In response to the letter “It’s a Bike World” by Shannon Wilson (EW 9/17):
Thank you for decades of advocacy to protect our forests. Although we share a love for these wild places, you have a misunderstanding about what mountain biking is. We are conservationists who want to explore the solitude and splendor of the forest just like you, and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
The proposed trails adjacent to Oakridge are a perfect example of providing accessible forest experiences for visitors. Oakridge’s economy relies primarily on these visitors to survive — mountain bikers spend $2.3 to $4.9 million in Oakridge annually. This forest is not old growth; it’s a late successional reserve that’s been thinned and roaded. These trails will not have a negative impact on the forest, they will have a positive impact by introducing more people to these wonderful places.
The other trail you mention is a short connector that’s intended to solve problems. It serves to reduce bicycle/motorized conflict, and will eliminate the need to illegally ride bikes on the PCT to connect two sides of the mountain. This trail is supported by Pacific Crest Trail Association among other stakeholders.
You state that our shared public lands are “unregulated Disneyland amusement parks,” but reality tells a different story. These are forests with ancient history of multiple uses. In order to preserve them for generations to come, we need to share their magnificence now. Mountain biking is a fun, quiet and non-destructive tool that achieves this goal.
Gabriel Amadeus Tiller
Executive director, Oregon Timber Trail Alliance