Over on MTBR.com, Jon Kennedy of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has a post updating the group’s efforts to increase access to Tiger Mountain. Jon and I spoke yesterday, and I came away encouraged by EMBA’s efforts to raise awareness and integrate mountain biking interests with trail planning in the region, and especially on Tiger.
Jon mentions that with the great weather we’ve been having, the logging prep operation that shut down Northwest Timber Trail last week is getting finished earlier than expected. We may have the trail back by the weekend. There will be some damage to the upper section, right before the trail begins to drop for good, but it will be more aesthetic than functional.
On the broader topic of increased access, Jon reports: “Evergreen has recently been appointed a seat on the Snoqualmie Unit Advisory Committee (SUAC). The SUAC (originally the Tiger Advisory Committee) reflects a cross section of diverse public interests concerned about the operation of the State Forest. They are tasked with serving the DNR as an advisory committee to make recommendations for land management and recreation purposes. Evergreen is pleased to now have a seat on this committee and is looking forward to working with delegates form various user groups and agencies in the area. In regards to a reroute – I am in conversation with the DNR about potential reroutes but nothing is set in stone. The local hiking community is understandably protective and concerned about their trails and we need to respect that. Poaching doesn’t help the case at all and it’s now more important than ever that the mountain bike community be on their best behavior as we enter this new process. Evergreen will work cooperatively with the DNR to find the best solution before next season. “
See comments on this thread, in particular Anthony Cree’s right-on observation about mindset. I’d echo Anthony’s sentiments — there’s no reason for mountain bikers to be defensive on the issue of trail access. We’re in a new era today, you might compare it to post-Obama* inclusiveness where a Latina can be nominated to the Supreme Court and gays can marry, where no single group dictates the rules of trail use. We need to approach any trail access situation with the attitude that we deserve equal treatment and respect at the table.
Thanks Jon and the entire EMBA gang, for the patient and demanding trench work on all our behalf.
*Sorry Anthony for the Obama reference, I couldn’t help myself.