The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently reviewing its e-bikes policy. Comments or concerns regarding e-bike use on BLM lands can be submitted through June 9, 2020 here. Below you'll find COTA's position statement in PDF format:
In the past few weeks, there have been several guest editorials in the Bend Bulletin by pro e-bike riders that had several inaccuracies as to COTA's role and relationship with central Oregon's singletrack MTB trails. We hope this helps clarify our position in the complex discussion about e-bikes. - COTA Board of Directors
May 20, 2020 Bend Bulletin:
In a recent guest column about riding electric bikes (e-bikes) in the forests west of Bend, there were some inaccuracies that the Central Oregon Trail Alliance's Board of Directors would like to correct and clarify.
COTA’s mission is to develop, protect and enhance the Central Oregon mountain bike experience through trail stewardship, advocacy, collaboration and education. Since our founding in 1992, we have designed, built and have stewardship/maintenance agreements on hundreds of miles of single-track trails. While intended to be used primarily by mountain bikers, many others enjoy the work COTA has performed over the past 25+ years, including hikers, trail runners and equestrians.
COTA works with many land managing agencies, such the US Forest Service (Deschutes, Ochoco and Willamette National Forests), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bend Parks and Recreation, Redmond Parks and Recreation, City of Madras, City of Prineville, Crook County and a few others. In each of these relationships, trail management policies (including usage restrictions) are dictated by the specific land managers.
For instance, COTA has, in fact, built trails open to e-mountain bikes at the East Hills Trail System in Madras, because the City of Madras allowed it.
Regarding the Phil’s network and trails west of Bend, the land manager is USFS/Deschutes National Forest. The USFS’s national policy states that electric bikes are to be considered motorized vehicles, and therefore manages them differently than human-powered mountain bikes. Thus, e-bikes are not allowed on USFS trails managed for non-motorized use.
A different example can be seen in the Oakridge area, where some of the single-track trails allow e-bikes. Here these trails are managed by the Willamette National Forest as motorized trails and are open to motorcycles.
COTA’s role has always been as a supportive organization, holding volunteer agreements with the various land managers, including the local Forest Service office. We follow the rules and regulations put forth by the USFS.
The Deschutes National Forest Trail Manager asked COTA for assistance in funding and implementing a ‘No E-Bikes’ signage program. We provided funding and volunteer labor to install the signs, which were approved by DNF. This is consistent with our mission, since education and collaboration are part of what we do.
Although the USFS is not currently reviewing its e-bikes policy, the BLM is actively in a review process. Comments or concerns regarding e-bike use on BLM lands can be submitted through June 9 (search ‘e-bike regulations’ at blm.gov).
E-bike management on trails is very complex and we applaud the BLM for a full review and public comment period before making a final decision. This decision will also affect other trail users: hikers, trail runners, equestrians, and human-powered mountain bikers. While there are compelling arguments for inclusion of e-bikes on trails open to mountain bikes, there are also many arguments against inclusion and keeping non-motorized trails just that, non-motorized.
While the current policies prohibit e-bikes on non-motorized trails they do not prevent use and enjoyment of public lands. There are literally thousands of miles of unpaved roads and trails approved for motorized recreation, which includes e-bikes.
COTA promotes good trail etiquette and responsible recreation for all users. For e-bikers, a big part of riding responsibly includes knowing where to legally ride and respecting those policies. Ignoring closures and policies does not help the impression others have of e-bikers as a user group.
Originally posted in the Bend Bulletin May 20, 2020 issue
Per DNF May 20 press release: Prior to Memorial Day weekend, the Deschutes National Forest will open most developed day-use sites and boat ramps on the national forest. The public should be aware that those sites remaining closed have hazard trees that need to be addressed for public safety or still have significant snow.
“I am happy to share that we are opening many of our boat launches and trailheads that provide access to the landscape and recreation we all enjoy so much” said Forest Supervisor Holly Jewkes. “We appreciate your understanding as we work to restore services to these sites. In the meantime, we will not be charging day use fees.”
The specific status of each site on the Deschutes National Forest can be found in this table, updated daily on the Deschutes website.
Though these sites are considered open to the public, restrooms will not be regularly cleaned or maintained, nor will garbage services be provided at this time. The public should be prepared to recreate responsibly without these services, and remember “pack it in, pack it out” and put campfires dead out.
This weekend is the initial phase of developed recreation sites opening on the Deschutes National Forest. All campgrounds on the Deschutes National Forest remain closed. Dispersed camping is still allowed.
