The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Prineville District Deschutes Field Office, is seeking your input on a proposal in the Horse Ridge Recreation Management Area (project area). The project is in the public scoping phase until March 13, 2024.
The BLM is proposing to:
- Designate a non-motorized transportation system to provide quality recreational opportunities and serve the needs of the local communities.
- Designate existing trails as part of the official trail system, design new trails, and improve existing trails, as needed, to make them more sustainable, safer, challenging, and mitigate user conflict.
- Re-route trails or sections of trails as needed to protect resources.
- Close (by signing, physical barriers, and/or obliteration) trails through the Horse Ridge Research Natural Area.
- Repair existing or construct new fence around the Horse Ridge Research Natural Area to manage for non-recreational use.
- Expand the Horse Ridge Trailhead, potentially double the parking area from half of an acre to approximately one acre. Add an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) CXT brand toilet and add onto the existing paved walkway to connect the path to the toilet.
- Expand the Big Sagebrush Trailhead, increase the existing parking area from approximately one third of an acre to one acre. Add an ADA CXT brand toilet, two handicap parking spaces, and up to three picnic tables. Pave the walkway from the handicap parking spaces to the toilet and to at least one of the picnic tables.
- Fence in the parcel of BLM-administered land between Frontage Road and Highway 20 to discourage motorized use, illegal target shooting, and trash dumping.
- Improve/sign the Oregon Desert Trail to clearly mark the trail for through-hikers and make the trail multi-use. This may involve trail realignment with proposed mountain bike trails."
SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT BY MARCH 13, 2024!
BLM's ePlanning Portal
TIPS FOR WRITING YOUR COMMENT:
E-BIKES ARE UP FOR DISCUSSION. IF YOU SWAY A CERTAIN WAY, THIS IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP AND SHARE YOUR OPINION!
KEY TALKING POINTS:
- Adaptive biking – People with disabilities often use adaptive mountain bikes to access trails. These bikes have a three-wheel configuration and require a trail width of up to 40 inches to pass. We respectfully request that gates and boulder placements used to control access allow riders of adaptive mountain bikes to pass unimpeded. COTA would also look to design and build the new mountain biking trails so that they accommodate adaptive bikes where possible.
- Economic advantage - Trails are a key ingredient in diversifying, stabilizing, and revitalizing the economy of countless communities across America. Not to mention, they have an enormously positive impact on the economy in Central Oregon. Folks need all the gear to get out for their adventure, and they love to eat and drink after recreating. Multiple businesses benefit, not just the ones focused on outdoor recreation.
- Expanded Recreation - Trails are ideal places to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. This proposal almost doubles the available trail mileage in this area. It's important to have expansion, but also within an interconnected system. This means the disturbance will remain in one area, where disturbance is already present. AND take the disturbance away from the Natural Area.
- Natural Resource Protection - We are grateful this proposal re-routes trails to avoid the Horse Ridge Research Natural Area. It's incredibly important that we recreate responsibly, and sustainably, so future generations can enjoy mountain biking and all the natural beauty that surrounds it.
- Public health - As fun as these sports are to participate it, they also benefit our physical, mental, and emotional health. Trails encourage physical activity and help people incorporate exercise in to their daily routines.
- Riding diversity - This proposal offers a multitude of steep, technical terrain that is lacking in Central Oregon. As this type of riding style becomes more popular, we have to match the needs of the community.
- If alternatives are proposed, they should be on the side that adds trail mileage, not take any away. The current proposal has adequate new miles, and the alternatives should not propose anything less.
- Winter riding - Horse Ridge is widely known as one of the few winter mountain bike riding spots in Central Oregon. Snow rarely reaches this area, and therefore becomes a critical resource for mental and physical health for residents.