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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Directional Trails Plan, go on your ride, when you want and have minimal interruptions of your ride.

What if you decided to go for a ride in the Phil’s complex and rode from Phil’s Trailhead up to the 300 road and back and only saw a few other riders. In recent years this has become less likely on any given day. More often, more of us are choosing to drive to other trailheads rather than Phil’s to avoid conflicts and interruptions on daily rides.

COTA has developed a pro-active, user-based initiative to preserve and enhance the user experience in the ever more popular Phil’s Trail Complex.

The Plan will be implement on the ground by April 5th.

What are the routes?
  • Phil's Trail Complex: Ben’s Trail to Phil’s Trail. Ben’s will be uphill only from Phil’s trailhead to Road 300. Phil’s will be downhill only from the three way intersection at Kent’s (#18) to Phil’s trailhead. No other trails within the lower triangle will be directional. Whoops will remain downhill only.
  • Wanoga: Tyler’s Traverse will be downhill from the intersection of the Kiwa Butte Trail to Conklin Road, with the exception of a short two-way section, from the Duodenum/Road 260 intersection down to Road 50 (about ½ mile).

This year, the COTA Board organized a diverse sub-committee to look into the feasibility of directional trails for the Phil’s and Wanoga networks. The sub-committee is a mix of 4 current COTA Board members, and 7 members from the community including bike shop employees, trail adopters, and your fellow riders. We looked at comments received from our fellow riders coming in via emails, facebook and the forums. We polled other areas across the country and on the other side of the world. What is working are simple one-way trail systems. What is not working are complex systems of odd/even calendar days or limited piece-meal solutions. Our research found that we needed to have the longest uninterrupted loop possible to ensure the success of the Directional Trails Plan.

The committee reviewed the current status of the trails and the trend in usage of the trails. We looked at the known future: town is growing again, the Forest Service has plans to improve the Phil’s Trailhead expanding parking next season and adding a Welcome Center, which will include approximately and additional 30 space parking lot on the south side of the Phil’s Trail Complex. The reality is, our busy trails system is going to get busier.

The “Trail Love” etiquette campaign has been a great start to addressing the increased usage, as is the addition of better signage for the Complex. The etiquette campaign and signage will continue.

The benefits of directional trails include:


  • More riding. Less stopping. How many rides have you been on in the last year or two that were interrupted by more and more users going the opposite direction you were going?
  • Less conflict. Ride your own ride. Have you had a bad experience with some jerk running you off the trail? Have you scheduled your life around ride times that may help you avoid the crowds?
  • Enjoy the forest. See fewer people. By riding with the flow of other users you’ll see fewer people.
  • Safety. In recent years COTA receives more and more first hand accounts of serious injuries caused by head-on collisions with other users.
  • Keep single track single. With fewer riders passing one another the trails will return to a more pure single track for more enjoyable riding. COTA will not be altering the character of these trails for their new designation.
  • Try it. You’ll like it. Trail networks around the country have adopted one-way systems with great success. Fruita is a great example of going on a ride from an overflowing parking lot only to find that you are by yourself and on your own ride the whole time.

Why were certain trails made a certain direction?

  • The Phil’s Trail Complex is best known for its traditional cross-country style riding. We aimed to have the longest and most uninterrupted loop while maintaining the most ride options. The trails affected combine to about 6 miles of the 48 miles of trail within the lower (below 300rd) Complex.
  • Ben’s Trail is a natural up-route because it has the most intersections, making turn around loops most viable. Thus allowing uninterrupted climbing route for the XC orientated Phil’s Complex.
  • Phil’s Canyon with the steepest section of trail in the Lower Phil’s Complex, is a natural downhill route allowing riders uninterrupted descents.
  • Kent’s trail is the easiest trail in the Complex, therefore was chosen to remain two-way to allow beginner riders an easy uphill/downhill route.
  • In the Wanoga Complex the nod goes to the more gravity orientated riders with the focus being on the core design principles of the area which is to host cycling events.
  • Tyler’s Traverse was chosen to be mostly downhill as it is the newest and has the greatest elevation loss per mile of any of the Wanoga trails. The overgrown roads that parallel the one-way downhill sections provide social uphill routes.

