Paul Andrews

Archive for the ‘Tiger Mountain’ Category

Tiger Mountain trail closed for year

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Tiger Mountain, Trail Access on September 9, 2009 at 7:07 am

They’re back logging again on Tiger Mountain, which this time means that the Northwest Timber Trail is closed for the year.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. The logging was not supposed to start till after Oct. 15, the beginning of the trail’s seasonal closure (till April 15). But with the economy improving and price of lumber expected to rise, the timber folks wanted to roll early, so we’re shut down six weeks too soon.

Bummer.

On the bright side, the hope is that the early start will mean an early end, and NWTT will reopen on schedule April 15th. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

A more pressing concern is that the logging will just seriously trash the trail for years to come. We reported earlier how crews installed a culvert emptying right onto the trail. With acres of logging consuming the trail over this winter, we have little hope that the NWTT we’ve grown to know and love will survive in anything close to its former self.

It needs to be reasserted that yes, we understand, Tiger Mountain is a “working forest,” raising funds for the state’s schoolchildren. That part we don’t mind.

But with miles of trails unavailable to mountain bikers on Tiger, we renew our plea for authorities — when closing one trail to bikes — to open another.

Last week’s closure marks the fourth year in a row that a section of Tiger trail open to mountain bikers has been shut down, with no counterbalancing trail opened up.

Opening Tiger Mountain Trail, a barely used southern exposure hiking trail that is hands down more suitable to biking than hiking, would give mountain bikers a nice alternative while a significant chunk of biking trail is closed.

Bike Intelligencer also resoundingly supports efforts to build new bike trails on Tiger. We dream of the day when you can ride a full singletrack loop without ever touching fire road.

For more background, see the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance chronology.

Tiger Mountain update: Leave Iverson A-L-O-N-E!!

In Tiger Mountain on August 10, 2009 at 11:22 am

The trails got a light dusting of rain Saturday night/Sunday morning but barely showed a trace by afternoon.

Hey, who’s doing trail work up there? They weenied out one of my favorite step-ups, the lower bridge at Iverson, and are in the process of smoothing out the jumpy final section on Iverson.

I’m sure these are all good Samaritans (WTA? REI?) trying to do the best, but please, LEAVE THE GNARLY STUFF ALONE! Trails this time of year don’t need attention, it’s late spring when we need the crews out. Save your energy for then. Just my $.02.

Tiger Mountain update: Trails in primo condition

In Mountain Biking, Tiger Mountain on July 20, 2009 at 1:58 am
Trifecta: Sunshine, Tiger and Trails

Trifecta: Sunshine, Tiger and Trails

You won’t see Tiger’s trails like this for a long time. They’re in primo condition, better than they will be two weeks from now. How can I say that so assuredly? Because if it rains, they’ll be wet. If it doesn’t rain, they’ll be on their way to getting pitted out from constant use.

There’s a trickle of water in three places, the usual creeklets, on Preston Railroad Grade. Apart from that, everything is bone dry. We’ve had a marvelous run of weather that has put the trails into a tacky rippable state you have to go back three or four years to duplicate.

The irony of course is that this time of year, most mountain bikers head for the high country. Whistler, NorthShore, interior B.C., Leavenworth, Winthrop and other points eastward. So Tiger gets its least seasonal use during the heart of the season.

Still, it remains my favorite ride in Seattle environs. Weekday evenings you can’t beat it, with the light staying longer this time of year. That’s why a number of us are working toward the day we can achieve wider access to Tiger trails.

Tiger Mountain trail reopens for the season

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Tiger Mountain on June 11, 2009 at 9:08 am
Not the scenic lunch spot, but at least trail is open

Not the scenic lunch spot, but at least trail is open

The good news is, Tiger Mountain’s primary mountain biking loop is open again. The DNR reopened Northwest Timber Trail earlier than expected (the first time that’s been done in recent years) this past weekend for the duration of the season.

The bad news is, Northwest Timber Trail is in serious jeopardy. A huge swath has been cut near its upper terminus for a road that Ys just below the trail. Above the trail enough hillside has been cleared that erosion and debris are certain to hammer the trail over the winter.

As it is, the trail is expected to be closed next summer for logging. There’s no word on alternatives yet, but we hope the closure can be used to justify access in other parts of Tiger. There are 80 miles of trail open to hikers, just 8 open to mountain bikers. And a good chunk of the latter will be gone with the closure of Northwest Timber Trail.

Umm...is this a good place for a culvert?

Umm...is this a good place for a culvert?

Bikes can ride over the road now. But a culvert was installed right above the trail just north of the new road, giving an idea of what is to come. You put a waterfall above a trail, you get a washout.

Let’s be clear about the issues here. Tiger Mountain is a working forest subject to logging. Closures are inevitable. Trail damage is a given.

But: For that very reason, arguments about environmental harm and use conflicts on Tiger are bogus. I like to joke that the only thing more devastating to a forest than logging is a mountain bike. The truth is, bikes cause mere specks of ecological impact compared to forest operations.

Aside from Poo Poo Point trail on the north side off I-90, hikers barely use Tiger trails. We have nothing against hiking use on any trails. But to exclude bikes when trails sit mostly empty is unfair and unjustified.

We support the work of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to work with the DNR and other user groups to open additional trails to mountain bike access at the very least on a provisional basis so that the myths of mountain bike impacts can be dispelled in a diverse user environment.

Tiger Mountain trail opening by weekend?

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Tiger Mountain, Trail Access on June 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

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.

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