Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Mountain bike club will adopt Forest Park Trail

Posted by on November 2nd, 2007 at 10:30 am

PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour

Singletrack splendor in Forest Park.
You can help maintain it
at a work party this Saturday.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

The Forest Park Conservancy (formerly known as Friends of Forest Park) has asked the Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP) to formally adopt the Firelane 5 singletrack.

The trail, a rare piece of singletrack in the 5,000+ acre park, was completed in late summer of 2006 and was the first mountain bike trail added to the park in nearly 20 years.

Back in June, members of PUMP and other advocates led a ride through Forest Park with bureaucrats and policymakers to share a knobby-tired perspective on the park’s future.

PUMP’s Shanti Ware, who’s part of an ad-hoc committee of user groups recently created by the Conservancy (more on what they’re up to later), sent a message to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) email list saying a process to formally adopt the trail (which must be OK’d by Portland Parks) has already begun.

Ware wrote that the gesture by the Conservancy is an important step, “This may seem like a small thing, but it is not.”

Now, PUMP volunteers want to show the Conservancy and the City that mountain bikers can be valuable, working partners in maintaining this (and other) trails.

To that end, they’ve scheduled a Firelane 5 Trail Party for this Saturday. Baumann says a trail work event is, “our opportunity to show that mountain bikers not only care, but act. A good turn out is imperative to our future aspirations in Forest Park.”

Here are details on the work party:

    Firelane 5 Trail Party
    Saturday, November 3rd
    9am – 1:00 pm
    Meet at Bottom of Saltzman Rd off Hwy 30
    Bring gloves, wet weather gear, water

    Directions: From Portland drive out Highway 30 and make a left on Saltzman Road. Drive to the gate. If you are riding your bike just ride to the bottom of Fire Lane 5.

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  • john November 2, 2007 at 11:58 am

    wow i can hardly wait, haven\’t done decent single track since… hmm michigan like 13 yrs ago. Its so much fun ! I dont\’ think people realize how huge this is. Like on beautiful loops in michigan, Probably make it One Way only ! Switch directions every so often..

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  • Jere November 2, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    its so about time…Forest Park is an untapped playground for single track riders..will be nice to have some potential separation between riders / joggers on Leif E. road.

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  • dan November 2, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Hopefully this is a symbol of change in attitude towards mountain bike access in Forest Park. 5,000+ acres of park and only one short section of legal, true mountain bike trail is ridiculous…oh, well, baby steps I guess. Looks like this might be our chance to prove we are responsible trail users, which could eventually help open up at least a full loop of trail in the park. (I don\’t count 8\’ wide fire roads as mountain bike trails, those are roads).

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  • red hippie November 2, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    This can not happen fast enough.

    There is plenty of room in forest park for mulitple use groups to be buffered from each other. The grump old hiker mind set that has predominated portland parks for the last 20 years is finnally beginning to change.

    During the summer, I ride in the North end of forest park 3 to 4 times during the week and rarely see users other than bikers. This area North of Germantown road has been under utilized for the longest time. Putting in a series of single track trails built in the proper manner to prevent erosion, will do a lot to increase the utilization of our park space and bring more recreation dollars to Linton and St. Johns.

    To those who want to keep the park for them selves, ask yourself why it is hard to get people to vote for additional dollars or volunteer for events like ivy removal. you need to get a wider cross section of portlanders into the parks to care about them.

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  • Jordan November 4, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    We had a great turnout with a preliminary headcount of 35. Thanks everyone! We were able to go over the whole length of Fire lane 5 and make improvements to drainage and and safety. Thanks needs to go out to the Portland Parks, Friends of Forest Park and PUMP.

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  • Jim Labbe November 5, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    red hippie wrote: \”North of Germantown road has been under utilized for the longest time.\”

    The Forest Park Management specifically emphasizes many natural resource values particularly wildlife habitat in the North portion of the Forest Park, so I would strongly disagree with you this it is \”under utilized.\”

    \”During the summer, I ride in the North end of forest park 3 to 4 times during the week…\”

    Mountain biking is not permitted on trails in the North portion of the park for a number of reasons. If you are violating the park rules established through considerable public planning, you are not helping the effort develop and allow responsible single-track use in Forest Park.

    Jim Labbe

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  • Jason November 5, 2007 at 1:08 pm


    Though I don\’t condone it, violation of Forest Park rules seems more the norm than the exception, but it doesn\’t seem to be hindering the violators\’ access.

    I used to get angry when I would see that cyclists were poaching the wildwood or other trails, now I\’m a little more sympathetic.

    I run the singletrack quite frequently. On a typical weekend outing I will see about 25 dogs in the park. It is unusual if more than two of those are on leashes, much less remaining on the trail. These users haven\’t lost any access, though they are in clear violation of the rules.

    Seeing this, I am very tempted to ride my bike on the singletrack (as others obviously do), though I haven\’t.

    If park rules aren\’t enforced or complied with for one user group, it sends one of two messages to other groups: 1) rules will be selectively enforced and there is a double standard, so deal with it, 2) rules aren\’t enforced, no one complies with them, even if they are for the greater good and health of the park, so maybe you don\’t need to follow the rules either.

    Do you have any suggestions, aside from taking the moral high ground?

    Honestly, I think Firelane 5 is a great triumph and the fact that the PUMP club has adopted it is wonderful. An increase in the amount of responsible, erosion-resistant singletrack may actually help the park, increasing the user pool to draw from for volunteerism and fundraising.

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  • Trevor Stewart November 6, 2007 at 12:29 am

    Thanks Jason,

    Dogs are absolutely a problem in Forest Park but so is- the subject here- mountain bike riding outside of designated areas.

    Part of the solution is better accommodating single track but that is not the only solution. In order to protect the full range of values and uses of Forest Park we also need to provide more information (signs, maps, etc) so people know park rules, better education about why we have those rules, and finally better enforcement so that their are real consequences for willful violators.

    I think the ad-hoc group organized by FofFP holds great promise to appropriately and sensibly integrating single-track into Forest Park in a way that is consistent with potentially conflicting users and values.

    A top priority for me would be finally funding and staffing a park ranger position that was identified as a high priority action of the 1995 Forest Park Management Plan. It gave way to other high priorities (like acquiring and protecting key properties) but with use and user impacts on the rise from many fronts we can no longer afford to manage Forest Park on the cheap. It deserves more.

    Finally I think we need to be thinking about how we can expand the parks and greenspace system to accommodate single-track. In other words we need to think beyond our existing (and already stressed) system protected natural areas.


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