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  1. #1
    North Van/Whistler
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    NORTH FORK BELLINGHAM. WA trail closures

    SUMMARY


    - North Fork is a trail network in Bellingham

    - Washington DNR is a state agency who owns the land

    - We want to keep the message positive.

    - No disrespect to DNR, but MTB is a healthy, low impact, legitimate form of recreation, and we should be able to do it on public land

    - DNR has a mandate to provide the public access to recreation on their land when it does not conflict with resource management (ie logging which is the main activity in North Fork)

    - DNR owns half the land in whatcom county, yet has no recreation areas.

    - Bellingham is world famous mtb destination, yet the only legal trails on public land are 5 hiking trails on Chuckanut.

    - DNR does not have money for recreation. We are not asking for money, simply a place to volunteer

    -

















    More here (PDF and Word)
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  2. #2
    North Van/Whistler
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    PR part 1

    The release----------

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    North Fork Nooksack user built trail closure, BELLINGHAM, WA



    Source: Whatcom Trails Co-Op News - Whatcom Trails CO-OP



    What is happening?

    Beginning on April 2nd the Washington State Department of Resources (DNR) will be decommissioning all user-built bike trails on Slide Mountain at the North Fork Nooksack in Whatcom County.



    The work, estimated to cost $23,000, will begin on April 2nd and will be done by the DNR and a crew from Washington Conservation Corps. Work will include closure signage, removal of larger structures, blocking and revegetating trail entrances, and a gate to block all motorized access to Slide Mountain.



    Starting April 7th, DNR law enforcement will be patrolling the area and riders found on the trails will receive a ticket of $120 the first time, and will be subject to arrest for trespassing the second time.



    Why is this happening?

    Whatcom Trails Co-op and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance were informed of the trail decommissioning two weeks ago by DNR. At that time the explanation for the closure was that an individual from a motorized user group was insisting that if motorized use wasn’t allowed on Slide Mountain, then all unauthorized trails must be closed down.



    In an effort to learn more about DNR concerns and find a way to address them while keeping trails open, we arranged a meeting that was held Friday, March 23rd. What we heard from DNR was that there was no solution short of complete closure, a position which is made all the more difficult to accept given that much of this area is currently being logged—a scale of impact beyond anything non-motorized recreation could ever cause.



    The DNR was represented at the meeting by Region and Division staff and by the statewide recreation manager. The primary concerns expressed by DNR, and our responses, were:

    · Unauthorized Trail Construction – Certainly it is true that there are mountain bike trails on the hill and DNR has difficulty managing unauthorized trail areas. However, it is also true that there are hundreds or thousands of miles of unauthorized, non-motorized trails on DNR forests across the state and very little effort is made to decommission or enforce closures on those trails, even those with clear environmental impacts. It is important to note that there are no authorized areas to recreate on DNR land in Whatcom County. Unauthorized areas like North Fork are reflections of the huge unmet need for recreational access.

    · Structures – Most "structures" are simple bridges, built to span wet zones or creeks that were constructed in accordance with industry-leading trail building standards. We offered to decommission any structure that wasn't built to address sediment or erosion concerns.

    · Sediment / Erosion – The North Fork was closed to motorized use roughly 7 years ago because of heavy sediment runoff from the trails and four-wheeling in or near the North Fork of the Nooksack. Sediment transport is not a real issue for the trails constructed by mountain bikers because:

    1. We have no trails near the river.

    2. Our trails were specifically routed to avoid creeks and riparian zones wherever possible and were built sustainably to avoid erosion and reduce maintenance.

    3. When necessary, bridges were constructed from blowdown (not live trees) for spanning any small creeks or wet zones.

    4. Put simply, it would be difficult and unenjoyable to ride a mountain bike in such overtly muddy areas, resulting in a low-quality recreational experience and an obvious detrimental effect on the environment.

    · Popularity - Despite our attempts to keep the area from becoming widely known, it has become too popular. Riders are now coming not just from Bellingham but from across the state and even Canada - a testament to the quality of the trail network and the need for such human-powered recreational areas.



    What can you do?

    Whatcom County residents and business owners:

    If you live in Whatcom County and access to outdoor recreation is a quality of life issue for you, please contact the people listed below to voice your displeasure about this decision and ask them for an interim solution which keeps trails open while working towards a formal Recreational plan for the North Fork area.



    Seattle/Tacoma Mt. bikers:

    Contact DNR staff and Whatcom County Tourism and voice your displeasure with this decision and ask them for an interim solution to be determined while working towards a formal Recreational plan for the North Fork areas. Also, please let them know that you spend money at businesses in Bellingham and Whatcom County because of this trail network.



    Canadian riders:

    If you live in British Columbia and ride the North Fork, please email Whatcom County tourism, Whatcom County commissioner and Whatcom County council members letting them know that you ride the area and spend money at businesses in Bellingham and Whatcom County because of the trail network.





















    Contact Information

    Legislators:

    The area impacted is represented by legislators in the 40th and 42nd districts—if you are unsure which district you live in, you can look it up here: Find Your Legislator.



