Northwest Trail Alliance: The trail ahead (Part 2)

Posted on January 23rd, 2018 at 10:15 am.

A rider finds the groove on a trail in Gateway Green, a signature project for Northwest Trail Alliance. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[This is the second part of a two-part post from Northwest Trail Alliance President Chris Rotvik. Don’t miss Part 1, a recap of 2017.]

Almost 30 years ago, Theo Patterson spoke up to make sure mountain bikes weren’t banned from Forest Park. To help, Patterson founded Portland United Mountain Pedalers, or PUMP. In 2009, PUMP became Northwest Trail Alliance, and we turn 30 this year. With our Big Three-Oh looming, let’s glance back and gaze forward.

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Northwest Trail Alliance: The tide is turning (Part 1)

Posted on January 23rd, 2018 at 10:15 am.

A father and daughter enjoy the new trails at Gateway Green’s Dirt Lab.
(Photos: J. Maus)

Standing with our partners (I’m on the left in green shirt) — including City Commissioners Amanda Fritz, Nick Fish, and Portland Parks Director Mike Abbaté — at opening day for the Dirt Lab at Gateway Green.

[We’re happy to publish a two-part article from Northwest Trail Alliance President Chris Rotvik. First, a recap of 2017. Then a look ahead to what’s in store this year.]

Throughout 2017, more than 1,700 mountain bikers — from shredders to striders — dropped in to Northwest Trail Alliance-hosted digging and riding events. And, all tolled, our volunteers carved a smidgen over 12,000 hours into our trails and the political arena that sustains the flow of riding in our region. Those hours equate to $360,000 of hard labor invested in elevating both our sport, and the tide on which our local cycling industry floats. Think of it as your membership and sponsorship currency, multiplied tenfold, and paid forward.

The urban scene captured the lion’s share of 2017’s effort. To date, we’ve brought forward more than 1,500 hours (and we’re not yet at the finish line) shaping Portland’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan (ORCMP). Simultaneously, our expertise, labor, and equipment helped bring the Dirt Lab at Gateway Green — the prototype of how ORCMP will reshape our urban riding scene — to life.

Opened in late June, the Dirt Lab has reinvigorated riding and advocacy, and there’s much good yet to come of it— in Forest Park, River View Natural Area, Washington Park, and drizzled across the smaller parks in Portland. Icing that cake is our sweet partnership with Metro, who’ll soon be bringing delectable riding in the North Tualatin Mountains beyond Forest Park, in Oregon City, and in the Gabbert Buttes to the east of Portland.

So, after 30 years, the urban tide is turning. Are you out there, Theo Patterson?


Take a Kid Mountain Biking day at Ventura Park.

Let’s step from the urban scene to our front-country venues: First, we wrote Stub Stewart State Park the equivalent of a $60,000 check in the form of 2,500 volunteer hours, the highest across all our sites (Gateway Green and Growler’s Gulch ranked second and third at 1,800 and 1,600 hours, respectively). At Stub, we put paid to two new bridges, two new coach-ready, skill-building loops, a significant trail re-route, and two riding events. Next, the trail gnomes of Southwest Washington topped the mileage charts by adding — with their usual surgical precision — another five miles of new line to the fabled Growler’s Gulch system. (Digging is your ticket to entry, so if you’d like to ride Growler’s magic carpet, sign up for the work parties … find them on nw-trail.org.)

Elsewhere in the region, we buffed-out the trails. And buffed some more, for a total of 1,900 hours of wax on, wax off at Sandy Ridge, St. Helens, Coldwater Lake, Scappoose, Tillamook, Lacamas, Cascade Locks, Eichler, Powell Butte, Hagg Lake, and Whipple Creek. That’s the equivalent of re-shaping and brushing seven hours a day, five days a week, year-round. Mister Miyagi would be proud.

OK, then. We’ve brought almost two thousand of our new best friends to the party, opened a bike park, gained significant urban mountain biking momentum, raised Stub and Growler’s yet another notch, kept Sandy Ridge a premier destination despite the onslaught of almost one hundred thousand gravity-fueled runs, and sustained 10 other regional riding destinations. Not bad, eh?

While 2017’s achievements just might be a high water mark for the organization, we’re already over it, aside from just one thing … our gratitude. If it weren’t for you — member, sponsor, volunteer — mountain biking in the region would be dirt poor. Thank you for all you do for our shared passion.

Oh, and 2018 promises to be a gangbuster. Care to join us?

— Chris Rotvik, President, Northwest Trail Alliance

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Oregon now has an interscholastic mountain bike racing league

Posted on December 4th, 2017 at 4:59 pm.

It’s official! Love that logo.

Ever wished your child could compete on a cycling team based at their school? Now they can.

Today the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) announced that Oregon is the latest state to join what is already a bustling league with 800 school-based teams, 14,500 student athletes and 6,000 licensed coaches nationwide. NICA is a nonprofit founded in 2009 with a mission to use cycling as a way to foster a healthy lifestyle for young people in 6th through 12th grades. States with existings programs include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Northern California, Pennsylvania, Southern California, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Heather Wolfgang will be director of the new Interscholastic Oregon Cycling league. Wolfgang recently moved to Portland from the San Francisco Bay Area where she helped grow the Norcal High School Cycling League, which boasts over 1,200 student-athlete members and is one of the largest NICA leagues in the country.