Once you give it a try you may find that the Phil’s Complex is again a welcoming trail system.

See our webpage for FAQ's

Sincerely,
Your fellow riders: COTA Board and Directional Trails Sub-Committee
 

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That is a very informative post. Seems like it answers alot of questions people may have about a one way loop being implemented.
Was good to see that several different people from the community were approached and quized about this.
I have ridden in several places with directional/one way trails and found them to be a blast. You actually get to just ride without constantly looking out for people coming the other way.
Nice work, I look forward to riding home after a long day on the trails this summer and being able to finish with a nice cruizer run down Phil's.

Thanks, COTA
 

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First off, I need to preface this post to say that I am on the COTA board, although I was not involved with the directional trails committee.
When we first started discussing directional trails 2 plus years ago, I was adamantly against it. Like a lot of people, I didn't want someone telling which way I could or could not ride. I usually avoided Phil's trail head and all of the trails in the lower triangle during the busy times. Not ideal but I dealt with it by riding, or more often driving to spots further afield.
Fast forward two years and I found myself riding those trails and through the trail head almost daily out of necessity. I was shocked by the sheer volume of people in the lower complex. It didn't seem to matter what time of day or what day I rode through, it was packed.
To say that this seriously degraded the riding experience would be understatement. Stopping 10-12 times in a 4 mile section to yield to other riders then watching them ride 10ft. off of the trail anyway as they went by got really old.
The fact is, something needed to be done.
The board was presented with a well thought out and comprehensive proposal from the directional trails committee(see above) and after lengthy discussion, we approved it.
Personally, I am looking forward to the changes, and I truly believe that it will enhance the trail experience for everyone.
 

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Just curious, will a new trail be constructed from where the bottom of Whoops meets Rd. 300, to take riders over to Phil's? Sure, one could ride road 300 (short as it may be), but who wants to ride a road?
 

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Just curious, will a new trail be constructed from where the bottom of Whoops meets Rd. 300, to take riders over to Phil's? Sure, one could ride road 300 (short as it may be), but who wants to ride a road?
Good question/Suggestion.

We've had a series of conversations over the winter with the Forest Service pressing them to allow us to construct exactly the trail you suggested and a couple other that would be nice additions to the Directional Trails Plan. However the FS required to compete a full environmental review for any new trail. We will be presenting the FS with a full trail proposal for those types of connections within the Phil's Complex. These things take considerable TIME (and money) on the part of the FS.

We will however be making minor intersection realignments (which are allowed) along the 300 road with aim to improve the flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Choices: Phil’s/Kent’s/Ben’s

Some good input here and on Facebook. Questions being asked most often seems to be some version of "why this trail vs that trail?" or "why designate an uphill?"

The Phil’s Trail Complex is best known for its traditional cross-country riding and we intend to preserve that riding experience. When we did our research locally, across the country and internationally, we found that the most successful one-way programs had longer loops that included the uphill and the downhill, rather than a single directional trail. Therefore the committee aimed to designate the longest uphill/downhill loop while maintaining the most ride options.

We wanted to maintain equal value on both the uphill and downhill riding experience. Therefore, if we designated only downhill routes, that would leave uphill riders with no choice but to continuously encounter oncoming traffic. Similar to roads, we don’t have one way without the other.

Three trails leave the Phil’s Trailhead in a westerly direction: Phil’s, Ben’s and Kent’s. In the end we selected Phil’s and Ben’s to make the longest directional loop while affecting the fewest trails.

Ben’s Trail was chosen as the up-route because although it is the longest of the three trails, it has the most intersections, making turn around loops most viable to allow for shorter loops. This will allow more beginner riders, kids or anyone who wants a shorter loop to have four options – turn at MTB, turn at Express, turn at Voodoo or turn at Road 300.

