Tonight, after eight months of meetings, debates, and lobbying work, the Forest Park Singletrack Cycling Advisory Committee will finally, officially, present its recommendations on the future of singletrack mountain bike riding in Forest Park to Commissioner Nick Fish and Portland Parks and Recreation Director and Zari Santner.
The 15-member advisory committee, which consists of everyone from mountain bikers to runners to ecologists was formed last summer to tackle the contentious issue and, among other things, come up with solutions for crowding at the Thurman Gate entrance and reduce conflict between cyclists and other park users.
But the biggest hot-button issue over the last several months has been the demand for short-term access to more singletrack access in the park. To address this I-want-to-ride-today desire, representatives from the Northwest Trail Alliance have been lobbying for a “trail sharing” system that would involve cyclists being allowed to access either the Maple Trail or the Ridge Trail on certain days (riding is currently not allowed on those trails).
But according to NWTA members, such a plan will not be among the recommendations made to Commissioner Fish this evening. Meaning that, after eight months, the waiting for more singletrack riding in Forest Park may have only just begun.
If you’d like to hear the recommendations in person, Portland Parks is hosting an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 tonight at the Holiday Inn Express (2333 NW Vaughn, in NW Portland).
But even if the committee’s progress (or lack thereof) has you ready to kick your spokes out, don’t spend too much time rehearsing a heated oration in defense of your singletrack brethren (or against them for that matter). Instead get busy typing: Portland Parks will only be taking written comments this evening. Just remember to go easy on the all-caps and the !’s. No one likes being yelled at—even in writing. (Comments will also be accepted online beginning tomorrow.)
And If you do need to pedal out some frustrations, consider riding over to the event with NWTA members. Supporters are meeting up at the Fat Tire Farm parking lot (2714 NW Thurman) at 5:45 p.m., and will leave at 6:00 p.m. to ride together to the open house.