    40th District

    Senator Kevin Ranker

    kevin.ranker@leg.wa.gov

    215 John A. Cherburg Building

    PO Box 40440

    Olympia, WA 98504-0442

    (360) 786-7678


    Rep. Kristine Lytton

    kristine.lytton@leg.wa.gov

    310 John L. O'Brien Building

    PO Box 40600

    Olympia, WA 98504-0600

    (360) 786-7800


    Rep. Jeff Morris

    jeff.morris@leg.wa.gov

    436A Legislative Building

    PO Box 40600

    Olympia, WA 98504-0600

    (360) 786-7970



    42nd District

    Senator Doug Ericksen

    doug.ericksen@leg.wa.gov

    414 Legislative Building

    PO Box 40442

    Olympia, WA 98504-0442

    (360) 786-7682


    Rep. Jason Overstreet

    jason.overstreet@leg.wa.gov

    422 John L. O'Brien Building

    PO Box 40600

    Olympia, WA 98504-0600

    (360) 786-7980


    Rep. Vincent Buys

    vincent.buys@leg.wa.gov

    470 John L. O'Brien Building

    PO Box 40600

    Olympia, WA 98504-0600

    (360) 786-7854



    DNR Staff:

    · Peter Goldmark – DNR commissioner cpl@dnr.wa.gov or info@votepetergoldmark.com

    · Mark Mauren – Head of Recreation - mark.mauren@dnr.wa.gov

    · Steve Jennison – Baker District Manager - steve.jennison@dnr.wa.gov



    Whatcom County Executive:

    Jack Louws - JLouws@co.whatcom.wa.us



    Whatcom County Council:

    · Bill Knutzen - bknutzen@co.whatcom.wa.us

    · Kathy Kershner - kkershne@co.whatcom.wa.us

    · Ken Mann - kmann@co.whatcom.wa.us

    · Sam Crawford - scrawfor@co.whatcom.wa.us

    · Carl Weimer - cweimer@co.whatcom.wa.us

    · Barbara Brenner - bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us

    · Pete Kremen – pkremen@co.whatcom.wa.us



    Whatcom County Tourism:

    tourism@bellingham.org
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  3. #3
    North Van/Whistler
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    The release part 2

    Talking Points

    We are intentionally not crafting a form letter because they do not make the same impact as personal letters. If you care enough about the trails and the area, please take 10 minutes to write something and send it to the appropriate folks above.



    Your letter should state what you want and why, and should ask for a response. We've highlighted a set of goals below that you can use in your letter.



    This issue is a passionate one for many of us but remember that the goal is to change the outcome not to vent our anger and frustration. Please be honest but civil in your communications.



    IMPORTANT: To be even more effective, take an extra 5 minutes to also print out your emails, sign them and send a hard copy.



    The primary Issues:

    1. There are NO legal areas to recreate on DNR land in Whatcom County

    2. No planning process has begun to address recreation needs in Whatcom County despite our continued meetings with DNR over several years. We were the largest user group at all of the recreational planning meetings in Burlington.

    3. Closing the trails doesn’t address the issue, rather it disperses the use and creates additional management and enforcement issues.

    4. Trails will likely spring up in other areas.

    5. Using $22k for closing trails when that money could be better spent on planning or other items.



    Short-term goals:

    1. Continued access to the trail network.

    2. Conduct a full site evaluation to determine any non-essential structures that could be removed.

    3. Conduct a full site evaluation of any wetland or erosion issues. Sean Curran, a certified wetland delineator, has agreed to do a full site survey for Whatcom Trails Co-op pro bono. Curran Environmental Services

    4. Within a few months, we’d like to determine the framework to begin the recreational planning process so ALL recreationalists can gain formal authorization for this (and potentially other) area.



    Long-term goals:

    1. Complete the formal planning process for North Fork recreation for ALL users. This is the biggest issue and why there are user-built trails all over Whatcom County.

    2. Establish the ability to rebuild trails post harvest.



    Benefits:

    1. Mountain bikers are good stewards of the areas in which we recreate. We've held annual clean-up days in the area and removed tons of trash left by other users. Additionally, the presence of mountain bikers and other responsible users keeps undesirable users away.

    2. We’re a low maintenance user group.

    a. We have built and continually maintained high-quality trails, using volunteer labor and private funds.

    b. We close trails down if necessary during the wet season.

    c. Our trails and activities do not interfere with timber harvests. In fact we are one of the few groups that would chose to recreate in a working forest environment.

    3. Economic Benefit to local businesses

    a. Seven bike shops in Bellingham

    b. Two bike manufactures in Whatcom County (Transition and Kona).

    c. Restaurants and other businesses in Bellingham and Whatcom County get increased business from riders who use our trail network.

    4. Immediate access would provide a legitimate riding area and allow time for a larger planning process th
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  4. #4
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    Thanks for posting this, I have already written a letter, and sent it to everyone listed.

  5. #5
    Just roll it......
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    Please print out, sign and mail the letters too. It does make a difference.

    Anthony, sorry to have your post pulled a couple weeks ago, but we were hopeful we could work out a solution with DNR to no avail.

  6. #6
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    That's some amazing work, the trestle blows me away.

    It's a complete shame that work has to be torn out, and it's really too bad the folk up at Whatcom DNR did not choose to take the leap to try to bridge the gap in this instance.
    .~...|\
    ...~.|.\
    ..~..|..\
    .~...|...\
    ~....|....\
    ...~.|.....\
    ....~|____\
    _____||_________
    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  7. #7
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    I'll grab some letterhead from work, and draft up something tomorrow. Probably from a health perspective. It's unbelievable that in today's world we have to council our patients that 'normal weight' is no longer the goal. Because the average person is obese, and there are so few anywhere near ideal body weight. (only Colorado has fewer overweight people than 'ideal' body weight--i.e. not fat). We have to tell them that they should not be like everyone else, they have to be the exception....that is, someone who is not fat.
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
    Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming

  8. #8
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    What set this off? An injury or the state putting pressure on the county because of the reconveyance problem?
    "It looks flexy"

  9. #9
    Just roll it......
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay View Post
    What set this off? An injury or the state putting pressure on the county because of the reconveyance problem?
    Clay, no injuries and no tie to the reconveyance at all. The formatting on this thread isn't helping this much.

    "Why is this happening?

    Whatcom Trails Co-op and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance were informed of the trail decommissioning two weeks ago by DNR. At that time the explanation for the closure was that an individual from a motorized user group was insisting that if motorized use wasn’t allowed on Slide Mountain, then all unauthorized trails must be closed down."


    Repeatedly, a member of the ORV community has thrown mt. bikers under the bus despite us working closely with the local club (Rainier Ridge Rams). We've even received a letter of support from the RRR that they feel this is a terrible move.

