The NW Examiner, a free monthly newspaper with a circulation of 30,000 homes and businesses in various neighborhoods of northwest Portland, has made mountain biking in Forest Park it’s cover story for the second time in three months. In the April edition (PDF only), editor and publisher Allan Classen has penned an article titled, Illegal cycling muddies drive for greater use of Forest Park.
Classen’s article comes just a week after author and Forest Park activist Marcy Houle emailed Mayor Charlie Hales, city commissioners, and Parks bureau staff photos of bicycle tracks through the mud of what she claimed to be Wildwood Trail (which is off-limits to bikes). Houle is featured throughout Classen’s article, which reads more like an editorial against mountain biking than a news story. (Note that Classen wrote an editorial in June 2010 where he likened people who ride in Forest Park with “bicycle zealots” with “evangelistic fervor” who “love to ride bikes down steep mountain trails at high speed on Sunday mornings.”)
Here’s a snip from Classen’s article:
“…Last month, the thin green line gave way to a number of mountain bikers who had their way with Wildwood Trail, the primary path linking this 5,000- acre wilderness park… If the vandalism suggested to some that mountain bikers can be destructive, irresponsible and an embarrassment to their political allies—warranting official condemnation and remedial action—the response from City Hall was luke-warm at best.”
The cover includes a photo of a man on a mountain bike with the caption: “An unidentified mountain biker in February on Maple Trail, on which cycling is banned.” The article included many quotes from Houle’s email and it mentioned a recent neighborhood forum where a resident and neurosurgeon “spoke on the health risks of single track cycling.” Classen also published two very suspect claims that last summer, “An 80-year-old hiker on a trail was killed by a cyclist, and a Portland mountain biker was paralyzed after flipping over his handlebars.”
Classen, like Houle, seems to be goading Parks Commissioner Nick Fish and Parks Director Mike Abbate into reversing their support for improved bicycle trail access in Forest Park.
To show the mountain bike perspective, Classen pulled comments off the internet and various biking websites. Then, in a separate section titled, Muddy tracks no cause for alarm to bike advocates, Classen included responses from an email interview with both me and citizen activist Frank Selker. Here’s how Classen introduced the section: “Photos of muddy bike tracks on Forest Park trails may tell the whole story, but not the same story perceived by some cycling advocates.”
Here’s how I answered Classen’s question of, “Do bicyclists cause more trail damage than pedestrians do?”
“All human uses of the park damage the trails in different ways. As it stands currently, people walking and running do far more damage to Forest Park than people on bicycles. Bicycle use is small compared to other uses. Also, there are large-scale competitive running events in the park. It is also well documented that people on foot make rogue trails, encampments and do many other things that damage the park’s trails.
Another part of this conversation that deserves attention is the environmental/park damage done by automobiles. The vast majority of people who ride bikes in the park get there under their own power. This means they are not spewing harmful emissions into the park’s air, and they are not putting oil, gas, brake-dust fibers and so on into the streets, where it runs off into the park’s streams. They are not crowding the neighborhoods around the trailheads with their vehicles.”
You can read Classen’s article by downloading a PDF of the NW Examiner (13 MB).
Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of the Northwest Trail Alliance sent a letter to Mayor Hales and the rest of City Council on April 5th in response to the Marcy Houle email and photos. Here’s an excerpt:
“Recent reports of cyclists riding on pedestrian only trails in Forest Park are of great concern to us… We are also concerned about reports of trail damage from cycling, and we intend to investigate these reports. Though we suspect there is evidence of riding activity on certain pedestrian-only trails, we disagree with statements claiming that impacts from this activity are causing irreparable harm. These same trails have withstood heavy pedestrian use for years, and in some cases decades.
Recent statements have also suggested that this activity has gotten out of hand. Rest assured this activity is a result of a small fraction of riders; by far, most support and obey the current restrictions on bikes within the Park. With this in mind, the actions of the few should not be used as a reason to delay or derail efforts to implement long term solutions in the Park or elsewhere in the City.”
All of this back and forth shows how important this issue is for both sides of the argument. Hopefully Parks Commissioner Nick Fish and the policy makers at the Parks bureau are able to weave through all the emotion and debate and simply do the right thing.
More on this issue in our archives.
What a shame that scofflaw cyclists cannot handle freedom. A full bike ban in forest park is needed. Something like the PCT has, but with more teeth.
I saw a car drive the wrong-way on a one-way street yesterday. Ban them all from downtown?
Why wouldn’t we ban all cars from downtown? Shouldn’t that be a pretty obvious goal?
Scofflaw hikers were hiking the Lower McLeay when it was closed (check the Feb issue of NW Examiner in the “Snapshot” section). Hikers have cut switchbacks and hike off-trail. Hikers litter. Hikers walk around mud puddles and widen trails. Hikers bother nesting birds by walking by too slowly past them. Hikers set up camps in the park. Ban all human intrusion into the park!
“… A full bike ban in forest park is needed. …” bike me
For biking, use of the considerable miles of fire roads in Forest Park is working out fine. A full bike ban in the park isn’t needed.
Yeah, I’ll stop riding up Saltzman when all the hikers give up all the other trails… in the name of protecting the forest from damage, of course!
It’s not working fine Bob. That’s why we keep having these problems with illegal trails and riders on hikers only trails, because there aren’t almost any trails (yes single track, and not fire roads) for bikes. Willing the problem away and not giving these people (and the majority of us who want more trails AND follow the rules), is not a solution that is really going to solve the problem either.
seriously? lets ban trail running out there while we are at it.
As a frequent and long-time visitor to Forest Park, I can assure you that I will NOT yield the trail for a bicyclist.
“Authorities say he tried to warn the woman by yelling “To your left” and ringing his bell, but she was knocked down when she stepped to the left and turned around.”
the “hiker” was killed on a paved multi-use path.
