrastructure.”

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  • Zimmerman October 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    #57

    Right, and since Forest Park is a former logging site smack dab in the middle of a city we can both agree that it’s not wilderness, right?

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  • Hart Noecker October 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    How embarrassing to hear my fellow cyclists side with the mentality of loggers to attain their short-sighted goals.

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  • Zimmerman October 27, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I’m certainly not saying it should be logged. I’m saying that bikes are not a threat to the park and that a park in a city is not the same as a designated federal Wilderness area.

    Actual Wilderness, (with a capital W) Forest Park is not. The only embarrassing thing here is that you don’t know the difference.

    Sound bites are fun & simple, aren’t they?

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  • Hart Noecker October 27, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Bicycles and human foot traffic are a severe threat to the park, as erosion from heavy rain on the exposed soil of trails on the steep inclines throughout the Park can quickly cause landslides, which would destroy habitat and biodiversity. The keepers of the park keep trying to teach you this, and you keep ignoring them.

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  • Zimmerman October 27, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Right, so rather than accept help from the mountain bike group that would work to make the poorly designed trails in the park sustainable they decide to alienate us.

    The severe threats to the park are off-leash dogs, English ivy, nimbyism and smugness. Pick your poison.

    Then again, you seem like the kind of person that thinks the human race should stick to the cities until we all die off as a species.

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  • Hart Noecker October 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Think what you wish about me personally, I care about the park. You ought to listen to those who have devoted their lives to protecting the place. All of the tangible things you listed are also threats, I see no need to add to them, and neither do the scientists who study such things.

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  • Charlie B October 28, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Bikes are legitimate park users.
    Bikes are allowed on some singletrack (FL5).
    Continuing to deny access to a more equitable portion of the Park’s singletrack represents an unwillingness to share.

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  • wsbob October 28, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Maus #52…you don’t mention which surveys you’re referring to. Perhaps one of them was the subject of a recent bikeportland article:

    How does bicycling fare in Forest Park Recreational Survey?/Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) 9/16, 2010

    In that story, there’s a pdf/link to the survey at portlandonline.com. I couldn’t get it to download. (Maybe it’s a problem related to dial-up connection, old Adobe Reader which needs to be updated. I’ll get to a faster connection and see if it downloads.).

    At the time you published it, I read the September 16th story about the survey. Can’t remember for sure, but I don’t think I ever saw the actual survey…probably because of the technical problem with downloading. I’ll be very interested to take a look at the wording of the survey questions. Here’s an excerpt from that story:

    “… — When asked their primary motivation for visiting, 42.4% of people said, “exercise and fitness” while 31.6% said it was to enjoy nature and be outdoors. …” maus/bikeportland

    In your #52 comment to this current story, you say:

    “… Actually, two recent surveys showed that way more Portlanders use Forest Park for running and recreation than to have solitude and a “wilderness experience.” …” maus/bikeportland

    Those activities aren’t mutually exclusive; people that choose to run, and choose to run in Forest Park, make that selection for the nature experience available there, that the park is renowned for. People can run virtually anywhere they choose…school tracks, the gym, neighborhood streets (except in school building hallways..No running in the hall!). It’s an experience in a natural setting that they’re bothering to come to the park for.

    In your comment, you refer to ‘recreation’, as one of the reasons people come to the park as covered in the survey. I think most people would regard visiting the park to be recreation.

    In the third paragraph of your comment #52 above, you mention balance and that phrase you’ve been using lately: ‘improved bike access’, which I presume refers mostly if not exclusively to off-road bike access to Forest Park’s single track.

    Twenty years or more of Portland’s public agreeing to the rejection off-road bike access to the park’s single track suggests to me that the public feels that off-road bike access to Forest Park’s single track does not constitute ‘improved bike access’. That’s a statistic.

    I’ll take a look at the survey when I’ve got a chance…check out how the questions were phrased to learn what people were specifically being asked. I’m curious whether survey respondents were specifically asked whether they wanted off-road bike access to Forest Park’s single track, or whether specifics were limited to whatever is implied by the phrase: ‘improved bike access’.

