Rocky Point Northside Rebuild Update

Written by Andy Janksy ([email protected])

Thanks to your membership support, NWTA is in the process of finalizing eight new miles of trail on the North Side of Rocky Point! Through a combination of volunteer machine operations, hand building, and hiring a professional trail builder, we were able to rebuild the North side trails that were eliminated in a recent harvest cycle. 

Our current agreement with Weyerhaeuser sets parameters around post-harvest trail building that NWTA must follow. There are strict timelines, such as building/rebuilding trails before replanting begins and integrating our Trail Sustainability Institute guidelines to ensure the new trails have the least environmental impact.

The Rocky Point trail system has been around for a long time, having been previously referred to as “Scappoose.” When NWTA formally entered into a lease agreement, we renamed it Rocky Point. The original North Side trails were largely built by two people: Ron Strasser and John Joy, as there were no opportunities to ride a mountain bike in Portland at the time.  At that time, the North Side trails were built based on field discussions and just walking around the woods looking for a route that had fun lines. Further, there was a “policy” for many years that if a tree fell, the trail would just be rerouted around and the system would get longer and longer. This resulted in a unique set of trails with odd turns, steep punchy climbs, no flow, and a very low average speed. However, it also created a lot of opportunities for slow-speed technical riding skills and powerful climbing abilities.

When the last section of the North Side was harvested last year, NWTA immediately began planning new trails with the goal of emulating the original feel of the trails. We had a few guiding principles, including a pedally design that would allow for good flow and also incorporate easy to moderate climbing that would appeal to all users. Lines were drawn on maps, people walked and flagged the lines, and we got to work!

NWTA volunteers, especially volunteer Board Member Scooter Sutterer, spent HOURS cutting downfall and clearing the woody debris ahead of the segments that the trail contractor was building. Other sections of new trail are entirely built by hand through the clear-cut area — which is difficult and time-consuming, but results in a more technical trail than the wider machine-built segments. To maximize our budget, there were also some parts of the project that were volunteer-built using NWTA machines. Given the short window between the completion of harvest and replanting, utilizing all of these methods was critical to completing this work and creating the trail system corridor.

The trails are not fully complete yet! If you are looking to ride in chocolate pudding, then the North Side trails in their current state are where it’s at. Joking aside, these trails are not open yet, so please respect our volunteers who are putting in the work and do not ride them during construction! We are continuing to finish the trails using our affectionately named Dirtboni, along with hand crews this spring with a grand opening planned for later in the season. Expect this addition to be very popular, as the new trails provide a little bit of something for every different riding style.  

Most importantly, none of this work — especially in the short timeframe — could have been completed if it weren’t for membership, sponsors, and donors. Thank you for being a member and helping us create more mountain bike access in our area!