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  1. #1
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    Precautionary warning, stay out of Mac forest at night for now.

    Due to THIS article mentioning McDonald Forest as a night riding sight, the Benton County sheriffs office has declared anyone caught riding at night will be ticketed for criminal trespass. I am trying to get more direct information about this, but for now, it would be well advised to ride in the daytime only.

  2. #2
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    Its hard to imagine the Sherrif would devote resources to enforcing this. Certainly it would be a big bummer to have a good thing like this stymied.

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    Parking and mountain biking are serious crimes that must be stopped at all cost. Good luck adventuring in a world devoid of common sense. Nothing in the media has ever been a benefit to mountain biking, or cycling for that matter.
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  4. #4
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    In a quick scan of the Mac forest web site I found no info regarding when it is open or closed to the public.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    In a quick scan of the Mac forest web site I found no info regarding when it is open or closed to the public.
    Most of the gates have closed at dusk signage. I agree that would be hard to justify the resources to just night riders verses other concerns, but who knows.

  6. #6
    Tactical Nightmare
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    If anyone hears anything on this, please post it up for sure. I'll cross-post this into the Corvallis & Area Mountain Bike Group Facebook page too.
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  7. #7
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    As of right now the only word on this was via a weird phone message to a local bike shop leaving no name, number or anything else. Ride on. Play dumb.

  8. #8
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    The Mac has been "closed" after dusk as long as I've lived in Corvallis. I ride at least 3 nights a week in the dark otherwise I'd never get any riding in at all. The consequences are "criminal trespass" but that in no way means it will be enforced. I'm not trying to entice the Ben Co SD but with 2 deputies patrolling the entire county at night I seriously doubt they will be staking out trailheads. The difficulties with S&R should someone become lost or injured are obvious and I understand OSU has to be concerned re: liability but use nor risks have changed, only a stupid newspaper article. As BP said, ride on.

  9. #9
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    I went ahead and emailed the Benton county Sheriffs department about this, and to my surprise the Sheriff answered herself. She gave me permission to post her answer to my question about riding at night. So, below is the official response.

    The OSU forest including the property they have in the McDonald Dunn Forest and Chip Ross park area is closed to public access between dusk and dawn. I understand that you have organized some after dark rides in the McDonald Dunn forest and so our Forest Patrol Deputy called the store manager where the rides were being advertised and advised that anyone in the McDonald Dunn Forest would be charged with trespass if in fact they are with one of the organized rides. Further, anyone actually there between dusk and dawn will be charged with trespass.



    I hope this answers your questions.

    Sheriff Diana L. Simpson



    Diana L. Simpson

    Sheriff

    Benton County Sheriff's Office

    180 NW 5th St.

    Corvallis, OR 97330

    (541) 766-6858

  10. #10
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    Glad to see an official statement has been solicited from Sheriff herself because we didn't know what her office's position would be. Let's see if we can draw just a little more attention to this subject. How about a front page spread on the Gazette Times?

  11. #11
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hill-Pumper View Post
    I went ahead and emailed the Benton county Sheriffs department about this, and to my surprise the Sheriff answered herself. She gave me permission to post her answer to my question about riding at night. So, below is the official response.

    The OSU forest including the property they have in the McDonald Dunn Forest and Chip Ross park area is closed to public access between dusk and dawn. I understand that you have organized some after dark rides in the McDonald Dunn forest and so our Forest Patrol Deputy called the store manager where the rides were being advertised and advised that anyone in the McDonald Dunn Forest would be charged with trespass if in fact they are with one of the organized rides. Further, anyone actually there between dusk and dawn will be charged with trespass.



    I hope this answers your questions.

    Sheriff Diana L. Simpson



    Diana L. Simpson

    Sheriff

    Benton County Sheriff's Office

    180 NW 5th St.

    Corvallis, OR 97330

    (541) 766-6858
    I'm out.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hill-Pumper View Post
    I went ahead and emailed the Benton county Sheriffs department about this, and to my surprise the Sheriff answered herself. She gave me permission to post her answer to my question about riding at night. So, below is the official response.

    The OSU forest including the property they have in the McDonald Dunn Forest and Chip Ross park area is closed to public access between dusk and dawn. I understand that you have organized some after dark rides in the McDonald Dunn forest and so our Forest Patrol Deputy called the store manager where the rides were being advertised and advised that anyone in the McDonald Dunn Forest would be charged with trespass if in fact they are with one of the organized rides. Further, anyone actually there between dusk and dawn will be charged with trespass.



    I hope this answers your questions.

    Sheriff Diana L. Simpson



    Diana L. Simpson

    Sheriff

    Benton County Sheriff's Office

    180 NW 5th St.

    Corvallis, OR 97330

    (541) 766-6858
    Un-freaking-believable.

