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There is growing recreational pressure within the City of Portland - and in turn, on Forest Park - to accommodate the increasing demand for singletrack mountain biking. At the same time, limited resources exist to manage the conflicts between users and address the myriad pressures on Forest Park's unique natural resources. It is worth noting, however, that over 28 miles of challenging and scenic routes (trail and firelane) are currently open to bicycles.
Historically, the majority of trails in Forest Park have been built and managed for hiking and other non-bike activities. Only as the interest in and activity around mountain biking increased in the last 15-20 years have there been innovations and adaptations in trail building to minimize environmental impacts and user conflicts.
The City's Forest Park Natural Resource Management Plan (FPNRMP), adopted in 1995, outlines a number of approved future trail projects. At the time of its adoption, the Management Plan did not fully consider the growth of off-road cycling and the potential for user conflicts and environmental impacts - all of which are now becoming evident with growing recreational use of the park. In August of 2009, the City of Portland convened the Forest Park SingleTrack Advisory Committee to study these issues in greater detail. In the wake of that committee's report, Nick Fish and Zari Santner released a series of recommendations to help guide the path forward.
The Conservancy believes that recreational use of the park is best serviced by careful planning that utilizes the best available science and related information, while upholding the overarching stewardship of the irreplaceable resource that is Forest Park. Developing a sustainable approach to accommodating additional off-road cycling must integrate and emphasize education and outreach, habitat restoration, and trail maintenance while being sensitive to Forest Park's unique natural resources and other existing recreational activities.
All remaining trails and roads in Forest Park are not open to bicycles - you are, however, greatly encouraged to enjoy them on foot. Thank you for respecting these trails and the pedestrians that use them.