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  • Hart Noecker October 28, 2010 at 3:02 am

    “Continuing to deny access to a more equitable portion of the Park’s singletrack represents an unwillingness to share”

    Continuing to ignore the damage and diminishment of biodiversity that introducing yet more human dirt pathways into the park represents an unwillingness to share a common understanding of the detriment to the Park. Keep pushing this, you’ll only alienate yourselves from the greater cycling/naturalist community at large.

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  • Brian October 28, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Hart,
    Can you please explain how properly constructed new trails (be it new singletrack or improving the currently eroded firelanes), or allowing access to current trails (which we would be more than willing to improve-we all know they need it!) would lead to “damage and diminishment of biodiversity.”
    Thank you for your time.
    Brian

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  • David October 28, 2010 at 6:50 am

    wsbob #65 “Those activities aren’t mutually exclusive; people that choose to run, and choose to run in Forest Park, make that selection for the nature experience available there, that the park is renowned for. It’s an experience in a natural setting that they’re bothering to come to the park for.”

    would you believe that’s exactly the point I’ve been trying to make. I, and thousands of people, enjoy riding bikes on singletrack trails in natural settings – it’s not a mutually exclusive form of recreation. I do it on every ride I go on.
    But, to question a mountain biker’s ability to enjoy, or get value from, or impact on, a natural setting ostensibly because of the speed in which they traverse an area, and not question a jogger’s, or even a hiker’s for that matter, just because they are on foot is pretty weak.
    I hear the trail in the William O Douglas Wilderness Area in Washington are in pretty bad condition. Must be all those mountain bikers using the Wilderness Area again…

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  • Eric October 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

    David #68
    Stop it man, you’re making sense. Remember this is about the destruction of pristine wilderness in Portland’s city limits. No wait, it is about how fast mountain bikers will ride the trails. No wait, it is about mountain bikers running over little children. No wait, it is about mountain bikers injuring elderly people. No wait, it is about mountain bikers interfering with the wildlife. No wait, it is about …. Oh nevermind I’m sure the people that don’t want mountain biking in Forest Park will come up with yet another excuse since they don’t want to share their little slice of heaven.

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  • Hart Noecker October 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I’m make it easy for you to understand, Brian. Lots of water falling on exposed soil will loosen the soil, turning it into mud. If this soil is in a flat area, the soil often dries out and cracks as the water evaporates. You’ve probably seen pictures of this from deserts around the world. However, if lots of water falls on exposed soil in an area of steep hills, as virtually all of Forest Park is, the soil becomes saturated and heavy, while at the same time becoming loose. This can rapidly create landslide conditions that can cause damage to habitat than can take hundreds or thousands of years to repair.

    On top of all this damage is simply the harm of introducing more humans to an area where plants an animals thrive. While the plants can’t go anywhere, the animals will always flee humans, even if they are just out for recreation. Animals already physically and mentally stressed from being boxed in on all sides by our urban fabric will suffer even more with increased human intruding into Forest Park.

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  • BURR October 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    It’s a park, it’s not a wildlife sanctuary and it’s certainly not a desert. Trails can be built that don’t erode in the climate of the PNW, and there’s plenty of local and regional expertise in that area, so quit denying it.

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  • wsbob October 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    David #68 …except that your chosen form of recreation…off-road biking/mountain biking is vehicular recreation.

    The William O Douglas Wilderness Area? I’m guessing an urban area as large as Portland is not located near that wilderness area.

    “… it is about how fast mountain bikers will ride the trails. … it is about mountain bikers running over little children. … it is about mountain bikers injuring elderly people. … it is about mountain bikers interfering with the wildlife. …” Eric #69

    Correct, though incomplete.

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  • Hart Noecker October 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    A park is not a sanctuary for wildlife? Have you lost your mind? Thousands of plant and animal species live in that park, and further intrusion by humans will threaten their lives. Your desired form of recreation will threaten their LIVES. This isn’t a game. This is about survival.