“We are working to open some campgrounds on the forest the first weekend in June. We will continue to open more campgrounds as safety issues are addressed and services can be provided,” said Jewkes.
Responsible recreation practices include:
DNF Contact: Jean Nelson-Dean, Public Affairs Officer, Deschutes National Forest, 458-231-1242
April 10, 2020 UPDATE:
In an effort to curb the risks of spreading the coronavirus and to avoid accidents that might require medical attention, the US Forest Service has implemented a temporary halt to volunteer work in our forests to protect as many people as possible.
Effective immediately, all volunteer field work is suspended in the Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest and the Crooked River Grasslands, all managed by the USFS. It’s our understanding this ‘stand down’ will be in effect through May 8th, at least.
To be clear, this means the forests are closed to volunteer trail/field work, whether in groups or individually.
Thanks for your understanding and patience. Stay safe and healthy. And hang in there - we're as anxious as you are to get back out there!
March 28, 2020
Effective March 27, 2020, coronavirus-related closures and restrictions for public lands managed by the USFS and BLM have been put in place. COTA will continue to update this article as changes occur.
Central Oregon National Forests Temporarily Close All Developed Recreation Sites
USFS Central Ore. — March 27, 2020 — To align with Governor Brown’s executive order directing people to stay home to save lives, the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland have temporarily closed all developed recreation sites, to include campgrounds, day-use sites, boat ramps, trailheads, Sno-Parks, fire lookouts, and OHV areas.
These recreation closures are necessary to address social distancing guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control, align with Oregon State Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order to avoid unnecessary travel, including travel for recreational purposes, and reduce pressure on emergency services in local communities. [press release attached below]
COTA has received clarification from the USFS/Bend office:
- Trailheads are closed; do not drive to or park nearby.
- Forest Service roads and singletrack trails are still open at this time.
- Ride from your back door only. Skip shuttling or carpools, or driving out to trails.
PLEASE follow these suggestions:
- Ride solo or with 1-2 others, maintain 6+ feet physical distance between you!
- Ideally, ride forest service roads INSTEAD of singletrack. Some trails are still experiencing freeze/thaw soggy conditions. Plus you simply CAN'T pass safely on singletrack without riding wide. Don't do it. Protect yourself, protect others, protect nature.
- Ride easy....the ER & Urgent Care Centers do NOT want more customers.
You can find all kinds of gravel riding routes on Dirty Freehub's website here.
BLM Prineville District temporarily closes some recreation facilities and areas
Central Oregon – The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains the number one priority of the Bureau of Land Management. Consistent with the closures already put forward by our partners, as well as with the guidance provided by the CDC and Governor Brown’s Stay at Home Executive Order No. 20-12, the Prineville District is temporarily closing access and use of many of its developed recreation facilities to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
These closures include boating on the Lower Deschutes and John Day Wild and Scenic Rivers. The river closures will also include bathrooms at developed recreation areas as well as boat launches. Access to day-use sites, trails, and all roads remains open.
In addition, outside of the Lower Deschutes and John Day Rivers, restroom facilities at all developed recreation sites will be closed, and all developed campgrounds will be temporarily closed to overnight camping as of 12:01 AM on April 1, 2020. Trash pickup and sanitation services on most of these recreation facilities will also be temporarily suspended. Access to day-use sites including trailheads is still available. Visitors currently in campgrounds will have until 12:01 a.m. April 1, 2020 to leave. Sites remaining open for day-use (hiking, mountain biking, etc.) will be posted with measures for safe recreation.
Despite facility closures, millions of acres of BLM-managed public lands across Oregon remain open to enjoy. We encourage all visitors, particularly those who are elderly, have underlying health conditions, or are otherwise vulnerable, to make smart decisions and follow CDC guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Source: KTVZ Channel 21, Bend.
Stay safe & healthy, everyone☘️
March 28, 2020 Update: Please note that the March 31st, April 6th and April 20th trainings have been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. We will reschedule and post to Meetup when trainings resume. Thank you.
Interested in becoming a COTA Trail Steward? It's a great way to get involved and give some love back to the trails you enjoy.
Multiple Trail Stewardship Level 1 trainings are on the schedule, with 3 trainings in Bend and 1 in Sunriver. Level 2 & Level 3 trainings coming up soon.
Level 1: Intro into Basic Trail Maintenance and PowerPoint Presentation*
This is a 2 hour in classroom presentation geared towards folks who have some interest in trail work. We will cover the big 3: Log out, Brush out, and Water Management. Goals are to introduce attendees on what we do, why we do it and how we do it, and how to do it safely. This is Part 1 of a 3 part series towards becoming a COTA Trail Steward, and for some that wish to become a Trail Crew Leader. We encourage as many as possible to come out and learn the basics.