    The elephant in the room is that there are ZERO places to legally recreate on DNR land in Whatcom County, so all user groups have carved out their own trail networks over the years.
    Mark Mauren and everyone in the table admitted such, but the reality is they've got no money to manage recreation in our area.

    EB

  10. #10
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    Mark Mauren and everyone in the table admitted such, but the reality is they've got no money to manage recreation in our area.
    Yet they've got a $23k budget to decommission bike trails?

    I'll save my comments for the letters....

  11. #11
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    They should fall under the recreational immunity in WA as long as they don't charge for use, correct? So.... what's the liability problem?
    "It looks flexy"

  12. #12
    Just roll it......
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    As with many agencies, it's the "threat" of legal action.....the DNR rarely go to court with a lawsuit. They settle. In the 6 years that mt. bikers have been riding the Fork, it's not had a legal issue.

    It is sad and ironic how the builders have attempted to keep the area on the DL (however futile) for so long, that the Fork is going public this way.

  13. #13
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    It sounds like the issue to me is that instead of trying to accommodate all the different user groups in different ways, they would rather just ignore everyone and only deal with situations when people complain or other issues come up.

    They dont need to a lot of money or man power to "manage" the situation. That's where groups like Evergreen come into play. You allow groups access to different area, they manage the land within the guidelines set, and the DNR comes in every so often to make sure their guidelines are being followed. It seems to work fine in other counties.

  14. #14
    I should be out riding
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    Honestly, what other user group builds stuff like this in the woods? Moto guys don't build supercross tracks in the woods, and hikers don't build this sort of stuff. Anyone that build what's in those pics and thought it would last is delusional. But, the offer to keep the trails, but remove all but the bridges needed for sediment or erosion issues sounds completely reasonable, and not at all unlike the user built hiking trails that DNR is spending $ on.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
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    I've received a message back from Council member Sam Crawford. He has introduced this resolution for Council to take a look at the next meeting. We will need to show our support. Please note, they will need to discuss and take a vote.
    Clayton


    SPONSORED: Crawford

    PROPOSED: Consent

    INTRODUCTION:


    RESOLUTION NO. ________

    REQUESTING THE WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES TO WORK WITH MOUNTAIN BIKE ADVOCATES AND USERS TO DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN CONTINUED USE OF MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS IN THE AREA OF THE NORTH FORK OF THE NOOKSACK RIVER


    WHEREAS, Whatcom County is endowed with an extensive forested mountainous landscape ideal for the pursuit of mountain biking, hiking, and other passive recreational activities; and

    WHEREAS, the available land that can be utilized for mountain biking is somewhat limited relative to the forested mountainous areas of the county because of ownership issues, conflicts with neighboring uses, and access to trail networks; and

    WHEREAS, Whatcom County has become recognized nationally as a mountain biking ‘mecca’, attracting world-class mountain bikers along with the associated economic input to our community’s prosperity; and

    WHEREAS, the significant local economic infrastructure supporting the recreation and sport of mountain biking continues to rely on availability of a variety of locations to engage in mountain bike activity; and

    WHEREAS, local mountain bike organizations already exist that have demonstrated the ability to organize and collectively to address trail construction, maintenance, self-policing and impact mitigation; and

    WHEREAS, the area of Whatcom County known as the North Fork of the Nooksack River has been developed by users over the past 20 years into a key location (along with Galbraith Mountain and the Chuckanuts) for mountain bike recreation and sport; and

    WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has announced the upcoming closure of the North Fork of the Nooksack River to off-road mountain bike use; and

    WHEREAS, the activity of mountain biking as a recreation and a sport can be coordinated with other forest use priorities such as logging, hunting, hiking, winter recreation, fishing, fire prevention, and environmental stewardship to bring about enhancement and protection of the forest landscape for future generations; and

    NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Whatcom County Council that we strongly encourage the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to withdraw its deadline to close the North Fork of the Nooksack River to off-road mountain bike use, and instead to engage and collaborate with mountain bike users and advocates in maintaining and continued development of a network of mountain bike trails in that area in a manner that is environmentally protective and compatible with other forest uses.


    ADOPTED this day of April, 2012.


    WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL
    ATTEST: WHATCOM COUNTY, WASHINGTON




    Dana Brown-Davis, Clerk of the Council Kathy Kershner, Council Chair





    WHATCOM COUNTY EXECUTIVE
    WHATCOM COUNTY, WASHINGTON
    APPROVED AS TO FORM:



    Civil Deputy Prosecutor Jack Louws, County Executive

    ( ) Approved ( ) Denied

    Date Signed: ____________________
    "It looks flexy"

  16. #16
    Just roll it......
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    This is formatted a bit better. Many, many thanks to Glenn Glover and Evergreen's support.

    North Fork Nooksack

  17. #17
    Squeaky Wheel
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    What makes no sense is that they have no budget for recreation, but can come up with $23K, staff time and enforcement time to squelch recreation.

    In reality, they don't need a budget for recreation - they just need to be willing to work with responsible user groups.

    I can only look at the situation that I am familiar with, and that is working with Sno Parks. We wanted to build trails and structures and they had no budget or staff, but were willing to work with us. We agreed on a set of build standards and committed them to drawings (thanks to the mad CAD skills of FM and Ortdd) that Sno Parks approved. Took little staff time. We raised the cash to buy tools and materials to build with and we provided the labor. Sno Parks did initial acceptance inspection, which took very little staff time. We worked with Sno Parks to develop a set of maintenance and inspection forms and we jointly perform a yearly inspection of everything we built. Takes a few staff hours every year. A small ongoing staff investment goes a long way.

    Trying to stop nnauthorized trail construction on that much land is like playing whack-a-mole. Best for the DNR to provided an agreed upon, legal outlet. Once you have legit building going on, those builders are going to police their own because they don't want to kill the golden goose.

    I'll be writing a letter this weekend. Good luck up there.