Arlington, Virginia? I just did a search on OregonLive.com using the phrase “pedestrian killed” and got 15 hits on the first page of 6 pages. All local. 14 of these involved cars and the 15th was a train. I’m certain Mr. Classen will be interested in this statistic, being slightly closer to home.
my point was that classen’s example was actually an unfortunate incident with an older gentleman on a hybrid apparently riding courteously on a paved path. i guess if you hate enough all cyclists look like rabid foaming at the mouth mountain bikers…
And I think the other example, of the mountain biker who flipped over his bars and was paralyzed happened during a short-track race at PIR: http://bikeportland.org/2012/06/14/rider-left-paralyzed-after-freak-crash-during-portland-mountain-bike-race-73317
So, again… their examples are quite poor, and are clearly misleading the readers into thinking they both happened in Forest Park.
I think it should always be noted that to this date only non-cyclists have left the corpses of murder victims in Forest Park. Anti-bike advocates should be asked to comment on what they’ve done to prevent the disposal of bodies in the park.
One of those murders drove full time for a living also.
I saw a hiker peeing alongside a trail. A biker would just ride to the outhouse.
Actually, as a long-time and frequent biker on the legal trails only, I can assure you that I have peed many times on the side of the trail.
Horse. Poop. Everywhere. They’re hikers too.
“bicycle zealots” with “evangelistic fervor” who “love to ride bikes down steep mountain trails at high speed on Sunday mornings.”
That’s one thing that Classen got perfectly true!! At least for me, and many others I know. But what is his point, is there something wrong with that?
Outside of Forest Park or any other nature park…no, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with enjoying typical characteristics of mountain biking such as high speeds whether they’re enjoyed on level terrain, downhill, on Sunday, or any other day of the week.
Where is Forest Park legally defined as a “nature park”?
And why would you specify ‘legally defined’? Perhaps your thinking is that if there is an absence of the use of that exact phrase naming Forest Park on a legal document as a nature park, this will possibly give mountain bike advocates grounds to use the park for mountain biking.
By its history, the reasons it was created, it’s character as a nature park, and the support of the vast majority of Portland residents over many decades for its status as a nature park, Forest Park is a nature park.
Good question. Simply put, because language matters. It is cleverly crafted language in the master plan from years ago, when mountain bikers were just beginning to assemble and participate in local politics, that has us in this position today. That exclusionary language was note borne out of science or data, but out of fear.
Because it _is_ a legal definition and “nature parks” are very different than city parks (which is what FP is). They have different regulations. My point is that you are trying to use language to elevate the status of Forest Park and cloak your message of not allowing mtbers with it. It is simply a false idea is my point.
You’re attempting to exclude Forest Park’s…a city park’s classification of being a ‘nature park’. Every park in the city is a ‘city park’. Not all city parks are the same type. For example, some are team sport parks, some are garden parks, and so on, but they’re all city parks.
“Good question. Simply put, because language matters. It is cleverly crafted language in the master plan from years ago, when mountain bikers were just beginning to assemble and participate in local politics, that has us in this position today. That exclusionary language was note borne out of science or data, but out of fear.” Brian
Language does matter, but mountain biking wasn’t excluded from Forest Park on a language technicality. Mountain biking was excluded because various mountain bikers let the character of their riding get out of control…behavior which they were either unwilling or unable to police themselves. Long ago, people were obliged by that behavior, to attend meetings and make a determination as to whether or not the park should continue to be used for mountain biking. That decision was, ‘no it shouldn’t’. Search the Parks Dept archives, or the Oregonian’s, probably around ’77 or so. Commissioner Fish and Director Abate should know.
I didn’t say it was a language technicality that led to the original ban. I said that it was fear that led to the exclusionary language. It wasn’t the only option. It was the one that those who had more political clout chose to use. I am hopeful that we will overcome that initial fear, and work together to share our resources.
so a 1977 plan/meeting excluded something that basically only existed in two locations in the entire world?!?!?! Wow what foresight!!!!!
Your history is most definitely wrong. Mtbing wasn’t excluded until much later than that. I also don’t think you know the reasons it was excluded. It seems like you are just making a history up for it that goes along with what you want to believe based on the dates and previous arguments you have made.
Also, I am excluding it as a “nature park” because there is no agreed upon definition of what a “nature park” is. It is just a vernacular you are using that has no merit. Nature park’s have a legal definition. City parks have a legal definition. Forest Park is a city park, but not a nature park. Just because you want it to be something different than it is, doesn’t make it so.
“Your history is most definitely wrong. …” Alex
And you came to that conclusion…by what means?
I don’t think my history is wrong, at least not by much. Basically, mountain biking down in, I believe, Marin County long ago, inspired people up here in p-town to take it up too, in, where else, but of course, easily accessible Forest Park. Which worked out well for awhile until they let it get out of hand.
I know your history is wrong because I know quite a number of people who have legally ridden wildwood in the 1980s, possibly even the 1990s. I will have to talk to them to get the dates. Where the hell are you getting your history from anyway? I don’t think you can back up anything you say….
Alex, it is a futile argument you are having with “wsBoBS”. Most of us were still turning old Stingrays into BMX’rs in ’77. And he is nuts if he believe’s there was a Mtn. bike scene in FP at that time. Wish I had a time machine, we could all go back and see.
Happy Forest Critters are at church sunday mornings.
I would think cyclists would stay off the Wildwood simply due to the sheer number of hazardous off-leash dogs…
First world problem.
Non-constructive comment. Like people in developing world don’t worry about the natural environment?
I feel pretty confident that both “Waah, the nasty bicyclists are on my hiking trail!” and “Waah, the nasty hikers won’t let me ride my MTB!” are complaints that you don’t hear in the developing world.
I don’t think you hear ANY complaints on internet message boards in developing worlds.
I’m sure you’re right. And yet here we are, (most of us I assume) in the first world. Why would we be discussing third world problems exclusively? We should take no interest in our own lives, or what?
