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After years of disappointment, single track lovers have reasons for optimism

Friday, November 21st, 2014
Newton Rd in Forest Park

With renewed energy from Portland’s off-road biking advocates and a Metro project that could open up 1,300 acress of trail possibilities, 2015 could be a very big year for advocates itching for more local single track trails.

As we reported yesterday, local advocacy and trail building group the Northwest Trail Alliance has thrown down a gauntlet of sorts by launching an online petition in the form of an open letter to members of Portland City Council. The petition urges them to “catch up with the overflowing demand for off-road cycling opportunities.” By the time this story is published there will likely be close to 1,000 signatures collected in its first two days.

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Bomb squad disarms tripwire device found on trail near Forest Park – UDPATED

Monday, October 20th, 2014
Newton Rd in Forest Park
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Police called in the bomb squad Saturday night to disarm an explosive device connected to a tripwire strung across a trail that leads into Forest Park.

According to a statement released this morning by the PPB, the tripwire was strung across Firelane 3, a wooded and overgrown old fire access road located east of NW Thompson Rd and accessible via Skyline Road from Thunder Crest Drive. Firelane 3 is open to bicycling and walking.

Here’s more from the PPB: (more…)

Holman Lane makes key connection through Forest Park, but only in one direction

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Holman Lane (red line) in relation to northwest Portland (to the right), Forest Park (shaded green), NW Cornell Rd (at the bottom) and Skyline Blvd (bottom left).
(Graphic: RideWithGPS)

Holman Lane is an unpaved fire lane in Forest Park. It winds uphill from northwest Portland almost a mile and nearly 500 feet in elevation from the corner of NW Aspen and Raleigh (map) before it meets with the quiet and tree-lined NW 53rd Avenue. Holman is open for cycling, and for those who know about it, provides a beautiful and safe connection between downtown and the West Hills, Skyline Boulevard, and points beyond.

But there’s an important detail about Holman Lane: bicycling is permitted only in the uphill direction. That’s too bad for people like Mike Owen, a Portlander who recently discovered Holman’s charms and utility.
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City drafts new ‘Project Evaluation Method’ for Forest Park

Monday, August 5th, 2013
Vernonia Overnighter
The City’s new evaluation tool could have
wide-reaching impact on the future of bicycle access
in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland’s Parks & Recreation bureau recently unveiled a draft document that could act as their guide to the future of how Forest Park is used. The goal of the new Forest Park Project Evaluation Methodology (PEM) is to provide, “a systematic and consistent method to evaluate projects” in order to, “screen construction and capital projects that propose alterations to the current landscape.”

For people who care about bicycle access in the park, this is an important new document because it will help Parks staff decide if and how existing and new paths within Forest Park should accomodate bicycles. The new tool synthesizes the findings from several recent studies and surveys about Forest Park and the Parks Bureau says they plan to use it in conjunction with the existing Forest Park Natural Resource Management Plan.
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Forest Park activists to City Council: “Wilderness” at risk and biker crackdown needed

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Marcy Houle testified to City Council that
Forest Park’s “wilderness values” are at risk.

Just 16 days after Commissioner Amanda Fritz was put in charge of the Parks Bureau, people who are opposed to improving bicycle access in Forest Park have begun to pressure her to crack down on illegal riding and limit any policy changes that might result in more riders in the park.

Noted anti-bike activist and author Marcy Houle — who claimed back in March that trails in Forest Park were being “ruined by cyclists” and then teamed up with friends at the NW Examiner newspaper on a biased, hit piece against mountain biking — and local pediatrician Catherine Thompson, addressed Mayor Hales, Commissioner Fritz, and the rest of City Council during the citizen communication period before last week’s meeting.
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NW Examiner highlights “illegal cycling” in Forest Park

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
Cover of NW Examiner April issue.