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  • Brian October 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for the reply Hart. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.
    The trail conditions that you refer to currently exist in Forest Park (ie. every firelane). We would like to solve that problem by improving the trails with armoring, reducing the fall line aspect of trails, etc. Including us in the park means that we bring solutions to the current problems, and actually reducing the problems you describe. I don’t agree that not having us work in the park is somehow better for the park with regards to trail conditions. The park needs help and we can provide it.
    I cannot speak for the stress level of animals, though I’m not sure I agree that they are more physically and mentally stressed than an animal living in the coastal range, for example. Maybe you can point to some data/studies of Forest Park that proves this? Animals in the wild are always in a heightened state of awareness, their lives of course depend on it. I don’t agree that an occasional encounter with a human adds to that overall stress level over time, then again the few classes I took in college doesn’t exactly make me a Wildlife Biologist.
    For fun, lets use deer as an example:
    Growing up in Wisconsin I routinely saw white-tailed deer in the middle of a city of 50,000 people, despite the fact that the city was surrounded on 3 sides (the 4th being Lake Michigan) by wooded areas and farmland. If human interaction was so stressful to them, wouldn’t they have avoided it at all costs?
    Lastly, is Forest Park boxed in on all sides by urban fabric? I’ll leave this up to the map experts, but isn’t it possible to leave Forest Park and make your way to the Coastal Range without hitting any cities? It may not be a direct line and you may have to cross roads and farms, but I don’t think one would need to enter an “urban” area.
    Again, thanks for taking the time to respond. I’d like to read some studies about the area that you have based your conclusions on if you have links to them.
    brian

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Hart,

    I think people agree that intrusion of humans hurts wildlife… the point is that there’s too much intrusion right now even without any bike trails to ride on. The question is, why isn’t use being curtailed in general and why are bikes on trails being used as the scapegoat for the park’s poor health? (especially when it’s a user group that could bring a lot of passion and sweat equity into the park).

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  • Hart Noecker October 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Applying the term “user group” reflects an attitude about wildlife that is all too revealing.

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  • Eric October 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    wsbob #72
    Congrats. Again, your use of quotes is outstanding, but you forgot to quote my last sentence which would present the full picture. Thanks for playing.

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  • Jason Welch October 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Andy #16 wrote:

    “Could the park board be sued for user discrimination?”

    Probably, but certainly not for so-called “discrimination” against people who want to ride their bikes in any park of their choice.

    There is precedent however for local government being sued for failing to provide equal access to public resources such as parks in low income neighborhoods (Friends of the Los Angeles River v. City of Los Angeles and Majestic Realty ).

    And for good reason. There is a big difference between the so-called “discrimination” being claimed by some mountain bikers here and those populations who are legitimately underserved.

    Commissioner Nick Fish is right to make improved park access in East Portland a priority.

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  • wsbob October 29, 2010 at 1:12 am

    “… Again, your use of quotes is outstanding …” Eric #77

    Eric…thanks!

    “…, but you forgot to quote my last sentence which would present the full picture.” Eric #77

    Eric…I didn’t quote your last sentence because I don’t think it’s an accurate characterization of the reasons off-road bike enthusiasts have not been welcomed to Forest Park’s single track.

    Also, I think that the ‘full picture’ you sought to paint with that sentence is a negative, sarcastic, and myopic one that’s not likely to help off-road bike enthusiasts realize their aspiration of official access to the park’s single track. I didn’t think it was worth repeating.

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  • aaronf October 29, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Forest Park isn’t really a place too many naturalists would likely be too excited about. It was all logged bare not so long ago. It’s not really big enough to have a ton of biodiversity.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t still room for some of the park to stay remote. There’s plenty of room for bikes, runners, and open spaces for the migrating deer and so on.

    Incidentally, I told my wife about the plight of the Portland mountain biker and she said “Ugh, I hate mountain bikers in the park.”

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  • Charlie B October 29, 2010 at 7:06 am

    “Continuing to ignore the damage and diminishment of biodiversity that introducing yet more human dirt pathways into the park represents an unwillingness to share a common understanding of the detriment to the Park. Keep pushing this, you’ll only alienate yourselves from the greater cycling/naturalist community at large.”

    My point is that there is no reason why current trails should not be shared. No new trails, simply allow bikes on some trails some of the time. I understand the point of waiting to build more trails until further studies have been conducted. That is reasonable. Bikes are allowed in the park. Bikes are allowed on some singletrack trails (FL5). What is the rationale for continuing to deny access to other trails?

