Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

My opinion: Once again, propaganda is poisoning Portland’s off-road cycling debate

Posted by on January 12th, 2016 at 11:49 am

River View Protest Ride-13

That’s no father and son on a bike ride. They’re
part of a vast “MTB industrial complex” that’s
merely a front for “their powerful corporate sponsors.”
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

You can tell when we’re on the cusp of possible progress for off-road cycling in Portland because the misinformation campaign by someone dedicated to stopping it has begun. Hopefully, our policymakers and elected leaders won’t listen this time.

With a city council meeting this Thursday to adopt management plan for the River View Natural Area, a guest opinion article published by The Oregonian is full of scare tactics and farcical conspiracy theories.

The essay was written by John Miller, a man who lives near River View, and it follows a long and sad line of similar attempts from activists and sympathetic media in the past. The headline, “Don’t let mountain bikers overwhelm natural areas,” sounds like it could be the start of an important discussion about the need to balance trail use with conservation goals. Unfortunately, Miller is more interested in hurting that discussion than moving it forward.

Similar to the people who spread misinformation during the debate surrounding Forest Park years ago, Miller wants City Council and all Portlanders to fear the bicycling bogeyman. Or should I say “droves” of bogeymen. It’s the cycling equivalent of “Obama is coming to take my guns.” He wants members of City Council to see any improvements to off-road cycling access as a slippery-slope that will ultimately lead to a doomsday where the “them” takes over from “us”.

“There is a global invasion of nature underway,” he writes. “Will mountain bikers gain access to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and wilderness areas? Failing to get into the Bandon State Natural Area, will a golfer baron gain land between camps Meriwether and Clark to build a golf course? Will international bottlers be allowed to take pristine water from a sacred spring near Cascade Locks?”

In comments left here on BikePortland last November, Miller referred to the “MTB industrial complex” and wondered, “If nowhere is off limits, why not have (rogue) trails everywhere?”

Miller paints a picture of local bike advocates as being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “If their lobbyists prevail,” he asserts, “mountain bike groups and their powerful corporate sponsors,” will run amok in our open spaces and parks. He should talk to staff at the Bureau of Land Management (about the Sandy Ridge trail system), or the Port of Cascade Locks (about the easyCLIMB trails), or Oregon State Parks (about Stub Stewart State Park), and other agencies that have worked very closely with these unsavory “mountain bike groups” with resounding success.

Amazingly, buried in his essay is one almost reasonable passage:

“We all should support a network of off-road cycling trails that interconnects towns and communities. And, of course, we’d favor facilities that provide a range of fun activities and experiences. But we must think critically about where to draw the line between protecting nature and developing new recreation. What kinds of natural areas can support active recreation?”

On this point, Miller is mostly correct. (Cycling isn’t technically any more “active” of a recreation mode than, say, trail-running with an off-leash dog, hiking on unsanctioned trails, or horesback riding.) But in general, that’s what this important debate is all about: How we do balance use and conservation? Unfortunately, because of a lack of political leadership by Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz that has been persuaded by the exact type of misinformation Miller is peddling, we have yet to have a grown-up convesation on that topic.

During the advisory committee process for River View, the Portland Parks Bureau took the jaw-dropping step of prohibiting discussion of cycling access even though the committee was full of cycling experts. The resulting River View Management Plan does not take into account the possibility of bike access at all, even though the Parks Bureau themselves says there’s a chance for bike access in the future. It makes zero sense and they’ve completely disrespected the public and their own process.

When it comes to determining where Portland should allow off-road cycling; that’s precisely where the Off-road Cycling Master Plan comes in. Unfortunately, if City Council adopts the River View Management Plan on Thursday, there’s reason to fear that — even if the Off-road Cycling Master Plan concludes that cycling is appropriate — the trail plan for River View will be impossible to change.

We’ve heard conflicting information from the Parks Bureau (who’s in charge of the River View process) and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the agency managing the Off-road Cycling Master Plan about which plan will have policymaking power over the other.

