NWTA’s advocacy team has been working with our friends at Timberline Lodge and Ski Area to provide any assistance they need in this herculean multi-year court battle. Good news, the court has found in favor of the project. Bad news, there is a new mandated comment period around the scope of the initial environmental assessment for the project. Good news, you can help by writing in support of the bike park project.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED by OCTOBER 31st
Please send in your comments here:
Mt Hood National Forest
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055-7248
The Forest Service has some requirements on comments:
You must use the subject listed below.
Comments must be sent in plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), or Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx).
Comment Deadline is October 31st
Comments should not be a copy and paste of a form response.
An example response is shown below. Please write your own. This holds more weight. Research resources are at the bottom. A few things to consider: Less is more. Be clear in your support of moving forward with the project at this time. Mention the many research efforts have all successfully proven there is no risk to fish and bee populations. Be polite.
Timberline Mountain Bike New Information
District Ranger Bill Westerbrook,
I am writing in support of the Timberline Ski Area Mountain Bike Trails and SKills Park project. This project has been analyzed and litigated since 2010. During that time I have stood in support of this much needed project. In August 2016 the final National Marine Fisheries Service assessment found no risk Lower Columbia River fish stock. Three years of biological studies concerning Western bumble bees find their range broadening across the forest and no risk of them being federally listed. I recognize we need fish and pollination to live. I am fully satisfied with the comprehensive analysis. Please allow construction of this much desired public recreation asset to move forward on our land. Thank you for your public service.
“Those who will follow us to Timberline Lodge on their holidays and vacations will represent the enjoyment of new opportunities for play in every season of the year.”
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937, during the dedication of Timberline Lodge
The Bike Park proposal was approved in 2012 following 2 years of environmental studies, resulting in an comprehensive Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposal. The Forest Service issued a Decision and Finding of No significant Impact based on the analysis in the EA. This approval was subsequently appealed by a consortium of groups, led by the Friends of Mt. Hood. Upon review by the Region VI Regional Forester, the decision was upheld and the appeal was denied. Just prior to the start of construction, the CRAG Law Firm, representing Friends of Mt. Hood, the Sierra Club, BARK and the NW Environmental Defense Center, filed suit against the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, and requested an injunction to halt any activity in regards to the proposed Bike Park. Timberline requested and was granted the right to be joined as a co-defendant intervenor with the Forest Service. A federal judge issued an interim injunction pending the court issuing a ruling regarding the merits of the issues in the case. This injunction applied to any trail building, but allowed most of the restoration work to proceed. The restoration work was substantially completed in the Fall of 2015. Subsequent to the initial stages of the law suit, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was also named in an amended complaint.
In the Spring of this year, the federal judge ruled in favor of the Forest Service, NMFS and Timberline on most of the issues in the lawsuit, and deferred ruling on the few remaining issues pending Forest Service and NMFS completion of updated reviews of additional information in the form of an additional NFMS Biological Opinion, and the results of further Western Bumblebee surveys.
On Friday, the Forest Service issued their review of the additional information on their website, their reasoning behind why they feel that the new information is consistent with prior work, concluding that no supplemental EA or other additional NEPA is required, and provided for another public comment period regarding their review and conclusions, ending October 31st. The intent of the comment period is to receive input from the public as to whether or not to prepare a supplemental EA or otherwise reopen the EA process, which would further delay implementation of the Bike Park project.
It is our firm belief that the environmental analysis and other processes that were followed regarding the Bike Park have been professional, exhaustive, and more than adequate. We would appreciate any brief comments that you may want to provide to the Forest Service that agree with the conclusion that no further NEPA process is warranted, and supporting construction of the bike trails and other implementation of the project without further delay. Any comments should be sent prior to October 31stto the email address in the links below:
Most recent call for comment
2016 Western Bumble Bee Memo
2013 appeals and responses
Full library on the project approval process
The opposition viewpoint
http://bark-out.org/project/timberline-mountainbike-trails-and-skills-parkappeals and responses
A discussion dating back to 2011 about this battle.