The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Forest Park roundup: OPB special tonight, rally on Saturday

Posted by on October 14th, 2010 at 9:13 am

PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour

Forest Park.
(Photo: J. Maus)

Commissioner Nick Fish’s big decision to put off improved bike access to Forest Park may have come and gone, but the issue is still in the news.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is set to air a special episode of Oregon Field Guide tonight on Forest Park and the Northwest Trail Alliance has released more details and a statement about their “Share the Park” event that’s happening on Saturday.

You might recall that it was an OPB crew that stumbled upon the illegal trail working on this special that set off a media frenzy and ended up having a major impact on the ongoing discussion about bicycling in the park. The special airs on OPB tonight at 8:30 p.m.. Here’s how OPB frames the bicycling portion of the show (via a press release):

Forest Park: Portland’s Backyard Gem
Oregon Field Guide devotes a half-hour special to explore the health, history and future of Portland’s Forest Park. Five thousand acres of forest sit five minutes from urban downtown, protected from development but facing increasing pressure from more people who want to use it.

Every generation seems to fight over how best to use and protect the Park. Lately, cyclists have pushed hard for new trails in the park dedicated to mountain biking. It was in the midst of shooting video for this production when OPB encountered mountain bikers working on an illegal trail. Watch as the bikers claim their work on the rogue trail actually helps the environment. Then join other cyclists who go in to repair both the damage done to the park and to the cycling community’s reputation.

The show will re-air on Sunday, October 21st at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. in case you miss it.

This Saturday, the Northwest Trail Alliance will hold their “Share the Park” rally and group ride at 9:00 a.m. According to the NWTA, the event is meant to “demonstrate Portlanders’ desires for increased singletrack bicycling opportunities in the park.” The event will consist of a short rally with free coffee and the ride will take place on legal roads currently open to bicycles.

NWTA President Tom Archer said, via a statement, that the ride is,

“…a forum to voice the group’s disapproval of Commissioner Nick Fish and Portland Parks and Recreation’s decision to delay implementation of the recommendations of the Forest Park Singletrack Advisory Committee. The committee recently recommended that the City increase bike access within the park.”

The statement from the NWTA also hinted at how they’ll continue to pressure the City to improve and increase bike access in Forest Park:

“For the mountain bike community, increased bike access to Forest Park will remain a benchmark of how much the City of Portland is committed to treating off-road cycling at par with other forms of active recreation.”

Gather at 9:00 a.m. at the Thurman Gate (far north end of NW Thurman Street). More details on the NWTA website.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Kevin October 14, 2010 at 10:53 am

    A study should have been performed to prove that electromagnetic radiation from their camera equipment wouldn’t harm wildlife before they carried it through such a fragile ecosystem.

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  • case October 14, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I think this is the first time I’ve heard of OPB actually physically seeing bikers constructing an illegal trail. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t they stumble upon an already constructed trail? Jonathan?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 14, 2010 at 11:24 am


      nope.. they actually came upon the guys who built the trail. from what I recall, they even asked them some questions and interviewed them. should be interesting to watch how they frame the story.

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  • f5 October 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    If memory serves, they came upon two men clearing brush. one had a full face helmet. I think they denied being the builders, but later in the conversation talked as if they were.

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  • mello yello October 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I’ve watched all of OFG’s archives regarding cycling/mtb’ing, and all were positive in their coverage of Portland cycling. It seems the two individuals and others dressed like them — the mountain dew and red bull stereotypical adrenaline freaks — are demeaned as the grunged fringes of the “cycling community.” The coverage of older and more mature mountain bikers riding at night in Forest Park on legal trails was a more accurate depiction of the group that would like more legal trails.

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  • mello yello October 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    oops, that’s an old old episode.

    Here’s one on general portland cycling:

    and one on cyclo-cross:

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  • Kevin October 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    So, with regards to that OPB thing.. has Eugene gotten more or less friendly to mountain bike access since that video was made?

