Bike Intelligencer » northwest timber trail All bike, all the time Wed, 13 May 2015 21:53:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mountain Bikers Get Huge Win at Tiger Mountain Tue, 26 Oct 2010 06:42:32 +0000 The first new Tiger Mountain trail open to mountain bikers in two decades has been announced by Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, which continues to make advocacy gains for mtbers in the Puget Sound region.

Mount Rainier atop East Tiger Summit

The route, a connector between the East Summit fire road and the popular Preston Railroad Grade trail, will open to mountain bikers “possibly by spring,” the Alliance announced on its Web site:

The re-route will provide mountain bikers with additional mileage, 500′ more vertical, and a single-track connection from the actual summit of East Tiger to the west (upper) end of the Preston RR Grade Trail.

The trail opening represents a huge stride forward for mountain biking on Tiger, the Seattle area’s most popular classic cross-country riding area. Only three trails are officially open to mountain bikers — Preston, Iverson and Northwest Timber. Despite year-round trail maintenance, they suffer from over-riding due to lack of enough overall trail access to carry demand.

Courtesy Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

The last trail opened to mtbers was NW Timber, in the early 1990s. [We’re going from memory here; if we’re mistaken please give a shout.]

“If all goes well, there’s even more to come,” said Glenn Glover, Evergreen’s executive director.

The addition of the new trail sets up a challenging loop — riding the fire road up from the east summit parking lot off Highway 18, taking the connector down to near the trailhead onto Preston and then completing the Preston-Northwest Timber Trail loop back to the parking lot. Riders will reach 3000 feet elevation (an additional 500 feet) and add about a mile of singletrack to their ride.

Parts of the existing East Tiger Mountain Trail connector, a short but steep and technical descent, will be rerouted in sections to ameliorate erosion and improve rideability. The rest of the existing trail will remain closed to bikes.

The new stretch is a testament to Evergreen’s outreach efforts to trail organizations and land-management agencies, in this case the state Department of Natural Resources and Washington Trails Association (WTA). Opposition to mountain biking from one hiking group, the Issaquah Alps, has kept new trails from being added for years. But management agencies are increasingly considering mountain biking to be part of any trail-use equation.

There’s also growing political support to make Issaquah a mountain-biking destination akin to Whistler, B.C. and Oakridge, OR. The proximity of Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park and Grand Ridge have focused regional attention on Issaquah’s mountain-biking prowess.

Evergreen, as part of the agreement, will maintain the new connector as well as step up its stewardship of Preston, one of the best downhill runs around but subject to severe erosion. The Alliance will hold a series of winter work parties starting Nov. 7. DNR is supplying an excavator and $7,000 worth of materials towards the effort, Glover said.

Further enhancements may be in the offing on Tiger, including trail connectors between Preston and Northwest Timber, alleviating the need to ride fire road sections. Such a connector — informally referred to as the Silent Swamp reroute — would create a monster singletrack ride from the East Summit all the way back to the parking lot via Preston and NWTT.

A project to install two bridges and connector trails in the Silent Swamp corridor — a lush but underused hiking trail over the years — has won rave reviews, Glover said: “If WWRP (Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program) funding gets approved, this will be a funded project. We’re tremendously excited about the possibilities.”

A Tiger Mountain ride review.

Evergreen’s guide to Tiger.

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Tiger Mountain trail reopens for the season Thu, 11 Jun 2009 17:08:12 +0000 Not the scenic lunch spot, but at least trail is open

Not the scenic lunch spot, but at least trail is open

The good news is, Tiger Mountain’s primary mountain biking loop is open again. The DNR reopened Northwest Timber Trail earlier than expected (the first time that’s been done in recent years) this past weekend for the duration of the season.

The bad news is, Northwest Timber Trail is in serious jeopardy. A huge swath has been cut near its upper terminus for a road that Ys just below the trail. Above the trail enough hillside has been cleared that erosion and debris are certain to hammer the trail over the winter.

As it is, the trail is expected to be closed next summer for logging. There’s no word on alternatives yet, but we hope the closure can be used to justify access in other parts of Tiger. There are 80 miles of trail open to hikers, just 8 open to mountain bikers. And a good chunk of the latter will be gone with the closure of Northwest Timber Trail. this a good place for a culvert? this a good place for a culvert?

Bikes can ride over the road now. But a culvert was installed right above the trail just north of the new road, giving an idea of what is to come. You put a waterfall above a trail, you get a washout.

Let’s be clear about the issues here. Tiger Mountain is a working forest subject to logging. Closures are inevitable. Trail damage is a given.

But: For that very reason, arguments about environmental harm and use conflicts on Tiger are bogus. I like to joke that the only thing more devastating to a forest than logging is a mountain bike. The truth is, bikes cause mere specks of ecological impact compared to forest operations.

Aside from Poo Poo Point trail on the north side off I-90, hikers barely use Tiger trails. We have nothing against hiking use on any trails. But to exclude bikes when trails sit mostly empty is unfair and unjustified.

We support the work of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to work with the DNR and other user groups to open additional trails to mountain bike access at the very least on a provisional basis so that the myths of mountain bike impacts can be dispelled in a diverse user environment.

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Tiger Update: Dry Memorial Day weekend forecast! Fri, 22 May 2009 14:24:21 +0000 Tiger Mountain is in great shape for riding this weekend, and the weather is supposed to be astounding. Upper Preston is almost completely dry, although lower Preston continues to be splatter time, with more wet spots than prom night. May 2009 has already nearly doubled the average rainfall for the month and we’ve still got 10 days to go.

But Northwest Timber and Iverson trails are dry, the latter being my fave spot right now on Tiger. While you can’t get the speed up of Preston, Iverson offers some challenging, jumpy lines, a couple of log rides and even that one “slickrock” down below.

Plus you get to stay dry!

The last couple of weekends have been jammed at Tiger, with overflow parking running up the left fork of the road toward the upper parking lot. It’s great to see so many people out — have fun!

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