Advocates with the Northwest Trail Alliance (who, despite what Miller wants you to believe are very new to City Hall politics) are scrambling to keep options open at River View and beyond. Let’s hope policymakers and elected leaders lend an ear to a group of volunteer advocates with a solid track record and successful partnerships who’s working in earnest to make Portland a better place to live — and who has never stooped to propoganda to make their case.

The management plan is up for adoption by City Council this Thursday at 2:00 pm. More info and background here.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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

  • Todd Hudson January 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Lesson: If you don’t have a good argument, use the corporate boogeyman as much as possible.

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    • Tad January 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      And if your OpEd isn’t inflammatory enough, make sure to add a much more inflammatory title, and protest photos showing the “throngs” of evil mountain bikers and their 5-year-old children who want to experience the forest too.

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  • RH January 12, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong, but weren’t trees cut down to make all the trails for Forest Park and Washington Park for all the walkers and joggers? I don’t like using the equity card, but why can’t more trails be then made for cyclists?

    I cycled this one year and it was amazing! http://www.riderotorua.com/

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  • axoplasm January 12, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for writing this Jonathan. I’ve lost all capacity for reasonable discussion on this point. All I have left is ranting.

    I moved out of John Miller’s neighborhood (I was ALSO 500 yards away from RVNA) in no small part because I was tired of grumpy old Nimbys who want to box off the city’s natural areas for their own private amusement (and land values!), using “preservation” as an excuse. As if those huge houses in the hills requiring tons of driving for daily life are somehow not consuming natural resources…

    IME MTB activists are among the most respectful stewards of natural areas, and deferential to a fault. They certainly put more sweat equity (ivy pulling, trail maintenance, etc) into stewardship than any other group.

    I’m close to the trail running community, and a dog owner, and I have never heard anyone in either of those groups discuss their impacts on the city’s green spaces, or organize a stewardship event. (ALthough companies like Adidas and Nike do this, which reflects indirectly the trail runner community.) Runners and dog owners simply use the city’s parks in the way that pleases them, & the city molds itself to those uses. WHICH IS AS IT SHOULD BE. For persistently ignoring and flouting city policy AND the approved process, we dog owners are rewarded with dedicated resources (off leash parks) throughout the city.

    While riding on Palatine road on Sunday I saw trail runners with off-leash dogs running out of RVNA (dogs are now prohibited there IIRC, certainly off leash). Not an isolated incidence. And yet ask any wildlife biologist what popular use does the most damage to a natural area and the answer will be dogs. (Or maybe horses…who get their own trail system just over the ridge in the middle of the Tryon Creek watershed…)

    For as long as I’ve been paying attention (about 15 years) MTB groups have been playing by the rules and being attentive to the process for developing recreational activities in Portland. It has netted them a steady DECREASE in rideable trails in that time.

    I am personally past trusting our system to reflect popular will or serve the city’s needs. I now believe MTBs will get farther by simply using the green spaces however they damn well please, and let the city play catch up — as with dogs and trail runners.

    The timbre of the conversation on Thursday will do a lot to restore my faith in that system, or to continue saying “Eff this…”

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    • flightlessbird January 12, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      I suppose mtbers in portland need to learn how to enjoy their trails poached, there really is no other option. That is how skate parks got built and your point about other trail users doing whatever they want is spot on. I heard someone awhile back talk about making a well scripted business card about the woes of being a mountain biker in portland to hand out to folks you encounter while poaching trails. Most the time I am too frustrated to say the right thing when someone yells/gives you the stink eye for no good reason at all (i.e. riding legal “trails” in a responsible way). Maybe the ratio of single track open to bikes/total single track in portland would be one of many good stats to include on said card. My frustrations meter is off the charts on this subject and is really having a negative impact on my wellbeing and quality of live…I know I am not the only one. I only hope I can keep my cool for my 2min statement at the river view meeting…

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      • davemess January 12, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        This kind of got me thinking. Is a lot of the issue where these parks (River View and Forest) are (i.e. in mostly wealthy neighborhoods).
        I ride at Powell Butte a lot and can’t really recall any negative interactions with hikers/runner/dog walkers/etc there. Is it because it is in a lower income area where people don’t care as much and have better things to do than worry about it?

        maybe it helps that I go out of my way to thank people and be friendly on the trail?

