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Sierra Club signs onto lawsuit to stop Timberline MTB Park

Posted by on May 17th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

“We really do not have a problem with mountain biking at all. In fact, we would affirmatively support mountain bike access on Mt. Hood and we’d love to build allegiances with those folks, but we just don’t believe this is the proper place for this development.”
— Rhett Lawrence, Conservation Director, Sierra Club (Oregon Chapter)

Plans to build a mountain bike park on Mt. Hood have taken another turn. Yesterday, four non-profit organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to stop the project. The plaintiffs on the suit are Bark, Friends of Mt. Hood, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.

In the 56-page lawsuit (PDF), that coalition says the area of Mt. Hood where RLK & Company wants to build the Timberline MTB Park is, “ecologically significant” and consists of ,”fragile alpine ecosystems” that feed directly into Still Creek and the west fork of the Salmon River. The plaintiffs also claim that the Forest Service did not adhere to adequate public processes as defined by federal environmental review laws.

The project would build 17 miles of new, lift-assisted mountain bike trails on a 500-600 acre parcel of land (*I originally posted the incorrect acreage). In November of 2012, the Forest Service approved RLK’s permit to build the park. In doing so, a USFS rep said he believes that mountain biking at Timberline, “represents yet another new opportunity for play in every season of the year.” An appeal of that decision made by an even larger coalition of environmental groups was denied back in March (it’s interesting to note that some groups on the original appeal have chosen not to join this new lawsuit).

In a statement (read full text below), Bark’s Lori Ann Burd said, “The fragile alpine soils at Timberline are the wrong place for a downhill lift-assisted mountain bike park.” Dennis Chaney with Friends of Mt. Hood referred to the project as an “adventure park” and said it would jeopardize Mt. Hood, “… by allowing high-speed downhill biking, races, and more development.”

The Sierra Club’s participation in the lawsuit, with their 580,000 members nationwide and 20,000 members in Oregon, is significant. They’re walking a very fine line given their history in working with mountain bike advocacy groups on national wilderness policy. In their “Park City Agreement” with the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Sierra Club says they see mountain biking as, “a legitimate form of recreation and transportation on trails, including single track, when and where it is practiced in an environmentally sound and socially responsible manner.”

Image from Timberline Mountain Bike Park brochure.

In a statement about the lawsuit, Sierra Club Oregon Conservation Director Rhett Lawrence was careful to not say anything against mountain biking specifically. Their opposition has more to do with the USFS process and a general lack of trust that RLK/Timberline have been — and will be — good land stewards. In an email to BikePortland about the lawsuit, Lawrence explained that, “Though they may not believe it, we really do not have a problem with mountain biking at all. In fact, we would affirmatively support mountain bike access on Mt. Hood and we’d love to build allegiances with those folks, but we just don’t believe this is the proper place for this development.”

Portland resident Billie Cleek plans to end his Bark membership due to their continued opposition to this project. He contacted us after we shared news of this lawsuit via Twitter yesterday. Cleek is a frequent visitor to Mt. Hood for hiking, snowboarding, and mountain biking. He calls himself a “preservationist” and he wants to see more areas designated as wilderness (which prohibits mountain biking). But “Mt. Hood is not wilderness,” he says, “It’s a national forest.” As such, he thinks it should be used for recreation. “Seventeen miles of single track below one of the lifts at Timberline lodge is not much. Modern trail building techniques result in significantly less run-off than many people realize. The trail system at Sandy Ridge [a few miles down the mountain from Mt. Hood] is a great testament to our ability to build solid trail without significant run-off.”

“I have yet to see an explanation from Bark, Friends of Mount Hood, or Sierra Club that makes a strong case against the park; most arguments they are making seem to be based on faulty assumptions and/or fear. I’m more concerned about clear cuts, high grading, and ATV use throughout Mt. Hood National Forest than I am about a small mountain bike park in an already developed section of the mountain,” added Cleek.

For more coverage of this issue — including a guest article from Bark explaining their opposition in more detail — browse our Timberline MTB Park story archives.

UPDATE: 2:19 pm: The Executive Director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Kenji Sugahara has contacted Sierra Club leadership to express his “disappointment” with their decision. Read his email to Brian Pasko below:

Dear. Mr. Pasko,

On behalf of the 5,000+ members of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, I would like to let you know we are very disappointed
with the decision of Sierra Club to join in the lawsuit to stop Timberline Park.

As a progressive who has been a supporter of efforts by the Sierra Club to help the environment (coal trains etc), the lawsuit makes me question whether I should be supporting the Sierra Club. Most importantly the Sierra Club, by joining the lawsuit is damaging relationships that the Sierra Club should be looking to strengthen.

While I appreciate some of the concerns that were brought up by opponents, the work with IMBA ensures that trail building is done in
an environmentally conscious manner.

We request that you immediately withdraw from the lawsuit.

Sincerely,


Kenji Sugahara
Executive Director
Oregon Bicycle Racing Association
Phone: 503-278-5550

http://www.obra.org

UPDATE, 2:07 pm: In order to provide additional context to the positions of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, I have pasted the full text of their press release about it below:

Coalition Files Suit to Protect Fragile Alpine Meadows on Mt. Hood
Destructive Mountain Biking Expansion at Timberline Lodge Threatens Summer Recreation Opportunities, Fish and Wildlife in Sandy River’s Headwaters

May 16, 2013 — Today Crag Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Friends of Mt. Hood, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Bark challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) decision to allow high-impact lift- assisted mountain biking that would harm fragile alpine habitat near Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Over one million people visit Mt. Hood annually to climb, hike, ski, fish, bike, and play. Providing recreational opportunities and safeguarding our public land are at the core of the Forest Service’s mission, and the agency has an obligation to reject environmentally destructive development proposals.

“Mountain biking is growing in popularity and we support Forest Service efforts to provide environmentally-responsible, quality recreational opportunities for mountain bikers and other recreationists. However, the fragile alpine soils at Timberline are the wrong place for a downhill lift-assisted mountain bike park,” said Lori Ann Burd with Bark. “The Forest Service has failed to meet its responsibility to the public. Bark has worked with mountain bikers to encourage the Forest Service to convert unused logging roads into trails, but the Forest Service has failed to take action to seize these opportunities. Instead it has approved the construction of 17 miles of new trails in the sensitive headwaters of Still Creek and the West Fork of the Salmon River, leaving us no choice but to go to court to stop this development.”

