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US Forest Service approves permit for Timberline MTB Park

Posted by on November 26th, 2012 at 9:25 am

A major new mountain bike park on Mt. Hood is all set to move forward. The United States Forest Service (USFS) has just approved the permit for the Timberline Mountain Bike Park, concluding that the plans are in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and that as proposed would have “no significant impact.”

The new mountain bike park was proposed back in 2010 by RLK & Company, the same company behind the Timberline Lodge Ski Area. To create the new park, RLK has already hired the same consulting firm that developed the world famous Whistler Mountain Bike Park in British Columbia.

As the plans have gone through the environmental assessment process, advocates for and against the idea have worked hard to influence the outcome of this decision. The USFS says they have received nearly 1,200 comments on the project so far. Some say the park would hurt Mt. Hood’s natural areas and ecology, while others say this is a chance to improve recreational opportunities while doing more to care for the land at the same time.

“I believe that mountain biking at Timberline represents yet another new opportunity for play in every season of the year.”
— Christopher Worth, Mt. Hood Forest Supervisor

Environmental advocacy groups, led by BARK in Oregon, are likely to file an appeal.

In his decision dated November 19th, Mt. Hood Forest Supervisor Christopher Worth stated that the plans for a mountain bike park would, “have neither a significant beneficial or adverse impact because the area affected by the bike park and restoration projects is a very small percentage of comparable acres at that elevation on Mt. Hood.” He also pointed out that a mountain bike park is consistent with the Mt. Hood Forest Plan, which calls for, “areas of high quality… recreation opportunities” which include, “hiking, mountain bicycling, and horseback riding.”

Here’s the proposed trail map:

Furthermore, Worth referenced a quote from former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who dedicated the Lodge in 1937 and made it clear that the area was intended for, “the enjoyment of new opportunities for play in every season of the year.”

“Roosevelt made clear that Timberline would be valued for active recreational use occurring throughout the four seasons,” Worth wrote. “I believe that mountain biking at Timberline represents yet another new opportunity for play in every season of the year.”

This decision is sure to be lauded by mountain biking advocates who worked hard to turn out support for the project. Last we reported, construction would begin as early as this summer. There’s still a chance this decision could be appealed, so we’ll keep you posted on any changes or developments.

For background on this project, visit the official Forest Service project website or check RLK’s commercial site.

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Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

FDR lives!

gl.
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gl.

bravo!

MadKnowledge
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MadKnowledge

Great news for downhill enthusiasts and good use of an already impacted area. Still waiting for no-car-necessary cross-country and stunt trails in Forest Park…

Frank Selker
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Frank Selker

It’s great news for MTB’ers and for rationality.

I just hope that rationality eventually makes it to Portland.

To date Nick Fish’s actions still suggest he represents Forest Park Neighbors and the City Club, rather than Portlanders as a whole. For example, Fish appointed to his Parks Budget Committee the City Club fellow who oppposed opening cycling trails and said “cyclists have too much clout in city hall.” It is a subtle but real form of discrimination to effectively limit park use by those who don’t happen to live in the fancy neighborhoods next to it.

Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

Question:

It costs $500 a year to ride at Whistler; the place is highly commercialized.

Area operators, Mount Hood Meadows for example, charge people to ski on its nordic trails, even though they do not use the lifts and the trails are on public land.

Following this model, one would expect MTB at Timberline will not be free.

Seth Daniels
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Seth Daniels

Why would anyone expect this service to be free? I am in complete support of this effort.

Tony Pereira (@pereiracycles)
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Tony Pereira (@pereiracycles)

This is great news! If you don’t understand the business model, check out the Whistler web site. This will be a great addition to the area and a nice boost to the bike industry in the greater area.

Burk
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Burk

YES! If this is anything like the trails up at Whistler then go ahead and TAKE my money!

Bjorn
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Bjorn

The Sierra club and BARK seem committed to eliminating Mountain Biking from Oregon and Washington public lands, I think there is little chance that this won’t be appealed unfortunately.

shetha
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shetha

If you’re a cheapskate can you just ride the roads up instead of the lifts? If not, it’s tempting to cut my drive in half and go to Sandy Ridge, again.

gl.
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gl.

this is great news. when will there be a bike friendly bus or transportation option for bicycles without cars?

Ron
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Ron

Boo!

Michael/ Chicago, IL.
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Michael/ Chicago, IL.

Just recieved word from my son whom works for the DNR, this may be happening. Each and every day I pray that the DNR,and what we call the Forest Preserves Districts in Il. can all work together to provide a place where all can enjoy more of Mother Nature. Give me another reason to head west to visit the kid!