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        • axoplasm January 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm

          “Is a lot of the issue where these parks (River View and Forest) are (i.e. in mostly wealthy neighborhoods).”

          I think the word we’re looking for is “entitlement,” and I don’t think the Powell Butte neighbors are as blessed with an abundance of it as FP and RVNA neighbors.

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      • axoplasm January 12, 2016 at 4:36 pm

        I’ll be there, job willing, but I’ll keep my fool mouth shut.

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  • spencer January 12, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    That article turned my stomach. It is so full of hyperbole and fear mongering it makes me sick. Lets all show up to the meeting on Thursday and let reason prevail. I am an advocate, bird lover, nature lover, and responsible user of the environment. Our wild spaces need advocates to keep them safe, and alienating the MTB community does the opposite.

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    • davemess January 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      I have an issue calling anything inside the UGB a “wild” space.

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  • q`Tzal January 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Has anyone considered a MTB Recreational Area plan that charges users not money but time (hours per season) helping to maintain and rehabilitate the natural area?

    Bikes aren’t the only damaging user but having, upfront, a dedicated “volunteer” corps to repair and prevent such damage could help to cut the naysayers off at the knees.

    Also such a group of MTB’s with their name on paper committing to the positive use and preservation of the natural area could only help to make the naysayers look utterly ridiculous.

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    • MNBikeLuv January 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      When mostly other cities do urban mountain biking, they usually do so as part of the property specific master plan. In that master plan are goals for rewilding.

      Sometimes they tie trail build out to meeting rewilding goals. (“Rewild Phase 1 to parks department satisfaction, money is released to build Phase 2” or “Put in X hours a year going after invasives and get Y amount of clearance to build new trails.”) I believe it was either Indianapolis or Louisville that did that for their urban trails. I will have to look that up. I know for sure that the Knoxville Urban Wilderness trails are based on that idea of maintenance of the Wilderness.

      Sometimes it’s just a byproduct of having mountain bikers on the trails. That is what happened at Theodore-Wirth in Minneapolis. The first set trails drove out negative uses and the MTBers removed invasives along the trail (because no one likes buckthorn) and the result was a healthier forest. Now the long term plan is put trails wherever there are trees.

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    • Rita January 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Paydirt is a long organized “give back to the trails” program that most racers and many recreational users are well familiar with. NWTA has regular trailwork volunteers and can show the logs of hours. You want 50 people to show up and fix a drainage problem, they can schedule it. But at this point, I hope they aren’t willing to do it on a trail they are going to be kicked off of because NIMBY.

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    • Karl Dickman January 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Not only has it been considered, it’s been done, very successfully. The Central Oregon Trail Alliance (http://cotamtb.com/) is the primary maintainer of mountain bike and hiking trails in Central Oregon. The snowfall and freeze/thaw cycle in CO is as big or bigger of a trail maintenance challenge than the rain and it’s handled just fine.

      This is something that drives me up the wall about mountain biking discussions in Portland. I grew up mountain biking, running, hiking, and skiing all over central Oregon–and on the same trails for all four. I volunteered with my sports teams to do trail maintenance many times. I never heard a bad word said about “mountain bikers” or “hikers” or any other group. “How will we share the trails” and “how will we maintain the trails” are no-brainers to solve: be courteous, and volunteer for trail maintenance.

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    • Alex January 12, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Yes, it’s called Queenstown. Great place, you should go.

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  • wsbob January 12, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Maus….reading the headline and content of your opinion piece, I expected when clicking on the link to Miller’s opinion piece in the Oregonian, to be brought to some kind of hysterical, rhetorical ranting of somebody having an intense hatred of mountain biking in general. Upon reading, it was almost immediately apparent that what Miller’s piece actually consists of, is a serious, reasoned, personal viewpoint on the possible use of city natural park lands for mountain biking.

    In his piece, Miller uses none of the inflammatory names you use in your piece to suggest your idea of what he’s thinking.