The area around Timberline Lodge is cherished for summertime recreation such as wildflower viewing in the shadow of Mt. Hood. “Timberline Lodge in the summertime has always been a place to seek peace and quiet, and generations of families have treasured memories of hiking, picnicking, and sightseeing around Timberline,” said Dennis Chaney of Friends of Mt. Hood. “This project would jeopardize this beloved place by allowing high-speed downhill biking, races, and more development that will further degrade this fragile alpine environment. A National Historic Landmark and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail are not compatible with an adventure park.”

Marla Nelson of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) noted: “NEDC opposes this project because it would harm trout, salmon, and the aquatic environment that supports them.” She stated that the project will also:

- Increase sediment in Still Creek and the West Fork of the Salmon River, undercutting the significant investment of time and money in restoring downstream trout and salmon habitat
- Convert vegetation into bare mineral soils and encourage the further spread of noxious weeds
- Disturb wildlife, including elk, which rely on these high alpine meadows during calving season

“Timberline’s master plan to build a new day lodge, a new parking lot, and this mountain bike park was accepted by the Forest Service without adequate consideration of the cumulative effects on this fragile alpine environment,” said Rhett Lawrence, Conservation Director with the Sierra Club. “Timberline has not been able to successfully restore the areas it has already damaged and any new construction would simply add to the area’s degradation. The Forest Service needs to engage the public in a meaningful discussion of how to provide for ecologically responsible recreation on our public land, instead of taking more risks with Mt. Hood.”

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  • Todd Hudson May 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Wasn’t there some EIS work done, which determined that building this park wouldn’t adversely affect the environment?

    It’s TWELVE acres.

    This isn’t the first time that Sierra Club has opposed things based on emotional appeals rather than actual science. I’m very disappointed they are suing to stop this park.

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    • Adam Gniles May 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      http://1.usa.gov/YPm5le (I bitly’ed the Forest Service’s page for convenience.)

      The author(s) found a “finding of no significant impact” dependent on proper construction and maintenance work by RLK and the Forest Service. There was no final Environmental Impact Statement (see page 6 of “Timberline Mountain Bike Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact”) which may be why the environmental groups are concerned…maybe?

      Lawsuits are a proud American tradition, so if I were an mountain biking enthusiast I wouldn’t be too emotionally invested in the fact one was filed.

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    • davemess May 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Actually reading the through the report a month or two ago, I found that for one of the creeks (Salmon I think), the mitigation the MTB park will do during construction, will actually IMPROVE the creek!!!!

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  • 9watts May 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    There seem to be conflicting interpretations of what this ‘park’ would entail, how destructive it would be if built. Not to mention what the alternative would entail that some of these organizations imply they’d prefer and/or support.

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  • spencer May 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    “I have yet to see an explanation from Bark, Friends of Mount Hood, or Sierra Club that makes a strong case against the park; most arguments they are making seem to be based on faulty assumptions and/or fear. I’m more concerned about clear cuts, high grading, and ATV use throughout Mt. Hood National Forest than I am about a small mountain bike park in an already developed section of the mountain,” added Cleek.

    Couldnt have said it better myself. I’m a preservationist as well. The south slope of Hood below T line is already heavily developed and this would concentrate “moto style” riding to an already disturbed area, keeping said riders from going further into the wild areas.

    I ski, hike, and mt bike in the Mt Hood national forest, and this is the right call to establish a concentrated use area. Lets stop the fear mongering and reduce some of the clear cutting and rampant road building that is being done for the logging industry.

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  • Charley May 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    When BARK and the Sierra Club spend their money and time trying to keep quiet, human powered recreation off of Mt Hood, they are diverting resources from the fight against the truly damaging resource extraction industries. Clear cutting, LNG pipelines, BPA powerlines and global warming are truly damaging. . .but mountain bike riders are a much easier target for lawsuits.
    -
    I’m all for judicious use of the National Forest lands under our care. This trail network would be just that. It is only animosity towards bikes and the people that ride them that have spurred these groups to oppose the trail system.
    -
    Can you think of *any* other time *any* of these groups have opposed building trails on National Forest lands? I can’t find any. It’s only the intended use that offends these groups. If it was ski trails (there are miles of them up there) or hiking trails (there are also miles of them up there), there wouldn’t be any outcry. Where’s the outrage over the miles of clear cut trails for cross country skiing at Teacup Lake Nordic? Where’s the outrage over miles of huge alpine clearcuts at Timberline or Mt Hood Meadows? If there’s outrage, I’ve never heard it.
    -
    Finally, I’m truly suspicious of the Sierra Club when they claim that they support mountain biking in other places in the Forest. The last big Wilderness bill closed dozens and dozens of miles of trails in the Forest to bike use. They lie when they claim that they “affirmatively support” mountain biking. Show me the money they’ve spent on support versus the money they’ve spent on locking us out of our lands. For crying out loud.

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    • Fern May 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Charley- In fact, a number of years back, Bark did oppose an illegal hiking trail in Mt. Hood. When they brought it to the attention of the Forest Service, the Forest Service recognized and addressed the problem, so no legal action was necessary. Does this mean Bark is against hiking and hikers? Of course not! They lead hikes in Mt. Hood all the time. As is the case with opposition to Timberline Bike Skills Park, concerns are based upon looking at the merits and downfalls of each project, on a case by case basis.

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    • eliza May 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      charley — you complain here that bark isn’t focusing on clear-cuts, power lines, lng pipelines or global warming.
      here’s why that’s problematic: bark beat the lng palomar pipeline in 2011 after years of organizing and fighting that proposal through mt. hood. bark stopped the cascade crossing pge powerline through mt hood earlier this year after years of combating that project. bark won the end to clear-cutting in mt. hood national forest years ago after fighting tooth and nail against the last remaining clearcut proposals on mt. hood. bark is fighting against the timberline bike park in part because of concern over the impact of global warming on declining high-elevation habitat — the exact habitat and area that would be degraded by high-impact summer bike activities at timberline.
      i’ve been a bark supporter for 7 years and have followed bark’s opposition to this project since they first put out calls to action 3 years ago. they are trying to protect our natural environment, not bash bikers. they are trying to force the forest service to do it’s due diligence on analyzing projects, not steal fun from recreationists. they are doing their job… on this project and on many others, and they are doing it well.

