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bicycling in forest park

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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Call for city to create off-road biking plan draws 550 signatures in 36 hours

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Sandy Ridge
Sandy Ridge, one of the many places Portlanders travel to ride mountain bikes.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Hundreds of local mountain biking lovers are piling signatures into a new petition saying Portland is “decades overdue” on writing a plan for “how to meet the overflowing demand for recreational cycling access.”

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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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Forest Park advocate Marcy Houle to speak at PDX Ecologists meeting

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Marcy Houle, the author and activist who has been actively opposing trail access for people on bikes in Forest Park will speak to PDX Ecologists Unite this Thursday evening (4/18). The talk will focus on Forest Park’s history as well as “the challenges that lie ahead.” The issue of mountain bikes in Forest Park will also be discussed during this event. More info below:

Our speaker will be the wonderful Marcy Houle, author of “Forest Park: One City’s Wildnerness”, who will take us on a rich journey through Forest Park’s history, and allow the voices of its founders to share their vision of the park, including the challenges that lie ahead. This is a unique opportunity to explore several key issues regarding Forest Parkand its long term sustainability, including:

- Invasive Species
- Dogs
- Landslides
- Non-native insects
- Trail Maintenance

As part of the Trails topic, we would like to save time to discuss mountain bikes and forest park.

Please come for the presentation (~45min) and/or the discussion to follow, as we would be blessed to have your knowledge and expertise. Things have a way of coming together in the end, with enough synergy and awareness, and I feel that many of the solutions (or adaptive management approaches) to the above mentioned topics lay in all our hands.

Should you have a particular topic of interest regarding Forest Parkand its care, please send it to me for our discussion piece. Anything not addressed at the meeting can be included on our blog page to help raise awareness and formulate ideas.

The meeting is at Willamette Riverkeepers HQ (1515 SE Water Ave in the Mt. Adams Room (3rd Floor)) from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Thursday, 4/18. More info here.

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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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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