    I question his use of the word “…droves…” to refer to the number of people he imagines might be drawn to use park land for mountain biking in Portland, if the city were to open up such land for that type recreation. Difficult to say at this point, how much interest in mountain biking might occur or be induced by allowing access to natural parkland in the city. Other than that one point, the remaining remarks are open to the opinion of others (he asks questions.) and reflective. Particularly, the third paragraph is thoughtful.

    About six months ago, the Oregonian editorial board published its own editorial or opinion piece favoring use of city natural park lands for mountain biking. I don’t have the link to that piece readily available, but the piece is one that bikeportland readers may like to review. if they haven’t read it already.

    What do Portland residents, in addition to those that pointedly are mountain bike enthusiasts, or natural land enthusiasts, think about the idea of natural park land within city possibly coming to be used for mountain biking? That’s something I want to know, and I think it may be something that other people, not just in Portland but in nearby cities as well, may want to know about too. Dropping the rhetoric, ‘propaganda to use the word you chose…the histrionics and dramatics, the insults, in favor of honest, straightforward appeals to the public is likely to be the more effective means to get the answer to that question from the public.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm


      i stand by my story. I believe what John Miller has done qualifies as propaganda, which is defined as “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”

      he has crossed a line that I take very seriously.

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      • wsbob January 13, 2016 at 12:03 am

        Maus…not “…a story…”. What you wrote that we’re reading here, is not the usual news reporting format most stories to bikeportland are written in. You wrote and published an opinion piece. Both you and John Miller wrote opinion pieces. Writing so titled, as well as its content that’s distinctly different than straight reporting, tells the reader they are to rely upon themselves to decide whether what’s written is consistent with facts known, or whether it’s something they personally agree with.

        Your opinion of Millers opinion piece, is that it’s ‘propaganda’. That’s fine as long as you recognize that outside of bikeportlands’ readership that are mountain bike enthusiasts, many people may not agree with you on that point. I think many people are going to recognize that Miller’s thoughts are well reasoned and balanced. Miller managed to avoid resorting to inflammatory language in his opinion piece. Regrettably, you did not follow suit in yours.

        By the way…I should mention that while I was within wi-fi range earlier tonight, I checked the O story around 8pm and browsed some of the comments. Among the most recent were comments from Miller himself, in one of which he explained that the title given his opinion piece, was not the one he suggested, but one created by the paper’s editorial staff. The title he suggested, I think, is similar, but more neutral.

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        • Dan A January 13, 2016 at 8:42 am

          Not surprised one bit.

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        • longgone January 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm

          Either way, they published it. Thus my question on whether a counter op/ed by a regional concern had also been allowed.
          I ride all flavors of bicycles, and whileI no longer identify myself as much of an off-road specific rider, I have many concerns with Millers views. Just sayin’.
          Moved here 13 years ago with 38 bicycles. Six were off-road versions of various style. I now own 1. No joke. I never ride anything here, that I can’t do on a ‘cross bike.
          Millers “opinions” of what I “need” for my thrill of speed are off base on so many levels.
          I’m done. Gonna go ride on of my road bikes,now.

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        • Mick O January 13, 2016 at 4:35 pm

          Miller managed to avoid resorting to inflammatory language in his opinion piece. Regrettably, you did not follow suit in yours.

          “Droves of mountain bikers may be coming soon to a natural area near you, if their lobbyists prevail.”

          “aggressive politicking by mountain bike groups and their powerful corporate sponsors”

          “when banned mountain bikers storm City Hall en masse ”

          “Will Portland let mountain bikers and their commercial interests dig up our natural areas?”

          “There is a global invasion of nature underway.”

          Your claim, wsbob, that John Miller avoided inflammatory language is incorrect.

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    • MNBikeLuv January 12, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      The issue here isn’t whether or John Miller is entitled to an opinion, he is.

      The issue is that John Miller is entitled to his own, separate, set of facts. He presents some real facts in skewed way that makes them non-facts. And more than a few times he makes up “facts” out of thin air.