“A lot of people say that they wish they had something like this when they were in high school because of how inclusive and fun it is,” Wolfgang said in a NICA statement. “What we’ll be able to do is bring teens of all abilities, experiences, and backgrounds into the same space to create a truly unique experience. My favorite part of this organization is that we’ll help show teens what they’re capable of through riding bikes. I’m honored to be involved with the Oregon League and look forward to building up our youth cycling community across the state!”
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Guest post: Where we stand on Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan

Posted on November 22nd, 2017 at 3:50 pm.

Where will we ride in the future? It’s time to weigh-in with your comments.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post was written by the Northwest Trail Allliance, a Portland-based nonprofit and a BikePortland supporter.

Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan (ORCMP) is now in its final stage of development, the Draft Plan Phase. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is asking the public for feedback on the Draft, which will be incorporated into the Proposed Plan presented to City Council for adoption. As an off-road cyclist in Portland, this is an important opportunity for you to tell the City what you think about the Draft. If you want urban trails, now is the time to elevate your voice.

We encourage you to read the overview or full text of the Draft Plan and then submit your comments by December 31 via the ORCMP comment form, interactive map, or at the upcoming ORCMP open houses.

To assist, we’ve distilled the main elements of the Draft Plan as well as suggested areas of improvement that you may wish to include in your feedback to the City.

Key ORCMP Elements – By the Numbers

5.7 miles of natural surface, narrow to mid-width trails are currently open to cycling across the city.
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Draft Off-road Cycling Master Plan now available for comment

Posted on November 2nd, 2017 at 1:00 pm.

Image from draft plan showing possible singletrack loop at the “Dog Bowl” in north Portland.

The Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability has released a draft of the long-awaited Off-road Cycling Master Plan and they’re taking comments on it until December 17th.
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Four-month closure of Stub Stewart trails starts November 1st – UPDATE

Posted on October 24th, 2017 at 11:33 am.

Vernonia Stub Singletrack Century-17.jpg

We’ll miss you. But it’s for the best.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

UPDATE: This project has been delayed and the trails are still open until further notice. Please see the Oregon State Parks website for latest updates.

You have about one more week to enjoy the awesome off-road biking trails at Stub Stewart State Park before they close for the winter.

Word from our friends at the Northwest Trail Alliance is that a logging project is set to begin in November and continue to the end of February. In addition, Oregon State Parks says that the paved Banks-Vernonia path will be closed between Buxton and Tophill for the month of January. The BV will be closed Monday through Friday from January 8th through the end of that month due to helicopter operations.

The purpose of the Stub Stewart closures is a logging and forest management project. NWTA trail builder Joe Rykowski says crews will use helicopters to thin the forest — a project aimed at improving the overall health of the forest that will have the added benefit of making biking better. Helicopters will be used (instead of trucks and tractors) in order to limit erosion and other environmental impacts to the trail system. This also allow crews to lift each tree out of the forest without it ever touching the ground. About 560 acres will be logged and about 25 to 40 percent of trees will be removed depending on the area.
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The Oregon Timber Trail is ready: Are you?

Posted on July 25th, 2017 at 10:14 am.

(Photos by Gabriel Amadeus, Limberlost)

At long last the Oregon Timber Trail is open for business.

After a soft-launch back in March, the 668-mile backcountry mountain bike route is now fully mapped and all the resources you need to research and plan your trip can be found on the official website.
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Sneak peek at Gateway Green, east Portland’s off-road biking oasis

Posted on June 15th, 2017 at 2:10 pm.

Gateway Green will offer an impressive array of off-road riding experiences.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Believe it or not the opening of new bike trails at Gateway Green is just over one week away. Dubbed the “Dirt Lab,” the new park’s skills area, jump lines, and single-track trails will offer an enticing combination of riding experiences unlike anything Portland has ever seen before.
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Guest post: Hopes and concerns for Forest Park loom over off-road cycling plan

Posted on April 10th, 2017 at 2:25 pm.

The future of Forest Park is in our hands.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post was written by Daniel Greenstadt. Daniel last appeared on BikePortland for his testimony in favor of funding the off-road cycling plan at City Council in 2015. He’s a Portland-based hiker, bicycle rider, Girl Scout leader, and occasional equestrian trail user who also serves on the Board of Directors of the Concordia Neighborhood Association.
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City: Tells us where to build off-road bike trails

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 at 2:14 pm.

Ventura Park Pump Track grand opening-17

The pump track at Ventura Park. Where should we build more of these?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Where should we build bike parks and pump tracks? Are there parcels of vacant land where a network of dirt cycling trails could be stitched together? Should we consider improving and/or expanding bicycle access on trails in Forest Park?

These are the questions the City of Portland wants help answering as they move closer to the completion of Portland’s first-ever Off-Road Cycling Master Plan.

After 14 months of meetings with an advisory committeee the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (they’re leading the project but the parks and transportation bureaus are also involved) released a virtual open house today. BPS has also released dates for four open houses and two community events in April.
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