Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

NW Trail Alliance kicks off annual ‘Trailfest’ with Forest Park ride tonight

Posted by on July 5th, 2012 at 10:43 am

Detail of event poster.

With summer weather finally looking like it’s here to stay, I can’t think of a better time to kick-off the Northwest Trail Alliance’s annual Trailfest mountain biking festival. This year’s theme is “Fun in every direction!”

Beginning this evening with a ride in Forest Park (meet at 5:30 pm in parking lot of Fat Tire Farm on NW 27th and Thurman), the Northwest Trail Alliance will host five days of rides and events. Trailfest is a way for the group to highlight local off-road riding opportunities, share what they’ve accomplished in the last year, and find more members and volunteers for their advocacy efforts.

Tonight’s ride in Forest Park will be followed by a party at The Lumberyard, Portland’s new indoor mountain biking playground. The NWTA will host a pump track clinic, a “Pump-a-thon” contest, and then settle in for a welcome rally, free pizza, a movie and a raffle. Then this weekend, they’ll get out of town (which is, unfortunately, where Portland’s best trails are) with rides and events planned at Sandy Ridge, Stub Stewart State Park, and Surveyor’s Ridge (Mt. Hood). On Monday, the off-road advocates return to Portland to join the Portland Parks & Recreation department and Parks Commissioner Nick Fish for the official grand opening of the Ventura Park Pump Track.

Mountain bike advocates in Portland have come a long way in recent years. Despite the sting from slow/no progress in garnering better riding in Forest Park, there is a lot to celebrate (and a lot more work to do!). Sandy Ridge and The Lumberyard have become prime riding destinations, and the NWTA has positioned themselves as the go-to organization for pump track design and development. The NWTA is a dynamic non-profit with great support from sponsors and growing membership base.

If you’re interested in getting involved, or just want to learn more about mountain biking in and around Portland, the Trailfest is what you’ve been waiting for. For more info, check out NW-Trail.org or visit their Facebook page.

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  • davemess July 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Why no love for Powell Butte? It’s easily the best actual trail riding in the city, and could be a real gem for mountain biking if NWTA made it a priority area.

    Oh yeah, it’s in the poor outer SE

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    • Dave July 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Even if it were the best option within city limits, that’s a pretty faint compliment. But of all the complaints I’ve heard about PB from mtbers, smelly poor people being nearby has never come up. Instead it’s usually 1) not enough singletrack, 2) no technical challenge, 3) frequent trail closures . I know I gave up on it years ago because of #3 – it wasn’t worth driving 20 minutes over there only to find out what measly trails there are were closed because of a forecast for rain. I understand they’re trying to alleviate that a little, but still. We could and should have so much better…

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      • davemess July 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm

        So all the complaints are about what Powell Butte is, not what it could be. There is a decent amount of land there. There are significantly less users than FP (ie. less potential blocking from neighborhood groups). It’s easily accessible on one of the major bike paths in the city. There is actually clear area on the top that trails could be built on. I see a lot of opportunity. And most importantly: BIKES HAVEN’T BEEN BANNED THERE (like every other park in this city).

        Thanks Brian, sounds like NWTA gets it. Just need to get others in the city on board.

        I’m afraid too many people are just sitting on their hands wishin’ and hopin’ the city will change course on FP and that will save the MTB community in the city, but I dont’ understand why we can’t have more options.

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  • Brian July 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    The June monthly meeting was all about PB. It is, and always has been, a priority for NWTA. It was the only place we rode with the Executive Director of IMBA when he was in town. The trails are set to be reworked, and NWTA has been at the table since the onset of the project.
    Right now, the trails at PB might be the best we have within Portland but that isn’t saying a while lot. They pale in comparison to what other cities have, and what we could have if all mountain bikers helped to make it a priority.

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  • matt f July 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Powell Butte? You can ride all the trails there in 20 minutes. Good place to bring your kid to ride.

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    • Brian July 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      I wouldn’t even mind riding/reriding the same trails, as long as there is some flow and technical challenge (ANY technical challenge). I think the last root was torn out 12 years ago, and any trail with any challenge was shut down about the same time. Sucks. With some of the closures up there (in addition to Oaks Bottom), I believe we have actually lost trail mileage in the city since Nick Fish as been in charge of PP and R.

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      • davemess July 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm

        You might want to try it on a rigid singlespeed, it’s actually not too bad (and there are a few roots and rocks popping up, just not a ton). It’s not Sandy by any means, but I can ride there from my house after work, and have it mostly to myself and that’s still better than the zero options most in the city have.

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  • Dabby July 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Powell Butte trails are being managed by paid trail workers, not the volunteers of the NWTA. Prolly why it isn’t part of Trailfest.

    Though Iam sure some NWTA work has gone into them.

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  • Jaime July 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

    This is why I don’t like to ride Powell Butte:

    I have taken beginner groups out to Powell Butte many times; it’s a great place to ride and do laps but there is heavy hiker use, which is terrific in general but not very safe if you are carrying any speed as a mountain biker.
    Recently I had an encounter with a man wearing headphones on the trail- I came up behind him on a hill and could not get his attention at all. I walked my bike behind him for a minute or two yelling “Excuse me, Sir, excuse me!!” he was oblivious and when the trial widened up and I WALKED my bike past him, he screamed at me for scaring him. Yikes.

    I personally do not think that shared trails are a very good idea if there is heavy use, it’s not fun for hikers, not fun for riders. I would be upset if people started jogging the trails at Sandy Ridge like they sometimes do at Post Canyon. In my opinion, Forest Park has plenty of space for NEW dedicated bike trails. I don’t want to ride on Wildwood for the same reason I don’t like riding trails at PB- it’s not safe. Mountain biking is supposed to be fun and if you aren’t being safe the fun won’t last long.

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    • davemess July 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Those are fair points. And I think the vegetation severely limits site lines in the PDX area compared to many places in the US. It would be great to get dedicated bike trails there.

      I don’t think I would call Powell Butte heavy hiker at all though. I usually go there in the evening 6-8 and most nights I’ll see a few people on the trail, maybe only 5 or 6 a lap at most. You should go there and ride at night in the fall, there is NO ONE there. It really is one of the most underutilized parks in the city. Most of Portland does not even know it exists.

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