  18. #18
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    Great news about the Whatcom County Council voting on this!! Let's all be sure to get in touch and voice our support ASAP in the hopes that they will vote yes.

    Thanks for keeping us all updated on the latest.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    Honestly, what other user group builds stuff like this in the woods? Moto guys don't build supercross tracks in the woods, and hikers don't build this sort of stuff. Anyone that build what's in those pics and thought it would last is delusional. But, the offer to keep the trails, but remove all but the bridges needed for sediment or erosion issues sounds completely reasonable, and not at all unlike the user built hiking trails that DNR is spending $ on.
    I don't think anyone disagrees with this take Anthony. These are big boy features and a couple of them took a month+ to build like Thad's truss bridge. The builders and riders look at them as works of art, but any land manager is going to see nothing but liability. We 100% acknowledged some of the bigger features and told DNR we'd decommission/remove any of the non-essential structures.

    Ironically, the bulk of the structures/trails in those photos are in a zone that was logged in the Fall. So, those structures had trees felled on them during harvest and the trails are currently not rideable any longer....full clearcut. The same is going to happen to a few others in May.

  20. #20
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    Agreed Woodway. That's the way I have been looking at it too. This sounds so 10-15 years ago during the first go around locally at the Exits... And, the DNR saw where that got them and that's why we're at a better page down here now. Makes no sense at all. Writing my own as well. Keep the faith up there EB et al...

    Though I will say that I get the idea of saying no to everyone as well since that sort of thing also happened at Lord Hill a few years back too. Gub'ment agencies find that's the easy way out.

  21. #21
    Justin Vander Pol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    This sounds so 10-15 years ago during the first go around locally at the Exits... And, the DNR saw where that got them and that's why we're at a better page down here now. Makes no sense at all.
    Actually, we're no better in Seattle at our under-the-radar DH spots.

  22. #22
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    Meaning: At least the DNR "tolerates" them here. And, I'm no longer convincing a WTA trail crew at Trail College that, "Yes, we CAN ride down this and no, it doesn't need stairs..."

    I don't know who it's "Under the radar" to. All the players know and have known for years.

    I'll take the current Exit tolerance as a win compared to the NF fiasco.

  23. #23
    Justin Vander Pol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Meaning: At least the DNR "tolerates" them here. And, I'm no longer convincing a WTA trail crew at Trail College that, "Yes, we CAN ride down this and no, it doesn't need stairs..."

    I don't know who it's "Under the radar" to. All the players know and have known for years.

    I'll take the current Exit tolerance as a win compared to the NF fiasco.
    NF was tolerated just fine until a few weeks ago.

  24. #24
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    The answer here is obvious but difficult. Get the MTB trails redesignated as authorized, limited to such use, and official. I know at this point that is far easier to say than do. Sounds like there was a threat of a lawsuit. It can be argued this is what can happen to an area with "gray trails".
    This episode shows how the DNR failed to prempt such issues or be cooperative. Likewise the MTB groups in the area should have gained official status a long time ago to have legal trails in the area. But hey it takes two to tango as they say. The motorized user group person while not very admirable from our point of view is arguing a correct legal response to the situation. A selfish, undiplomatic, politically self-destructive response to be sure but strictly speaking a legal one. In essence the DNR feels it is now trapped since it failed to enforce (or chose to ignore) its own rules. Again the the DNR should have responded to the lack of recreation in the beginning by reaching out all of the user groups with a real plan to meet recreational needs.
    A question that comes to mind is why the short time line for action on the DNR's part? The unimaginatve action of closing all trails seems to be what the DNR thinks is easiest for the DNR. The citizens of this state deserve better than this.

  25. #25
    North Van/Whistler
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    ^^^combitool. The mtb groups were talking to DNR for 5 years. The discussions were kept quiet. Things seemed to be progressing until a short time ago till the head office told the regional office to shut things down - thus prompting this PR. EB - correct me if I'm wrong and I can edit
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  26. #26
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    I guess that's what confuses me Lee. Years ago, the local Exit trails were dismantled by the DNR with help from the WTA. They were susequently rebuilt nearby and the DNR has since then (I am led to believe) looked the other way because it's easier just to let sleeping dogs lie than chase the builders and dismantle right after they build constantly. Is the area down here under the same juristiction? I agree with Juice that they "could" do the very same thing down here tomorrow if they wanted. But, don't understand why one area can be tolerated while another can't. More worried about precedent being easier to just shut everyone out than deal with portions of the user groups. It's the easy way out on their part. The whole thing sucks.

  27. #27
    Justin Vander Pol
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    In Seattle, the two biggest I-90 DH spots are mostly on FS land, so it's a different land manager. The DNR in Seattle has been pretty aggressive at shutting down most user built trails from various user groups. The Mailbox peak hiking trail is a neon pink, glaring exception.

    Here's my take on why this went down on NF

    ** New regional forester. In DNR, the staff has a lot of discretion on how to manage recreation on the Trust forests. A new forester could simply have had a different point of view than the one who left. This is probably the single biggest risk to any user built trail - change in personnel.

    ** Death by success. There was lots of trail building, and lots of people riding there. It had gotten too big to fly under the radar for the land manager.

    ** DH and freeride trails and features are still really hard for a land manager to get their head around from a management and liability standpoint. Glenn from Evergreen has been working hard on changing this for several years. Our position is that case law shows the actual financial risk of lawsuit is minimal. Liability is a perception, not reality. Unfortunately, its a strongly and widely held perception. Turns out perception IS reality when dealing with a land manager.

    ** The moto guy. I personally think this had only minimal impact, and is mostly a red herring. I once again reference Mailbox Peak, an eroded, user-built hiking trail that is heavily used.


    Why am I going into this, when we should all be writing letters? Because these issues exist at other popular DH spots, and being aware of all of this can help us 1) keep existing DH spots accessible and 2) move towards legitimization of areas where its feasible.