Phil’s Trail was chosen as the return route because it has the most significant downhill section, The Canyon. Phil’s also has shorter sightlines with more risk of conflict between riders going both directions.

The section of Phil’s Trail above Junction #18 (where Kent’s comes in) is two way due to open sightlines and the need for Kent’s traffic to continue toward Heli-Pad.

Kent’s trail is the shortest of the three trails in the Complex, and will remain two-way to allow beginner riders an easy uphill and downhill routes as well as an out and back option.

Ride when you want, less stopping and see fewer people. One-Way the fun way.
 

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After some thought on this, I have one particular concern. Effectively there will only be one sane way to get to road 300 going UH (i.e., Bens). By making Bens UH only, everyone coming down from road 300 will be forced on Phils, which between marker 25 and 19 is open to UH and DH traffic. So going UH on Phils from marker 19 to 25 will be a major pain in the ass because I have to believe that most folks coming down from marker 25 (road 300) will be railing it pretty good. Furthermore, there will now only be ONE possible route down from road 300 with this change. That is A LOT of traffic dumping onto Phils at marker 25.

Will COTA be posting clear signage at marker 25 that indicates that Phils is a two way trail from marker 25 and that DH yields to UH?

It be awesome to extend Kents from marker 19 with new singletrack, beween Phils and GS, which links up with road 300.
 

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How is that COTA is determining trail use policy on public land? Seems like there should be another step or two in this process, where COTA recommends these changes to USFS, and the USFS then considers them and allows public input, and then the USFS decides on the policy.

I can see merits to the plan, although COTA's process and communication are underwhelming. It's concerning though if a small subgroup of a nonprofit can dictate trail rules to the USFS. Put some hikers in control and Bend would be Forest Park.
 

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IMO the one way changes are good news and needed for safety with the large number of riders. A future improvement could be a trail that connects Ben's to the top of Whoops. But for now 300 up to HP works.
 

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COTA has worked with the local agencies for years and gained alot of trust with the great work it does. Not just the USFS.
Does COTA have to ask for public/member permission every time they do a trail upgrade, re route, sign change, new drainage, alter an intersection, add a pump track.....?
To a certain degree isn't the board elected by the people to help make decisions for them?
I am sure the rules were not dictated to the USFS. They (USFS) were probably presented with a well thought out plan from COTA explaining what , why, how they came up with it and who was in the decision making process.
The fact that the USFS is in full cooperation with this plan makes me think they were not told what to do but looked into the facts and thought it a good idea.
From a quick look at the map it seems the directional loop really only affects about 7 miles of trail total, of which there is close to 50 miles in the greater Phils triangle area. That is less than 5% of the trails affected. Thats a pretty small percentage.
To help make this work well I would guess COTA will have signage up to help streamline this change.
One way trails within a trail system can really help with flow on the directional trails and those that are two way. Alot of people come to Bend to vacation and may rent a bike for a day or two. If they can show up at Phil's trailhead, as most do. And see a well laid out route, I guess a good majority of them may take that route. That would probably free up some of the other trails of 'tourists' who really don't know where they are going? And also have no idea of the trail etiquette program we have going here.
I hope that people can give this a chance, as in a riding season. To really evaluate how this effects the trails and their overall riding experience.
I know for me last summer it was getting quite frustrating trying to navigate through Phils area on my way home and having to stop regularly to let people by. If you do go out this summer and ride 'the loop' or parts of it and actually have a fairly uninterrupted ride...think of how it was last summer.
Give it a go,
Try it, you might just like it.
 

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After some thought on this, I have one particular concern. Effectively there will only be one sane way to get to road 300 going UH (i.e., Bens). By making Bens UH only, everyone coming down from road 300 will be forced on Phils, which between marker 25 and 19 is open to UH and DH traffic. So going UH on Phils from marker 19 to 25 will be a major pain in the ass because I have to believe that most folks coming down from marker 25 (road 300) will be railing it pretty good. Furthermore, there will now only be ONE possible route down from road 300 with this change. That is A LOT of traffic dumping onto Phils at marker 25.

