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Gittyup!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a little out of the loop on what transpired on this as it relates to bike access. I read in the paper this morning that there's a good chance the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (which includes Mt. Hood) will be passed as early as Sunday. Does this mean the trails around Hood would be off limits due to the wilderness designation?
 

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Tree Hugger
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The bill looks like it will definitely pass. From what I've found, the MTB study area no longer exists, but maybe I'm wrong. There have been claims that the passage would mean closure of 120+ miles of MTB trails. Check out this ORMBA news release from May:
http://www.ormba.net/

Here is a copy of the actual Omnibus bill currently under consideration. It is Bill# S-22. Click on the Contents list to go to that section of the bill. Oregon's wilderness areas are in sections 12-15
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c111:1:./temp/~c1117OceiI::

I spent 30 minutes reading through it, and it looks like the numerous additions to the Mt Hood Wilderness areas are well defined but no trails are listed in the bill. I see so hint of language suggesting any special policies for the Mt Hood Wilderness that may allow bikes, unless the Mt Hood Rec Area covers the better bike trails instead of wilderness. It seems as though the original bill that supported MTB use may have disappeared.

Here's an IMBA release from 2006 supporting the Mt Hood Wilderness bill because it maintains bike access. The link is screwy, so here's a cut n paste.

Landmark Bike-Friendly Wilderness Bill Passes House Committee

For Immediate Release
07-20-06
Contact: Jenn Dice, IMBA Government Affairs Director
[email protected]
303-545-9011

On July 19, 2006, the Mount Hood Stewardship and Legacy Act (H.R. 5025), sponsored by Congressmen Greg Walden (R-OR) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), passed unanimously through the House Resources Committee, a significant step towards congressional approval. The full U.S. House of Representatives could vote on the bill as early as next week.

For the past three years, Congressmen Walden and Blumenauer have collaborated with the Oregon Mountain Bike Alliance (ORMBA), the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and numerous other stakeholders on this innovative bill. The result is truly progressive legislation supported by a diverse audience and reverent of the Oregon mountain bike community.

"We couldn't be more pleased that Chairman Walden and Congressman Blumenauer not only support protecting Mount Hood, but also understand the desire of the Oregon mountain bike community to have continued access to trails they have ridden for years," says IMBA Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice.
Where IMBA Stands on Wilderness

IMBA believes in strong protections for public lands, including Wilderness designations. However, since current interpretations of Wilderness ban bicycles, IMBA promotes boundary adjustments and alternative designations in cases where significant bicycle opportunities are threatened by newly proposed Wilderness. You can read more about IMBA¹s Wilderness position online.

In Oregon, boundery adjustments proved the most effective strategy for preserving bicycle access. Doug Van Zandt, of the Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates, says, "We appreciate the congressmen inviting mountain bikers to the table and being part of the team to preserve Mount Hood. Mountain bikers care deeply about protecting Mount Hood while allowing our existing recreational use to continue."
Legislation Will Boost Mount Hood Recreation

Included in the House bill is an approximately $800,000 annual infusion for trails and recreation in the Mount Hood area, bicycle-friendly boundary adjustments, terms to convert old roads to singletrack, and a mountain bike representative on the Mount Hood National Forest Recreational Advisory Council. The bill also references the importance of recreation to the local economy.

"The mountain bike community was pleased the congressmen excluded important trail systems from Wilderness boundaries ‹ which would have banned our existing use," says IMBA Oregon Representative DeJohn. The Bend-based advocate named Larch Mountain, Fifteenmile Creek, Dog River Trail, Shellrock, Hellroaring, Bonney Butte and Mount Defiance as examples of riding areas that were spared.

A Senate version of the bill will likely be released shortly. One improvement IMBA and ORMBA are asking from the Senate version is continued access to the 28-mile Roaring River trail system. IMBA will continue to provide information as this bill passes through Congress.


If it turns out that the MTB compromise was lost, then that is a real shame. I don't think any rational people were trying to argue that these areas should be closed to bicycles. Unfortunately, our Congress can't seem to figure out a way to protect the land from logging and mining without designateing it as wilderness. A little creativity and backbone is all it takes.

Oh well, as I've said in the past, I support wilderness protection where appropriate, and will honor the new rules, even if it means losing a few good trails, but there's always hope that things will get better.

Changing the overall wilderness prohibition on bikes is probably the best solution to the problem.
 

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it means 'no problem'
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As far as I know nothing in the IMBA release above was adopted in the final Bill. We were involved starting years ago, and it seems that only so the Wilderness proponents could make statements like, "The mountain bikers were involved in the process..."

We are losing 125 miles of single track - all the primitive stuff like Crane Prairie, Roaring River, etc. Of course, "The most popular trails" have been left out of the Wilderness, but that just means we have to concentrate our use on fewer trails.

We're screwed, IMO.
 

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WTF? When did the mountain bike stuff get dropped from the bill? I supported the compromise bill, but if you're right 'squatch this is a seriously raw deal.

Anyone know when the bill is scheduled to take effect? Here's hoping it's at least Jul. 1 and we have a low snowpack year, so I can ride as many of these trails as possible in June. It'll be like David Brower taking his last trip down Glen Canyon.

I've been hoping against hope for at least one more ride up on the beautiful Roaring River plateau (not to mention continued access to the better known trails around Hood).
 

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highly visible
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New thread started

Boy, this one really caught me off guard. The news actually put me in a good mood this morning because I didn't realize the National Recreation Area provisions weren't in the final form of the bill.

I just started a new thread on this: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=5271738

Given the timing, our chances of saving our access are slim. But it's worth trying. Worthy but seemingly hopeless causes often are. Look at what this board is starting to accomplish on the Forest Park issue.
 

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Tree Hugger
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sans soucie said:
Yeah, and it probably won't get cleared of logs anymore - ever. :-(
That is my 2nd biggest issue with wilderness rules. If there was an exemption that allowed USFS employees to operate chainsaws for the specific purpose of clearing trails, they could maintain alot more trails than using crosscut saws. I guess it can be "justified" by claiming the increased downfall will discourage MTB poachers. ;)
 
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