    And by the way, the greater cycling community has already alienated me with their sense of superiority and entitlement.

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  • Mike Fish October 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Not related to Nick, by the way.

    Some loosely connected thoughts:

    Obviously the ‘park discriminates’ against some users. I hate sharing trails with horses and when I hike in some places in the Mt. Hood National Forest I hate sharing them with off-road vehicles. Is it wrong to want to keep them out of Forest Park? Is it wrong to make OHVs go hours outside the city for their recreation?

    Personally, I would be fine with designating a few existing trails as single-track for MTBs, but would it be enough? How many miles are being demanded? There are 70 miles of trails in the park. What is “fair”? 5, 10, 20, 40?

    I do have a lot of trail-sharing concerns, for obvious reasons. There are tons of bike/ped conflicts on the Hawthorne Bridge and Eastbank Esplanade – and those are a LOT wider than singletrack. Forest Park already has some ped/ped conflicts.

    Forest Park isn’t a wilderness, but people are trying to make it suitable for wildlife. I saw a pileated woodpecker in there once! That’s why I’m against new trails of any sort and wouldn’t be opposed to decommissioning some.

    Another issue that hasn’t been addressed is that a lot of people who are homeless have created illegal trails and camp sites in the park. This is obviously a sticky issue, but I’m still surprised that no one has brought it up. What is being done about those trails? Should anything be done?

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  • Hart Noecker October 29, 2010 at 10:47 am

    “And by the way, the greater cycling community has already alienated me with their sense of superiority and entitlement.”

    Funny, that sense of entitlement is exactly what I find so disappointing about those who demand more trails in park. Seems you feel pretty alienated from yourself then.

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  • Bjorn October 29, 2010 at 11:37 am

    The real solution is not building new trails but allowing mtn bikes to use the trails that exist 1-2 days per week. Real sharing might mean that you couldn’t run on wildwood on wednesdays, big deal…

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  • GlowBoy October 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Hart Noecker (#83), I don’t think it’s reasonable to characterize those asking for improved bike access as having a sense of entitlement.

    But as people who actually mountain bike, we recognize the absurdity of the argument that bicycles are somehow more damaging to the environment than feet.

    The bike haters keep trying to make this into an environmental issue, but it’s simply not. The new trails that were proposed (and rejected) were for an area of the park already designated as “degraded” ecologically. When pressed, the biking opponents have resorted to vague claims about “erosion is bad” or “more usage is bad” while refusing to link their claims to the actual proposal that was made.

    It’s a user conflict, plain and simple. The powerful hiking groups don’t want to share. If anything, they’re clearly the ones with the sense of superiority and entitlement. And somewhat understandably so: after all, these folks spent decades protecting forests from developers, timber companies and motorized recreation, and that has been a boon to both hikers and wildlife. So they’ve come to see what they do as righteous work. Problem is, their current opponent ISN’T trashing the environment, but they don’t have any other tools in the their toolbox except to paint us as another group of wreckers. It would be laughable if they weren’t so powerful and thus effective.

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  • Lee-Man Duncan October 29, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I’m disappointed to see all the name calling and finger pointing.

    Above all else, we should be trying to get along together.

    Sounds to me like there are two main objections to trails for MTBs in Forest Park:

    Some think the human-bike interaction will be bad, dangerous, or at least distracting, and
    Some think the park should be treated like wilderness and do not want bikes there, and would actually like less people there, in general

    I cannot address the second point, and frankly I think that discussion does not belong here.

    As far as bike-hiker conflicts, I understand the concerns of hikers, but there are solutions to this possible problem.

    There is an organization called the National Mountain Bike Patrol, which is organized under IMBA (the International Mountain Bike Association).

    I created a Bike Patrol in Colorado Springs that helped convince the City that we MTBers where there to help. I’ve been in Bike Patrols in Ft. Collins, Boulder CO, and in the Tillamook Forest here in OR.

    I believe the users of the Park, the City, and the MTB community would be served by having a helpful Bike Patrol in Forest Park.

    Note: Bike Patrol members do not have any authority, but they can be darned helpful, both the the park users, but more importantly to the Land Managers.

    Illegal Park Users: the Patrol could report on that.

