Portland-based mountain bike advocacy group Northwest Trail Alliance has signed what they are calling a “landmark agreement” with Oregon State Parks. The agreement — the first of its kind between the agency and a user group — gives the NWTA the authority to design, build and maintain a network of new mountain bike-specific trails in L.L. Stub Stewart State Park (in western Washington County about 30 miles west of Portland).
The agreement is welcome news for the NWTA, who just last month found themselves having to respond to an illegal mountain bike trail that was discovered in Forest Park.
NWTA president Tom Archer said this partnership is important on several fronts. Not only will it allow them more autonomy to design and build maintain bike trails in the park, but it could be a template for similar agreements with other public agencies:
“We see this as a mechanism that we can use to approach other land managers, both public and private… The fact that the agreement has been vetted by the State of Oregon’s Attorney General Office should give other potential partners a lot of confidence from a liability standpoint.”
For Oregon State Parks, this type of partnership allows them to create and maintain new trail opportunities for a fraction of the cost of doing it themselves. In addition to saving money in a time of very constrained budgets, Archer says it’s also an acknowledgment that mountain biking is growing in popularity. “There’s a growing recognition on the part of land managers that this is a sport that’s growing and the facilities haven’t kept pace.”
When all the work is done, Stub Stewart State Park will have 3.5 miles of mountain bike specific single track trail. Check out NW-Trail.org for more info and details on upcoming trail work parties.