Fresh off the dismissal of a lawsuit that has tied up their mountain bike park plans for nearly six years, Timberline announced this morning that they are “moving forward.”
“Timberline is very pleased with the Court’s decision and is excited to move forward.”
— Steve Kruse, GM of Mountain Operations at Timberline
In a new press release, Timberline said they are “very pleased with the Court’s decision” and they are “excited to move forward with lift-assisted mountain biking at Timberline Lodge and Ski Area.”
In her ruling dated March 31st, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken found that the U.S. Forest Service has followed all applicable federal environmental laws. In her opinion, the complaints and suits filed by Portland-based nonprofit groups failed to raise substantive objections to the project on either ecological or procedural grounds.
Timberline’s General Manager for Mountain Operations Steve Kruse wrote in an email to me this morning that, “This is a good, environmentally sound project.” He also lauded U.S. Forest Service biologists and environmental analysts who “worked long and hard” and “in a very thorough fashion.”
We also heard from a representative of the plaintiffs (Sierra Club, Bark, Friends of Mount Hood, and Northwest Environmental Defense Center) yesterday after publishing our report. Crag Law Center Staff Attorney Oliver Stiefel said, “Our clients care deeply about Mt. Hood and the unique portal to public land on mountain’s southern flanks that Timberline provides. We’re reviewing the decision and assessing next steps.”
As per the Timberline’s plans first revealed in 2012, the project calls for 17 miles of bike-specific trails, a bike skills park, and chair-lifts to help riders reach trailheads.
The project will be built by Gravity Logic, a Whistler, Britsh Columbia-based company that has built very successful bike parks and trail systems all over the world.
In their statement today, Timberline also made it clear that they see themselves as stewards of Mt. Hood and that they, “remain committed to providing quality public recreation within the capabilities of the ecosystem.” The company sees the bike park — which they refer to as a “modest and carefully designed project” — as a key part of their plan to become a year-round destination. Once complete, the park is likely to create a significant economic boost to Oregon and the region. A 2006 study by the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association found that the Whistler Mountain Bike Park generated $39.1 million in economic activity from its visitors in just one, four-month summer season.
The first phase of the new park will begin construction this summer and will include elements for riders of all interests and skill levels. In addition to a skills park and trail system, the Timberline Mountain Bike Park will include both natural and built riding features, jump lines, and a full service retail bike shop that will offer rentals. “Riders interested in being among the first to ride the park are encouraged to stay tuned at www.timberlinelodge.com.”
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