    User conflicts: the Patrol can help demonstrate correct bike-hiker interaction and can gently advise MTBers of best practices.

    I know there are many problems w/r/t MTBers in Forest Park, but I firmly believe we could all get along together if we just unclench a little …

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  • Hart Noecker October 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    The mountain bikers keep trying to make an environmental issue into an anti-bike issue. Nobody is hating on you because they don’t like your moutain bike, you aren’t being victimized here.

    I commute 17 miles a day, 5 days a week. Trust me, I want more bike lanes everywhere but for where it will damage existing habitat. Foot traffic on exposed soil is just as bad as bike tires when it comes to erosion, nobody is pretending otherwise.

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  • Mike Fish October 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Re Bjorn, 84:

    So you speak for the mountain biking community when you say all they want is the Wildwood on Wednesdays? Hmmm…. very dubious. What is the extent of the demands? That’s what I want to know. How many miles of trail access are they fighting for? Not that I can change any thing, but I would be open to opening existing trails to mountain bikes. I think bikes/peds sharing the trails at the same time would be disastrous – they’re just too narrow. So can someone tell me how many miles? I hear that the mountain bikers got shot down, but I haven’t read any specifics on the forum.

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  • wsbob October 30, 2010 at 12:29 am

    “Forest Park isn’t really a place too many naturalists would likely be too excited about. It was all logged bare not so long ago. It’s not really big enough to have a ton of biodiversity. …” aaronf #80

    I don’t think there’s much substance to any of those ideas. You want to ask a naturalist about them? Here’s one: Urban Naturalist: Mike Houck mikehouck@urbangreenspaces.org

    “The real solution is not building new trails but allowing mtn bikes to use the trails that exist 1-2 days per week. …” Bjorn #84

    If off-road bike enthusiast were willing to support a policy that limited the speed their bikes travel on the park’s single track to 7mph, they might have the start of a proposal that would allow off-road bike access to single track in Forest Park the same as is granted to people that walk.

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  • Hart Noecker October 30, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Bottom line, the dirt bike crowd has already proved they don’t care what the science of the park is. They’ve heard the facts about the damage that more trails Will cause the park, and they’ve decided to make their own rules, park be damned.

    And when you attempt to remind them of the facts about erosion, they insult you and pretend to be the victim and claim those who work to protect our park are “anti-bike”. This is a ridiculous notion. This is as absurd as a former president saying, “You’re either with us or against us.” We’re with you in your desire for more places to ride you bicycle, but we’re against you when your wants threatens the flora and fauna of a park with a legacy and a longevity that will hopefully outlast yours.

    Nothing personal, but we want a park for the next thousand years, and that will not happen if we keep treating the place as a commodity for a specified “user group”.

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  • Zimmerman October 30, 2010 at 7:52 am

    #89

    You think there should be a speed limit for bikes of 7mph? How do you propose to enforce it? Do they make a restrictor plate for bicycles? Perhaps you should invent one then lobby the city for bicycle access but only if they purchase your device?

    Let’s put speed into perspective. A couple weeks ago I did an amazingly beautiful mountain bike ride near Mt. St. Helens. My AVERAGE speed was 3.2mph. My GPS showed 22mph on a paved road section of that ride.

    The entire time I was on single-track my speed was limited by sight lines. It’s impossible to go fast if you can’t see where you’re going. In fact, IMBA’s trail building guidelines use sightline interruptions as a way to control speed on a trail.

    But, by all means, keep offering this ridiculous ‘solution’ and blaming speed of travel for the NIMBY’s resistance to allowing bicycles on the trails at Forest Park.

    #90

    First off: I am not a ‘dirt biker.’ Mountain bikes are not ‘dirt bikes.’ The only motor powering my bicycle is my body through exertion. Trying to characterize us as OHV users is laughable. I’ve never tried but I can guarantee there’s no way for me to grind a 2’ hole in the ground by burning out through pedal power.

    The whole ‘dirt biker’ thing is just insulting and unintelligent. But since we’re apparently delving into hyperbole: let me ask you if you think thinly veiled threats of violence make you seem credible? I’m referring to your Abbey quote in #34. I guess everyone will need to look out for fishing line and booby traps from now on, right? I’m a dirt biker like you’re the captain of the Sea Shepard.