      Mr. Miller knows, for instance, that mountain biking trails and hiking trails are built to the same set of guidelines (and often, they are the exact same trail). He knows, for instance, that mountain biking is considered a passive use by the City of Portland and pretty much everywhere else in the country. When commented on a previous story on BikePortland, myself and other gently took the time to explain these facts to him, with plenty of 3rd party references. He is not speaking out of ignorance. He is, as Mr. Maus correctly points out, engaging in propaganda.

      If you would like I could annotate his article line-by-line for you with references to demonstrate just how many of these “facts” are anything but.

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  • Mao January 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Fun fact: The fear that Obama will take guns for hunting away has lead to people stockpiling guns and ammo. This in turn leads to the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act DOUBLING in total funds, since it is fed from a tax on those and a few other items used for hunting!

    Things are linked in interesting ways. 😀

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  • Aaron January 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for calling this guy out.

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  • rick January 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    but, but River View carries cold water to the Willamette …. underneath one of the least bike-friendly ODOT highways in the Portland area, highway 43 ! The new park will get subsidized, “free” auto parking.

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  • PNP January 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I would hope that the obvious hysteria in Miller’s writing (golf barons! water bottlers!) would undermine any influence he might have on decision-makers. He is, of course, entitled to express his opinion, but if I were in a position to evaluate his argument, he’d lose all credibility with me.

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  • Joe January 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    nice story dude, free forest park.. trails are for everyone right?

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  • longgone January 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Portland needs a bike culture intervention. The polemic divides wear me out. Controversy on nearly every front, if you wish to enjoy a bicycle. Is this place really all that fun anymore ?

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  • longgone January 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Jonathan… Has an opinion on the side of reasonable off-road cycling had an opportunity to be voiced in the Oregonian ? I never read it. Thanks for this post.

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  • pdx2wheeler January 12, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Maybe we should form an armed militia and take over the RVNA? Let them know we’re not leaving until they give the land back to the cyclists, and then some stuff about the constitution and fighting government overreach…? Oh, remember, we’re going to need lots of snacks…


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    • Opus the Poet January 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      of course they’re gonna need snacks, mosty Power Bars and energy gels. Gotta keep them carbs up for riding! 😉

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  • Scott January 12, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Propaganda? Are you kidding me? Apparently, you’re the only person in Portland entitled to have an opinion and anyone who differs with your opinion is now a propagandist.

    You’ve already badly misrepresented this situation in previous rants- I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am disappointed.

    There are many good candidates to add off-road cycling in the area- this isn’t one of them. I hike in the area frequently and it’s apparent to me that you haven’t ever been there yourself, or just don’t care about preserving stream habitat.

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    • MNBikeLuv January 12, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      I want to be as careful as I can in replying here because I want to be respectful as possible to your comment.

      You presume that you can’t build trails and preserve stream habitat at the same time. You can do both. Some places allow open stream crossings (Indiana does, for instance) but many places require an elevated boardwalk across drainageways and streams and in areas that could be amphibian habitat (usually 50′ from said stream). Wood boardwalks are basically zero impact options.

      Reducing or eliminating impacts to drainageways, wetlands and streams is trail building 101.

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      • 37Dennis January 13, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        In addition, I don’t believe “Scott” understands that the author of blog is also the photographer. Thus, he would have had to visit the area involved in the debate.

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    • Alex January 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      As a person who has lived literally across the street from FP for quite a number of years in the past and who has spent more hours in FP than a vast majority of people in Portland, I disagree.

      > Apparently, you’re the only person in Portland entitled to have an opinion and anyone who differs with your opinion is now a propagandist.

      This kind of response is ridiculous and I hope you are joking. Jonathan does a great job moderating comments here and he understands people having different opinions and allow them to express them. I think you are projecting.

      > There are many good candidates to add off-road cycling in the area- this isn’t one of them.

      Go on – where do you propose they are added?

      > I hike in the area frequently and it’s apparent to me that you haven’t ever been there yourself, or just don’t care about preserving stream habitat.

      All of the science I have found on the issue says the environmental impact on soils/streams of mountain biking is equivalent to hiking – if not less. Can you please point me to the science that says otherwise? Trail damage can be mitigated through proper engineering. IMBA and mountain bikers in general, has a great record of building environmentally sound/sensitive trails and being very active participants in protecting and improving the land.