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  13. #13
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    I was warned about this last Friday and I couldn't believe that the sheriff's department would dedicate manpower to this but now after reading the official response I guess I will take my money that I spend after a night ride to someplace that doesn't pick on the honest upstanding citizen and spends their time chasing real criminals like skateboarders

  14. #14
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    I agree that, given the signage at the trailheads, it is clear that the official position is that any use after dark (biking or no biking) is prohibited. Been that way (the signage) for 20 years it seems. I would still be surprised and frustrated to see tax dollars used to support dedication of any time on the sherrif's part to cracking down on the various communities of people who enjoy the mac after work in the winter but it is a little unnerving to know that the pot has been stirred a bit here. Puts the sheriff in a difficult position where she may feel more called to follow through now that she issued a written response to someone in the user community. Best to let sleeping dogs lie (IMHO).

    Would be great if we spent time figuring out how to make the university more comfortable with such use rather than bringing the topic up with enforcement (which isn't in a position to change user expectations). Easier said than done and, again, it risks stirring the pot.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sicboy541 View Post
    Glad to see an official statement has been solicited from Sheriff herself because we didn't know what her office's position would be. Let's see if we can draw just a little more attention to this subject. How about a front page spread on the Gazette Times?
    Point taken, but consider this, she already was well aware of the situation as evidenced by her response. She confirmed that her office had indeed called Santiam Bicycle, and that is all I asked about. My whole motivation for this thread was to let everyone know that this was a serious threat to our night riding.

    I'm as sick about this as everyone else. I am going to lose 4 plus months of riding and have a lot of money tied up in good lights that are overkill for any other riding.

  16. #16
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    What a great use of taxpayer money to go charge bikers for night rides.... Shouldn't the sheriff be more focused on catching the Corvallis women stalker? Or catching the people dumping trash in the forest, traffic or something productive to society? Their focus has really been skewed......

  17. #17
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    Seems that there are two schools of thought here, both with validity for sure.

    One camp seems to take the attitude of “not rocking the boat”, “don’t talk about it, just ride it”, and more replies that really do not want to bring any attention whatsoever to this issue. The signs have been there forever, and therefore, the rule has too. That said, none of us have been fined or even warned for that matter. So, let sleeping dogs lie, right?

    The other camp is thinking that this is wrong on many levels, and will continue to night ride, or will become an activist of sorts and will either fight this battle or go about it the diplomatic and legal way.

    Is one idea more right than the other? Does one stand a better chance?

    What would be nice is if we could get some reasoning behind it. Not that LEO has to give reasons for the enforcement of laws, well, they kind of do, actually. I am guessing that the term liability will come up. You know, protecting ourselves from…….ourselves. It must be that we are much worse riders at night than in the day, because they let us ride all day up there, but once it is dark, we must lose any sense of skill, or common sense for that matter.

    I know that one issue presented is search and rescue and the logistics involved with that during the dark hours. But really, wouldn’t this be an issue anytime, not just in the dark? Why does dark make that big of a difference for search and rescue? I am not trying to be a smart ass, I just want to know what the real issue is here.

    As for which camp I am in, I’m not sure. I just started night riding and I would hate to lose that opportunity during the winter months when I can only get a ride in on the weekend or go in the dark. I must be missing the point here, and that is what I would like to establish. Sorry to the folks that would rather not talk about it. I am just curious why I suddenly can’t do what has been done for years.

    Interesting contrast between the Linn and Benton County Sheriff lately. Linn Co Sheriff gets national press for sending a defiant letter to the VP about gun laws, Benton Co Sheriff gets on regional mountain bike forum for wanting to crack down on night mountain biking.
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  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=danielcoyle;10120549]I agree that, given the signage at the trailheads, it is clear that the official position is that any use after dark (biking or no biking) is prohibited. Been that way (the signage) for 20 years it seems. I would still be surprised and frustrated to see tax dollars used to support dedication of any time on the sherrif's part to cracking down on the various communities of people who enjoy the mac after work in the winter but it is a little unnerving to know that the pot has been stirred a bit here. Puts the sheriff in a difficult position where she may feel more called to follow through now that she issued a written response to someone in the user community. Best to let sleeping dogs lie (IMHO).

    Well said Daniel and exactly my point. My last 2 cents and then I'm out of this one for good- Let's not jump off the bridge quite yet, the SD has given their official position but has NOT made any indication they intend to patrol with the intentions to enforce. If people continue to poke the bear (SD and OSU) they may feel pressed to do so. If either party makes a decision to truly enforce then I think working with OSU on options for use would be a reasonable step. Remember this not only effects our local moutain bike community but many runners and hikers, all of whom I regularly come across at night.
    Last edited by sicboy541; 01-30-2013 at 11:02 AM. Reason: quote missed

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Chachi View Post
    ... Is one idea more right than the other? Does one stand a better chance? ...
    Not the sheriff's job to decide if a law is just or unjust. Sheriff's job is to enforce the law. Period.

    Let's stop drawing attention to ourselves. Even if we were able to convince the sheriff that we're not a bunch of thieving meth dumpers, her attitude would not change. Right or wrong, the forest is closed. Seems to me the best thing to do now is get off her radar.

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  20. #20
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    Precautionary warning, stay out of Mac forest at night for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Not the sheriff's job to decide if a law is just or unjust. Sheriff's job is to enforce the law. Period.