    The erosion claim you make have been disproven by at least two studies. Any traveler over any surface using any method will cause erosion. Please let me know when you find data to back up your assertion that allowing mountain bikes to use single-track trails causes landslides and ecological devastation. If I read what you’re saying correctly then I’m assuming you want to see the trails closed off to everyone forever since human presence is so destructive. Is that a fair assessment? If so, good luck convincing the rich folks in the hills to abandon their park. That’ll certainly show who’s really interested in pure conservation and who’s really only interested in keep a public park all to themselves.

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  • Brian October 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Hart,
    How do you feel about giving up the most damaged current trails to mtb’ers (lets say 10-15 miles), knowing that we will enter the picture and improve them rather than allow them to continue to deteriorate? We will also assist with renaturalization, invasive, removal, etc.

    Keep in mind that all of those bikelanes were once upon a time wilderness as well. We all exist on a continuum with regards to environmental impact in different aspects of our lives. You own a computer, I assume. Others do not. You ride a bike. Others walk. Perhaps you own a car or larger home. Others do not. To summarize someone as “un-environmental” based on a desire to ride trails (one aspect of their life), is unfair.
    I am still hoping you can dig up some links to the studies from which you base your claims.
    Best,
    Brian

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  • wsbob October 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    “You think there should be a speed limit for bikes of 7mph? …” zimmerman #91

    Might be a worth considering if off-road bike enthusiasts wish to have any hope of gaining access to Forest Park’s single track. Enforcement shouldn’t be required if off-road bike enthusiasts seeking to ride their bike on the park’s single track understand that a speed limit is a necessary requirement for sharing Forest Park’s single track.

    “… Let’s put speed into perspective. A couple weeks ago I did an amazingly beautiful mountain bike ride near Mt. St. Helens. My AVERAGE speed was 3.2mph. …” zimmerman #91

    Right. And what was your top speed? Are you inferring that higher speeds with off-road bikes on the park’s single track wouldn’t likely be faster than 7mph? So then, what…for off-road bike enthusiasts…is to lose by codifying a speed limit into a proposal for access to the park’s single track?

    If off-road bike enthusiast want to bring their bikes onto the park’s single track, have them them present a proposal that has the use of their bikes conform to the use for which such trail in the park has been created.

    “…ridiculous ‘solution’ ….NIMBY’s resistance to allowing bicycles on the trails at Forest Park.” zimmerman #91

    Off-road bike enthusiasts entering the discussion on those kind of terms aren’t going to get anywhere.

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  • Zimmerman October 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I can’t believe I entered into a debate with you regarding a speed limit on trails that naturally limit speed in the first place. Besides, the only person spouting about a speed limit is you. Are you the king of Forest Park? If so, yes, I agree to a 7mph speed limit in exchange for access on all the single track in Forest Park on behalf of EVERY single mountain biker in the entire world…

    As for my attitude: the bullies here are not the mountain bikers. 20 years worth of playing nice and going through the proper channels have amounted to .247 miles of trail access. Portland’s NIMBY situation as it pertains to Forest Park is actually ridiculous.

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  • Zimmerman October 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Oh, and my top speed on the Mt. St. Helens ride on trail was right around 12mph. That’s because my sight line allowed for it to safely happen. Guess what? I didn’t hit a single animal, small child, large child or endangered plant the entire day.

    To be honest, I’m not holding any hope whatsoever that anything in Forest Park will ever change in my lifetime. Maybe I’ll be wrong but until then I’ll put my effort elsewhere while nature serves up English Ivy at FP. Enjoy the entropy.

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  • wsbob October 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

    “… my top speed on the Mt. St. Helens ride on trail was right around 12mph …” zimmerman #94

    Thank you for eventually getting around to mentioning what your top speed was on the St Helens trail.

    The idea about speed limits connected with a proposal for access by off-road bike enthusiasts to the park’s single track is one possible condition it seems might work to help persuade those members of the public adverse to bikes on such trail, that off-road bike enthusiasts could compatibly share single single track with people on foot. That is, share…without the exclusionary nature of ideas such as alternate day access that off-road bike enthusiasts have proposed in past.

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