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      • Brian May 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        “bark is fighting against the timberline bike park in part because of concern over the impact of global warming on declining high-elevation habitat — the exact habitat and area that would be degraded by high-impact summer bike activities at timberline”

        You have piqued my interest. Can you point me to some research/data that demonstrates a decline in the habitat in the area we are talking about as a result of alleged global warming. Also, what impacts would potential degradation in this habitat lead to?
        Thank you.

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        • Psyfalcon May 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm

          I would think that global warming would only increase the forest area around timberline. The proposed area is forested and not the bare ground above the lodge.

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    • wsbob May 20, 2013 at 2:15 am

      “…The last big Wilderness bill closed dozens and dozens of miles of trails in the Forest to bike use. …” Charley

      Your “…dozens and dozens…” line, brought me to think of the phrase ‘billions and billions Carl Sagan, long ago, was quoted as saying, before he actually said it. Comedians picked up on his having said ‘billions’ at various points in his Cosmos show hosting, elaborated a bit and had a heyday with it. When asked about it having said it, he had an interesting, amusing response:

      “…I never said it. Honest. Oh, I said there are maybe 100 billion galaxies and 10 billion trillion stars. It’s hard to talk about the Cosmos without using big numbers. I said ‘billion’ many times on the Cosmos television series, which was seen by a great many people. But I never said ‘billions and billions.’ For one thing, it’s imprecise. How many billions are ‘billions and billions’? A few billion? Twenty billion? A hundred billion? ‘Billions and billions’ is pretty vague… For a while, out of childish pique, I wouldn’t utter the phrase, even when asked to. But I’ve gotten over that. So, for the record, here it goes: ‘Billions and billions.’ …” Carl Sagan quote at: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

      And now…Back to the Forest! ……

      The forest is more than a million acres in size: 1,067,043 acres. Just a bit more than 63,000 acres of that amount has been designated ‘wilderness’, still leaving more than a million acres of the forest, not designated ‘wilderness’. Maybe there are other places to ride your mountain bike than federally designated wilderness, on the remaining…one million acres…of Mt Hood Forest land.

      “…The Forest encompasses some 1,067,043 acres (4,318.17 km2).[4] …” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Hood_National_Forest

      “…Mount Hood Wilderness at 63,177 acres (256 km2) includes the peak and upper slopes of Mount Hood…” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Hood_National_Forest

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      • GlowBoy May 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        Bob, what’s your point in likening “dozens and dozens” to “billions and billions”, other than a failed attempt to dismiss the original point? The truth is that dozens and dozens of miles of trails were closed to mountain bikes by the last Wilderness bill, including some real gems like the Roaring River/Serene Lake area.

        The forest might indeed be over a million acres, but you can’t ride in a forest without trails, so your acreage point is not really relevant. Of the trails that do exist, even outside wilderness, bicycles are only allowed on a fraction. Perhaps if you actually tried mountain biking you would learn that the opportunities to do so are actually more limited than you think.

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        • wsbob May 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm

          Glowboy…the point, hoped to be received with a sense of humor, was that ‘dozens and dozens’ was vague, uncertain, and susceptible to the impression, by those reading it, of a greater number of miles off limits than actually are.

          The acreage point is very relevant. That million acres offers the potential for a lot of mountain biking opportunity. Sierra Club officials have expressed their groups’ interest in helping the mountain bike community’s effort to develop that opportunity. If sufficient trail mileage is lacking, within that amount of acreage, additional miles of trail could likely be built.

          I don’t presently know how many miles of trail within the Mt Hood National Forest are open to mountain biking…more research, unless someone like yourself already knows. But check out item 262 of the complaint/lawsuit, referring to Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6) of the US Forest Service…that includes all of Oregon and Washington. It says there: “…are over 18,858 miles of trails on public lands managed by the Forest Service were bicycles are allowed and over 1,158 miles of trails that are specifically managed for mountain biking. …”.

          Doing a little more research, might come up with specifically how much trail in the Mt Hood Forest is available for mountain biking. Link to the forest service region 6 site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/r6

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          • GlowBoy May 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

            “18,858 miles of trails on public lands managed by the Forest Service were bicycles are allowed and over 1,158 miles of trails that are specifically managed for mountain biking”.

            OK, 6%. That’s about what I thought. 1158 miles of trail on numerous National Forests spread across two enormous states is not very much.

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            • wsbob May 22, 2013 at 5:22 pm

              What are you saying is six percent of what? The 1,158 of the 18,858? For crying out loud, it’s being kind of petty to grouse about the entire “…18,858 miles of trails on public lands managed by the Forest Service were bicycles are allowed …” not being “…specifically managed for mountain biking. …”.

              People wanting to mountain bike, not even bothering to find out where in their state’s national forests mountain biking is allowed, possibly explains in part why they think there’s not very many legal places for them to ride.

              Here’s a link to another Forest Service web page listing trails in the Mt Hood National Forest where mountain biking is allowed: http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/mthood/recreation/bicycling/?recid=52770&actid=24

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              • Eddie May 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm

                quote:With about 140 miles of trails open to mountain bikes, Mt. Hood National Forest is a great place for novices to experts. Remember that you will be sharing the trail with other users, especially hikers and riders on horseback.

                to put that in perspective, there are over 125 miles of trail within the Whistler bike park itself and over 300 miles of single track surrounding the valley (http://www.whistler.com/bike/).. granted that is the “mecca” of mountain biking, but still somehow it remains one of the most alive and beautiful places I’ve ever visited – despite all of the biking devastation.

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  • Laura May 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    17 miles of lift assisted trails on 12 acres of land? you may want to check that acreage…

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    • Brian May 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      “The project would consist of a trail network that would encompass 7 to 8 acres (approximately 15 miles of trails) and a separate “skills park” that would encompass approximately 0.75 to 1.25 acres.”