I am gonna sneak my first world KTM 300 MX-c up to the Wildwood one night, and divert all the attention away from bicycles, at least for a little while! This crap is getting old. It is a first world problem, and it shows why people aint no good. I say ban people from the whole friggin’ planet, then everything will be much better! Oh, and while everyone is spewing their bias, mine include … I hate Equestrians the most. Golfers second. team sports with stadiums and the people in them. motorboats, 4cyl Asian imports with bolt on exhaust tips and flame jobs, frat boys who say they are “punk rock”..Oh, I could go on for hours!
I think the comment was actual very constructive, if not tongue in cheek. It must be nice to live in a city where sharing trails with one another is a front page article. As opposed to genocide, war, famine, water contamination and/or complete lack of…ect ect ect.
I run in Forest Park almost every weekend, and I primarily choose routes where cyclists aren’t allowed (I like narrower trails and I usually have my dog with me). I have never seen a cyclist on a trail where they aren’t allowed. I’m usually at the busier southern end, but sometimes not.
So, I’m wondering, is this really a thing?
I run in the park at least one weekend day and have never witnessed it or seen any real tire marks to speak of. If it is happening, I’ve never witnessed it, and its a very small number of people, who probably don’t know better…
I want to hear more about the neurosurgeon and his “health risks of single track cycling”. Got any more details on that Jonathan?
I have attempted to contact houle to receive the tour of the damage that she said she would give to anyone, but she has refused to answer my emails. At this point I don’t believe the photos she claimed showed mtn bike damage were even taken within Forest Park.
try calling her…
“…Bicycle use is small compared to other uses. Also, there are large-scale competitive running events in the park. …” maus/bikeportland
Describe the size of these events by numbers of participants and spectators. Depending upon how large these events are, they may be another use of the park that’s contrary to the purpose for which Forest Park was created. An occasional solo runner, or a duo, is fine, but big groups of runners using the park, especially for competitive events, I would say, is a misuse of the park. So are overly large, loud groups of people walking.
Using the bad to justify use of Forest Park for mountain biking, is not a great strategy for success.
Since Google is such a new concept I took care of looking it up for you Bob.
Fully backed by the Forest Park Conservancy. Come trample the trails in a foot race, but stay off of them on your mountain bike.
I pointed out those other activities wsbob in order to get at the hypocrisy of the argument that bicycling on trails in Forest Park has an inherently negative impact.
I appreciate that Houle, Classen and other activists are passionate about their position, but I have yet to hear a sound argument against improving bike access in that park. The safety and “health of the park” concerns don’t seem to be based on any legitimate facts. Again, I welcome a debate about this issue, but the debate should be grounded in facts and good policy-making, not in scare tactics and propaganda.
“… but I have yet to hear a sound argument against improving bike access in that park. …” Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
You’ve yet to hear a sound argument against using the park for mountain biking? I know what you’re saying, even though with your choice of phrase ‘improving bike access’, others may not.
Thanks Eric, for taking the initiative to google and post the link for the Forest Park Conservancy’s annual running marathon benefiting the conservancy and the park. The wisdom of the conservancy’s use of the park for large scale running events, even though it’s to raise money for the park’s care, is questionable. The park conducting that event is definitely no justification for using the park for mountain biking.
And that marathon isn’t the only running race. On Memorial Day, there is a 50 kilometer race in Forest Park (with half marathon and 5 mile options), also a benefit for the Forest Park Conservancy:
And on July 27, there is the Wildwood Trail Run (marathon, half marathon and 10k):
And on Labor Day, the Oregon Road Runners Club has its annual 10k “Wildwood Trail Trial”:
In other words, Forest Park generally and the Wildwood Trail specifically are regularly being used for major running races.
Major? Ha! Total up the participants in those and you get what, 500 total?
Ya know, you can actually look these things up. In 2012, the Wildwood Trail Trial had 257 finishers. In 2012, the Wildwood Trail Run(s) had about 440 combined finishers. The Forest Park Marathon and Half Marathon had about 200 combined finishers. The 50k/Half Marathon had about 190 combined finishers. And then there is the Portland Trail Series.
No, that isn’t the Shamrock Run or the Portland Marathon. But for races in a supposedly fragile habitat, that’s a lot of foot traffic.
I’m not trying to vilify runners or races. The Wildwood is one of the great running trails in the country — I love it. But the notion that mountain bikes would be uniquely heavy users is just bizarre. I’ve run through mud up there in winter that will suck the shoes off of your feet — and the mud was churned up by runners and hikers.
Major? Those races draw a few hundred competitors at most (many of which normally run on the trail already), and really don’t add that much traffic or damage to the trail. 200 runners on a weekend day, versus the already hundreds of foot traffickers.
Let’s not make runners an enemy, or a scapegoat.
I don’t believe anyone is trying to scapegoat or vilify runners. By talking about the impact that hikers and runners have in the park, it undercuts the argument that bikers would somehow have a catastrophic effect on Forrest Park that is unseen by any other use. By ignoring the impact that all users have on the park, we cannot have an honest debate about equitable access by all stakeholders of our community.
I’m with Maus. EVERY “argument” I’ve seen for why bicycles should be excluded from singletrack trails in Forest Park is actually an argument for MANAGEMENT of bicycles, just like we MANAGE other uses.
And I’m not sure I understand your constant concern that the phrase “improving bike access” is some kind of euphemism that is pulling the wool over the eyes of the public. I don’t think anyone here doesn’t understand what we’re talking about. And when the phrase is used elsewhere it is typically in the context of a rather explicit conversation about riding bicycles on narrow, singletrack trails. Maybe you should tell us what phrase you’d like us to use: “Improving mountain bike access?” “Expanding mountain bike opportunities?” “Utterly destroying the earth with no regard for the planet or the safety of others?”
Sorry, WSBOB. “WSOB” was actually a typo. Although I accept the possibility that my subconscious may have gotten the better of me.
i think the point was, bob, that those who are decrying the use of trails by mountain bikers because of supposed damage to a nature preserve are (a) extremely selective in their targeting and (b) not actually committed to preserving the park.