    Let's stop drawing attention to ourselves. Even if we were able to convince the sheriff that we're not a bunch of thieving meth dumpers, her attitude would not change. Right or wrong, the forest is closed. Seems to me the best thing to do now is get off her radar.

    --sParty
    This is spot on. The SD only enforces the law. If a change is wanted, the people that created the law should be talked to.

    As a note, I imagine that the prohibition wasn't put into place to single out cyclists or even hikers. It was to protect the property from vandals and other nefarious users.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Right or wrong, the forest is closed. Seems to me the best thing to do now is get off her radar.

    --sParty
    aw yeah, that would be the smart thing to do wouldn't it? unfortunately it's unlikely that will happen.

  22. #22
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    It seems that as it is in lots of places that we ride there are lots of "grey" areas. The real question here is again how do we as legitimate honest law abiding people get permission from the land managers to be able to ride/be in the areas that we access. My local riding area we are kept out of during "fire" season, how does a mountain bike start a fire? I have always believed that our presence in these areas will be a deterrent for keeping the undesirables out of the area. I know that once fire season is in effect that keeps us out, the growers move in. The tough part is how do we convince the land managers of this? Mountain bikers are a diverse group with lots of good resources at their hands and my hope is that by the time my kids are old like me, some of these issues will be resolved.

  23. #23
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    Re: Precautionary warning, stay out of Mac forest at night for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaewannabe View Post
    The real question here is again how do we as legitimate honest law abiding people get permission from the land managers to be able to ride/be in the areas that we access. .... The tough part is how do we convince the land managers of this?
    A good start might have been to avoid a giant article waxing poetic about how big groups of us regular break the law. And as a group we somehow thought it might help our effort to continue to publicly rub it in on Facebook and MTBR.

    When you talk to land managers about this you'll hear words like liability and insurance. It's possible that those are not insurmountable obstacles...it's also possible that insurance poses a hard limit for them and there's nothing they can do about it.

    Local mountain bikers have had these conversations, and will continue to have these conversations as new players come on board and the climate improves. And a quiet and thoughtful conversation with land managers is both smarter and more respectful than pushing the point with articles and public postings that require that the officials take notice.

    As a community, we've really stepped in a pile of **** here, and we seem to be trying to make it better by making sure everybody sees it and talks about it publicly.

    Am I cranky about this? Yes! This pile of **** is in my backyard.

  24. #24
    Tactical Nightmare
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    Wow, this has become quite the discussion, and not even close to what I had expected. I’ll take the heat I guess. I didn’t start this thread on mtbr, but I did cross post to FB to discuss it. So again, if you “veterans” want someone to blame, have at it…..here I am.

    I suppose that I am one of these “new players” and I think I must have missed the meeting where these rules were instilled into the new players.

    I assumed. I assumed based on what I have learned of this community, which has been absolutely amazing. The people, all of you, are great people to ride with and to get to know. But my assumption came from an overwhelming feeling of advocacy, stewardship and responsible trail usage. These feelings weren’t something that I just made up either…..I had read it many times before on all the area’s trail access groups like Disciples of Dirt, COTA, etc. Heck, even IMBA echoes this sentiment. To show you visually where my thoughts came from, here are a couple of quotes from these groups websites:

    DOD:
    The Disciples of Dirt is a mountain bike club dedicated to the stewardship of sustainable multi-use trails and to preserving and enhancing access for mountain bikers through advocacy, outreach, social events, and promoting responsible trail use.
    COTA:
    The Central Oregon Trail Alliance is dedicated to the stewardship of sustainable, multiple-use trails and to preserving access for mountain bikers through advocacy, education and promoting responsible trail use.
    BRMBA:
    We are volunteer-powered non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to building and maintaining Black Rock Mountain Bike Area trails under Oregon Department of Forestry management plan . Our secondary goals include helping support other local mountain biking trail opportunities and providing education about, advocacy for, and progression of the sport of mountain biking.
    IMBA:
    The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great mountain biking experiences. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions.
    So, I will apologize to all of you for my assumption, but you can certainly see where that idea formed, based on the quotes above. I do not want to jeopardize the access to the wonderful trail system we have access to, as I enjoy it too much. As I mentioned on FB, I will move on, will pretend that this issue doesn’t exist, and will not bring it into the spotlight anymore, as per the request of local veteran riders. My bad, and I truly do apologize. Also mentioned on FB though, is that if anyone wants to educate me on the written and unwritten rules of riding these local trails, I’ll buy the beer or coffee and we can discuss it. I am a member of this community and will continue to be, and want to make this work somehow. This my backyard too……..pile of s#@t or not.

    /End of my input on this topic. Thanks.
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  25. #25
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Chachi View Post
    Wow, this has become quite the discussion...
    /End of my input on this topic. Thanks.
    Don't be too hard on yourself. I might have posted something similar. My attitude/comments were developed as the discussion matured.

    Heck, I live in Eugene and don't even ride Mac Forest very often (not often enough), I was just sticking my nose in because I'm a self-righteous so&so. I doubt anyone holds any grudge against you, GC... I sure don't.

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