Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘Trail Access’

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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Portland’s Forest Park to Add Singletrack?

In Mountain Biking, Trail Access on February 26, 2009 at 6:49 am

Anyone who has spent time in Portland marvels at how bike-friendly the place is. For all its bike-worthiness, however, it has been surprisingly stingy with singletrack for mountain bikes. This is even more curious when you consider one of the great bike shops on the West Coast, Fat Tire Farm, lies within the shadow of Forest Park. (You can ride mountain bikes in the park but only on the freeway-like fire roads and a very short connector trail.)

Now comes word of some movement to increase trail access in the park. Let’s hope the effort can move forward. Forest Park is heavily used by strollers, runners and hikers, but for all of that there’s plenty of trail to go around and mountain bikers should pose no problems as long as everyone is polite all round.

Tiger Mountain: Time to Move Forward Positively

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Trail Access on February 26, 2009 at 6:18 am

A recent Bike Intelligencer posting on Tiger Mountain access has generated a lively if not acrimonious discussion on the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Yahoo! forum.

It seems there’s lots of energy to talk. Why not siphon that energy into action as well? As I posted to the list:

A simple proposal: Whenever one of the MTB trails is closed temporarily (usually means nearly all of the season), we ask for temporary access to another trail. Tiger Mountain Trail is the obvious one, with southern exposure, very little hiker use. A road/trail combo gives you a great loop, incorporating Iverson. And in fact the club could easily put a short trail connector between Iverson and TMT. If you don’t know what I’m talking about check the Tiger Mt. map.

Temporary access would show the world doesn’t end with MTB usage. In fact, the trails would wind up in better condition as a result of EMBA access. We could guarantee that. EMBA doesn’t have to do this alone; we could solicit STM (if it’s still active) and other clubs. Plus I know some pretty good trail builders, not club members but active riders, who actually live right next door to Tiger.

Re trail activism, two thoughts: First, the club needs to tell us members what is actually happening with the trails — before decisions are made — and give us names, email addresses and phone numbers to make our voices heard. Public opinion does work! But when all of a sudden we see tape on NW Timber Trail and an announcement it’s been closed for the foreseeable future, it’s way too late and makes us feel snubbed in the process. Second, the club can do so much more to rally the troops: E-mail blasts, posting on this list, and other e-activism a la MoveOn and the Obama campaign (Republicans know this too and have been just as effective; right now they’re pimping Twitter of all things) give club members with day jobs and busy lives a chance to do something; the club could even set up a Web site contribution bot to raise money for a specific cause.

There are some pretty influential people in our community who mountain bike, and we can use our connections politically. But we need to be able to act early, meaning more communications from club leaders who are official points of contact, naturally, for agencies.

Finally, it seems mountain bikers are way too defensive vis-a-vis other user groups. We seem to accept a certain rep, but it’s based on ancient mythology propagated by the Harvey Mannings of the world, who have been overwhelmingly marginalized by now. The Obama generation, as I posted earlier, doesn’t much distinguish between hiking and biking on trails. If we are polite and state our case firmly, we can overcome the bogus stigma attached to our sport. I have hiker friends, very good friends, and never miss an opportunity to tell them the wonders of my sport. They have learned not to trot out the canards about trail damage and rudeness to me, because when I ask their data points and then give them mine, it’s no contest.

(BTW, the damage to upper Iverson is severe, due not to winter storms but to logging on the south side of the west road. Every time there is logging, new damage surfaces, whether from drainage or from wind exposure. It is ludicrous to suggest that mountain biking causes eco concerns given the depredations of logging in a “managed” forest such as Tiger.)