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

Downhilling sounds like it would be fun here.
What happens when your tire hits one of those slugs that is as big as a large banana? I don’t know if they are called “banana slugs” but their size and coloration like rotting bananas named them for me.

I’ve seen lots of these seasonally ascending Saltzman Rd and they seem well camouflaged. It occurs to me that they might be hazardous to a downhiller’s life.

Or are they just disgustingly large slugs?

Ryno Dan
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Ryno Dan

Niche sport for dedicated gas burners with $4000 toys. This “sport” has little to do with cycling. Give the mountain a break. This facility should be at Ski Bowl. I look forward to the appeal.

Nate
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Nate

To each their own I guess…
One of my biggest (only?) beefs about biking in Oregon is the deep lack of quality mountain biking. I understand there are a handful of these “parks” around, but very little in the way of quality singletrack for us cross-country folk.

Coming from Flagstaff where nearly every trail was accessible to mountain bikes – with no issues I ever heard of – it is tough for me to understand the animosity exhibited toward bikers. That horses are allowed on many trails where bikes are banned is ever stranger; the pockmarks caused by horses, not to mention piles of steaming dung, ruin trails for everyone BUT the equestrians.

As someone else mentioned, biking should be the equivalent to x-c skiing – free to anyone with a bike and the legs/lungs to get up the hill. We are a capitalist society I suppose, so since my activity of choice doesn’t make anyone any money, it doesn’t have the same support.

jered
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jered

Bjorn
Why would we want to expand cycling at an area owned by a guy who hits cyclists with his car while drunk and leaves them to die in the street.
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That was the the skibowl owenr I believe that hit the cyclist.

Barney
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Barney

This is all good news. MTB riders are among the most responsible public land users out there! They will ride and maintain what they use, usually asking for nothing but access. Once a sustainable trail is in place, erosion issues disappear and off trail use vanishes as demonstrated so often throughout Arizona, California, Idaho and Utah!

Most of the haters cannot accept the good stewardship displayed in a well managed MTB park because it runs counter to their arguments.

Ryno Dan
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Ryno Dan

Why do you refer to those who oppose this idea as “haters” ?
Since this will be a fee-park, there will be absolutely no volunteer maintenance (if the park materializes). This is not an instance of “responsible land use”.

Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

Here is a bit of backstory of recreational developments on Mount Hood.

A guy named Bill Bates was a family friend back in the 1950s. Also he was in charge of recreation policy for Region 6 of the Forest Service at that time.

Timberline Lodge had been exploited and neglected since its building in 1937, so Bill worked hard to find competent and responsible management. Dick Kohnstamm came forward, and his family, doing-business as RLK, to this day operates, develops, and cares for our beloved building and surrounding developments. It is very hard to fault them in any way.

Bill also saw to development of Mount Hood Meadows, insisting upon unprecedented environmental considerations in designing and building ski runs, to the point of requiring much construction of lifts by helicopter, so minimizing use of heavy equipment that would degrade the fragile alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems. Revolutionary in that time, but standard practice today.

Bill Bates was an extraordinarily dedicated and competent Federal Civil Servant. He was an outdoorsman in the old sense: camper; fisherman; hunter. Also a superb photographer of nature–and my mother, sisters, and I at Christmas 1952. Myrta, his spouse, was the most fantastic cook. He got me summer jobs in the Forest Service that paid for college.

So I ask, “Does RLK’s proposal pass the ‘Bill Bates’ test?”

Bill was not an alpine skier, but–look at all those runs and lifts on Mount Hood! I am not a mountain biker, but can see competent and responsible development for legitimate public recreation in the proposal.

So, yeah, I am pretty sure Bill would approve.

Brian
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Brian

As a cyclist who rides up trails, down trails, over roads, etc I couldn’t be happier that this is happening. I look forward to taking my dollars up to Mt. Hood frequently for many years to come, and my three year old will be right beside me. As a teacher working in one of the worst funded public education systems in the country, I am happy about the revenue (including tourist) this will generate. I hope that more and more areas of our state embrace what Oakridge and Bend has done, and replace lost logging dollars with recreation dollars.

Tony Pereira (@pereiracycles)
Guest
Tony Pereira (@pereiracycles)

shetha
If you’re a cheapskate can you just ride the roads up instead of the lifts? If not, it’s tempting to cut my drive in half and go to Sandy Ridge, again.
Recommended 1

It’s likely that any bike suitable for riding up to the top of these trails will not be suitable for riding down them.