  28. #28
    North Van/Whistler
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    I can't even guess at the reasoning of land managers Borneo. Potentially good news showing that the literally hundreds/thousands? of communications sent and received have made a difference coming down the pipe
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by juice View Post

    ** The moto guy. I personally think this had only minimal impact, and is mostly a red herring. I once again reference Mailbox Peak, an eroded, user-built hiking trail that is heavily used.
    i appreciate you bringing this up two-fold. If we can learn lessons as our own user-group and what we can control through our own decisions it's way better than to start a blame war against another user-group. Things have not gone well, and even though in reality it's not so cut and dray and there are many factors for why, welllll let's just blame them damn motos!!! RAAAH!
    Yah i'm not into that...

    The other is bringing up a specific example of a hiker built trail that currently exists. This particular topic we or perhaps just myself, could carry on about for a while about.(or blather on as a Borneo preference)

    i appreciate you taking the time to offer a transparent view on your opinions into the matter. Many folk will fire off the emails all the same regardless, but i think there are some folk that appreciate the added info and appreciate your take and your insight into it, as someone with past experience in these matters.
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    The DNR has been out staging materials for their upcoming work all week. Even if things are shut down on Monday, our hope is that this is the catalyst to a permanent solution.

    Per Juice, if you've not written to our legislators and Commissioner Goldmark and Mark Mauren, please do so. Thanks again.

    EB

  31. #31
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    Here’s the info. for Mark Mauren and Peter Goldmark:


    PO Box 47000
    1111 Washington Street SE
    Olympia, WA 98504-7000
    Driving Directions



    Steve Jennison’s info.



    Steve Jennison

    Baker District Manager

    919 N. Township St.

    Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

  32. #32
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    Good news PR just released. Keep the letters coming though. It worked to help delay the action and get dialogue going. Lets show that the mtb community really want to help

    PRESS RELEASE: OLYMPIA… Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, today sent a letter to Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark asking him to suspend the Department of Natural Resources’ plan to decommission the mountain-bike trail system on Slide Mountain at the North Fork Nooksack River. The work is set to begin Monday.

    The trail system, which is user-built, is not an authorized recreational area and off-road vehicle enthusiasts have insisted that if motorized-vehicle user groups are denied access, all access should be denied.

    Ericksen said “I have asked for time to review all documents related to the environmental and management problems perceived by DNR; communications with county officials, mountain-bike organizations, neighbors to the area and other interested parties; and any complaints regarding mountain-bike activities in the area.

    “I am very concerned about this proposed closure. I believe strongly that public lands should be as open and available as possible for public recreational activities.

    “There are no authorized recreational areas on DNR land in Whatcom County. The user-built mountain-bike trail system is a reflection of the need for such recreational opportunities.”
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

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    From the Horse's mouth: DNR to close access to illegal and unauthorized mountain bike trails in northeastern Whatcom County

    TLDR; The DNR is committed to steadfast bureaucracy and the cessation of unauthorized fun on their managed land.

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    damn-but maybe not so good news, edit same as vertr just posted

    DNR to close access to illegal and unauthorized mountain bike trails in northeastern Whatcom County

    NEWS RELEASE
    March 30, 2012
    DNR TO CLOSE ACCESS TO ILLEGAL AND UNAUTHORIZED MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS IN NORTHEASTERN WHATCOM COUNTY
    Safety, Water Quality, And Protection Of State Trust Lands Key Reasons For Closure
    OLYMPIA – On Monday, April 2, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will begin closing access to illegal, unauthorized mountain bike trails and structures in the North Fork Nooksack forest block in northeastern Whatcom County. The trails were built without obtaining permission from DNR or county and state permits.
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    damn-but maybe not so good news, edit same as vertr just posted

    DNR to close access to illegal and unauthorized mountain bike trails in northeastern Whatcom County

    NEWS RELEASE
    March 30, 2012
    DNR TO CLOSE ACCESS TO ILLEGAL AND UNAUTHORIZED MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS IN NORTHEASTERN WHATCOM COUNTY
    Safety, Water Quality, And Protection Of State Trust Lands Key Reasons For Closure
    OLYMPIA – On Monday, April 2, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will begin closing access to illegal, unauthorized mountain bike trails and structures in the North Fork Nooksack forest block in northeastern Whatcom County. The trails were built without obtaining permission from DNR or county and state permits.
    Anyone know if a Democrat can challenge another Democrat for the Commissioner of public lands position?

  36. #36
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    First, we have the upcoming resolution from the County Council asking DNR to wait (everyone needs to show up at the meeting April 10)
    Second, we have a great letter from Sen. Ericksen asking DNR to wait.

    Third, I spoke to Mr. Jennison on the phone late today to make sure he has read the proposed Council resolution. He was polite and hadn't heard of it, but sounded very interested in finding out what the County Council thought about the issue. The letter from Sen. Ericksen will help as well (a lot IMO).

    I invited Mr. Goldmark, Jennison, and Mauren to attend the April 10 meeting. Hopefully all or some of them will be at the meeting.
    "It looks flexy"

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    Safety, Water Quality, And Protection Of State Trust Lands Key Reasons For Closure
    Baloney.

    The trails were built without obtaining permission from DNR or county and state permits.
    Now we get to the heart of the matter. Control.

    Letter sent today.

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    Thanks to those that came up this weekend for one final shred. As always, it was awesome to see the HLC bro's presence both days: Largextracheese, Muttonchops, Juice, Huckabarryhound, Josh and crew. The weather and the occasion were less than ideal, but we didn't let it dampen the overall vibe.

    Work started yesterday to close off the trails, signage is being installed and a gate is going up.

    Reminder: If you've not written to Commissioner Goldmark and our legislators, PLEASE do so. We'd really like to determine both a short-term and long term solution to this. The overarching issue is there is zero place to legally recreate on DNR land in Whatcom County, so ALL users have created their own trail networks - not just mt. bikers.

