Mt. Hood N. F. Approves Mountain Biking Project at Timberline Ski Area


Contact:  Laura Pramuk  503-668-1791 or 503-314-2036


On November 19, 2012, Mt. Hood National Forest Supervisor Christopher Worth signed a Decision Notice to authorize an amendment of RLK and Company’s (RLK) Special Use Permit to include the Timberline Ski Area Mountain Bike Trails and Skills Park.   RLK, the operator of Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, submitted a proposal to the Forest Service for a lift-assisted downhill mountain biking trail system and skills park in 2010.  The project involves mountain bike riders using a chairlift to travel with their bikes to the top of a 17 mile mountain bike trail system, which would cross through ski trails and forested areas within the Timberline Ski Area.  The project includes a plan for a well-managed mountain bike park that would appeal to families and feature predominantly beginner and intermediate level trails, as well as features to aid in learning biking skills and riding etiquette.  Worth’s decision includes project design elements that would prevent erosion and damage to vegetation, as well as watershed restoration projects to correct pre-existing sedimentation issues that would be implemented concurrently with the bike park and trails construction. The decision document and accompanying Environmental Assessment, including appeal instructions, are available on the Mt. Hood National Forest website at Compact discs of the documents are available upon request by contacting Forest Planner, Kristy Boscheinen, at 503-668-1645 or


This proposal was introduced to the public on June 29, 2010 with a letter from Zigzag District Ranger Bill Westbrook outlining the proposal and requesting public feedback. The letter was followed by a field trip to the project area in September 2010, which 30 people attended. The Preliminary Assessment was released to the public for a 30-day comment period on March 3, 2011. The Zigzag Ranger District hosted a public meeting that was attended by about 100 people later that month, so that the public would have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with project specialists.  As a result of this public involvement effort, the Forest received about 1,200 letters or e-mail messages.  Several of the issues addressed by the public generated additional project design criteria and analysis.


For example, many public comments focused on environmental issues such as potential effects to sediment/aquatic resources, wildlife, and vegetation; and the appropriateness of lift-assisted mountain biking within the Timberline Ski Area and near the environs of Timberline Lodge.  These and other concerns are addressed within the Environmental Assessment, and the Decision Notice requires the implementation of restoration activities, as well as project design criteria such as limiting tree removal, restricting hours of operation, measures to prevent introduction of invasive species, monitoring requirements and more.  The Forest also received numerous comments in support of the proposal.


“The Environmental Assessment document is a thorough, high-quality analysis of the potential impacts of the project. It and the Decision Notice are the result of a robust interdisciplinary team process and substantial opportunities for public comment and engagement,” said Zigzag District Ranger Bill Westbrook.  “I thank the public for their involvement in the project during the last 2-plus years. Many of the comments helped us improve our analysis and resulted in a better project.”


The project is consistent with the Mt. Hood Forest Plan and the Timberline Master Development Plan and will help the Mt. Hood National Forest continue to provide an array of recreation opportunities to various age groups, skill levels, and interests.  “Timberline Lodge and Ski Area were envisioned by its founders as a place where Oregonians would enjoy the benefits of four season active recreation, in the world-class alpine setting represented by Mt. Hood.  FDR amazingly foresaw this potential opportunity when he dedicated the lodge 75 years ago,” said Forest Supervisor Christopher Worth. 


The public may call Ms. Boscheinen or District Ranger Bill Westbrook for more information at 503-622-2001.