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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…)

Bike tour company offers guided Forest Park ride

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
PUMP's Forest Park Mountain Bike Tour
Tour company will bring you here.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Forest Park, Portland’s 5,000 acre urban park and wooden wonderland, might not offer the type of trail access many off-road advocates would prefer; but it’s still a great place to ride a bike.

Now, Portland-based Pedal Bike Tours is taking advantage of the park’s many miles of gravel and dirts roads by offering twice-daily guided tours.

Calling it the “ultimate Oregon combination of primeval forest and vibrant city,” Pedal Bike Tours owner Todd Roll says, “This ride appeals to both casual riders who want to enjoy the greenery and solitude of the park without a long drive to the mountains, as well as more aggressive riders looking to get a good workout on the gravel and dirt road.”

For $49 you’ll get a bike (if you need one), a lift up to Leif Erikson Road (ride starts at 600 feet) and then be led 11 miles through thick forests and ferns. The tour heads south into Portland and after rolling on dirt and gravel roads, you’ll end up just above NW 23rd Street and then wind through the Pearl District back to Pedal Bike Tours’ shop in Old Town.

Stay tuned for more news about bike access in Forest Park.

Bill asks State of Oregon to consider acquisition of Forest Park

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
Forest Park-7
Much-loved Forest Park: better off in the
hands of the State?
(Photo © J. Maus)

State Representative Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) is sponsoring a bill (HB 2250) that would require the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission to enter into talks with the City of Portland about the possible state acquisition of Forest Park.

Here’s the entire text of the (very brief) bill:

“The State Parks and Recreation Commission shall make reasonable efforts to arrive at an agreement with Portland Parks and Recreation to acquire Forest Park.”

Greenlick lives adjacent to the park (it’s also in his district) and during a public hearing on HB 2250 held last month, said the park’s long-term health and stability is, “Extraordinarily important to me.”
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In defense of Platinum, Fish responds to League on Forest Park issue

Monday, October 25th, 2010

“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“. (more…)

At rally, Trail Alliance says Forest Park will remain a “focal point”

Monday, October 18th, 2010
A large crowd turned to the Share the Park Ride and Rally at Forest Park on Saturday Morning.
– Video/Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

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Northwest Trail Alliance will hold demonstration ride in Forest Park

Monday, October 4th, 2010
Forest Park-1
Traffic intermingles on Leif
Erikson road in Forest Park.
(File photo © J. Maus)

After expressing their disappointment with last week’s decision by City Commissioner Nick Fish to not grant any new or improved singletrack trail access for bikes in Forest Park, the Northwest Trail Alliance has announced a “Share The Park” ride.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 16th. According to the NWTA, it will be a rally and a group ride in Forest Park (on roads where riding is allowed of course) that is intended as a “peaceful action”.

From the event announcement: (more…)

Op-Ed: Northwest Trail Alliance responds to Forest Park decisions

Friday, October 1st, 2010

[Portland-based off-road cycling advocacy group, the Northwest Trail Alliance, has a long legacy in Forest Park. In fact, they came onto the scene over 20 years ago (as PUMP, the Portland United Mountain Pedalers) in order to make sure cycling wasn’t completely prohibited from the park.

That history gives you some idea of how long and how hard local advocates have worked to improve access for bikes in Forest Park. Several members of the NWTA were on the Forest Park Single Track Cycling Advisory Committee whose recommendations influenced the big decision yesterday by Commissioner Fish and Parks Director Santner. Below is an op-ed from the Board of the NWTA.]


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Interview with Commissioner Fish about Forest Park decisions

Thursday, September 30th, 2010
City Council candidate Nick Fish-2.jpg
Nick Fish
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City Commissioner in charge of Parks, Nick Fish, announced a set of “actions” earlier today about off-road cycling in Forest Park. I spoke to him on the phone from his office in City Hall about that announcement…

You told Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) today that Forest Park isn’t ready for new bike trails. Why not?

“I don’t think the park is ready to have an expansion in bike trails right now for two reasons. Number one is that we don’t have all the data that we need to make thoughtful decisions; data about who uses our parks, the health of our park, and so on. This was a significant problem I discovered through this process. The second part is that anything I propose for the future is going to be subject to a Type II or Type III land use review, so if we don’t have the science ironed out than nothing gets through land use review. Nothing would be more cynical for me than to announce a breakthrough today that I know will be stalled in litigation tomorrow.”

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