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    • Laura May 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      okay…so what got me confused is that the 12 acre citation is the amount of trail-building/ground disturbance. In reality, the size of the park itself, as shown on Timberline’s website, is far greater that 12 acres. I was envisioning 17 miles of trail built into an area twice the size of Mt. Tabor Dog Park…

      Regardless, the proposed park is a great idea, and I, too, recently withdrew my support of BARK.

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      • matt f May 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm

        how big is the park in total acreage?

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  • Psyfalcon May 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    By definition, these are not alpine soils. South of the lodge you have big trees. Calling the area something that it is not for the emotional response is not the way to go.

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    • Charley May 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Yes! From the dictionary: “the elevated slopes above timberline”. It’s the same reason calling the Lyall Larch an “alpine larch” is an oxymoron.

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    • longgone May 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      …emotional indeed…

      as says the SC.. “when and where it is practiced in an enviromentally sound, AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE MANNER.”

      Can you get more emotional AND judgemental than that?

      “NIMBY to you, you X-gamey-like Big Gap Jumping heathens , you! ”

      The Sierra Club is cutting the nose to spite the face here.
      They will lose support from people who generally would be in their camp. I am with others here, and wonder how they can waste time over this, when truly sad and horrible environmental travesties are happening in our NPS all over the country.
      Arggg! It makes me wanna give up.

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  • takeaspin22 May 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I’m continuously amazed why environmental groups go out of their way to alienate non-hiking recreationalists. We all share the same philosophy of stewardship of the land. Why they want to go after their allies makes no sense to me.

    I also have yet to hear an alternate proposal (besides “No Mountain Bike Park”) which would alleviate their concerns.

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  • Babygorilla May 17, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    These groups have consistently challenged any sort of expansion of the commercial ski areas on Mt. Hood. They had a huge fight a few years ago with Mt. Hood Meadows regarding the development plans for Cooper Spur.

    Reading through the complaint, there is a backstory with the Timberline Lodge operator (they operate the ski area under a special permit from the forest service) and its future plans that likely factor into this lawsuit. The restoration efforts to offset the construction of most recent lift were wholly unsuccessful and Timberlines near term plans include construction of a new lodge building and an 800 space parking lot.

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  • Burk May 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    So, I don’t get how Sandy Ridge is o.k. & this isn’t. They both will be about the same size when completed, they both are in areas that drain into rivers, they both are bike specific.

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    • Babygorilla May 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Sandy Ridge isn’t a commercial operation. Sandy Ridge doesn’t contemplate additional construction of buildings and parking lots. Sandy Ridge does not have lift assisted access that presumably will allow a greater number of riders per day. Sandy Ridge is on BLM managed land while Timberline is on USFS managed land (and subject to more regulations under the National Forest Management Act).

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      • longgone May 19, 2013 at 6:37 am

        Sandy Ridge is closer to P-town, is it not? Sandy Ridge is FREE is it not?
        If those things are incorrect, let me know.
        If your concern that commercial use would run amok, then create a system of checks for compliance.
        I would reason that despite it being a commercial endeavor , trail advocates would volunteer throughout the year for many concerns in regards to upkeep and impact.
        Perhaps a daily cap of hours of operation.
        The time frame of use at this park annually would be a very narrow window.

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    • Bjorn May 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      It is very simple, Sandy Ridge did not already have any trails that were being used by hikers nearby. The BARK/Sierra Club opposition is 5% environmental and 95% I DON’T WANNA SHARE MY PRECIOUS TRAILS AND YOU AREN’T GONNA MAKE ME YOU EVIL BIKE RIDERS! The only mountain biking these folks seem to support is at the Lumberyard indoor bike park. The good news is that they will lose, the bad news is that they might shove construction back to 2015.

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      • Babygorilla May 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        I wouldn’t be so sure that the plaintiff’s will lose on this one. The project has to meet some stringent Aquatic Conservation Strategy Objectives that have shelved logging / road projects because of sediment loading and those objectives aren’t really concerned about the scale of the project from my understanding.

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        • bjorn May 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm

          Honestly I don’t think they are even hoping to win, they are trying to send a message to any other private company that if you try to build mountain bike trails you better have a big war chest because we are going to make sure you have to dump as much money as possible into lawyers long before you are ever able to open. This lawsuit is just a scare tactic to reduce future mountain bike possibilities IMHO.

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          • longgone May 19, 2013 at 6:49 am

            These push backs against trail use, and recreational access, are an affront to the true corporate manipulation of our National Forest’s all across America.
            I have a personal friend who is a biologist and park ranger in the Mark Twain, we have been talking about this crap since the early 1980′s.
            Smoke and mirrors.
            I love Mt. Hood. It is a precious lovely place that breaks my heart just to look at.
            I do not think I am a greedy self interested buffoon, unable to reason through this issue.
            I may be a representation of the bigger majority of off road riders in the Portland area, whose means would only allow a trip to TL, once maybe three times a year.
            Hopefully true balanced information on this will surface, either way.
            But sadly, I feel the emotional argument counter to mine is going to win out.

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      • wsbob May 18, 2013 at 11:08 am

        I’m about three-fourth’s of the way reading through the complaint lawsuit. The people that put this thing together, definitely appear knowledgeable about the environmental issues they’re talking about.

        Whey bikeportland’s editor-publisher included the long bit he did, about this person Billie Cleek’s reaction to the suit in response to the proposed park, isn’t clear. Maybe that bit is what he’s found to be a common reaction from many mountain bikers towards this suit, and their ideas about the effects of their riding mountain bikes in the type of environment this park is planned to take place in.

        Excerpt from this story: “…”I have yet to see an explanation from Bark, Friends of Mount Hood, or Sierra Club that makes a strong case against the park; most arguments they are making seem to be based on faulty assumptions and/or fear. …” Billie Cleek, Portland resident

        Read the lawsuit.

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        • My Magic Hat May 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

          “Read the lawsuit.”

          Or, apparently, three quarters of it.

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          • wsbob May 20, 2013 at 11:18 am

            When I posted the comment you responded to, I’d read up to page 43 of the 56 page complaint/lawsuit. Today, I completed reading the entire document. Reading the entire document would be my suggestion to anybody seeking an accurate sense of where the groups having assembled this complaint/lawsuit, are coming from.

            It’s not easy reading, easy to understand, but the effort is worth it. It’s easier to read/understand, than some other legal documents.