“…To show the mountain bike perspective, Classen pulled comments off the internet and various biking websites. …” maus/bikeportland
Which, though apparently are not comments from mountain bikers making specific reference to mountain biking in Forest Park, are comments apparently posted by mountain bikers themselves, expressing their personal perspective on mountain biking. Other than the illegality of mountain bikers riding on the park’s trails, Bikeportland’s publisher-editor doesn’t take issue with the character of the type of mountain biking that comments of mountain bikers cited in the Examiner article express enthusiasm for, if that were the type of mountain bike riding to take place in Forest Park.
“…“It’s like an amusement park ride,” said
Janice Tower, the founder of Singletrack
Advocates (which has a video on the
construction of single track at singletrackadvocates.
blogspot.com). “We’re out there
hooting and hollering.” …” excerpted in the NW Examiner
The character of the type of mountain biking, mountain bike advocates apparently want officially authorized use of Forest Park for, is at the heart of the resistance to use of bikes in the park off of the park’s fire road. Engineering out the the causes of muddy tire tracks doesn’t restore damage brought to Forest Park, a park that was created to be a place of quiet contemplation…by people on vehicles, human powered or otherwise, seeking to use this nature park as a kind of amusement park ride.
Exactly what type of mountain bike riding, mountain bikers seek to use Forest park for, is something advocates of use of Forest Park for mountain biking have apparently not been willing to either describe or commit to as a proposal for use of the park for mountain biking. So it is that the comments from other people that mountain bike, comments that Claussen has used in his NW Examiner article, come to stand for what could be the type of mountain biking officially occurring on Forest Park’s trails, were official authorization for that type of use to be granted.
“…On LovingtheBike.com, Riaan Coetzee
wrote: “Speed—there’s few things in life as
epic as pinning a long, technical piece of
singletrack at breakneck speed.” …” excerpted in the NW Examiner
“…A writer on AlaskaDispatch.com said
“singletrack trail is a race track in the
woods.” …” excerpted in the NW Examiner
People talk like that when they are excited about what they are doing. Hikers talk of “crushing” a mountain and use all sorts of other vernacular that could easily be deemed destructive. What you need to do is stick to the facts of what mountain biking does to the land and not try to skew the argument in such a blatantly false way. The mountain bikers have been very willingly discussing what they want – mainly XC trails. You just seem to keep ignoring it.
Please show me a document that describes why mountain biking was banned. I would love to see it. Until then, please quit spreading your made-up history.
I think that the conflict lies in sharing narrow paths with mt bikers. I know that there that are many mt bikers who claim to ride slowly, and carefully, but a substantial minority cannot resist the urge to ride fast on shared trails. I have had a few of negative interactions with mt bikers while hiking with my family at Powell Butte and in Camas that colored my opinion against shared, narrow trails. I would like to some Mt Bike specific trails built in Forest Park to provide a separate trail constructed to avoid rutting.
as a bicycle rider I’m way more afraid of pedestrians than I am of bicycles when I’m a pedestrian…
And this is why the mtb community has offered to build its own trails as it has been proven that mixed use trails have mixed results.
Yes, YOU would say it’s a misuse of the park, but you’re not in charge and it’s a PUBLIC park.
are you saying that the internet is full of things that might not be facts but rather people’s opinions? when did this happen?!?!
The fact that you constantly insert yourself into conversations about Forest Park and you aren’t even aware of events like this speaks volumes about you.
He insert about most things, Forest Park is definitely not exclusive.
“a Portland mountain biker was paralyzed after flipping over his handlebars.”
Is that a reference to Mat Barton? Is Classen seriously trying to argue against mountain biking based on a freak accident that occurred during a short track race at Portland International Raceway?
How about this winner? “Bicycle opponent arrested for assaulting cyclist”
UC Berkeley police arrested Vandeman, 67, on May 28 after he allegedly attacked a bicyclist with a handsaw on a fire trail above the UC Berkeley campus. Vandeman also allegedly confronted another bicyclist in the same area in the summer of 2009 and used a sharp tool to puncture his tire. Vandeman was arraigned Wednesday and is being held on $12,500 bail in the Oakland city jail.
“This guy is a well-known kook in the mountain biking community,” said Brent Englund, president of the Bicycle Trails Coalition of the East Bay. “He has spent years and years railing against mountain bikers.”
This Vandeman person is attacking The Easy Climb trails in Cascade Locks on Oregon Live this week… http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2013/04/cascade_locks_seeing_lots_of_u.html
We have put in trails where some were afraid to even drive to,let alone hang out, and now have families going on MT bike rides together there.
Yet he still attacks us.
haha awesome soooo true!
free forest park!
If the rule says no bikes park it and use your damn feet. Things will change in time but riding on a hiker path is obnoxious and dangerous. Don’t act like a goon.
To whom are you speaking? I see people questioning the NW Examiner’s overwrought reporting, not arguing for violating the law.
By the way, suppose I wanted to ride my bike to the Wildwood Trail and then use my “damn feet” . . . lots of trailheads have parking for cars, but which trailheads have a place for me to lock up my damn bike while I am using my damn feet?
I’ve actually wondered exactly this: where am I supposed to lock my bike if I ride to a trail head?
The reconditioned Oaks Bottom trail in SE Portland (which opened about a month ago) has a bike rack at the northern access point. It seems to get lots of use. Maybe Portland Parks & Recreation will learn from its success and put bike racks at other trailheads.
Walk it along with you as you hike. I’ve done it. It’s no big deal.
That’s your solution? Then you’re just leaving tire tracks and giving more of these NW folks ammo to complain about.
Nah… . A bike without weight on it, being pushed along by hand isn’t going to make any significant ruts. People on foot, seeing you push the bike rather than ride it, will be impressed. I didn’t say it was a solution, but for short walks, it’s something that can work.
I could give you an approach that would work, but you probably shouldn’t, and you probably wouldn’t like it anyway.
