Subscriber Post: A breakout year for Northwest Trail Alliance

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.

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,, 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,

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