            With all due respect to Portland resident Billie Cleek, a number of whose thoughts and ideas about the Mt Hood area and the proposed park bikeportland’s publisher-editor included in his story…in the complaint/lawsuit, contrary to what Cleek seems to think, the complainants appear to definitely have a very strong argument against the park RLK has in mind, and which the Forest Service has given the green light to. The arguments the complainants are making do not at all appear to be based on faulty assumptions. They present this very strongly in the more than 300 points in the document.

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            • davemess May 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

              And the Forrest Service put out a much longer environmental report on the proposed park and they found the opposite, that the park was okay to get the green light. Seeing as it is Forrest Service land, I might give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

              And PS. it’s okay to use Jonathan’s name, we and he know who he is.

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              • Babygorilla May 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

                The forest service also green lights timber projects that frequently get overturned by courts on some of the same grounds on which this decision is being challenged. Coupled with the admission from the former supervisor that a main goal was to expand new revenue sources for Timberline and the desire to fast track the project, that should give one pause in assessing the validity of the Forest Service’s decision and decision making process.

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                • davemess May 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm

                  New revenue sources for timberline and an environmental interest don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It’s not as if you have to hate Timberline (wish the lodge was torn down, etc.) to say that you love the NF around Mount Hood.

                  Again, I don’t really see these suing environmental groups trying to mitigate the future potential problems we are going to have when there are still more people wanting to mountain bike, and minimal places to do so. Like Forrest Park, this problem isn’t going to go away, and perhaps having more MTB access in a controlled space would be the better option then hundreds of rogue bikers poaching trails all over the mountain.

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                • wsbob May 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm

                  “…Again, I don’t really see these suing environmental groups trying to mitigate the future potential problems we are going to have when there are still more people wanting to mountain bike, and minimal places to do so. …” daveness

                  From the more recent bikeportland article on this story: http://bikeportland.org/2013/05/21/director-of-sierra-club-explains-rationale-behind-mtb-park-lawsuit-87117#comments …there’s this statement from the response Sierra Club Oregon Chapter Director Brian Pasko wrote to Kenji Sugahara, the executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association:

                  “…More importantly, we are pursuing this lawsuit in part because we believe that the Forest Service has fundamentally failed in its obligation to fully evaluate the potential for additional mountain bike recreational opportunities in the Mount Hood National Forest. …” Brian Pasko

                  Excluding federally designated wilderness within it, one million acres makes up the Mt Hood National Forest. The opportunities for riding are there. So is help to develop them from a club with many supporters. Sierra Club-Oregon officials have said the club is interested in working with the mountain biking community to develop mountain biking opportunities in the forest. I’m interested in hearing how the upcoming meeting between the club and IMBA members goes:

                  “…The Sierra Club believes that the Forest Service should be carrying out a robust analysis and implementing a formal stakeholder process to expand mountain bike opportunities on our national forests. We are keenly interested in working with the mountain bike community to achieve this goal. In fact, we are meeting with leaders in IMBA and others in the next few weeks to discuss this and how we can move forward together. …” Brian Pasko

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              • wsbob May 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

                Greater length, of any given report, compared to another, is not by itself, greater proof of accurately having followed procedures and evaluation required for this type of project. The lawsuit makes many claims, and apparently believes it has proof to back them up, that the Forest Service didn’t properly do what was required to allow this project to move forward.

                I think many people would like to hear how the Forest Service and RLK responds to the claims made in the suit, because in reading them, they seem straightforward and substantial, rather than just some emotional fear based, insubstantial reaction some people seem to want to believe they are.

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    • Bjorn May 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      BTW it isn’t like the Sierra Club actually supported Sandy Ridge, they just decided not to file a half dozen legal challenges to the construction of trails there, which is a big difference. They only have two modes of operation, all out war on a potential mountain bike trail and silence which could at any moment turn into all out war on a potential mountain bike trail.

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      • Burk May 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm

        Yea…. that’s kinda what I figured. :(

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      • longgone May 19, 2013 at 6:52 am

        “We are not opposed to Mountain bikes, they are great for taking recycling to the drop off center.”

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    • wsbob May 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      At the elevation of the Mt Hood proposed park site…probably between about 4000′-5000′, soil is likely to be more fragile…sandy, rocky…than that at the much lower elevation of Sandy Ridge…about 1000′. Sandy Ridge probably has some fairly solid dirt to serve as trail bed. Hopefully, reliable tests of the Mt Hood site have been made. Higher, colder elevation results in a shorter, slower growing season too.

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      • Alex May 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm

        The elevation is comparable to many, many other bike parks out there. Please don’t go talking science if you aren’t going to back it up. If you find yourself using words like “probably”, it is just better to not post and spread FUD.

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  • DK May 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    “Sierra Club signs onto lawsuit to stop Timberline MTB Park”

    …Of course they did. :(

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  • Chris I May 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    They keep sending me solicitations in the mail. Definitely not going to join now.

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  • Erinne May 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Yet another reason to stop supporting Sierra Club. Between this, their anti-fluoride stance and their silence on the CRC, I’m done with them.

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    • Charley May 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      I did not know about their CRC stance. That’s good info to have.

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    • davemess May 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Yeah, they lost me with the fluoride, but this just reaffirms it. They’re really drawing the line of what a “REAL” environmentalist is.

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      • longgone May 18, 2013 at 8:06 am

        Would anyone be able to post links on the CRC, and flouride stuff, I think many people would love to read more.
        Thanks in advance.

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  • Erinne May 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Does anyone have information on who is the best contact to express our displeasure at this (and other local matters)?

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  • au naturel May 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    As a bicycling enthusiast (100,000 miles and counting) on and off road, I applaud the environmental groups pursuing this appeal. This forum doesn’t necessarily represent the interests of the entire bicycling community.

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    • longgone May 18, 2013 at 8:33 am

      @ un naturel….

      This forum does, and can, in fact,(contrary to your statement) reflect the entire cycling community.
      Trail access, and the politics that surround it in Oregon, are an old and heated conversation.
      When it pops up, people speak up.
      Many of us are tired of speaking up.
      If those who share your viewpoint are not represented here, as much as you like, I suggest you implore their participation to join in the discussion.