Here’s a hint…well, a long, wordy hint: Occasionally, I’ve read comments posted here to bikeportland by people saying that they ride their bike on some of the park’s single width trail, but do so in a manner that is so conscientious, so unobtrusive and polite, that they never get anything but neutral or friendly responses from people they encounter on foot. Of course, apparently that manner of biking isn’t particularly the type ‘mountain biking’, mountain bikers are seeking to use Forest Park for, which no doubt accounts in no small part for the resistance to efforts to have Forest Park be used for mountain biking.
None of the tracks that Marcy and others are complaining about are ruts either. They are simply tracks (which would be made by simply pushing a bike along the path. So why should the parks dept. not install some bike racks at a few trail heads? I really don’t see a downside to that, other than a little extra cost.
No, the resistance to MTB in forrest park is due to NW neighborhood NIMBYism (mainly from older folks), who think Forrest Park is this vast untouched Wilderness, and don’t see it for what it is: a huge city park on the site of a former clear-cut and housing development.
Where you by chance with Marcy when you did this?
that may be how some perceive it… but like it’s been stated we’re not seeing any facts to back that up…
This is actually a really good sign: all this anti-Forest Park Mtn bike stuff recently. This means that finally after 15 years some progress is being made by the mountain bike community. Thank God!
What about unicycles in Forest Park? Is that allowed?
For the last 12 years, I have run and hiked over 1000 miles a year in Forest Park. I have encountered numerous mountain bikers on Wildwood and Maple and have had to jump aside in a heartbeat to avoid from getting hit on a blind curve. And I have taken dozens of pictures this year of all of the tire tracks. Maple is covered with them. You can even see where the bikers carry their bikes across the broken bridge on Maple. So for those of you who don’t believe, go run a six mile loop of saltzman, maple, Leif, and Maple- you will see lots of tracks and perhaps bikers, too.
I do wonder how you know some of those tracks aren’t made by jogging strollers, as I know folks with strollers out there regularly — that gets you three tracks.
care to post them?
I believe every word you said.
Sounds like you would benefit if those riders had their own trail.
This is funny to me… And very sad for Cindy..
How many Mt bikers spend their time in the woods searching for proof that hikers, runners have been there?
If I spent my time taking pictures of proof of other user groups I would never turn a pedal.In Forest Park or anywhere else. And non cycling users leave more evidence/crap behind than cyclists. I would have photo albums full.
And, sadly, these self appointed Forest Park whistleblowers do not even realize that most if not all of these tracks are made by baby strollers, walkers, running strollers, etc. These have tires which will leave the same photographic evidence… And are allowed on these closed trails.
Sadly, there is a percentage of people who DO NOT CARE about others as a rule.
These people use trails in ways other than allowed.
They also feel that public spaces like Forest Park are for them, not other user groups.
They wanna play dirty, eh?
Let us use the inertia of their effort to ban cyclists to BAN ALL HUMAN ACTIVITY in Forest Park.
Not as single argument they are using to describe the environmental impact of mountain bikers doesn’t equally apply to the larger numbers of runners, joggers, hikers, dog walkers and campers.
I’m not saying it is a rational or reasonable position but that it would be an excellent tactic in this fight. These close minded people are telegraphing their roundhouse punch against MTB cycling. I’m just saying to grab their arm, yank hard and nail their solar plexus.
They see change coming and are trying to desperately hold on to the old ways.
no, not the old ways, THEIR ways…
I could care less about illegal trail riding or rouge trails, but I would like the a-holes that leave the little bags of dog poop everywhere to stop.
Can we ban those big banana slugs that look like motile dog poop?
I was quite startled the first time I saw a moving turd on Saltzman rd.
Wilderness park – no
Really nice forested park for city limits – kinda
It’s called poaching and it has been happening forever and will only get worse until some decent single track is opened up for Mtb
Biggest concern I have is all the bags of dog crap left on the side of the trails – what’s that about?
Ride -run – walk – hike
Just do it
And fix up a few trailheads already
How about a camera to deter car break-ins
Lower fire lane 1 off hwy 30 should become the biker trailhead with all the fixings – volunteers will dial in the trails
Get on with it
Anybody who has watched GRIMM knows what happens to Little Red Running Hoods in Forest Park!
I find that people compain about issues that they can sell instead of what they are worried about. Trail damage by mountain bikers is an easy sell but is not a true problem in Forest park.
Rogue mountain bikers are a minority but they are certainly real. Some of my friends would put bright lights on their bikes and go in after dark and poach the wildwood trail.
Last night at the St Johns Neighborhood monthly meeting, I did battle with those darn ‘tree people’ who wanted to stop my beloved trail from going through their stand of sequoia trees.
I still believe in the importance of building the npGreenway trail.
I got a lesson in community. We do not all share the same hierarchy of needs. For some, bike access is the most important. For some, things like access to nature is. Who is the most right?
The bridge will be built between Chimney and Pier parks. We will work with the ‘tree people’ to see their concerns are addressed.
A friend asked me once to sit and count all the different communities in a one mile range of where I sat. I counted cyclists. Transit users. Park users.Parents. School kids. Gardeners. Dog owners. Church goers. ethnic groups…you get my point, there are ,more communities than you know, each with different wants and needs. Before we point fingers at folks we don’t quite ‘get’, maybe we need to talk.
While I agree with you, I think you might be missing the part of the history where there has been much discussion, having people vote on how to move forward and all sorts of other bureaucracy . In fact, Marcy Houle sat on the single track advisory committee a few years back and has participated in this long, drawn out discussion for quite some time. How long can you talk and not move forward in one direction or the other? The city planners/commissioners/council have decided to improve access and the haters are just hating at this point. It is all part of this very long, drawn out process.
Alex, I have missed pretty much all the history. And my knowledge of Alan Clausen doesn’t make me believe there isn’t a bit of rhetoric in his article. That said, several things come to mind:
the illegal cyclist somehow translating to every cyclist.. do we need to defend those who ride where they are not allowed?
