Paul Andrews

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.

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