Without opportunities for non-motorized recreation, many people will never gain an appreciation for nature that turns them into exactly the kind of environmental advocates, donors and voters that groups like the Sierra Club and Mazamas depend on.
As a backpacker, environmentalist, and biologist (sort of), I understand why groups like Friends of Mt. Hood, Bark, Mazamas, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club might initially be wary of a mt. bike area on Mt. Hood. But, as a mt. unicycler and occasional mt. biker, I know those fears are exaggerated, unfounded, and uneducated. It’s time that outdoors and environmental groups stop hating on mt. bikers . Mt. bikers like Disciples of Dirt are stewards of the environment, not crazy ruffians trampling a pristine wilderness.
Furthermore, if we don’t have a condoned place to ride, renegade riders will make their own trails and those rarely are environmentally safe. I don’t condone this, but it happens. Having sanctioned places to ride keeps new riders riding on trails that are maintained by groups like Disciples of Dirt, rather than making their own trails wherever they want and leaving them to erosion.
Anyway, it’s rare that internet comments are useful, but you should read the following quoted comments from the BikePortland article. They succinctly explain why YOU should support mountain bike trails, which are currently very rare.
The big winds caused some trail damage this past week and though most hikers and bikers think the Forest Service clears and maintains all the trails we all love to hike and ride it’s actually volunteer groups, such as the Disciples of Dirt Mountain Bike Club (DOD), who contribute many thousands of hours to trail work each year. The various government agencies don’t have the manpower or budgets to do it all on their own anymore. After this weeks big winds DOD is gearing up to get some of those local trails cleared. The following information comes from Paul Timm, the Trailwork Coordinator for the DOD:
Each spring the DOD, and our sister club in Oakridge the Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards, or GOATS, organize multiple trailwork parties to tackle cutting out all the trees that blow down, repair the trail where erosion may have taken a toll, and cut back brush that encroaches. Many of our members are certified by the National Forest Service to operate chainsaws, and many of us have had field training on the right way to build and maintain trail from both the NFS and IMBA, the International Mountain Bika Association. IMBA is the recognized leader in trail design for safety and sustainability. See www.imba.com for more info.
Last Sunday’s wind storm caused some serious damage that everyone is aware of. Here it is 4 days after the storm as I am writing this, and some folks are still out of power. What do you think happened in the woods? Lots of trees fell and are blocking trails. To that end, we are organizing an immediate effort to reopen the trails in our winter playground near Lorane. If you think you might like to come out to lend a hand we could use you.
we are organizing an immediate effort to reopen the trails in our winter playground near Lorane. If you think you might like to come out to lend a hand we could use you.