      I find it ironic that your petulant, and somewhat flacid statement contradicts the “9thumbs up” you have recieved so far, based on the balance of other comments seen to be shared by you.

      I wouldnt want to accuse someone of padding their approval, but it is a bit odd, that proportionally, your opinion does seem outnumbered by people actually willing to type something.

      just sayin’.

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    • davemess May 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

      So where do you like to ride “off road” because with appeals like this and opposition to Forrest Park, we have pretty limited options here.

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  • Zaphod May 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    The Sierra club continues to miss the big picture. They have a cool name and logo. Their mission sounds good at first glance but they’re far too narrow minded for this big blue ball we share.

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  • lil'stink May 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    “We really don’t have a problem with mountain biking. We just don’t think anyone should be allowed to do it, anyhere, ever.” – Sierra Club

    The selfish, exclusionist attitudes of the Sierra Club and others of their ilk have done an excellent job of alienating a group of people that have more in common with them than they seem to realize.

    I keep my fingers crossed whenever I go to REI that a petition gatherer for BARK or the Sierra Club will be out front so I can reiterate to them why I will never support them.

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    • narwhale May 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Its troubling to me the rhetoric that environmental groups, who are looking out for the best interest of wildlife habitat and endangered species, are continually labeled as ‘selfish.’ Are supposed to believe that mountain bikers seeking for thrills out on the mountain are what, completely self-less? Acting out of the complete good of their heart. No, they are looking out for their own special interest. And yes, enviros are looking out for their interests as well, interest that include protecting salmon for future generations and conserving watersheds. It seems pretty clear who is acting more selfishly here…

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      • davemess May 17, 2013 at 5:47 pm

        So show some data of how this park will negatively impact those things?

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        • Babygorilla May 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm

          The complaint alleges that the majority of the park will be outside the current Timberline permit area and existing conditions in the permit area negatively impact salmon/steelhead habitat through increased sediment loading. And that more trails will increase that sediment loading. And the complaint alleges that Forest Service personell confirm that reality.

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          • Babygorilla May 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm

            And the complaint alleges that the Forest Services acknowledges that this project will result in increased sediment loading. The Forest Service claims that mitigation efforts will lessen that, but the complaint alleges previous mitigation efforts from Timberline have been failures.

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      • lil'stink May 17, 2013 at 6:45 pm

        I don’t believe I have ever read a statement by a mountain biker indicating they support the Timberline Bike Park due to some sort of selfless rationale. They want it because it is an activity they enjoy, pure and simple. In the grand scheme of things, I think there are bigger threats to our environment and ecology than mountain biking. Perhaps the Sierra Club should shift some of their focus away from their inflexible oppostition to mountain biking given this fact? They might add a few mountain bikers to their ranks as well.

        The difference between mtb’ers and some of the environmental groups out there is that the cyclists can admit what they want, and realize it doesn’t have to come at the exclusion of others.

        To say that the selfish interests of the Sierra Club involve salmon and watersheds but limiting trail access for others is laughable and insulting.

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        • humus May 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm

          The difference between mtb’ers and some of the environmental groups out there is that the cyclists can admit what they want, and realize it doesn’t have to come at the exclusion of others.

          To say that the selfish interests of the Sierra Club involve salmon and watersheds but limiting trail access for others is laughable and insulting.

          wow lil’stinky you may want to reread what you wrote (see above) the enviro groups do state what they want, just read their websites if you want to know where they stand. when you talk about this bike park you want to be built it will come at the ‘exclusion of others’ as in the salmon, trout, frogs, and all the other animals that need clean water.

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      • Duncan Parks May 23, 2013 at 10:46 am

        Sierra Club Oregon Conservation Director Rhett Lawrence: “In fact, we would affirmatively support mountain bike access on Mt. Hood and we’d love to build allegiances with those folks, but we just don’t believe this is the proper place for this development.”

        So an existing ski area, full of access roads and clearcuts (ahem, ski runs), with two existing lodges and a massive parking lot, and, of course, full of ski lifts, is not the proper place to add some singletrack trails and a skills park for bikes. Kinda calls BS on Lawrence’s statement; don’t expect any support or allegiances there.

        Just an educated guess, BTW, but I bet there is more sediment loading from the gravel ODOT dumps on the Timberline access road in one winter season than would be produced by careful construction of 17 miles of singletrack trail.

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  • danny May 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    So what makes Billy Cleek such an expert that his concerns about the lawsuit merit so much ink in this story? I’m generally a huge fan of Bike Portland, but I’m getting rather tired of the slanted reporting when it comes to mountain bike access. There are in fact be very legitimate arguments why more mountain bike access may be inconsistent with natural resource protection in places like Forest Park and near Timberline. It is too bad to see Bike Portland not-so-subtly slant its coverage of these issues toward mountain bike access.

    And I’m a member of OBRA, but I’m not really a huge fan of this new development on Mt. Hood. So why can the OBRA Exec Director send a message opposing the lawsuit that purports to speak on behalf of all OBRA members?

    Just because people love to ride bikes, including mountain bikes, doesn’t mean they believe that bikes need to have access to every place on the map.

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    • Help May 19, 2013 at 8:41 am

      “I’m generally a huge fan of Bike Portland, but I’m getting rather tired of the slanted reporting when it comes to mountain bike access.”

      Because BikePortland is ALL ABOUT THE BIKE. The hypocrisy makes the Republican Party look sane.

      It’s about helping the environment until it affects biking (in the mountains) . . then it’s not.

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    • Allison May 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

      I”m not sure you understand how advocacy orgs work – especially with your comment about OBRA’s ED. Many of the people commenting here were members of Bark or the Sierra Club but because their positions were so divergent from that of these commenters, said commenters quit their affiliation. Neither Bark nor Sierra Club took a poll and found out what their members cared about – they care about stuff, ask people to join but they’re in charge of their message. So is OBRA. OBRA supports bicycle racing. BikePortland reports on Bike News. I object a heck of a lot more to the Sierra Club or Bark not well-articulating their environmental position against MTB because they claim to be stewards of the environment. Of course OBRA is going to slant towards more racing. And I’d expect a little less advocacy from BikePortland and more analysis but not by much..the blog is called BikePortland. Not “BikeAndOtherLikelyToBeLessOfAnImpactOnTheLongTermEffectsOfGlobalWarmingAirbornePolutantsWaterContaminationForestryAndRenewableEnergyPortland”

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      • wsbob May 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

        “…I object a heck of a lot more to the Sierra Club or Bark not well-articulating their environmental position against MTB because they claim to be stewards of the environment. …” Allison

        Explain what you mean: “…well-articulating their environmental position against MTB…”. Read the complaint/lawsuit. It’s long, and complicated reading to deal with, but the complainants objection to mountain biking…in the particular setting this bike park is planned for…seemed quite well articulated.

