A Breakout Year for NWTA


In 2016, Northwest Trail Alliance volunteers invested over 8,800 hours — valued at more than $222,500 — into trail systems across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. It’s amazing, the combined effort our mountain bike community puts into creating, enhancing, and protecting the trails we love to ride.

2016 Volunteer Hours by Type Like the loam we build with, our efforts were split 40/40/20: Forty percent of our time was spent maintaining trails, another 40 percent planning and building anew. The remaining 20 percent of our time was divided almost equally between mountain bike advocacy and NWTA events such as StubFest, the Sandy Ridge shuttle days, and Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day. Many events drew more than a hundred participants.

LL Stub Stewart State Park, at 27 percent of volunteer hours, was our single biggest beneficiary. The installation of a new freeride trail (Lower Greenhorn), two new bridges, and trail signage capped off the three-year RTP grant-funded program at the park.

Low in profile, the next three largest site investments might come as a surprise: Mt St Helens (15%), Growlers Gulch (11%), and Ventura Park (11%).

2016 Volunteer Hours by LocationAt Mt St Helens, roughly eight miles of beginner and intermediate trail near Marble Mountain was re-opened in an epic single-day party (the SHIFT campout), linking Ape Canyon Trail to Red Rock Pass. And at Growlers Gulch, nearly eight of 10 trail miles lost to logging were reclaimed. Collectively, these two Southwest Washington efforts are the equal of Stub.

Mighty as it was, the thousand-hour effort which transformed the Ventura Park pump track — opening it up to daily sessions from neighborhood kids and three NWTA-sponsored riding events — is only part of a larger resurgence of close-in, all-ages, all-abilities venues. Witness 2016’s newly opened skills course at Washougal’s Bike Park, Clark County Parks’ approval of a Fairgrounds meadow skills park, ongoing refinement at Eichler Park’s pump track, and the groundwork to gain official support for the extensive trail networks at Whipple Creek, Lacamas, and Fallen Leaf parks.

2016 Volunteer Hours for City VenuesPlus, of course, Gateway Green: After crowdfunding over $110,000 and securing multi-million-dollar funding from both Metro and Portland Parks, Friends of Gateway Green, the NWTA, and IMBA broke ground on the Dirt Lab, to include single-track, dirt jumps, a bike skills area, and gravity-oriented features. One-fifth of all our volunteer hours went into these in-the-city venues.

Rework and re-routes came into play east of the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area. Perhaps the most exciting was the rework of over 30 berms on Mt Hood’s Timberline to Town trail, amping up its five miles and 125 turns. And re-routes increased the fun factor on the nearby Pioneer Bridle Trail and on Washington’s Falls Creek Trail.

Returning to the west side, the trail system at Hagg Lake Park is on an upswing, with three new bridges installed, promising rapport with new management, and an end-to-end trail evaluation underway— 2016 brought it to 30 percent completion.

2016 Volunteer Hours by RegionBy region, our efforts were split roughly 60/40 between Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. And within Oregon, the split was roughly 55/45 between projects west of the Portland metropolitan area, and east of Portland.

These advances ride on our strong relationships with national, regional, and local land managers: The US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Parks, the Oregon Department of Forestry, Metro, Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Clark County Parks, Tualatin Hills Parks, Washington County Parks, and the cities of Camas, Cascade Locks, Castle Rock, and Washougal. In 2016, our advocacy gained ground at Gateway Green, North Tualatin Hills, Chehalem Ridge, and within Portland’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan.

But we can’t stress enough that our ability to perform at this level is underwritten by Platinum sponsors Fat Tire Farm and REI; Gold sponsors Bike Gallery and Washington County Visitors Association; Silver sponsors ACME Construction Supply, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Lumberyard Bike Park, Sellwood Cycle Repair, Western Bikeworks, and Yakima; as well as Bronze sponsors Camas Bike and Sport, Clif Bar, Cyclepath PDX, Dakine, JLL Commercial Real Estate, KEEN, KOOL PAK Freight Carriers, Leatherman Tool, Oregon Enduro Series, Portland Design Works, salesforce.com, Santiam Bicycle, Smith Optics, SmithCFI, Stan’s NoTubes, Starbucks, and Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern. Please return their love.

Our work in 2016 brought more trails, greater riding diversity, increased fun, and more opportunities close to home. It’s a tall order, but we’ll deliver even more in 2017. So the next time you see trail work underway, stop and express your gratitude. Better yet, join a trail building team.

If you ride Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, please become a member or donate. Your kind contributions provide the simple basics for each and every trail work party.