    My guess is less – I think everything in Hendrick’s Park that isn’t paved is now closed to bikes.

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  • mello yello October 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    darn, here’s the actual episode(starts at 4:30)

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  • take it easy October 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    mello yello, careful with the stereotypes. i ride it all – xc road freeride dh commuter. i don’t drink red bull. if i wore spandex on my full face days how would you categorize me then? and the more mature riders? what does that mean? in my experience i see much more judgmental attitudes and stereotyping coming from the ‘mature xc’ crowd than anything else. yes this is a sore subject for me.

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  • mello yello October 14, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    take it easy, I wasn’t criticizing Dh/freeriders but only suggesting why the cameraman and general public often perceive all mountain bikers as good for nothing adrenaline freaks. BTW, my former username was ‘trail abuser’ and some stereotyping was heaped on me before I changed ID’s. I think the mature xc’ers are just jealous they can’t or won’t take the risk to go as fast or jump, thereby limiting their fun.

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  • mello yello October 14, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Here’s the episode:

    fair coverage…I don’t see why MTB’ers don’t just ride Kelly Butte instead.

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  • Tom Archer October 15, 2010 at 8:32 am


    Kelly Butte is designated as a Natural Area by the City. We had suggested it and were told that it would not be considered at this time.

    Tom Archer
    President – Northwest Trail Alliance

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  • f5 October 15, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Is Kelly Butte the place that used to be a bomb shelter?

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  • toowacky October 15, 2010 at 9:18 am

    >>Is Kelly Butte the place that used to be a bomb shelter?

    Why, yes, it was:

    A pristine bomb shelter at that… /sarc

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  • Kevin October 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Watching that, it’s hard not to think that it would be reasonable to convert some of the existing trails to be mixed use and make an additional alliance with the responsible mountain bike folks to get more help maintaining the park.

    They should probably also declare trails to be open or closed (to everyone) based on rainfall.

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  • pdxthinker October 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I would certainly like to know which of the cyclists in our community worked on that illegal trail. A one mile trail with trees cut to make it is not made by 2 people. I doubt two people would even get the committed energy to do that. No, this was a concerted group effort and unfortunately, our colleagues at NW Trail Alliance have to be considered suspect. I have often heard comment how they ride in the northern section because it is not as frequented/patrolled. (That has now changed). Seeing the damage was horrible and if there is anything that “sterotypes” those images will. There is sometruth to stereotypes unfortunately.

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  • Lisa October 16, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Kevin #15: Watching that, I had the exact opposite reaction. Seeing the bikers come downhill on the FL 5 section gave me pause. They were moving very quickly. I imagined myself hiking an uphill portion of a mixed use trail. Having bikers and hikers on the same narrow trails, you know, the ones with little to no sight lines, is a recipe for disaster. I highly doubt that’s going to be happening anytime soon.

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  • Zimmerman October 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    #16 & #17

    You guys must be incredibly fun to hang out with.

    For the record: I rode 22 miles of shared single track on Mt. St. Helens yesterday and managed not to kill, maim or otherwise inconvenience a single hiker or animal in the process.

    Don’t you get tired of being so selfish?

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  • mello yello October 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Intent of use. Hikers are there for serenity and mtb’ers for thrills. What if motorcrossers started demanding use? They’re loud, yes, but the same thing could be said by hikers of mtbs. Horses are quiet but poopy. I get a different sort of thrill flying down the wide gravel roads like saltzman from forest park.

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  • Lisa October 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Today was Stewardship Day in Forest Park. I was working along with 199 other volunteers at six different sites to help Forest Park’s habitat. Hardly selfish. 150 mountain bikers went for a protest ride. Wonder if they get tired of being selfish?

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  • Zimmerman October 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Your shortsightedness is stunning. Imagine if you were willing to share trails? The riders on the Share The Park ride could have just as easily been donating their time & energy to the park. I know that’s what I’d have done.

    Until then, what’s the incentive?

