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Guest article: Take a kid mountain biking and help grow the ‘Dirt Roots Movement’

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
janksylead
Andy Jansky practicing what he preaches on a ride at Mt. Saint Helens with his two teenage daughters.
(Photo courtesy Andy Jansky)

This article was written by Andy Jansky, a volunteer trail steward with the Northwest Trail Alliance.

It’s time to start a new cycling movement. I call it the “Dirt Roots Movement” and it’s all about getting more kids on mountain bikes. (more…)

Next door to Forest Park, North Tualatin Mtns hold opportunity for off-road bike access

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
tualatinmap
1,300 acres just north of Forest Park.

Just north of Forest Park in northwest Portland lies 1,300 undeveloped acres spread across four separate properties. The land, which was historically a logging area and can be currently accessed from either Skyline or McNamee roads, is owned by Metro and is known as the North Tualatin Mountains natural area.

Metro is embarking on a planning process to figure out what to do on the land and there’s a great opportunity to include bicycle access in the equation. Advocates have been fighting for years to improve bike access in Forest Park but have made frustratingly slow progress.

The Tualatin Mountains natural area offers a fresh start and a new political context since it’s under Metro jurisdiction and not managed by the City of Portland (the current Parks Commissioner, Amanda Fritz, has all but shelved the Forest Park debate calling for “a citywide Master Plan for cycling recreation… prior to embarking on individual projects.”).
(more…)

Off-road advocates propose biking trails at River View Natural Area

Monday, January 13th, 2014
Northwest Trail Alliance proposal for new trails at River View Natural Area.
(Click for larger view)

If everything turns out like the Northwest Trail Alliance hopes, the River View Natural Area in southwest Portland will someday be home to six biking trails and a “skills area” built specifically for off-road riding.
(more…)

‘Trailfest’ kicks off Friday with off-road fun for everyone

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
Sandy Ridge
From Sandy Ridge to Forest Park,
Trailfest has something for everyone.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you prefer riding off-road and have been curious about Portland’s mountain bike scene, this weekend was made for you. The 2013 Trailfest, an event organized by the Northwest Trail Alliance, begins tomorrow night (9/20) and continues with an entire weekend “dedicated to mountain biking.” Here’s how the NWTA describes it: “Trailfest is the Portland region’s premiere mountain biking festival that celebrates everything mountain biking: The trails. The people. The culture.”

Sounds great to me.
(more…)

Guest Article: Urban mountain biking in Portland – What it could be

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
Typical “flow” singletrack on the Beginner Trail in Lebanon Hills.
(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…)

Portland Parks seeks members for River View Natural Area advisory committee

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Riding and working at Riverview property-3
A trail in River View Natural Area.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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…)

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.

(more…)

Like to mountain bike? Local trail group has ’10 things to do before fall’

Friday, August 24th, 2012

In case you haven’t noticed, Portland-based Northwest Trail Alliance is really becoming a strong force for good in the region. They are building trails, building relationships, and building a movement around mountain biking. NWTA President Jon Pheanis just shared a cool checklist in their monthly newsletter that’s worth more attention. Check it out…

The Mountain Biker Checklist: 10 Things You Should Do Before Fall

VOLUNTEER: Help get the trails you ride into shape. Or help at any of our upcoming events like Sunday Parkways or Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day. Check out the calendar to find out more.
EXPLORE: Go somewhere new. Check out our website and see what’s near you.
GO FAR: Summer is winding down so now is the time to ride any of our regions’ single track.
STAY CLOSE: There’s no need to drive. Ride the Springwater Trail out to Powell Butte or take Max to the Ventura Park pump track.
INTRODUCE A FRIEND: Take someone new out on a mountain bike and share your passion.
RECYCLE: Take your old mountain bike or bike parts to the Community Cycling Center. Someone will really appreciate it.
DONATE: Your cash donations go directly to supporting all of our excellent programs. Even just a little goes a long way.
TELL US A STORY: Go somewhere new this summer? Have advice, something amazing, or funny to tell us? Send us your story and we’ll get it on our website or our newsletter. You can always submit a topic to present at our monthly membership meetings.
LEAD: We need your help guiding a ride, heading one of our programs and volunteering your time as a board member. Contact us for more information.
GET INVOLVED: Frustrated, passionate or just grateful? Come early to one of our monthly membership meetings and see what you can do. We’re also looking for a few 2013-2014 board members.

Popular trail at Mt. Tabor Park now signed “No Bikes” – UPDATED

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Trail use conflicts continue to plague one of Portland’s most popular urban sanctuaries: Mt. Tabor Park. For many years, the several miles of narrow singletrack trails looping around the park have been known as a fun place to ride a mountain bike. But, given the park’s urban setting and natural beauty, the crowded trails are also known as a place where user conflicts are common.

Last year I reported that complaints about trail conflicts between people walking and biking, led to the installation of a new “No Bicycles Please” sign on the Green Trail. The Green Trail is a 1.7 mile loop and is one of three trail loops that circumnavigates the park. Earlier this week a reader contacted me saying that several more signs had recently gone up.
(more…)

At Riverview property, off-road riding advocates invest sweat equity

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
A trail into the Riverview natural area.

Portland Parks & Recreation will host a trail work party at their newly acquired Riverview natural area next week and many of the volunteers that show up will be from the Northwest Trail Alliance, a group eager to expand local off-road riding opportunities and willing to invest sweat equity to make it happen.

Back in May of 2011, Portland Parks & Recreation teamed up with the City’s Bureau of Environmental Services and Metro to buy 146 acres of forested land located just south of Riverview Cemetery and the Sellwood Bridge. The parcel of land was previously owned by the adjacent Riverview Cemetery. Technically, the land was private, but over the past two decades people have been hiking and biking through it and a mish-mash network of trails has developed. To my knowledge, Riverview Cemetery (to their credit) has chosen to look the other way instead of cracking down on trespassers.

With the City of Portland’s well-known lack of close-in singletrack trail riding opportunities, the purchase of this land — known as the “LC Trails” (due to nearby Lewis & Clark College) or simply “the cemetery” — immediately piqued the interest of off-road riding advocates. Local business owner and well-known rider Erik Tonkin has ridden the trails for 18 years. He says he “can’t imagine” a place where he’d rather see a public and professionally managed network of off-road bike trails. (more…)

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