        I can’t claim to well know how a group like Sierra Club conducts its efforts relative to the views of its members, but it’s quite a stretch for me to accept, as you seem to be suggesting, that this group has acted contrarily to the general views relative to mountain biking held by its members. Do the Sierra Club/Oregon, BARK, Friends of Mt. Hood, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center majority of members want this park to proceed, contrary to the effort being made by the groups officials? Possibly, I suppose, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of that being so.

        There’s some fairly good arguments that support proceeding with this type of park in this setting. Do the engineering, protect the environment by isolating the activity from the environment, and proceed with the park. If this type of bike park reflects the values relative to this forested and alpine setting, of people coming to this ski resort, maybe this park should get the ‘go-ahead’.

        A couple of the most basic numbers associated with this park give pause: “…The project would build 17 miles of new, lift-assisted mountain bike trails on a (12 …corrected in the story to 20) 20-acre parcel of land. …” maus/bikeportland . Rough and simple estimate, is that this would be a little more than 4000 linear ft of trail per acre. Is that, or is that not some very intensive use planned for this amount of land, particularly with the environment it has? The complainants say the Forest Service and RLK hasn’t done its due diligence in evaluating the environment for this usage, and towards engineering a park that can function well for the enjoyment of those hoping to use it without damaging the environment it’s set in. Maybe Forest Service and RLK should get busy and fix what needs to be fixed with their plans, so the park can proceed.

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      • are May 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

        yeah, i think if i was paying membership dues to an organization that was supposed to, i dunno, protect the environment, i would expect them to poll their members rather than do any research on, i dunno, environmental impacts or anything. and if they hired a bunch of researchers who came up with something i disagreed with, i think instead of trying to learn anything i would quit.

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  • Barney May 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    A great big “Eff Ewe” to the Sierra Club, they are no friend to bikers, mountain or otherwise. I cancelled my membership years ago when they started to go off the rails!

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  • Allison May 19, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I find environmentalist group in-fighting exhausting – we ride bikes *because* we’re environmentalists (at least partially).

    If you’re not an environmental group based on science, you’re not help the real-life environment but some imaginary idea of the environment. That doesn’t help even one fuzzy bunny.

    Part of what makes an environmentalist out of a regular person is being able to appreciate the natural beauty of the outdoors.

    Also, the more we use already-developed areas of the mountain for recreation, the less we have reason to fight over the spaces that need to remain wilderness or be wilded.

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  • Bobcycle May 20, 2013 at 7:55 am

    The Democratic party does a heck of a lot that I don’t agree with, but I still vote Democratic. BARK does a lot of good to protect MT Hood and I am still going to support them. Sorry this issue is so divisive on so many fronts taking much of our collective energies off some much more pressing issues.

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    • humus May 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      and i think i’ll do some doubling down on my donations to Bark

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  • Bobcycle May 20, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I guess I’ll take advantage of this good weather and just go out in the woods Mt Biking and try to clear my mind of all this turmoil. :)

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  • NDL May 20, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Jonathan,

    Your reporting is disappointing. The last paragraph of BARK’s press release is key to understanding what’s going on here–and you seem to ignore it.

    The mountain bike park is one step in RLK’s larger plan to develop the undeveloped area between Timberline and Government Camp: building a new lift in 2007, expanding their permit area and adding biking trails now, building a second day lodge and a large parking lot in the near future, potential road expansions down the line. It should be obvious that, cumulatively, this development will have a huge impact; however, the Forest Service will only consider each step’s impact in isolation: the impact of the lift alone, the impact of the biking trails alone, the impact of the lodge alone, etc. Furthermore, it won’t engage in a meaningful, public conversation about the long-term fate of an area so many people care so much about.

    The issue isn’t mountain biking. The issue is how the south side of Hood will be managed in the coming decades–to preserve public access and historical/ecological values, or for the exclusive economic benefit of a privately held corporation concerned with their bottom line?

    I wish you could move past your apparently knee-jerk reactions (mountain bikes=good!) and provide some reporting that actually places this lawsuit in the context of a larger question: how, and for who’s benefit, our public lands should be managed?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 20, 2013 at 10:15 am

      NDL,

      Thanks for the feedback. I disagree that my reporting is just a “knee-jerk” reaction. Yes, I could have done a better job of providing some larger context; but I feel I presented the actions of the groups involved fairly. They have a filed a lawsuit that — if it was successful — would stop the MTB park from being built. That is a fact. I have gone to lengths to present the arguments of Bark, Sierra Club and others. Did you see the Guest Editorial from a Bark volunteer that I published a few weeks ago? And you’ll note in the post above that I shared the entire press release and the PDF of the lawsuit.

      To say that my outlook is simply “mountain bikes = good” is not accurate. I appreciate you bringing this up because I can always do a better job in making sure I present things with as much fairness and context as possible. Thanks again for the comment.

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  • Alex May 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    My favorite part of the lawsuit: “The aesthetic, recreational, scientific, educational, and religious interests of Plaintiffs’ members have been and will be adversely affected and irreparably injured if defendants construct the downhill bike routes and skills park components of the Project.”

    How does this affect the religious interests of these non-religious organizations? How does mountain biking take away from someone’s viewing of wildflowers? Should I really be that concerned if I offend someone’s sense of aesthetics? I think this statement accurately portrays the rest of the document. About 4/5 of the document can be ignored and is there to spread FUD.

    The higher elevations, where there are actual meadows, doesn’t look like they will be touched. Here is a map of the proposed trails: http://www.timberlinelodge.com/wp-content/uploads/bike-trails-JUL12.jpg I also believe it goes directly against what the lawsuit claims: “A small portion of the new construction will occur in
    disturbed areas that were developed with facilities for use in the winter months for skiing. ” It basically uses all of the same areas as those made for skiing – as you can see in the map.