Monday, March 9th, 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Enviro Center in Bend Info/Signup Here
Tuesday, March 31st, 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Enviro Center in Bend Info/Signup Here
Monday, April 6th, 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Enviro Center in Bend Info/Signup Here
Monday, April 20th, 6:30pm-8:30pm at Sunriver Lodge in Sunriver Info/Signup Here
Level 2: Full day in the woods applying what we learned in the Level 1*
Level 3: Advanced Trail Maintenance, Personal Protection and Crew Leader Training*
*Registration required; attendance is free. Trainings will be posted on Meetup in near future. Make sure you're a member of COTA's Meetup page here.
What's a Trail Steward?
Stewards are trained volunteers whom sign up with COTA to perform basic trail maintenance needs for trails that COTA has a Volunteer Agreement with land managers (ex. USFS, BLM) to maintain. Trail maintenance needs include: logout (up to a log size that can be cut with hand saws (chainsaw use requires additional training and certification), brushing, water management needs (clean out current drains and creating new ones as needed), and basic trail tread maintenance.
- Prerequisites: 1+ year as a trail volunteer locally or other places
- Training Requirements: Minimum 4 hour training course for Level 1 Trail Steward and additional training requirements for Level 2-4. Trail work and experience from other locations will be considered for grandfathering in Trail Stewards after some brief training in COTA protocols.
- Expectations: Attend at least 2 work events, & log all volunteer hours; min 2 year commitment.
Level 1 - Learn how to look for trail issues, using the COTA App. Focuses on brush, treadwork, sight lines, safety, land management volunteer agreements.
Level 2 - At this intermediate level training, attendees will learn how to logout using folding saws; build/improve drains; build corners to withstand heavy use; and will also have a powerpoint component to delve into more detailed situational analysis of more advanced Trail Maintenance Techniques. This training is highly encouraged for anyone wishing to have a more complete skill set of trail maintenance techniques.
Level 3 - Group management, USFS Trail Design Parameters, land manager process/policies. Classroom setting. Levels 1 and 2 trainings are required for Level 3.
Are you interested in serving on the COTA Board? Join a fun group of people who work together well and make it happen! This is your chance to develop, protect and enhance mountain biking in Central Oregon.
There are 3 Member at-large Board positions up for election this year, in addition to Redmond Chapter Representative and Sisters Chapter Representative (5 board positions possible). Chapter reps must reside in the community they wish to represent.
How it works: Complete the nomination form and submit by April 30th. You must be a current COTA member (renew/join here). In May we will assemble a Voter's Guide, so that the election process can begin with the official ballot sent by email to all members.
The election process timeline:
Now through April 30th, 2020, end of day: Nomination submission period open. Nomination Form here.
May 1st-4th: Election ballot assembled.
May 5th: Ballots emailed to all current COTA members.
May 19th, end of day: Ballot submission period closes.
May 24th (or before): All candidates notified of election results.
June 16th: All new, incoming Board members introduced at the Annual Members Meeting, held on Tuesday evening, June 16, 2020 at Loge Camp in Bend. A short Board meeting will follow the Members meeting.
Board of Directors Job Description
COTA’s Board of Directors is a vibrant group of people committed to developing, protecting, and enhancing mountain biking in Central Oregon. COTA’s Board is responsible for organization-level direction setting and decision making. Board members do most of the managerial and administrative work required to advance COTA’s mission.
Board members attend approximately one 2-hour Board meeting per month. In addition, Board members manage committees, plan events, represent COTA at community functions, participate in fundraising efforts, and do many other tasks. Board members should expect to spend a minimum of 15 hours per month on COTA business. Most Board members spend much more time than this due to their passion for our work.
The Board is elected by COTA’s membership. Board members serve 3-year terms. Board members must be current dues-paying COTA members for the duration of their term and should reside in Central Oregon. Prior Board and trail work experience are helpful but not necessary to serve on the Board. Other skills that are useful but not required include: event management, finance, general administration, volunteer management, fundraising, information technology, and marketing.
COTA’s Board is currently comprised of 15 members. COTA’s three Officers—Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer—are elected from within the Board. Six members are chapter representatives: Bend, Crook County, Madras, Redmond, Sisters, and South Deschutes County. The remaining 6 members are at-large. At-large members are expected to manage at least one committee. COTA’s committees currently include Trails, Communications, Advocacy, Finance, Membership, Fundraising, Training, Strategic Planning, Events, and Elections. Board members or active volunteers also fill four Coordinator roles: Trails Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, and Sponsorship Coordinator.
