Tales From The Trails:

Off-Road Cycling in Forest Park

We know many of you have questions about the City of Portland’s Off-Road Cycling planning process and how it might impact Forest Park.

This is not an easy issue for our community. We want to take a moment to share with you information about the process the City of Portland is leading and where the Forest Park Conservancy stands at this time on this issue.

In the spring of 2016, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability embarked upon a city-wide process to create an Off-Road Cycling Master Plan. They are looking at all off-road cycling activities from pump tracks and skills parks to mountain biking trails. They are looking at all land the City manages.

The Forest Park Conservancy’s Executive Director sits on the Advisory Committee along with representatives from the biking community, environmental and civic groups and community leaders. It’s important for us to be involved in the dialogue. While we can’t speculate on what the City may ultimately propose, our goal is to seek meaningful engagement in regard to any recommendations or proposals that may affect Forest Park and its many users.

Forest Park is managed by the City of Portland and the City makes all decisions regarding trail and land use within the park. As the leading non-profit involved in restoring Forest Park, FPC’s top priorities in regard to any proposal impacting Forest Park – biking or otherwise – are the ecological health of the park and the safety of its users.

FPC is open to proposals for mountain biking in Forest Park. At the same time, we will remain steadfast in our position that we will not support any proposal that includes opening up the iconic Wildwood Trail for use as a mountain biking trail.

Additionally, we support enlisting additional rangers in Forest Park to help ensure user safety, proper trail use and Forest Park protection for all uses, including enforcement of off-leash dogs.

FPC’s support for any proposal will be based on ensuring that whatever is proposed will not negatively impact Forest Park’s ecosystem, including wildlife, watershed and habitat quality. It doesn’t make a difference whether the proposal is about cycling or some other use or development plan, protecting the ecological health of the Park for wildlife and the enjoyment of all users will always be central to our mission and values.

At this time, the committee and community are being asked to consider possibilities for Forest Park. There are five proposed off-road cycling trails currently under consideration. Click here to learn more about these proposals. It’s important to note that in order for the City to either build a new trail or shift the use of an existing trail, the project would have to go through a rigorous environmental assessment and review to ensure the change would not harm Forest Park’s ecological health or compromise user safety. We will take a very close look at the proposals put forward weighing the potential changes in Forest Park against the ecological impacts and benefits to the community.

 

While this is a challenging issue for our community, I am grateful to see so many people who are so deeply committed to Forest Park. From avid wildlife watchers to mountain bikers to runners, I know you all love Forest Park. I am hopeful we can work together to support the City’s process and arrive at solutions to this long-standing challenge.

See our Frequently Asked Questions here. If you want to learn more about the process the City is leading, please visit their website.

 


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