    Cheers,
    EB

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    Made the news on KUOW this morning.
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    Keep the pressure UP!
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    Today, whatcom county executive Jack Louws invited the DNR to attend the Whatcom County council meeting addressing this issue. This is good news because the council and executive, along with the support of senator ericksen are the most influential and powerful people we can possibly have looking into things. I hope the DNR chooses to attend.
    "It looks flexy"

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    Tarekith.com

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    The press on this is a bummer. It just reiterates the unfounded fear of "$2.1 million dollar lawsuits". Case law? Anyone? Nope, didn't think so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by juice View Post
    The press on this is a bummer. It just reiterates the unfounded fear of "$2.1 million dollar lawsuits". Case law? Anyone? Nope, didn't think so.
    There are a lot of pro-mtb comments on the Komo article. Considering the typical commenters, I find this surprising. The WA DNR is getting a lof of bad PR from this, but I'm not particularly sure that they have any incentive to act in response to it.

    The DNR keeps changing it's story, and Mauren seemed to pull the "2.1 million dollar" number right out of his ass on the spot.
    Last edited by Vertr; 04-04-2012 at 12:05 AM.

  45. #45
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    DNR is obviously in full-on spin-control mode now. They may have underestimated how much political heat they were going to take on this and want to frame the issue to their advantage.

    And I'm also tired of this red-herring "liability" issue. It's simply not true. The public and private landowners are well immunized from injury lawsuits under RCW 4.24.210.

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    DNR press release

    Press release on a Friday (March 30) for action taken on a Monday (April 2).

    Not even a single workday as far as public notice (to best of my knowledge, not sure if other announcements were made).

    DNR to close access to illegal and unauthorized mountain bike trails in northeastern Whatcom County

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    Was just thinking... Maybe DNR really means: Do Not Recreate?
    "It looks flexy"

  49. #49

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    Great, more spin. 'While we were destroying your trails with great justice, we took a minute to hear your pathetic pleas! Have hope you pathetic recreationalists.'

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    How did Banner Forest and Capitol Forest work out the liability and multi-user access problems?

    I know that DNR does not own all of Capitol Forest but there has been accommodation of both motorized, equine, hikers, and bikers in much of the Forest. And, half of Capitol Forest is closed to motorized. Couldn't that management model be used at North Fork?

    How did Evergreen come to agreement with the owners of Banner?

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    neither, it was a single user's complaint from a local motorized trail group.

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    It is sad and ironic how the builders have attempted to keep the area on the DL (however futile) for so long, that the Fork is going public this way


    That's how it is in Bellingham. Locals want to keep everything for themselves, untill they need help, then it's " help us save our trails, we did'nt want you to ride"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertr View Post
    Great, more spin. 'While we were destroying your trails with great justice, we took a minute to hear your pathetic pleas! Have hope you pathetic recreationalists.'
    love it....."pathetic recreationalists" in the grand scheme i guess thats all we really are

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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by darthjamo View Post
    That's how it is in Bellingham. Locals want to keep everything for themselves, untill they need help
    I'll catch flak for this but, "it's funny cause it's true". I'm from here but this thought process goes for most everything here, especially housing.
    "It looks flexy"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay View Post
    I'll catch flak for this but, "it's funny cause it's true". I'm from here but this thought process goes for most everything here, especially housing.
    But they pay for it by living in a stagnant and polarized culture with almost zero real career opportunities. So I guess it evens out.

    Believe me, I'm from there.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertr View Post
    But they pay for it by living in a stagnant and polarized culture with almost zero real career opportunities. So I guess it evens out.

    Believe me, I'm from there.
    I believe you after that comment . We probably know each other in "real life".
    "It looks flexy"

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by darthjamo View Post
    That's how it is in Bellingham. Locals want to keep everything for themselves, untill they need help, then it's " help us save our trails, we did'nt want you to ride"
    darthjamo, it's a pretty simple etiquette. When trails are in an unauthorized area, you see folks get hyper sensitive about stuff being chatted about on the interwebs. This "used" to be the way about the exits near Seattle, but it seems that ethos hasn't reached the next gen of riders, yet. Maybe this will highlight that need again?

    The North Fork grew in popularity organically via word of mouth. When folks showed up and wanted to hitch a ride to the top, they were treated well and were often given a tour. When riders tried to post crap on the web, they got shut down. When folks offered to help move dirt like many "non-locals" did, they got the royal treatment. Seems like that is lost on a lot of people these days.

    EB

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    I've ridden up there a few times, each time with a local guide. His message to us 'outa townies' was basically 'take care of your own shuttles, you aren't likely to get a ride from someone that doesn't know you'.

    There definitely seemed to be a division of locals versus not that I haven't seen anywhere else I have ridden in my 20 or however many years it is now. However, I totally understand why that was, the trails weren't sanctioned and that area was a known recreational sore spot for the DNR after having to close it to moto use some time back.

    The DNR knew about it, everyone knows that. Imagine if the area were widely discussed, traffic would have been 5x what it was. With the lack of parking space around the mountain, inevitable injuries to people without personal stock in silence, and the huge influx of traffic, it would have been impossible to ignore even as long as it was. The quiet profile bought probably a couple years use.

    It's not a local area to me and its loss isn't a direct hit to my normal riding life, but I'm saddened nonetheless. Mountain bikers are seriously deprived land access generally, focus should be on improving it rather than saving those few areas we have. Out of the acreage of public lands that could conceivably provide some recreational use, it's shocking how little is.

    One of our shortcomings through the years has been lack of organization, it's good to see people coming together with the help of web boards.
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    Tiger is DNR I believe. Same deal. Maybe a different, more level headed land manager? The response letter from Mauren I saw on the Evergreen list serve made me want to puke...

  61. #61
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    Not sure if this is a canned answer, but here's what I got back from Mr. Mauren today. Canned or not, when I spoke on the phone to him, he was still reading EVERY SINGLE EMAIL that he received.