      We are stewards as much as any other user group (perhaps more so), no matter how other “conservationist” groups try to cast us; please don’t treat us as the enemy.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Scott. Here’s the definition of propaganda:
      “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”

      To me, what John Miller wrote fits that description.

      And if you know me and my work, you’ll know that I have published countless opinions different than mine. I love people who disagree with me. I do not love, however, people who seek to spread fear and misinformation simply to achieve their agenda. That crosses a big line for me.

      And if you can point out any instance of me doing something like that, I would love to see it. Thanks.

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      • Scott January 13, 2016 at 10:37 am

        You’re not worth my time or effort. I’m done reading your blog- you’re no better than Lars Larson or Jack Bogdanski.

        Self important, humorless, narcissits like you are the impediement, not the solution to better modes of transportation.

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        • Karl Dickman January 13, 2016 at 10:51 am

          Disagreeing with Scott’s opinion != humorless self importance.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 13, 2016 at 11:17 am


          sorry scott.

          i’ll still be here doing this same work if you ever reconsider.

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          • longgone January 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm

            Well that was silly.
            I may not always agree with you Jonathan, but I’m glad you do what you do. At times I wish for more than one source… No insult intended.
            Sometimes I’m upset with the narrow mindedness of some of my cycling brethren, and I must turn away from this comment section.
            But for some damn reason, I always end up peeking in again!

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        • xanthoptica January 14, 2016 at 11:39 pm

          Regressing into ad hominems will not make anyone take you *more* seriously, Scott.

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    • Karl Dickman January 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      From the Riverview Subwatersheds Improvement Strategies Report (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/466688):

      “The culverts beneath Highway 43 impede potential fish passage. It is not known whether any of the Riverview subwatershed streams support localized fish communities or other aquatic organisms. Data regarding amphibian and macroinvertebrate populations are not available. In-stream habitat in the tributaries should be evaluated to determine current and potential habitat quality.” (24)

      So it’s actually not clear at all whether RVNA has high protection value.

      Note: “The culverts beneath Highway 43 impede potential fish passage” is something of an understatement. Elsewhere in the report, an ODOT survey is cited to note that almost all of the culverts were failing as of 2005.

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      • Karl Dickman January 12, 2016 at 5:41 pm

        Misremembered what it said about culverts:
        “The streams flow through a short section of culverts under Highway 43, the railroad corridor, and some of the Powers Marine Park pedestrian trail, all of which are parallel to each other and adjacent to the river. The culverts pass through these barriers on fill that was presumably placed in this location to build the transportation corridor. The culverts were assessed by BES Willamette Watershed team staff, and observed to be poorly functioning and in some cases, failing. These culverts are the only aquatic connectivity barriers for fish and other aquatic organisms in these streams.” (55)

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    • Karl Dickman January 13, 2016 at 12:18 am


      If you are concerned about stream habitat in the RVNA, there are many constructive things you could do. The area is highly degraded and needs a lot of tender loving care. Accusing people of not caring about stream habitat because they enjoy the wrong kind of recreational activity is unconstructive, uncalled for, and rude.
      * Organize ivy removal.
      * Organize trash removal.
      * Bank stabilization and revegetation. The streams are badly evulsed in places, possibly due to logging.
      * Raise money to fund a study to identify extent aquatic species.
      * Avoid visiting frequently during the rainy season to avoid erosion and stream sedimentation.
      * Trail reconstruction and closure. The trails are badly designed and prone to erosion. The stream crossings are especially damaging.

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  • shannon January 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Tangentially related: It’s rather heartbreaking to me that there are currently no challengers to Amanda Fritz’s council seat.

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  • Bjorn January 12, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Let’s be realistic about wilderness and Mountain Biking in Oregon, one is having a very negative impact on the other, but it isn’t the way Miller suggests. The 2009 wilderness act removed access to well over 100 miles of trails here in Oregon and now Oregon Wild is looking to add wilderness designation to even more traditional mountain bike trails. Cyclists aren’t invading, we are being slowly kicked out of more and more trails.