    Much of the lawsuit, if you haven’t read it, is complaining that the Forest Service hasn’t been meeting guidelines or following-through with previous proposals/promises. It really reads like a lawsuit more against RLK and the Forest Service in general than simply adding more MTB access and it does get emotional/steers away from environmental aspects quite frequently. A lot of what the lawsuit uses uncertainty as a validator, as well. The basic gist, that I got out of it, is to use delay tactics to stop moving forward based on less science and more aesthetic, recreational, educations and religious interests of the plaintiffs.

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  • Babygorilla May 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    The allegations about the recreational, religious and aesthetic values are in every lawsuit by an environmental group on behalf of its members (or in such suits by individuals). It’s to meet the “standing” requirement to bring a citizen suit.

    Part of the Forest Service’s legal requirement in these sorts of cases is to fully analyze the “cumulative effects” of a particular project so when the Forest Service bases its decision on promised remediation, and prior project remediation has been unsuccessful, it is relevant.

    As far as this being a suit against RLK, sort of. They will intervene and defend in concert with the Forest Service.

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    • Alex May 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Of course…the clincher is at the end, though. They really are just stalling and trying to “punish” RLK until they meet their previous agreements. The last section of the law suit says exactly that, and that is exactly what makes me even more against the stance of the plaintiffs. While I agree that the cumulative affect is not good, their stance is much more political than simply trying to hold RLK/Forest Service accountable for their misdeeds (if that is proven?) and using mountain biking as a political hostage. I disagree with that on a purely ethical level, especially when there are such things as “bark abouts” where bark takes people off trail into “sensitive” lands on a weekly or monthly basis and hiking/looking at mountain flowers does do harm to the environment, but they sure don’t seem to try to stop any of that.

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    • wsbob May 20, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      It’s fair to consider what’s implied by the inclusion of the word ‘religion’, relative to the environment, and why the complainants would include that in their suit. Baby Gorilla’s response that it’s part of acting on behalf of the members of groups the complainants represent, sounds right. Also, it seems, refraining from despoiling the earth and its many wonders, is a fundamental, spiritual principal people apart from religion commonly embrace, and which religions admonish their followers to practice, even though in reality, humanity has has a long history of deplorably failing at living up to that principal.

      However RLK chooses, or doesn’t choose to pretty this bike park up, it amounts to what many people, if they really thought it over, would likely consider to be a kind of desecration of the environment it’s planned to occupy. Especially, if the complainants are correct in their contention that the Forest Service hasn’t done what it’s suppose to do to…what it has agreed to do according to federally established guidelines, to see that this development won’t adversely affect the environment and creatures trying to live in it.

      The Mt Hood National Forest comprises more than a million acres. Federally designated wilderness is only 63,000 acres of that. If I had/get the opportunity, I’d have Rhett Lawrence, quoted in the sidebar to this story, clarify what specific areas he’s speaking of when he says “…support mountain bike access on Mt Hood…”. Maybe he means another area in Timberlines permitted use zone, or instead, somewhere else in the Mt Hood National Forest.

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      • Alex May 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

        Mountain Biking is part of my religion. I demand access. Adding mtb access is not desecrating the land, it is making it sacred. I want to embrace the land, not destroy it. I have _really_ thought about it.

        Hiking does plenty of damage and I didn’t see that mentioned in their lawsuit. I would figure they would want to cut out the traffic from summiting the mountain and hiking in the area considering how fragile this environment is, the added traffic and the destructive nature of the sport.

        My point is this, you are a tool, religion is all in the eye of the beholder and mountain biking does such little damage that this whole lawsuit is laughable by any reasonable person. Their are ulterior motives and a long running battle between these orgs – mtbing has got caught in the political cross-fire.

        I’d have Rhett Lawrence, quoted in the sidebar to this story, clarify what specific areas he’s speaking of when he says “…support mountain bike access on Mt Hood…”. –wsbob

        If you believe what he’s saying, you are more than just a bit naive.

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  • humus May 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    You know folks the Forest Service did a study a few years back that says they need to get rid of 49% of the roads on Mt. Hood as they are damaging rivers and streams etc…
    The Forest service just stopped implementing the removal of all these hundreds of miles of roads and i would suggest that mt. bike advocates may want to get involved and get them to restart this road removal and get them to turn a lot of these roads into free mt. bike trails.
    With the advocacy of all the above commenters, the mt. bikers and other bike organizations as well as the enviro groups we could have tons more miles of bike trails that don’t damage the ecosystem.

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    • Alex May 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Mountain bike trails, in general, are less damaging than hiking trails.

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    • Duncan Parks May 23, 2013 at 10:33 am

      How would you feel if somebody pointed out that there were tons of unused streets for tract housing that has gone unbuilt, that they should be closed off, and that they provided wonderful opportunities for hiking? Yeah, that’s what mountain biking on a typical old logging road is like. I certainly don’t notice very many hikers using them when they have a choice!

      That doesn’t mean, of course, that road removal is a bad thing…just that it’s hardly a solution to providing a satisfying recreational opportunity to a growing and active user group.

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  • Eddie May 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    in other news: “Big Bear Lake, CA – May 22, 2013) – Snow Summit will open this Saturday, May 25th with multiple activities including the Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair, top-to-bottom hiking, biking trails … Gravity Logic, experts in bike park design and development, designed Snow Summit’s new advanced trail, “Miracle Mile.” The downhill trail features sweeping s-turns, 33 berms, six rollers, ten jumps and three wood features including a 30-foot bridge, diving board and berm. Snow Summit plans on opening at least three new trails in addition to existing trails with accessibility for all levels by the end of summer.”

    sigh…

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  • Andrew Eunson May 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I went to Google Earth to get some perspective on this “wilderness” issue. Seems as though there is already a road to parking lots in the alpine area. And like every ski area I have been to, ski runs cut in the forest with gravel road access to lifts for maintenance. Seems to me by corralling the DH yahoos in a selected controlled area that it keeps the yahoos away from true wilderness. Not that DH riders are likely to push heavy bikes into wilderness areas any any number.

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