Second.. Is forest park a park or a natural area? Different expectations, different rules.
Forest Park, and just about any park has its ‘friends’, often with contradictory desires. How do you start the dialog to negotiations?
“… Is forest park a park or a natural area? …” Joe Adamski
I posted an answer in response to this question earlier some minutes ago, to a comment up-thread. Think about it: Forest Park is a natural area park within the city limits, a park the city has responsibility for managing, making it a city natural area park…city nature park, if you will, or more commonly, a ‘nature park’.
Can you actually cite this Bob? When I look it up, I find Forest Park to be neither, it appears to be just a park. And interesting you also say that designating it a nature park means minimal mountain bike, as Powell Butte IS a nature park and it allows mountain biking (as well as allows a giant reservoir to be built on top, so my understanding of the city’s nature parks designation is a little weak).
davemess…I think I could bring sources together that verify Forest Park’s identity as a nature park, but I’d rather not spend the time to do that, and I shouldn’t have to. A fair bit of that material this has been posted to older bikeportland articles about Forest Park. Wikipedia has a page on Forest Park: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Park_%28Portland%29
I don’t know much about Powell Butte, but I don’t recall it ever being described as having anything close to the long standing history of being conceived of as a natural area park that Forest Park has. I think Powell Butte’s designation as nature park is probably a relatively recent thing.
Alex, downthread a bit…look…Forest Park is most definitely a natural area. It’s not a virgin old growth forest, but it’s also not a garden park that’s been laid out with hybrid species, lawns, baseball diamonds, swimming pools, basketball courts… .
Types of mountain biking conflict with the purpose nature parks exist for, particularly ones like Forest Park located as they are to large urban population centers. Not necessarily ‘the’ solution, but ‘a solution’ mountain bikers might work on to possibly gain the use of a nature park such as Forest Park, for some type of biking, would be to specifically confine the type mountain biking requested, to one compatible with the purpose the park was designated for.
I agree. A simple, smart compromise would be to allow separate, cross country style trails that are similar (not built exactly the same as they are in different locales) to this:
After all: http://www.youtube.com/user/oregon?v=JtBEZ47B1e4
So the city doesn’t deem it a nature park but you do. You’re spouting semantics. The “intentions of the park” were to have it be a park. Thus free from housing and development. It’s up to us to decide what that means. I know this is going to fall on deaf ears, but citizens desires and request different things over time. Clearly you have your opinion and most of us on here have ours. But you’re still deeming the park with a designation that it officially DOES NOT HAVE.
The purpose of a park and yes even a “nature park” is for citizens to enjoy being outside in a natural environment. Yes, many parks have different amenities, but to say that mountain biking is incompatible with a “nature park” is just misinformed and xenophobic (note that many, if not most mountain bike trails in the US are on national forest land). s is going to fall on deaf ears, but citizens desires and request different things over time.
“So the city doesn’t deem it a nature park …” davemess
It and the majority of its residents have and still do. But, belive what you wish. I doubt doing so will get mountain bike advocates any closer to using Forest Park for mountain biking, but if they’re happy with that, fine.
Forest Park as a nature park, is unique. It’s different than other parks in this state, and other states in the county. From a quote by Commissioner Fish in an older bikeportland article, I think he realizes this, which apparently was part of the reason he decided not to proceed with plans discussed to use Forest Park for mountain biking.
As I’ve suggested in earlier posts, some types of mountain biking could possibly be compatible with Forest Park in its designated purpose of being a nature park, together with people on foot on the same trail. Indications have been, that mountain bikers are not prepared to limit mountain biking in the park to types of mountain biking that would be thus compatible.
Bob, I’m not “believing” anything, I’m using facts (ie. the Parks Dept website). But for some reason you want to keep denying that the city has not named it a designated nature park (as they have for other parks). I get that many people “feel” and “believe” it’s a nature park, but the facts are that the government does not classify it as that.
“… But for some reason you want to keep denying that the city has not named it a designated nature park (as they have for other parks). …” daveness
Not at all. You say that you haven’t found that phrase ‘nature park’ associated with Forest Park in the park district’s official list of nature parks. I’ll take your word for that, but it doesn’t really change the fact that Forest Park is a nature park. It’s Portland’s first, oldest, biggest nature park, created for that purpose many decades ago, and supported by the public as such, all along.
If it was any other, more recently acquired natural area type park in the city…such as the small area over by Lewis and Clark College… that hadn’t been listed on a list of officially designated nature parks within the city, I think that argument may be credible, but I very much doubt so in the case of Forest Park. If it wasn’t that mountain bikers were struggling for a way to rationalize using the park for mountain biking, I doubt there would be any questioning going on whatsoever, about Forest Park being a nature park.
If Forest Park is the epitome of a nature park (as you say) than why would the city not give it the nature park distinction as a representation as the true “nature park-iness” of nature parks?
No one is trying to rationalize anything. You’re just making false claims about how the city designates the park (and regardless of how the citizens feel about the park, the city has designations for a reason). As I stated above there is already plenty of precedence that MTBing has been allowed in “nature parks”. It seems to be that you are rationalizing Forest park as a “nature park” to minimize mountain biking access.
It’s not a nature park – quit calling it that until the city or someone with some authority calls it that. You are just trying to meld it into something it isn’t and applying a made-up history to why mountain bikes were banned in the first place. I don’t think you know the first thing about mountain biking based on years of seeing you post here and your are definitely not a rational person. No one is asking for DH trails, even though they probably should be. People want some decent xc/all mountain trails in forest park. MTB trails can be build sustainably and there are ways to share the existing trails so no new ones even need to be built.
Your whole notion of “nature park” and whether or not bikes belong in a “nature park” is completely ridiculous. How much time do you even spend in forest park? Have you done any work there? Have you ever lived near it? How much mountain biking have you done in your life? Do you think people don’t find tranquility on a bike in the woods? How does mountain biking specifically conflict with your idea of a “nature park”? You keep saying things, but provide little justification and even less knowledge on the subject.