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  • f5 October 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    @#20: All hollow attempts to turn the rhetoric around aside, mountain bikers provide a lot of volunteer work hours in FP. The facts don’t support your insinuation that bikers aren’t providing any volunteer hours.

    @#19: Speak for yourself. Regardless of ones’ position on the pro/con fence, relying on stereotypes doesn’t move anything forward in a thoughtful manner. Plenty of cyclists are out there have the intent of serenity, and not thrills in mind for what type of trail riding we want equitable access to in the park. Especially when we’re talking about contour-line trails, which is what I believe the goal of the MTB’ers the FP Single-track Committee had in mind.

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  • Eric October 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I looked sternly at some ivy as I rode by multiple singletrack trails that were closed to my kind today. Does that count as assisting in the “day of stewardship”?

    I even smiled and said good morning to the very few people I saw walking and running. And you know what? They smiled and said good morning too. We might be on to something.

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  • mello yello October 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Road cyclists’ disdain for motorists destruction of road and environment is as ironic as hikers disdain for mtb’ers destroying hiking trails and pristine greenery. Are hikers’ fears as valid as our fear of motorists?

    blasphemy, got off your mtb and ride the paved trails

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  • Lisa October 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Cyclist’s considering themselves the vulnerable users on the road have plenty of disdain for motorists.

    Hikers consider themselves the vulnerable users in the scenario of narrow trails shared with cyclists.

    Guess positions staked out change when one is the vulnerable user.

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  • mello yello October 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Is there an echo in here? Is there an echo in here?

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  • pdxthinker October 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Lisa – I also worked as a volunteer –got some fencing up and put in native plants to close an unofficial erosion trail. Didn’t have time to think about what was happening at Thurman Gate but glad to know there are other cyclists who care about the park.

    Eric- what “kind” are you? Maybe the petulant kind, the self absorbed kind, but certainly not my kind —–please don’t lump all cyclists together. Some of us can see the world beyond single track.

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  • Tom Archer October 18, 2010 at 8:24 am


    I can assure you NWTA had no involvement in the illegal trail. For you to suggest it is ludicrous. What would we possibly gain long-term from such an ill-conceived stunt? If you read our statements and followed our actions following it’s discovery, you’d know that we condemned the act and spent precious volunteer hours decommissioning the rogue trail.

    It is perfectly legal to ride certain roads in the n. management unit. It is a less travelled part of the park and for those (hikers and cyclists) seeking solitude, they can find it there.

    Tom Archer
    President – Northwest Trail Alliance

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  • Eric October 18, 2010 at 8:30 am

    pdxthinker – I’m the “kind” of person who rides bikes. I’m not sure what “kind” of person you are, but you seem to indicate that you ride a bike too. So when I see a sign that says no bikes, it means it is off limits to my “kind” and the “kind” of folks who what to ride bikes on singletrack.

    And if you read the rest of my post you would have seen that I’m a very kind “kind” of cyclist.

    Have a happy day.

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  • Kevin October 18, 2010 at 11:16 am


    I wasn’t clear – I meant that existing trails should be taken away from hikers and made mountain bike only.

    It keeps the amount of use the same while allowing more diversity in that use.

    I also think “boot” users who walk on muddy trails should be shamed the same way that mountain bike users who ride on muddy trails should be shamed.

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  • Kevin October 18, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Regarding vulnerable users – I’d love to see a road where cars had access taken away as a result of an actual accident, much less the vague fear of one.

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  • Kevin October 18, 2010 at 11:32 am


    As I’ve said before in one of these discussions, the only user to ever leave corpses in the park was NOT a mountain biker.

    I can only assume that since you are not in the group who rides a mountain bike irresponsibly, you are in the only other group there is, which is the group that murders prostitutes and junkies and deposits their bodies in the the park.

    Sure, you can claim that you’re being unfairly lumped in with a serial killer – that you’ve never killed anyone and left their body in the park… but I think it’s reasonable to assume that most hikers are just scouting for a good spot to dump bodies.

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