OET Public Lands Update

Community Outreach About E-Bikes on Trails

Region 6 of the Forest Service has asked the Deschutes Trails Coalition to convene a series of community meetings to gauge public sentiment about whether Class 1 e-bikes belong on single-track trails. And if so, which trails would be suitable? (Class 1 e-bikes have a top speed of 20 mph and must be pedaled in order for the motor to operate.) When the time comes for the Forest Service to make decisions about e-bikes on trails, they will take into consideration the recommendations that come out of this community outreach. OET members are participating in these meetings and helping to shape the outcome of the talks. We’ll keep you posted on the community meetings and any recommendations that come out of them.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Wants to Limit the Size of Horse Groups

The Bureau of Land Management is working on a new management plan for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. The Monument lies at the intersection of the Cascade, Siskiyou, and Klamath mountain ranges. Its ecosystem features astonishing biodiversity, including a number of species found nowhere else on Earth. The Soda Mountain Wilderness Area lies within the Monument, and the Pacific Crest Trail runs through it. BLM is proposing that because of the area’s unique ecosystem, parties entering the Wilderness be limited to six heads of stock for day rides, or four heads of stock for overnight trips. Our friends at Back Country Horsemen of Oregon’s Sourdough Chapter are concerned about this stringent limitation on overnight stock use. (For example, under the proposed rule if two couples want to do a weekend pack trip, they can’t bring along a pack horse.) The Sourdough Chapter has proposed that the limit be increased to 6 heads of stock per party for overnight trips. OET has submitted a letter to BLM that supports increasing the overnight stock limit from four to six animals.

Salmonberry Trail Construction Has Begun

Construction has begun on the long-awaited Salmonberry Trail, which will eventually follow the old Port of Tillamook Bay railroad line from Banks to Tillamook. The current phase of the project will build seven miles of trail along the old roadbed. Volunteers representing all types of non-motorized recreation showed up for a joint work party, and more work events and fundraisers are planned. For more information, go to https://salmonberrytrail. org/.

National Park Service Proposes that Park Superintendents Have Discretion Over E-Bikes

As you may remember, the National Park Service has amended its policy toward e-bikes several times over the past couple of years. The newest iteration is that the Park Service has issued a nationwide “Programmatic Environmental Assessment” that, if approved, would allow Park Superintendents to decide where e-bikes are permitted, within certain constraints. For instance, Superintendents would be able to allow e-bikes only on trails and administrative roads where biking is already permitted. Back Country Horsemen of America is preparing comments on the proposal. Crater Lake is Oregon’s only National Park, and it does not have any trails where bike use is allowed. It has one administrative road, the unpaved 8-mile Grayback Drive, that allows bikes. If you are concerned about e-bike access to this road, BCHA recommends contacting the park superintendent to make your thoughts known, as nothing in the Programmatic EA would change the nationwide policy that allows this. OET will not be submitting comments unless our members feel strongly about this issue.

You can contact me (Kim McCarrel) at vppubliclands@oregonequestriantrails.org or 541-410-4552.

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