Paul Andrews

Another Tiger closure, time for action

In Mountain Biking, Trail Access on May 31, 2009 at 7:05 am

An increasingly familiar sight on Tiger Mountain

An increasingly familiar sight on Tiger Mountain

The Northwest Timber Trail on Tiger Mountain is closed again, this time for logging prep work near the upper trail.

The good news is that the damage involves (so far) just one section, a yarding line just above where the trail starts to drop for good, and that a mid-June reopening is “expected.” I put the word in quotes because past experience is that closures last longer, a LOT longer, than originally promised.

The bad news is the continuing pattern of Tiger trail closures during the height of mountain biking season. Next year’s plans include another closure at NWTT, making it three out of four years. And Iverson was closed one summer as well.

We’ve been clear in the past but it bears repeating: DNR should open other Tiger trails to mountain bikes when one of the only two loops open now (Preston-NWTT and Iverson) are closed. The prime candidate should be Tiger Middle Trail, which could be linked to Iverson for a southern version of the Preston loop.

The solution: Open Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT)!

The solution: Open Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT)!

TMT is scantily used by hikers because, basically, it’s a big commitment. An east summit connection would be in the range of an 8–mile hike, with a lot of steep climbing and uninspiring road thrown in. Mountain bikes are far better suited to this loop than hikers.

The other argument for mountain bikes is that TMT’s southern exposure means better trail conditions, especially drier. And a temporary opening would give the MTB community an opportunity to show its trail manners and maintenance commitment.

There’s enough sentiment, broadly distributed through the mountain biking community, for additional access on Tiger that the time is right to pursue an outreach campaign. It will take a coordinated effort. We’d love to be able to do what we can.

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