Advertise on BikePortland

Subscriber Post - This post was written by a subscriber.
Want to subscribe? Learn More »

Subscriber Post: A breakout year for Northwest Trail Alliance

BikePortlander Post by Northwest Trail Alliance on January 25th, 2017 at 11:51 am

We love to ride… but that’s not all we do!

[Note: This post was submitted by BikePortland Business Subscriber Northwest Trail Alliance through our Subscriber Post system. We think it deserves a wider reach so we’ve posted it here on the Front Page. Remember, if you are a subscriber you can also be a contributor! We would love to amplify your voice and share your experiences with a wider audience. Sign up here. – Jonathan]

Hi! We’re new to the BikePortland community — and there’s a good chance the Northwest Trail Alliance is new to you — so we’d like to take a moment to introduce ourselves.

Building and maintaining trails is one of our main priorities.

We’re an all-volunteer non-profit providing mountain bike advocacy and trail stewardship, meaning we lobby for access, and build and maintain trails. We’ve been around since 1988, known then as PUMP (Portland United Mountain PedalerS), and became IMBA’s first Northwest chapter in 2009.

In 2016, NWTA volunteers invested over 8,800 hours — valued at more than $222,500 — into trail systems across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. Forty percent of our time was spent maintaining trails, another 40 percent planning and building anew. The remaining 20 percent of our time was divided almost equally between mountain bike advocacy and community-building events.

LL Stub Stewart State Park was our biggest beneficiary in 2016, with the installation of a new freeride trail, two new bridges, and trail signage taking the dedicated mountain bike area to a new level. At Mt St Helens, roughly eight miles of beginner and intermediate trail near Marble Mountain was re-opened in an epic single-day effort (our annual SHIFT campout), linking Ape Canyon Trail to Red Rock Pass. And nearly eight of 10 miles of trail lost to logging at Growlers Gulch were reclaimed.

Mighty as it was, the massive effort which transformed Portland’s Ventura Park pump track — opening it up to daily sessions from neighborhood kids and three NWTA-sponsored riding events — is only part of a larger resurgence of close-in, all-ages, all-abilities venues. Witness 2016’s newly opened skills course at Washougal’s Bike Park, Clark County Parks’ approval of a Fairgrounds meadow skills park, ongoing refinement at Eichler Park’s pump track, and the groundwork to gain official support for the extensive trail networks at Whipple Creek, Lacamas, and Fallen Leaf parks.

Take a Kid MTBing Day-29.jpg

We had a great turnout at Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day last fall.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Plus, of course, Gateway Green: The coalition of NWTA and Friends of Gateway Green, working in concert with Portland Parks, Metro, and IMBA, broke ground on the Dirt Lab, which will bring single-track, dirt jumps, a bike skills area, and gravity-oriented features to the park. One-fifth of all our volunteer hours went into these in-the-city venues.

Rework and re-routes increased the fun factor east on Mt Hood’s Timberline to Town trail, amping up its five miles and 125 turns, on the nearby Pioneer Bridle Trail, and on Washington’s Falls Creek Trail. By region, our efforts were split roughly 60/40 between Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.

These advances ride on our strong relationships with national, regional, and local land managers: The US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Parks, the Oregon Department of Forestry, Metro, Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Clark County Parks, Tualatin Hills Parks, Washington County Parks, and the cities of Camas, Cascade Locks, Castle Rock, and Washougal.

But we can’t stress enough that our ability to perform at this level is underwritten by Platinum sponsors Fat Tire Farm and REI; Gold sponsors Bike Gallery and Washington County Visitors Association; Silver sponsors ACME Construction Supply, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Lumberyard Bike Park, Sellwood Cycle Repair, Western Bikeworks, and Yakima; as well as Bronze sponsors Camas Bike and Sport, Clif Bar, Cyclepath PDX, Dakine, JLL Commercial Real Estate, KEEN, KOOL PAK Freight Carriers, Leatherman Tool, Oregon Enduro Series, Portland Design Works, salesforce.com, Santiam Bicycle, Smith Optics, SmithCFI, Stan’s NoTubes, Starbucks, and Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern. When you get the chance, please return the favor.

Our work in 2016 brought more trails, greater riding diversity, increased fun, and more close-to-home riding opportunities. It’s a tall order, but we’ll deliver even more in 2017. So the next time you see trail work underway, stop and express your gratitude. Better yet, join one of our trail building teams!

If you ride Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, please become a member or donate. Your kind contributions provide the simple basics for each and every trail work party.

— The Northwest Trail Alliance, NW-Trail.org.

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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

8 Comments
  • Brian January 25, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    The NWTA is such a huge asset to our local and regional community. I would love to see more local partnerships formed to take advantage of what they have to offer. Assistance with trail repair after storms like we just had comes to mind. NWTA was out at Stub Stewart almost immediately to clean up the multi-use trails, and I think there will be over 100 volunteers for the Gateway Green work party coming up. Both are impressive and show the dedication of the group to the areas they enjoy.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

  • GlowBoy January 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Still don’t like the new name, but I still love what NWTA does. If I still lived in Oregon (and had the corresponding opportunities to ride there frequently) I’d still be showing up for the occasional work party.

    [Side note: it’s Pioneer Bridle (not Bridal) Trail, since the name was due to its use for horse riding, not wedding ceremonies. I suppose it’s possible people have gotten married there, though. Blasted homophones!]

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Snowden January 25, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    NWTA has really stepped up it’s game over the last few years, and the results are evident. One thing that’s not mentioned here is the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan. NWTA was instrumental in getting funds allocated for this. We’ll see where it leads, but it was a huge push to get that project funded. Without that, the community would have been forced to rely on piecemeal efforts, as had been done in the past. Let’s hope for a positive outcome.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • I wear many hats January 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Great work NWTA!

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • rick January 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    What new mtb trails are for THPRD in Washington county? Raleigh Park Swim Center needs it.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Northwest Trail Alliance
      Northwest Trail Alliance January 27, 2017 at 8:39 am

      At the moment, our sole THPRD engagement is the jump line at Eichler Park. New efforts are commonly initiated by highly-motivated volunteers, and our member meeting this coming Tuesday, January 31st, at Velo Cult is a great way to drop in. Details at http://nw-trail.org/events/nwta-monthly-monthly-meeting/

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Dan A January 29, 2017 at 5:19 pm

        There are some very small rogue trails in the woods at the Tualatin Hills Rec Center and Kaiser Woods Park which are great for curious kids, but it looks like THPRD is trying to cover them up so people don’t use them. And there used to be one in Pioneer Park before THPRD decided to ‘improve’ it and pave it over with blacktop, at the same time that they told me they were looking for suitable locations for small trails in the district. Ironic. I’d bet there are more rogue trails out there that are being shut down instead of being looked at for future possibilities.

        Eichler Park is neat, but it’s too extreme for most kids under 10. I wish we could just dig out some basic beginner dirt loops in the PGE land just south of John Marty Park, but I suspect PGE/THPRD wouldn’t approve.

        Recommended Thumb up 0