Written by Tim Mathews, NWTA’s Tillamook State Forest LST
Tillamook State Forest could use your voice! Comments due by May 6, 2020.
Please provide comments to ODF Annual Operations Plans for 2021 to support further expansion of Tillamook State Forest mountain bike accessible trails.
All of the mountain bike accessible trails presently in the Tillamook State Forest are shown in the picture above taken from Trailforks.com on 3/28/2020. What is wrong with this picture? Outside of an overall lack of trails for an area so large, compared to the sheer number of OHV trails in the same area, there is a huge gap in the existing trail network, see below circled in red. This gap prevents riders from say parking in Timber and riding half way to the coast on only single track, a pretty awesome feat none-the-less, but I bet there are a number of you out there up for the challenge.
What you might not know is that there are a number of trails already built and a few trails in progress that help close this gap in the trail network. Elk Creek Trail (Dark Blue trail on map below) already exists and was widened last year in order to provide emergency four wheeler access for search and rescue to upper Elk and King’s mountain hiking trails. The trail is open to mountain bikes and could use a few riders checking it out.
An extension to the Wilson River Trail was completed a few years ago that connects Elk Creek Campground to Idiot Creek road (Red trail on map below). This trail is new and is accessible by either fording Elk Creek or crossing a seasonal bridge that ODF installs during the summer months when the creek is low. Both of these trails currently exist and are open for riding, though the Wilson River Trail Segment D extension up to Idiot Creek road might be difficult to access and ride depending on creek flow and downed trees as there are no current stewards for this section of trail and I don’t believe anyone has been on it since early last summer.
ODF is looking to further Wilson River Trail’s Segment D extension from the top of Idiot Creek road down to the bottom of Idiot Creek road where it crosses the Devils Lake Fork of the Wilson River to access Hwy 6 (Green trail in map above). This new extension will add approximately 3.5 miles or so onto the length of the Wilson River Trail, which currently sits at approximately 23.5 miles long. ODF Annual Operations Plans for 2021 calls for the approval of the planning and construction of this new section of trail, which is poised to become a real nice descent when riding east. This trail extension takes another step closer to closing the Tillamook State Forest trail gap.
Fear & Loaming (formally known as Excalibur) is a new gravity assisted downhill only trail being built by Ryan McLean & the builder of Raven’s Ridge (Purple trail in map above). While this trail is already approved and in construction, ODF Annual Operation Plans for 2021 list projects to build trailheads at the top and bottom of this trail in preparation to its opening sometime within the next year or two. This trail is looking to become unlike anything in the Tillamook State Forest.
Approval for the construction of Fear & Loaming, was in large part due to the sheer number of folks who commented in favor of it in last year’s ODF Annual Operations Public Comment Period. Many of those comments came from you responding to an NWTA call-out for support. If there is one thing we learned from last year’s ODF Annual Operations public comment period is that numbers matter, they show that there is a large group of likeminded people that love to use and support the trails of the Tillamook State Forest. They show that investing in non-motorized trails are just as important if not more so as motorized trails, and that any time and money spent into such matters is well spent.
Please help support the cause again this year by commenting in favor of mountain bike accessible trails in the Tillamook State Forest’s ODF Annual Operations Plan for 2021. More specifically in support of the construction of both Fear & Loaming trailheads, and the planning and construction of Wilson River Trail Segment D Expansion. See commenting link and details below.
Deadline for all public comments: 5 PM on May 6, 2020
Basic Instructions for commenting:
• Please select the Forest Grove District (example from forum below)
• Please write your comments under the box titled “Do you have any additional information specific to a planned operation or forest project in the fiscal year 2021 AOPs that the agency should be aware of?” (example from forum below)
Talking points to include in your comment:
• Support for the construction of both Fear & Loaming trailheads
• Support for the planning and construction of Wilson River Trail Segment D Expansion
• What value, if any, does having access to trails/trailheads add, and why are more trails needed? Key points: Recreational access for health, fitness and wellbeing. Fostering a greater connection to the outdoors and environment. Giving back to the community in a sustainable and genuine way. Ability to safely explore. Any other social, environmental, and economical values.
• How development of this trail/trailheads may end up adding volunteer or funding capacity to support more multi-use mountain bike trails and bicycle riding opportunities in the Tillamook State Forest. Key points: The Tillamook State Forest’s proximity to the populated Portland Metro Area and the underserved MTB community for trail options on the west side and coastal communities. This opportunity will do nothing but increase volunteer/funding capacity to the Tillamook State Forest.
Thank you for taking the time to support further expansion of Tillamook State Forest mountain bike accessible trails, and helping us take one step closer to closing the TSF trail gap. We really couldn’t do it without you!