OPB Earthfix: Enviros say not so fast to Mountain Biking at Mt. Hood's Timberline

OPB, By Amelia Templeton
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A plan to build 17 miles of mountain bike trails on the slopes surrounding Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood has hit a snag. Environmental groups filed a lawsuit Thursday saying the plan would harm alpine meadows.

Timberline hopes to break ground the project this year. It would create summer mountain bike trails on winter ski slopes. Cyclists could roll downhill and then pop their bikes on a chairlift and ride back to the top.

Lori Ann Burd is with Bark, one of four environmental groups that filed suit in federal court. She says when the snow melts those slopes are delicate alpine meadows.

“Fragile, volcanic soils — it’s a great place for birdwatching. It’s home to elk herds. There are excellent places to put mountain biking trails on Mount Hood, this is just not the right place,” Burd said.

Timberline spokesman Jon Tullis disagrees. He says a review by the Mount Hood National Forest found the project would have no significant environmental impact. He says building the bike new trails will help keep the lodge relevant and vibrant.