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    • resopmok January 12, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Oregon Wild isn’t your enemy. Wilderness designation is an important part of preserving our natural habitats from development and creating areas that can be enjoyed by everyone. Recreational MTB’ing definitely needs an outlet in accessible locations, but wilderness areas really are not the right places. They are outside city limits anyway, and it is really having something close that is desirable at this stage. At least, if I have my pulse on the community accurately enough.

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      • Alex January 12, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        Honestly, I think the hypocrisy in the wilderness act regarding mountain biking is that they allow horses and many types of mechanical transport. Horses do a lot of damage (by their own admission). Why is mountain biking banned again? Levers are ok, but gears are bad? I would just like to see some consistency if they are going to use environmental damage as an excuse.

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        • Dan A January 13, 2016 at 7:04 am

          As an example, you can’t take a single mountain bike into the Hells Canyon Wilderness on the OR-ID border. But you can take a group of 8 people and 16 horses.

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          • longgone January 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm

            As a competitive off-road motorcyclist, I’ve had more than a dozen lenghty conversations with National Park officials in the Mark Twain on impacts between bikes, motorcycles, and equestrians. According to my acquaintance, who was responsible for the (DEIS?) in the area, by far the worst impacts come from horses, and people on foot. His science, along with proper trail management and construction was said to show that bicycling actually helped reduce erriosion and slow water flow. Motorcycles were also less of a concern as well.

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            • longgone January 13, 2016 at 5:44 pm

              Oops, Mark Twain National Forest. Not park. My bad.

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      • bjorn January 13, 2016 at 12:18 am

        I might have even agreed with you in 2009, but after seeing them oppose construction of many new trails outside the wilderness after they said that replacement trails could be built I no longer do. I don’t see any reason why some mountain biking in wilderness areas on trails that are designed for it is any worse than pack animals, or people bringing their dogs along off leash, or for that matter why bicycles are banned, but cross country skis are not.

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      • flightlessbird January 13, 2016 at 10:24 am

        I fundamentally oppose any Wilderness proposal by default after what happened in the White Clouds in Id. That is what happens when you make bikes seem anti-enviroment and anti-conservation, you get people who would normally support your cause against those causes. Why would I support something the excludes ridding across the board, without reasonable consideration. This is a national lobbying failure on bike avocets just like bike access in portland is a lobbying failure on a local level. I hope both are changing. Do bikes belong everywhere? No. Do they belonging some places? Yes. Giant, evil, land destroying, multinational cooperations laugh their butts off every time an uncompromising conservationist alienates another user of similar thinking.

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  • Karl Dickman January 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Miller: “Normal hiking trails are no fun for mountain bikers. Mountain bikers need elevation drop for speed, and more land for longer runs. They seem to thrive on bumps, jumps, sharp turns and downhill speed.”
    Miller should try to learn a thing or two about mountain biking before shooting his mouth of.

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    • davemess January 12, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      I’m curious what a “normal hiking trail” is?

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      • bjorn January 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm

        Probably any one of the half dozen or so trails in Forest Park that I would happily ride if it was allowed, especially if they did something to mitigate conflict like close the trails to other uses one or two days a week. Cyclists aren’t the ones saying that the trails in this city are unsuitable for riding a bike on.

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        • Karl Dickman January 12, 2016 at 11:01 pm

          No closures are necessary to minimize conflict. Central Oregon is filled with trails that are no wider than Wildwood and see as more hikers and runners as well as many, many mountain bikers of all ages, genders, and skill levels. The Central Oregon Trail Alliance has a great list of advice to allow everyone to get along:

          1. Skidding causes erosion.
          Soils here can be very dry in the summer and are easily eroded by excessive skidding. We try to design and build trails with this in mind but mountain bikers should ride so that skidding and hard braking are minimized. Control your speed. Please also AVOID trails that are wet during the spring melting season. [Note: running and hiking on muddy trails causes erosion problems, too.]

          2. Keep Single Track single.
          Most vegetation is fragile and very sensitive to trampling. When passing others stop your bike and put a foot down rather than ride around. This will avoid widening the trail unnecessarily. Use passing lanes whenever possible. When you stop for a break please remove your bike from the trail so others can pass without being forced to go off the tread of the trail.