Will COTA be posting clear signage at marker 25 that indicates that Phils is a two way trail from marker 25 and that DH yields to UH?

It be awesome to extend Kents from marker 19 with new singletrack, beween Phils and GS, which links up with road 300.
Spry.

Yes, there will be very clear signage posted at key intersection. Exactly those intersections you mention. The signage will also reinforce the Trail Love etiquette messages.

Yeah, it would be awesome to extend Kent's.
 

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How is that COTA is determining trail use policy on public land? Seems like there should be another step or two in this process, where COTA recommends these changes to USFS, and the USFS then considers them and allows public input, and then the USFS decides on the policy.

I can see merits to the plan, although COTA's process and communication are underwhelming. It's concerning though if a small subgroup of a nonprofit can dictate trail rules to the USFS. Put some hikers in control and Bend would be Forest Park.
ACree,

Thanks for the comments. They are a good reminder how mtn bike focused this town is. We all live here to enjoy these trails and at the same time we benefit in some ways from the economy they help drive. Yes, we will continue to advocate for mountain biking and human powered trails. We spend a ton of effort earning the support of the USFS and in turn they are supporting this mtn biker developed initiative.
 

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Yeah, it would be awesome to extend Kent's.
Could the above happen?

Thanks for the response. I am generally in favor of the directional plan, but I do have some fairly significant concerns about going UH on Phils. I transition to Phils often from VD going UH, so I am happy it won't be closed to UH traffic. But wow is there going to be a significant amount of traffic on Phils coming DH, mainly because there simply isn't another option. Throw in some UH traffic and it might get pretty dicey on between makers 25 and 19.
 

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All of Phil's above 7 has been dicey for the last few seasons so nothing new there.
I ride Phils and beyond almost daily during the riding season and it was sometimes dicey, but now, at least on the bidirectional section of Phils, I predict it will be considerably more dicey than it is currently. Again, there is only one way to come down now. That is a lot of DH MTB traffic funneling onto one section of singletrack.
 

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Could the above happen?

Thanks for the response. I am generally in favor of the directional plan, but I do have some fairly significant concerns about going UH on Phils. I transition to Phils often from VD going UH, so I am happy it won't be closed to UH traffic. But wow is there going to be a significant amount of traffic on Phils coming DH, mainly because there simply isn't another option. Throw in some UH traffic and it might get pretty dicey on between makers 25 and 19.
Not trying to get your hopes up, we've been in discussion with the FS for a long time about various connectors and we will continue.

Check the FAQ page on our website.

Sightlines and the nearly completely flat terrain on Jimmy's aka 25 to 19 will help with the issues (which the committee did consider).

Thanks Spry for putting thought in, we have too. There is no delusion that everyone will be happy, tough decisions were made.
 

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Not trying to get your hopes up, we've been in discussion with the FS for a long time about various connectors and we will continue.
I have my fingers crossed. I know you guys are taking some heat for this change, but ultimately I can't say that something didn't have to happen to mitigate some of the trail density issues. I am an XC type that likes to climb, so I certainly will enjoy riding up Bens uninterrupted by DH traffic.
 

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Please read the thread. The discussion related to the section of singletrack between markers 25 and 19. That is the only way down from road 300.
That section is only 1 mile with good visibility. IMO two way traffic there is a small price to pay for less trail conflict across the Phil's complex.

Again, there is only one way to come down now. That is a lot of DH MTB traffic funneling onto one section of singletrack.
There are many options that don't include 19-25. Just depends on your loop.

My daily loops will be one of these -

Ben's to HP to SK to GS
Ben's to HP to SK to COD
Ben's to HP to Whoops to Phil's

So I'll only be on 19-25 trail segment 1/3rd of the time.

Plus, many riders don't make it out as far as 300 and will take shorter routes like -

Ben's to Voodoo to Kent's
Ben's to Voodoo to GS
Ben's to Voodoo to Phil's
 
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