I don’t understand your fixation on whether an area is labeled a “nature park” or “natural area” or “wild place” or what have you. Quiet, responsible, human-powered, non-polluting, sustainable, off-road bicycling is compatible with all of them. It’s happening successfully all over the country and the world right now.
You keep asserting that bicycles are “not compatible with the purpose the park was designated for.” That’s odd considering that the bicycles were designed specifically for exactly that type of environment. Granted, Forest Park wasn’t designed for bad, irresponsible/uninformed mountain bikers who don’t yield or don’t know how to use their brakes properly any more than it was designed for irresponsible/uninformed hikers who leave trash, camp out, blaze new trails, run dogs off leash, etc. Yet you seem to feel that the latter group is a management concern while the cyclists simply need to be excluded. I’m just not following that logic.
It’s not me that’s fixated on the park being labeled a ‘nature park’. It’s others posting here that apparently have that fixation. I suppose they’re looking for a loophole that would support their argument that it’s o.k. to use Forest Park for mountain biking. Forest Park isn’t a nature park by label. Absent official or legal label, it’s a nature park by conception, history, and long standing support of its purpose as a nature park, by residents of Portland for many, many decades.
“…You keep asserting that bicycles are “not compatible with the purpose the park was designated for.” …” TrailLover
Bicycles aren’t really compatible with the purpose the park was designated for, but I think people would consider allowing bikes to be used more extensively in the park, even on some of the footpaths, if the character of use was to very specific parameters. This seems though, to be something mountain bike advocates have not been willing to offer. Mountain bikers apparently are holding out for authorized use of the park that would not have limitations on type or character of mountain biking.
I should remind everyone that it’s just my own views I’ve been expressing here. I’m posting them for what I hope people, despite whatever frustration and consternation they may feel over them from time to time, will feel is a constructive contribution to a constructive, civil discussion about an important issue with potential effects to other nature parks beyond this particular nature park.
I don’t have any influence on the principals responsible for making decisions about biking in Forest Park. Nothing I write is likely to have much, if any bearing on whether Forest Park eventually comes to be used for mountain biking, or not.
You keep repeating the sentiment that “Bicycles aren’t really compatible with the purpose the park was designated for…” Why? What do you mean? Just saying it over and over again is not informative. I ask you again: What is it about quiet, responsible, human-powered, non-polluting, sustainable, off-road bicycling that is incompatible with the purpose the park was designed for?
You also assert that cyclists are unwilling to compromise or to consider specific management considerations. Where are you getting this idea? Your view is completely upside down. It’s the cycling opponents who are simply saying “no” to essentially any cycling on singletrack trails and – by implication – “no” to any discussion of how singletrack cycling might be accommodated. The cyclists have been and continue to be all ears (and ideas) for anyone who wants to have a discussion about how to manage shared use trails. The cyclists have been the only ones to bring any actual ideas to the table. Yes, it’s true that cyclists bristle and resist when bogus, unsupportable or intentionally inflammatory assertions are made about safety and environmental issues, but I’m afraid you just can’t point the finger at the cyclists as the ones resistant to fact-based discussion and compromise.
“You keep repeating the sentiment that “Bicycles aren’t really compatible with the purpose the park was designated for…” Why? What do you mean? …” TrailLover
TrailLove …I’m sorry for any confusion caused by the use of ‘compatible’ (I think ‘compatible was actually your word choice in the post I responded to.), but “…contrary to the purpose for which the park was created…”, is what I’ve written in past, and which I should have written in the post to which you’ve responded here. I have answered that question repeatedly. I think you perhaps, either don’t understand why bicycles are contrary to the purpose for which the park was created, or hope, apparently like some others reading and posting comments here in support of using Forest Park for mountain biking, you may somehow strengthen an argument to do just that.
People in support of using Forest Park for mountain biking, over the years, have offered a proposal of sorts for using the park for mountain biking…but on their terms, that would not limit the type and character of mountain biking the park would be used for.
If the parks commissioner and director were going to give the green light for Forest Park to be used for mountain biking, I would hope they first would be very familiar with all the types and character of mountain biking that form of recreation represents, and how much of it might occur in the park if they were to give their o.k. to use of the Forest Park for mountain biking.
I’ve searched this string and, unless I’ve missed something here or you are referring to statements you’ve posted in other strings, I’m still finding no argument from you for how mountain biking is not consistent with the purpose for which FP was created. Is it your belief that cycling is somehow in fundamental conflict with the terms “nature” or “nature park?” How? Why?
And you’re continuing to repeat the assertion that the cyclists have been insisting on some kind of completely unfettered access to all of the park. I’ve seen plenty of discussion from cyclists ranging from alternate days to one-way travel to selective trail access to new trail construction/improvement. So I just don’t understand why you keep painting the cyclists as the ones who aren’t interested in discussion and compromise of potential solutions to potential management issues – real or imaginary.
Bob, just spit it out, stop hiding behing “type and character of mountain biking”. You’re okay with XC, but not downhill? Is that it?
I would summarize that that is exactly what the majority of people advocating for Mountain biking want. There are very few who are advocating for extreme downhill trails with huge drops and jumps.
the word ‘park’ for me, means just that.. if a natural area is deemed the higher use, then limiting access on a much larger basis would be justified, not only cyclists but all users.
you cannot have it both ways. Parks infer recreational places for people, natural areas may allow LIMITED access, but protecting the flora and fauna of a given area is the primary use.
I don’t think anyone is really defending people who ride wildwood illegally. Rather, people are acknowledging that it is happening, seeing it as a problem and trying to come up with a solution. That solution, so far, has been to just try to keep mtbers out of the park.
