Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 25th, 2009 at 11:11 am
The efforts by the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA, formerly the Portland United Mountain Pedalers) to thaw relations with Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) and the Forest Park Conservancy (FPC) in order to hasten increased access for bikes in Forest Park are moving faster than I can keep up with.
I am working on a story about the recently completed White Paper drawn up by a committee put together by the FPC, and now, Parks has put out a press release about a trail agreement signed by the three groups.
According to PP&R, the agreement,
“…clarifies the role of Northwest Trail Alliance in providing needed resources to help maintain the park’s existing trail network and assist in outreach to cyclists and other users of Portland’s signature natural area.”
“I applaud the NWTA for partnering with Portland Parks & Recreation and the Conservancy to help us maintain Forest Park trails for all users.”
— David McAllister, Portland Parks
Covering more than 5,000 acres, Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S.. It includes 70 miles of recreational trails, but bikes are allowed only on fire access roads and about 1/3 of a mile of highly coveted singletrack trail.
Speaking about the new agreement, PP&R’s City Nature Manager David McAllister said they depend on non-profit groups to help maintain parks and added that, “I applaud the NWTA for partnering with Portland Parks & Recreation and the Conservancy to help us maintain Forest Park trails for all users.”
Sellwood Cycle Repair owner and local racer Erik Tonkin, who is the NWTA’s lead on Forest Park issues, said in the statement,
“As an active and growing user group of Forest Park, cyclists can bring much needed resources to help maintain trails, and to expand our outreach and education efforts to cyclists and other users.”
It’s important to note that the NWTA will work on trail maintenance projects and will help organize volunteer trail work parties even on trails — like the marquee Wildwood Trail — where bikes are not allowed.
Tom Archer, director of advocacy for the NWTA, evokes the new tone of mountain bike advocacy in Portland when he says that, “Our interest goes beyond the park’s trails that are currently accessible to bikes. We want to be recognized as stewards for the entire park.”
Along with the agreement are four planned outreach events which PP&R says are aimed at educating park users about regulations, proper trail use etiquette, and passing out maps and other resources.
The first outreach event is scheduled for June 27. For more information, contact Mark Pickett (owner of Revolver Bikes on N. Interstate), NWTA Trail Care Coordinator for Forest Park, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nw-trail.org.