Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘tiger mountain’

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.


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. this a good place for a culvert? 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, 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.

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.

Daily Roundup: PUMP is now NTA, Hilarious pentagonal bike, Bike recession downer, Fully rigid ride up Tiger, Hilary ‘n Kate

In Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on May 29, 2009 at 6:28 am

Portland’s great mountain biking club, PUMP (Portland United Mountain Pedalers), has joined the “Alliance” movement among mountain biking organizations, changing its name to Northwest Trail Alliance and following in the footsteps of Seattle-based Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club’s changeover to Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance last year.

The idea here is to emphasize mountain biking’s outreach to other trail users, as well as other cycling organizations, to further access and improve image. Mountain biking is expanding, but trail access is not keeping pace. Yes there’s a lot of rogue activity by groms and others, building and extending trails in an unauthorized capacity. But to make the movement stick, mtbers will have to work with resource agencies, local governing bodies and the community at large. This takes a lot of trench work, for which we can be eternally thankful. Ally, ally! We can only win together.

More from

Copycat Update!: Scott Marlow noticed a certain similarity as well…in the logos (hat tip to Ross Cattelan for images):

Former BBTC logo

Former BBTC logo

NTA logo

NTA logo

Literally re-inventing the wheel:

I'll wait for the motocross version, thanks...

I'll wait for the motocross version, thanks...

The bike business continues to get hammered by the recession/Depression, but the good news (I think) is that bikes are outselling cars! As the Monty Python troup might put it, Always ride in the bright lane of life!

Over at BikingBis, Gene Bisbee rode up Tiger Mountain yesterday to admire the view of Mt. Rainier from the East Summit…on a fully rigid Rockhopper! That’s a “classic MTB” in the mountain biking world. Congrats Gene, and hope the ride down went, er, smoothly.

Have a great weekend! Not to extend the fully rigid metaphor, we depart with images of bike enthusiasts Kate Hudson and Hilary Duff (hat tips to Cyclelicious and Riding Pretty). Now get out and ride!

Kate on a Schwinn...

Kate on a Schwinn...

Hilary on a roll...

Hilary on a roll...

Tiger Update: Dry Memorial Day weekend forecast!

In Mountain Biking on May 22, 2009 at 6:24 am

Tiger Mountain is in great shape for riding this weekend, and the weather is supposed to be astounding. Upper Preston is almost completely dry, although lower Preston continues to be splatter time, with more wet spots than prom night. May 2009 has already nearly doubled the average rainfall for the month and we’ve still got 10 days to go.

But Northwest Timber and Iverson trails are dry, the latter being my fave spot right now on Tiger. While you can’t get the speed up of Preston, Iverson offers some challenging, jumpy lines, a couple of log rides and even that one “slickrock” down below.

Plus you get to stay dry!

The last couple of weekends have been jammed at Tiger, with overflow parking running up the left fork of the road toward the upper parking lot. It’s great to see so many people out — have fun!

Trail work: Discovering the satisfactions on Tiger

In Mountain Biking, Trail Access on May 21, 2009 at 11:03 pm

When we think about doing trail work, our first impulse tends to be, “Any time we spend working on a trail could alternatively be spent riding on a trail.” And guess which we’d rather do.

But over the years I’ve learned that trail maintenance has its upside. It’s convivial — you get to spend time with great people. It’s good karma — you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re contributing to something worthwhile. And it’s not as thankless as it might seem. Any riders passing by are generous with praise and gratitude. Their guilt is your good vibe.

So it was on Sunday, when a gang from Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance tackled the ever problematic (read “besotted”) Preston Railroad Grade for some spring cleaning. Any trail takes a beating over the winter. But Preston’s multiple drainages, rocky underpinnings, erosion-plagued switchbacks and overused legacy add up to make it truly a thing of wonder.

Brian Jones being laid up after back surgery, our fearless leader turned out to be Mire Levy, joined by Tim Banning, Doug Ernst and Glenn Glover. We rode up the fire road in Mire’s Honda PU and soon were on the trail scouting out opportunities. Before the first big switchback, the trail held a lot of little stuff, isolated rivulets and puddles where silting had blocked exit paths off the trail. Below the switchback, things got serious. I rode Preston at the beginning of the month and was amazed at what good shape it was in. But May 2009 has been brutally wet, with more than 150 percent its average rainfall by mid-month!

We split up, with Tim and Glenn taking on the lower trail and heavy lifting. Mire, Doug and I were left with a ton of little projects, which went quickly and well. I had to leave early but we’d made great progress after just a couple of hours of work. It helps to have the right tools: picks, rock rakes, shovels. In most cases it was a matter of moving mud (which is heavy and highly uncooperative) off the trail so water could escape to a culvert or ditch.

There are differing philosophies of trail maintenance, and Mire pointed out how officialdom that once was culvert-smitten now doesn’t recommend pipe smaller than 18 inches diameter. It clogs up too easily. Better to divert and channel water away. Yes, the surface will plug up again, but at least it’s easily evacuated. A sealed culvert, on the other hand, is a life to clear.

Doug wryly observed that two trail crews working independently, with differing philosophies, could easily result in a scenario where one puts in ditches and diversions and depressions, only to be followed by a second crew that fills everything back in.

That was not the case with our stalwart quintet. Here is a Before and After.

Before: Standing water in the middle of the trail

Before: Standing water in the middle of the trail

Ten minutes later: Water gone, trail drying

Ten minutes later: Water gone, trail drying

The following day, Monday, I rode Preston to take advantage of our work. It was amazing how dry the former trouble spots were. In some places I had to do double-takes just to make sure it was where I thought it was. Lots remains to be done. The further down you go, the more of a mess Preston is. In some ways the task on Preston is classically Sisyphian. The only saving grace is that the alternative — neglect — would be so much worse. Thanks Mire and all, for a day well spent! Now get out ‘n ride!

Today’s Ride: Trillium on Tiger!

In Mountain Biking, Today's Ride on May 14, 2009 at 8:41 am
A delicate, orchid-like native Northwest flower but please do not pick

A delicate, orchid-like native Northwest flower

Tiger Mountain is covered with trillium this Spring — be sure to watch for them if you’re there during this weekend’s predicted sunshine. I don’t recall noticing trillium at Tiger — Kachess Ridge being the ride I’ve most associated them with year after year. Perhaps with climate disruption they are spreading to lower climes. They are predominantly white but evolve in color to a lavender and even dark purple. The Wiki says they should not be picked — what look like leaves are actually bracts that serve reproductive functions, so if you pick the flower you kill the plant.

R+E trillium logo

R+E trillium logo

They’re particularly noticeable on Iverson near the mid-way point, up on the ridge before you drop down to the big bridge for the final rip down to the parking lot. Trivia point: The first time I ever wondered about trillium was seeing the wonderful R+E Cycles logo back in the 1970s. Today R+E builds custom Trillium bikes as well.