          3. Some trails can be crowded.
          Runners, dog walkers, families, tour groups, racers and recreational cyclists all share the same trails. Please be courteous to other users, and extend a friendly nod or “hello” when passing. You are not any more entitled to use these trails than anyone else; please behave and be friendly regardless of what the other trail users are doing.


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          • bjorn January 13, 2016 at 12:20 am

            I’ve seen some trails on the east coast that were multiuse by day. It was kind of nice to know that only bikes would be on the trail and that the use would be one directional. I think it is an advantage for everyone involved if a trail is heavily used.

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            • Karl Dickman January 13, 2016 at 9:15 am

              COTA’s building more one-direction trails right now, actually.

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          • Dan A January 13, 2016 at 7:10 am

            Timothy Lake has a multi-use trail going around it that’s very beginner-friendly. Of course, you have to get off and walk your bike for about 100 yards where the trail is shared with the PCT even if nobody is around….

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          • davemess January 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

            Central Oregon trails often have much better sight lines than what we have around Portland. Dense foliage and highly variable terrain leads to LOTS of blind turns.
            It’s apples to oranges.
            I agree that many trails around Portland would not be very good for shared use due to lack of sight lines.

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            • Karl Dickman January 13, 2016 at 9:21 am

              I couldn’t disagree more. CO has more miles of trails with bad sightlines than PDX, partly because CO has more trails, period. People know where the bad sightlines are and use appropriate caution.

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            • 37Dennis January 13, 2016 at 10:11 pm

              I have always found the issue of “sight lines ” a weak component in the argument against trail use.

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          • Mark smith January 13, 2016 at 11:36 pm

            Chicken little chicken little!

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      • MNBikeLuv January 12, 2016 at 6:55 pm

        I wonder that too since post-2007 they are built to the same set of guidelines…

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    • TheRealisticOne January 12, 2016 at 6:47 pm


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  • Tee January 12, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    I make my point as someone who road bikes and runs, let mountain bikes on the trails in Portland. My worst interactions on trails have involved unleashed dogs, not bikes!

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    • Mao January 12, 2016 at 10:25 pm

      Unleashed dogs really are one of the worst things. More so if you do not pick up their poop!

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    • GlowBoy January 13, 2016 at 8:07 am

      I’ve spent a lot of time in Forest Park as both a biker and a hiker. Can’t say I’ve really *ever* had an unpleasant interaction with a cyclist. Or an unleashed dog.

      IMO, complaining about dogs on the trails isn’t exactly conducive to the mentality of tolerance and sharing the trails that we mountain bikers claim to be striving for.

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      • Karl Dickman January 13, 2016 at 9:23 am

        How is getting attacked by a dog a failure to share the trail?

        It’s possible to complain about *individual* cases of rudeness or irresponsibility without holding an entire class of people accountable for it.

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      • 37Dennis January 13, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        Moreover, as a cyclist, one must be weary of canines on the loose wherever one rides. There will always have to be a give and take. Most dogs are not an issue, even off leash.
        @Karl, I understand that to have to dissuade a hostile dog can be unsettling.

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  • Mark Smith January 12, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I dream of the day when roads are taken over by people and bikes and there are literally trails everywhere.

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  • GlowBoy January 13, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Same crap, different year.

    When the new wilderness bill was passed back in 2009 – closing over 100 miles of trails to mountain bikes, many of them very little-used by either hikers or bikers – there were lots of letters to the editor published in the Oregonian regarding the closures.

    One of the letters said mountain biking is horrible for the environment because mountain bikers drive to the trails at high speeds in fuel-sucking trucks and use lots of high-tech electronic and titanium gear. Huh.

    As if hikers, campers, paddlers and skiers don’t drive the same percentage of fuel-wasting vehicles or use titanium gear. The cycling department at REI is a fairly small part of the store, and certainly doesn’t contain a higher share of titanium or electronics. But this is the kind of rhetoric that mountain bikers in Portland have always had to deal with.

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