Forest Park is not a “natural” area. It has been clear cut, has oil lines going through it, ivy and other invasive species growing everywhere and it is pushed right up next to a very industrial area of Portland. Some people, I am not going to name names, are trying to call it a “Nature Park”, but what is the definition of that? No one knows and that means different things to everyone. Also, since when do mtb’s conflict with nature? They don’t. So even if it could be considered a “nature park”, I don’t see the conflict, I just see hollow rhetoric
Again, the dialog has been going on for years. It is not new. It doesn’t need to be “started”, but it would be nice to not see more and more roadblocks in place. I would like to see a solution, one way or the other.
Actually Portland Parks and Rec defines Nature parks, as they have deemed some parks to be called that. Forest Park is NOT on that list.
How they came up with the designation is unknown to me, but you can see the official “nature parks” in the above link.
maybe open bike trails through english ivy patches?
That would be opening up the whole park to mtbing!
with all the miles of road that cross through that park I would think that motor-vehicles are also putting their tires where they don’t belong…
are those the people parking where they shouldn’t be and then running through the park and complaining about bicyclists?
I’d like to see a news team go up there and spot an illegally parked car, wait for the trail user to come back, and then ask them their thoughts about illegal bicycling… although I’m thinking most of the complainers live close enough to run to the park…
Open ALL the trails to bikes. Problem solved.
Hikers need to learn to share.
And while we’re at it, motorcycles, ATVs, 4WD trucks. Hikers and bikers should learn to share. O_o
Swiing…….and a slippery slope miss. http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/slippery-slope/
I think it’s time for another “FREE FOREST PARK’ rally and ride.
This should be done on the Wildwood trail, where it would actually be FUN to ride. Riding on Leif does nothing but infuriate me from being bored out of my mind!
Come on there’s the occasional rock and wide turn.
What’s the worst that is going to happen here? Another anti-bike article? Hah!
This could totally be used as an learning experience in the park… A massive organized ride of the Wildwood trail, and then trail maintenance the next day to show that we are a responsible group.
FREE FOREST PARK!
Or, an event could *not* be organized where a group of mountain bikers walk their bikes on the trail while picking up garbage and handing out candy to passerbys.
I don’t think I see your point, possibly I am just blinded by your sarcastic approach.
Anyhow,I see this all the time happening at Lower Macleay Park, the walking the bike part that is.
Why walk when you can ride? Seriously, what is the worst that is going to happen here? Do the rangers give out tickets? Is there a fine one can get for riding on the trails? Am I going to be arrested by a fellow citizen? If the worst that’s going to happen is get my picture taken by somebody’s cell phone, and end up on some friends of anti-bike website, I am fine with that.
If you can rally a said group of 30+ non-organized riders together, then I think we may be on to something.
I was serious, actually. I worry that riding on WW would just be more ammo for those who oppose us, and would bring more people into the mix to oppose us. Why not take the high road and bring attention to the cause in a positive fashion? I definitely don’t have a “silver bullet,” but there are some ideas floating around out there that could benefit our cause.
I really wish could ride forest park openly. seems lotta these NW papers rag on cyclists.
While I was riding
my mountain bike I
saw a sign that
said no trespassing
but on the other side
it did say nothing.
This land was made for you and me.
ha! and yes.
Let me see if I can get the anti-bike argument straight here: because a handful of people ride illegally on WW and Maple, we should ban bikes from the entire park? Penalizing the law-abiding vast majority? How will that do anything to deter the people already riding illegally?
Just goes to show this is really just a user-group turf battle, not the Holy Crusade for Protection of Nature that the anti-bikers make it out to be.
And wsbob, you’d rather walk alongside your bike rather than bike a narrow trail? How are your shins holding up? Do you realize that generally on public lands (not sure about the FP-specific rules) on trails where bikes are illegal, it is illegal to be in possession of a bike, not just to be riding one?
GlowBoy…walking the bike works fine for me, depending upon how much distance you’re talking about. A couple miles is no biggy. I don’t know about the specifics indicated in your note that on federal lands where riding bikes is illegal, a person merely having a bike with them as they walk is also illegal.
Technically, that may be true, but in most cases, I’d tend to think people in that situation probably would not be cited, if they truly are simply walking the bike, and not also riding it on the sly. A somewhat related example in THPRD’s nature park in the Beav, is that with the exception of about 400′, all of the dirt trail, is footpath, riding bikes prohibited. Word I’ve received third hand (sorry it’s not first hand.) from a ranger for that park, is that people visiting the park are welcome to bring their bike along with them as they walk any of those paths.
That’s funny, because no one in any situation is getting cited. The majority of cyclists are staying off of wildwood out of respect for the rules, not because of the threat of getting cited. Even Houle acknowledges this.
“Thankfully, we have decades of recreational trail management experience to rely on to tell us exactly how we can all work together to share at least some of the trails happily and successfully for the good of the people, the creatures and the land.” – wsbob
Yes, I wish we could start applying it here in Portland instead of just shutting out a significant user group based on opinion and not scientific evidence.
That’s the thing – there is no anti-bike “argument” at all. There may be anti-bike sentiment, prejudice and emotion, but virtually all of the issues that are offered up as a basis for excluding bicycles from public lands like Forest Park are, in actuality, arguments for the proper management – not exclusion – of bicycles. Got safety, environmental and user experience concerns? Good. Me too. Thankfully, we have decades of recreational trail management experience to rely on to tell us exactly how we can all work together to share at least some of the trails happily and successfully for the good of the people, the creatures and the land.
[sarc] Wait until e-Mt._Bikes start poaching trails……….[sarc]
Seems to me that all the damage was done by too many hikers on a soft trail. Then some rouge-bikers ride on it and get they get the full blame for ruining the trail.
If it is a problem, then maybe the real solution is to close the trail when conditions get bad.
In stark contrast to the wear and tear on Wildwood, are the trails on private property near Rocky Point Rd. They get 100’s of bike tires a week and there is very little rutting or mud holes. Same geography. Different set of trail users.
We should all be sending mail to city halll v. posting on this site. Bike City USA should be embarrassed and the amounts of single track we have access to; get pissed!!!