The NW Examiner, a free monthly newspaper with a circulation of 30,000 homes and businesses in various neighborhoods of northwest Portland, has made mountain biking in Forest Park it’s cover story for the second time in three months. In the April edition (PDF only), editor and publisher Allan Classen has penned an article titled, Illegal cycling muddies drive for greater use of Forest Park.

Classen’s article comes just a week after author and Forest Park activist Marcy Houle emailed Mayor Charlie Hales, city commissioners, and Parks bureau staff photos of bicycle tracks through the mud of what she claimed to be Wildwood Trail (which is off-limits to bikes). Houle is featured throughout Classen’s article, which reads more like an editorial against mountain biking than a news story. (Note that Classen wrote an editorial in June 2010 where he likened people who ride in Forest Park with “bicycle zealots” with “evangelistic fervor” who “love to ride bikes down steep mountain trails at high speed on Sunday mornings.”) (more…)

Activist claims Forest Park trail being “ruined by cyclists”

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
Photo by Marcy Houle sent to Mayor Hales
and other City Council members. It shows bike tires
in the mud on what she says is Wildwood Trail.

As we shared last month, the debate over improving bicycle access in Forest Park seems to be heating up once again.

On March 14th, Marcy Houle, an activist and author of One City’s Wilderness: Portland’s Forest Park who has been very outspoken in opposition to bicycling in the park, emailed Mayor Charlie Hales and the rest of City Council urging them to do something about people who ride illegally on Wildwood Trail.

Houle’s email (sent on March 14th) focused on the Wildwood Trail, which she describes as being, “arguably the most pristine, natural, and heralded city park hiking trail in the United States.” Houle shared photos she says show damage to the trail from bicycle tires and she called on the Mayor, City Council members, and Parks Director Mike Abbate to stop the “criminal activity.” (more…)

Forest Park update: Wildlife report, new Parks Director chimes in, media goes crazy

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Bikes vs. Nature! Run for your lives! Front page
of February 2013 NW Examiner newspaper.

The debate about bike access in Forest Park has heated up once again. Last time we checked in on the issue we reported on a positive statement from City Commissioner Nick Fish. Then in December, Portland Parks & Recreation completed a Forest Park Wildlife Report that found, among other things, that bicycling does not pose a major threat to the park’s ecology. Following on that, the Director of Parks, Mike Abbate shared his perspective on future recreational use in the park in an email to park stakeholders (which we’ve obtained).

With what seems like clear momentum from Portland Parks & Recreation for moving sensibly forward to expand bicycling opportunities in Forest Park, those who don’t want that to happen are once again making their feelings known.
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Reader Story: Get a quick-fix of mountain biking in Forest Park

Friday, January 4th, 2013
The magic of Forest Park’s northern reach.
(Photos by Hudson Henry)

After I shared a story about a recent ride in Forest Park, I heard from many readers with fun routes of their own. The story and photos come to us from southwest Portland resident Hudson Henry.

Do you desperately need a mountain bike ride, but don’t have the time to get to the coast range or Gorge? Do you close your eyes and picture that knobby tire leading you carefree through the woods? When I feel the stress build up and really need a quick dirt ride, I head out Highway 30 to the northern reaches of Forrest Park. While the legal riding there is technically on firelanes, the northern lanes are often very rugged and trail like.

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Finding Forest Park

Monday, November 26th, 2012
No joke.

Is it possible to have fun on a mountain bike in Forest Park? Ask five different people and you’re likely to get five different answers. In the end, I think it depends on what you consider fun.

On Sunday, I ventured out to discover some new (to me) roads and found that the park — despite having only 1/3 mile of singletrack open to bicycles — still has something to offer knobby-tired visitors.

I first considered exploring Forest Park’s northern reach nearly three years ago. Back in February 2010, I joined a park ranger to survey damage of an unauthorized bike trail that had been carved south of where BPA Road intersects with Newton. On Sunday, I returned to that locked gate, which is right off Highway 30 less than a mile north of Linnton. My plan was to stay on BPA Road and connect up to Skyline Rd about 1,000 feet and 2 and 1/2 miles up. (more…)

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