(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Off-road bicycling advocates in the Portland area have two major reasons to throw their weight behind Metro's parks and natural areas levy: Agency Creek and McCarthy Creek. Both parcels are called out by name in the text of Measure 26-152 as having potential for single track mountain biking.
The levy, up for a vote on May 21st, seeks to raise $50 million over five years to help Metro maintain and improve thousands of acres in natural areas and parks they've purchased over the years.
The Northwest Trail Alliance, a Portland-based non-profit that maintains, builds and advocates for mountain bike trails, is urging their members to support the levy. They see the Agency Creek and McCarthy Creek parcels as places where a mountain bike trail system could be built. And because they are outside of the northern border of Forest Park, bike access could be developed without any of the political baggage or controversy that has surrounded attempts at creating single track opportunities in Forest Park (which is owned and managed by the City of Portland). (more...)
(Photo used with Permission of Dakota County Parks, Minnesota)
This article is written by Joshua Rebannack. Joshua contacted me after he read our recent coverage of mountain biking in Forest Park. As a way of helping Portland see a different vision for urban, off-road bicycling access, Joshua wanted to share how the issue has evolved in riding areas around Minneapolis, Minnesota. — Jonathan
My name is Joshua Rebennack. I'm a "Dirt Boss" at the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails and a member of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew. I am writing this guest article in response to some of the controversy surrounding the possible inclusion of mountain biking at Forest Park.
Below I'll discuss an example trail in an urban setting, Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, Minnesota, and the lessons the citizens of Portland can learn from it.
While it might seem an odd choice comparing a West Coast location with Midwest, there are more similarities than one might think. Both Portland and Twin Cities (including Eagan) are at similar latitudes. While Portland prides itself on its rainfall, actually, the Twin Cities receives somewhat similar amounts of precipitation, though far more of it in snow. They both have similar political climates. And both are biking hot- spots. (more...)
If you care about off-road bicycling in Portland, take note that a very important planning process is getting underway.
Portland Parks & Recreation is seeking members of the public to sit on an advisory committee that will help plan the future of their River View Natural Area. This 146 acre parcel of land, which was acquired by the City of Portland in May 2011, holds great potential for off-road bicycling; but given the politics around trail access issues, it remains to be seen to what extent bikes will be allowed.
While off-road cycling advocates have already invested many volunteer hours helping PP&R clean up the River View site, and locals have ridden bikes on its trails for many years (when it was privately owned), the agency itself is making no promises about the future extent of bike access. It is clear, however, that a new trail system will be developed. (more...)
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...)
(Photo: Shane Young/Oregon Velo)
As race promoter Mike Ripley blew the starting whistle for the rain-soaked racers, we sounded like a flock of angry geese in the middle of the gravel road as our disc brakes sounded off in unison. 325 of my closest mountain bike racing friends took part in yesterday’s wet adventure, also known as the the Mudslinger, held in Blodgett, Oregon for its 25th year.
Ripley reported that of the 325 total racers, 50 were beginners and, in a sign of the mountain biking's general health in Oregon, 25% of the entire turnout where first-time riders or juniors. (more...)
It's a great sign of progress when there's enough mountain biking news for a roundup. In Portland and in hills in almost every direction there are plans afoot to improve and expand off-road riding opportunities.
We are very fortunate around here to have some excellent and hard-working mountain bike advocacy groups. Those groups and their volunteers have been busy building trails and relationships with land managers that make it possible for all of us to have a great ride.
Below are a few updates on what they've been working on...
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...)
Publisher's note: We've covered the Timberline MTB Park several times since the project became public in April 2010. Last week I was contacted by a member of Bark, a Mt. Hood Forest watchdog group working to stop the project. This guest article was written by Bark Board Member Amy Harwood (she also provided the photo below of Mt. Hood).
This week lovers of Mt. Hood are stuck between a rock and a mountain of issues. On the one hand mountain bike enthusiasts are even closer to getting a world-class bike park on the slopes of one of America’s favorite peaks. On the other, the park is one of the best examples in recent history of how profit can rapidly trump concerns about the future of Mt. Hood’s wildlands.
When we last shared news about the Timberline Mountain Bike Park in November of 2012, the US Forest Service had approved a permit for the project and things were set to move forward. That permit was issued after an environmental analysis from the USFS lead to a "Finding of no significant impact" from the trails, roads and other development required to build a "world class" lift-assisted mountain bike riding area on Mt. Hood.
But after that permit was issued, two appeals were filed against the project. One came from a individual citizen and the other was a joint appeal from several outdoor and environmental groups including Friends of Mt. Hood, Bark, Mazamas, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.
At the end of last month, the USFS affirmed their original decision and denied both appeals. (more...)