Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Trails You Say? Road 44 to Lil John Rec Area!

Source: Arthur Babitz-CAMBA

Thanks to all of you who turned out last night to hear Jim Thornton explain the trail opportunities presented by the USFS road decommissioning project.  We need to send some comments to the USFS by *tomorrow* (Friday).  Please crosslink with other mtb groups, and if you missed the meeting hopefully there's enough info here for you to make an informed comment anyway.

Here are the promised links:
send electronic comments to:
project contact:  Michelle Lombardo,,  503-668-1796

Please send your comments by *tomorrow* so they can be considered for the scoping phase of this project.  I'll share my own comments below.  Feel free to steal anything you want.  More personal comments will have more impact, but remember to send something, even if it's only a few sentences,  so the Forest Service will have a gauge of the depth of interest in the community.  This will also establish you as an "interested party" so you will be kept informed of all actions related to this project.

My comments:

I wish to comment on the proposed road decommissioning project "increment 3" in the Mt. Hood National Forest.  I've had a chance to review the maps, and I think there are significant opportunities to use decommissioned roads to improve non-motorized recreation in the forest.  This is particularly important to those of us in Hood River, as the recreational opportunities in the Mt. Hood National Forest are so vital to our local economy and our quality of life.

In the White River area,  I am especially interested in McCubbins Gulch as well as improved connectivity to and through the Bonney Meadows area.  Some important trail connections were recently lost to mountain biking through Wilderness designation, but the decommissioned roads could allow us to redevelop some longer routes.  Since it can take several hours to get to the White River area from the nearest major population centers, people who make the effort to get there are looking for more than just a quick ride on a single trail.  If we can restore some of the connectivity in this area riders will be able to take a 4+ hour epic rides, instead of shorter out-and-backs or quick loops.  Camping opportunities in the area make this especially attractive.

I would also like to encourage the Forest Service to allow trail development on some previously decommissioned roads elsewhere in the Barlow and Hood River Ranger Districts.  There are many miles of old road near Knebal Springs, for example, that could add some great riding in an area that is very accessible and popular among residents and visitors to Hood River.  I also think some of the roads around Little John Snow Park could be used to make a great freeride biking route.  There is already developed parking at the snow park, and the easy highway access would mean not only could it be popular with riders but the thousands of people who drive the Mt. Hood Loop could be treated to the spectacle by watching the riders from the snow park.

Please keep me informed of the progress with this project.  I know we are just at the scoping phase, but I look forward to discussing specific trails-- how they will be constructed and how they will be maintained--  when we reach that part of the planning.  Also, if you can provide me with maps of previously decommissioned roads in the Barlow and Mt. Hood Districts,  it would help me prepare more specific recommendations for trails outside of the scope of this project.

Thank you.

Arthur Babitz

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