Coexisting with Logging Operations in A Working Forest

(vistit the Rocky Point page for the most up-to-date status on closures)

We are extremely lucky to have Rocky Point, but we must remember it is a working forest. We knew this when we signed the lease for the property though. We knew that situations would arise where we would be required to modify our use of the property with area closures. It could be for forest fire risk, logging, road repair, herbicide application, or pruning and thinning. When Weyerhaeuser needs to do their job, we have to respect their needs, and we need to adhere to restrictions for the safety of the workers and the safety of mountain bikers. Forestry operations are a complex system of tasks that are often sub-contracted, so the better we communicate and stick to the rules, the better the chance of getting things right and avoiding incidents. 

Building trails on private timber land is different from building trails on public land. Working around forestry operations can be challenging at times, and we are going to learn what those challenges are in the coming months, but working on private timber land comes with some incredible benefits. Our ability to build new trail is not hampered by mountains of government bureaucracy, and we have exclusive recreation priority in a very large forested area with incredible terrain for mountain bike trails. NWTA’s management and stewardship teams are already very impressed with how much we can get done in this kind of an arrangement, and we are very impressed by Weyerhaeuser’s willingness to work closely with us. We have a bright future at Rocky Point. There is a lot to be happy about.

As users of Rocky Point, we must all get to know the rules of engagement. Weyerhaeuser has forestry operations plans that they share with us within a few months of implementation. It’s NWTA’s job to communicate those to members, and it’s the responsibility of members to keep apprised of the updates regarding access. Roads and trails can be access limited or closed for periods of time (usually Mon-Fri) spanning days or months. Always be aware of current access restrictions, and learn the etiquette of using the area during active forestry operations. The rules are grounded in safety concerns, and forestry crews just want to avoid anyone getting hurt. They are nice people with families of their own, and the last thing they want to do is hurt anyone. It’s actually very stressful for them not knowing if they are going to encounter a cyclist on the road. We must do everything we can to make this work. Please refer to the following for guidance:

  1. Minimize exposure. Only cross roads at trail intersections, be vigilant of sight-lines, and minimize riding on roads. 
  2. Stop, look, and listen. Come to a complete stop before entering roads to verify there are no trucks driving toward you.
  3. Get out of the way. If you see a truck heading toward you immediately dismount your bike and get off the road. Wait till the truck has passed before getting back on the road and riding. The trucks have the right-of-way!
  4. Stay out of blind spots. Work to maintain eye contact with truck drivers so you can communicate if necessary.
  5. Obey signs. This is an active logging area. Access to certain trails, roads, and parking areas can change weekly, daily, and even hourly. Stop and read signs to ensure access or parking is allowed. Trucks need extra turning space. If you are parked in a way that blocks access to a road or gate they need to use, they will not hesitate to have your vehicle towed.

Please enjoy the trails, but please use them responsibly so we can continue to build this exciting new trail system.

Scooter Sutterer and Bob Lessard