    Hi Clayton

    Thank you taking the time to share your perspective and passion for the trails located in the departments “North Fork” block of forest trust lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

    What you may or may not be aware of is that several years ago the Department restricted ORV use in this area because they were causing environmental damage and constructing miles of unauthorized trails. At that time the mountain bike community requested that they be able to continue to use the roads in the area. We gave permission to use the existing roads but stipulated that they could not develop or use the illegal and unauthorized trails that the ORV community had built. Unfortunately, well intentioned members of the local mountain bike community intentionally or unintentionally disregarded this agreement and created a huge mountain bike trail system without our knowledge and permission.

    I don’t think that you or the mountain bike community:
    • Condones the development of trails on public or private lands without the landowners permission
    • Would disagree that the local mountain bike club’s expand the mountain bike trails way beyond what they had permission to do
    • Recommend that the department not obey existing laws

    As a state agency we cannot accept illegal trails. The department has a legal and trust obligation to:
    • Obtain all state and local permits, which there are many when developing recreation trails and facilities.
    • Have a licensed landscape architect or civil engineer design and oversee the construction of any public facility or trail,
    • Ensure that recreational activities are sustainable and do not interfere with our primary responsibilities (to generate revenue for the
    trust),
    • Have the resources to maintain the recreation trails and facilities and provide a level of education and enforcement so that users feel safe
    while recreating.
    • Ensure that the trails are safe and minimize the Departments liability exposure
    • Prevent environmental damage caused by sediment from the trails reaching flowing water, with trails crossing streams and destabilizing
    slopes.
    • Protecting cultural sites (some are in that area)

    The department is committed to working with all user groups to develop a recreation plan for a block of state managed trust lands in Whatcom County. The issue is picking the right landscape to develop trails in. I don’t know if you are aware but the soils in that area are a clay/ silt which means they are very erodible and prone to slippage. What we plan on doing is working with the users groups and county to identify a block of land that is best suited to support sustainable trail system and develop a recreation plan that identifies were the different types of trails should be located along with trailheads.

    In the meantime I encourage you and the Mountain Bike community to help us design and build trails in areas that we have or will be finishing recreation plans. These areas include Reiter Foothill (Snohomish County), Yacolt (Clark County), Ahtanum (Yakima area), Green Mountain (Kitsap County) or participate in the recreation planning process for Naneum (Ellensburg area), Snoqualmie Corridor, and Lake Roesiger.

    Take care

    Mark


    Mark Mauren
    Washington State Department of Natural Resources
    Assistant Division Manager
    Recreation & Public Access

    Mark.mauren@dnr.wa.gov

    Wrk (360) 902-1047
    Fax (360) 902-1789
    "It looks flexy"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay View Post
    Not sure if this is a canned answer, but here's what I got back from Mr. Mauren today. Canned or not, when I spoke on the phone to him, he was still reading EVERY SINGLE EMAIL that he received.

    Hi Clayton

    Thank you taking the time to share your perspective and passion for the trails located in the departments “North Fork” block of forest trust lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

    What you may or may not be aware of is that several years ago the Department restricted ORV use in this area because they were causing environmental damage and constructing miles of unauthorized trails. At that time the mountain bike community requested that they be able to continue to use the roads in the area. We gave permission to use the existing roads but stipulated that they could not develop or use the illegal and unauthorized trails that the ORV community had built. Unfortunately, well intentioned members of the local mountain bike community intentionally or unintentionally disregarded this agreement and created a huge mountain bike trail system without our knowledge and permission.

    I don’t think that you or the mountain bike community:
    • Condones the development of trails on public or private lands without the landowners permission
    • Would disagree that the local mountain bike club’s expand the mountain bike trails way beyond what they had permission to do
    • Recommend that the department not obey existing laws

    As a state agency we cannot accept illegal trails. The department has a legal and trust obligation to:
    • Obtain all state and local permits, which there are many when developing recreation trails and facilities.
    • Have a licensed landscape architect or civil engineer design and oversee the construction of any public facility or trail,
    • Ensure that recreational activities are sustainable and do not interfere with our primary responsibilities (to generate revenue for the
    trust),
    • Have the resources to maintain the recreation trails and facilities and provide a level of education and enforcement so that users feel safe
    while recreating.
    • Ensure that the trails are safe and minimize the Departments liability exposure
    • Prevent environmental damage caused by sediment from the trails reaching flowing water, with trails crossing streams and destabilizing
    slopes.
    • Protecting cultural sites (some are in that area)

    The department is committed to working with all user groups to develop a recreation plan for a block of state managed trust lands in Whatcom County. The issue is picking the right landscape to develop trails in. I don’t know if you are aware but the soils in that area are a clay/ silt which means they are very erodible and prone to slippage. What we plan on doing is working with the users groups and county to identify a block of land that is best suited to support sustainable trail system and develop a recreation plan that identifies were the different types of trails should be located along with trailheads.

    In the meantime I encourage you and the Mountain Bike community to help us design and build trails in areas that we have or will be finishing recreation plans. These areas include Reiter Foothill (Snohomish County), Yacolt (Clark County), Ahtanum (Yakima area), Green Mountain (Kitsap County) or participate in the recreation planning process for Naneum (Ellensburg area), Snoqualmie Corridor, and Lake Roesiger.

    Take care

    Mark


    Mark Mauren
    Washington State Department of Natural Resources
    Assistant Division Manager
    Recreation & Public Access

    Mark.mauren@dnr.wa.gov

    Wrk (360) 902-1047
    Fax (360) 902-1789
    I got a slightly remixed version of that last week. If you send him a response he will probably write you a thought out reply.

  63. #63
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    Baby progress steps

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/40136320?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

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    FANTASTIC. I was at the 9:30am committee meeting where Matt and I were able to testify and speak with the DNR official. Although the trails won't be exactly the same as before if things are worked out, I think there's a great possibility for the area to remain open for mountain biking.


