Timberline Lodge — about 55 miles east of downtown Portland — is working with the U.S. Forest Service and the consulting firm that created the world-famous Whistler Mountain Bike Park to create a world-class mountain bike area on Mt. Hood.
According to Timberline’s website (pointed out to me by a friend yesterday — thanks Gabe!), the downhill trails would be fully lift-serviced and are currently scheduled to open in Summer of 2011. The initial project scoping has begun and Timberline is actively seeking comments, words of support, and ideas from mountain bikers.
On their website, Timberline Lodge says they are taking this project seriously:
“We see mountain biking as an integral part of our year-round recreation plan, and will treat this project as one of the primary pillars of our company’s future…”
They also point out that one of the motivations for the undertaking is an increasing number of “homegrown mountain bike trails popping up all over the forest.” Timberline sees the creation of a mountain bike park as a way to actively manage bike usage:
“By creating an amazing venue for mountain biking within our managed boundary, our hope is that it will lessen the impact of the sport in other areas of the forest.”
Having something akin to Whistler Mountain Bike Park just an hour from Portland would not only be epic for mountain bike lovers — it would be a major boon to Oregon’s economy and would instantly put Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood on the international biking map. I’m waiting to hear back from several people and hope to share more information about this exciting project as soon as I can.