    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    Baby progress steps

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/40136320?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
    "It looks flexy"

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    While it's mostly a symbolic vote, last night, the Whatcom County council voted 7-0 to pass resolution 2012 to urge the DNR to work with user groups to regain access to mountain bike trails on Slide mountain. Thanks to county council for their support in showing that quality of life and recreational access is a valuable resource here in Whatcom county.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    While it's mostly a symbolic vote, last night, the Whatcom County council voted 7-0 to pass resolution 2012 to urge the DNR to work with user groups to regain access to mountain bike trails on Slide mountain. Thanks to county council for their support in showing that quality of life and recreational access is a valuable resource here in Whatcom county.
    Thanks for clarifying EB. i think the fact that this is a separate government body with no real jurisdiction on the State government DNR's decision, that might slip by some folks understanding.

    And so it is so much only a moral victory in that sense.

    BUT i think it's pretty important concerning political tone. i think with how you and the many other participants have kept at it, and played it honest with logical well reasoned argument, it's convinced this government body to lend their support.

    That's important in that the argument can not be so easily cast aside, requests are not as easily thrown under the rug. And finally using the illegal trail building as a talking point to throw our user-group under the bus, this lends a legitimacy to the effort, with that support, it helps deaden that criticism.
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    A short vid that Brad put together about the Fork. We'll show a longer version before the "Strength in Numbers" premier next month at the Mt. Baker Theater.

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/40356150?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/40356150">Whatcom Community Outreach - Save the Fork (short version)</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user9913789">Brad Walton</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    A short vid that Brad put together about the Fork. We'll show a longer version before the "Strength in Numbers" premier next month at the Mt. Baker Theater.
    Nicely done.

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    Great job on the video. It's cool to see so many familiar faces in such a nicely done film.

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    Very well done.

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    Brad's good at what he does.

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    Who downrated my post, and made a cowardly comment? Show me you have some balls and put your name on it.

    Chump

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    Thanks for posting that link, thad. I would also like to point out I received a similar letter from Mr Mauren,and I don't think he gives a damn. I certainly know he doesn't about green mtn...or reiter. Having been to several of the 'public input' meetings on green, and one on reiter, I have heard enough. the state has already made up their minds on green, and most likely on reiter.

    Also, why in the hell would he even recommend that? Granted, I would drive from kitsap county and seattle to ride the fork, but to suggest that people from bellingham drive down to kitsap county or reiter to ride? ridiculous.

  75. #75
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    Sad. Seeing all the stuff being destroyed, very sad. This country is so a$$-backwards sometimes it really irks me... It took more effort, made more of a mess, and had more negative impact on the area to destroy it they way they did than to just leave it. I blame the insurance companies

  76. #76
    Just roll it......
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    A bit more info. about the North Fork closure and status today on Pinkbike.

    EB

  77. #77
    The Unaffiliated
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    No good Brutal

    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    WOW. Some of the footage made me physically sick. Those Stihl chainsaws made quick work of decades of loving labor...


  78. #78
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    One thing is for sure, the wood structures are what brought it all to a head. At the public meeting, the DNR must have said "wood structures and the liability they bring" 100 times. It was either their excuse or genuine reason.
    "It looks flexy"

  79. #79
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    Smile Mountain Bike Park Construction

    Fabulous post on Mountain Bike Trail Construction. Pls keep sharing more on it

  80. #80
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    this post/thread was about the DESTRUCTION of the best network the northwest has ever seen. damn DNR.

  81. #81
    Zach Attack
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    I lived on Lumi Island back in 80' and spent a lot of time in the area while going to school. Beautiful, had lots of adventures. So stoked now to read about the awesome trails there.
    Living in Nevada City Ca now and working with killer community trail group. After years of sweet trails dozered mostly by developers, we are slowly building a reputation and capacity to develop and build authorized trails that are sustainable and fun. Identifying private land options for out of the box stuff is the only way as liability to much for most agencies.
    Watching the video, I was touched by the beautiful and creative elements of the trails. Keep it positive. You have the love. In a way, this will do more for supporting legal development than years of public meetings and advocacy.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by zachi View Post
    I lived on Lumi Island back in 80' and spent a lot of time in the area while going to school. Beautiful, had lots of adventures. So stoked now to read about the awesome trails there.
    Living in Nevada City Ca now and working with killer community trail group. After years of sweet trails dozered mostly by developers, we are slowly building a reputation and capacity to develop and build authorized trails that are sustainable and fun. Identifying private land options for out of the box stuff is the only way as liability to much for most agencies.
    Watching the video, I was touched by the beautiful and creative elements of the trails. Keep it positive. You have the love. In a way, this will do more for supporting legal development than years of public meetings and advocacy.


    Zach,

    The DNR is now proposing to build a multi-user "super park" in Whatcom County. It won't be at the North Fork, but will be very cool and very large with active forestry to boot. Win-win-win situation, I think.
    "It looks flexy"

  83. #83
    Just roll it......
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    Clay,

    Any Long-term planning process is dependent upon 1. funding in July and then 2. the DNR's internal prioritization process. No guarantees until both of those happen for Whatcom County.

    Then, their planning process takes 2-3 years. Then, they have to find funds for implementation and build out. Probably 4-5 years before any actual trailwork would begin (only if the 2 aforementioned items happen).

    Until then, the WMBC will be working on trail planning for the Lake Whatcom Forest Park, Larrabee, Galby, Blanchard....and, of course, folks are always working elsewhere.

    Cheers,
    EB

    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay View Post
    Zach,

    The DNR is now proposing to build a multi-user "super park" in Whatcom County. It won't be at the North Fork, but will be very cool and very large with active forestry to boot. Win-win-win situation, I think.

  84. #84
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    I just saw this and thought I'd ask.
    What's the latest with the North Fork trails?
    Is there anything going on to revive them?
    I know the Whatcom Trails co-op merged with the WCMBC.
    Great video.

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