Questions? If you have questions and would like to speak with a current Board member to learn more, please email us here.
Here's the COTA Board Nomination Form once again.
In 2019, in addition to the ongoing tasks of clearing and maintaining hundreds of miles of trail, we:
COTA's South Deschutes County (SoDeCo) Chapter happily shares the good news of receiving a $10,000 grant from Visit Central Oregon in early December. The grant will help pay for costs associated with the construction of the new Sunriver Trails network, including informational kiosks and signage, machine rentals, and tree planting.
The SoDeCo Chapter applied for the grant earlier this fall with the support of the Sunriver Area Chamber of Commerce. We also received letters of support from Sunriver Resort and Sunriver Brewing Company.
This grant requires a 25% match, so Village Bike & Ski in Sunriver, owned by Kevin Slane, will be making a $2,500 donation to go along with the grant. Thank you Kevin!
And of course, our sincere thanks to Visit Central Oregon for their generous grant.
Congrats to the Winter Grooming Raffle Grand Prize Winners, Gretchen R. and Tim P.!
Gretchen, pictured with Fuzzy John of Fatback Bikes, & Tim (not in attendance) each won a set of Fatback's brand new BIG SU fat tire wheel sets with DT-Swiss Big Ride hubs. Super strong, lightweight & tubeless ready, these are totally awesome wheels, and a set of fattie tires from PB Sports!
THANK YOU RAFFLE TIX BUYERS for netting us nearly $2600 to help offset our grooming costs.
THANK YOU PRIZE DONATORS for quality goods & services:
Fatback Bikes - wheel sets + PB Sports fattie tires
Crow's Feet: A Mountain Collective - 2 sets of fattie tires
Hutch's Bicycles - Garmin 820 + Specialized helmet
Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours & Shuttle - 2 unlimited shuttles season passes
Pine Mountain Sports - 5 fat tire rentals
Modus Sport Group - Lazer helmet, Shimano winter boots, and pedals
The Gear Fix 4 - $25 Gift certificates
...and great goodies from...
WebCyclery & WebSkis
The Hub Cyclery
The Loam Wolf
Our thanks to WebCyclery for hosting the raffle event at your gorgeous store.
And a big thanks to COTA Winter Trail Steward, Gary Meyer, for your dedication in developing, grooming and fundraising for the winter trails so many get to enjoy.
Grooming winter fatbike trails is expensive, because it requires snowmobiles and unique grooming equipment, fuel and machine maintenance. It also means countless hours from volunteer trail groomers, in wintry conditions. Trail support really comes from you, the awesome fatbike trail user. Click HERE to enter.
This year we have two Grand Prizes, generously donated by Fatback Bikes. Fatback Bikes is an Alaskan fat bike brand that manufactures fat tire mountain bikes meant to be ridden in some of the harshest places in the world.
TWO GRAND PRIZES: Fatback BIG SU Fat Bike Wheelsets with your choice of DT Swiss 350 Big Ride Hubs or Fatback's Alaska Edition Hubs (for very cold conditions) - 2 complete sets will be raffled off so we'll have 2 Grand Prize Winners!
The BIG SU Wheelsets with the DT Swiss Hubs retail for $899. Detailed wheelset specs found here.
Other Top Prizes:
- Garmin 820 Cycling Computer, donated by Hutch’s
- Shimano Winter Boots & Pedals, donated by Modus Sports Group
- Fat Bike Rentals, donated by Pine Mountain Sports
- CogWild Bend Shuttle Season Passes, donated by Lev
Plus helmets, beanies, gift certificates, gloves and much more!
Additional prizes donated by local companies: Hutch's Bicycles, Modus Sport Group, Webcyclery, Pine Mountain Sports, The Gear Fix, CogWild, Sunnyside Sports, The Hub Cyclery, Bendtrails.org, SRAM, Zealios, Picky Bar, Loam Wolf, HydroFlask.
$20 per ticket or 3 for $50. Only 400 tickets will be sold.
Your donation helps pay for the grooming of the fatbike trails. All proceeds go to COTA Wanoga Fatbike Trail Grooming.
STEP RIGHT UP & ENTER HERE.
Drawing at Web Cyclery: The winning ticket will be drawn on December 4th, 2019. Fatbike wheel set winners do not need to be present to win, but for all other prizes you MUST be present to win. Doors open at 6:00pm, raffle drawing starts at 6:30pm. Web Cyclery is located in the Old Stone Church at 157 NW Franklin Ave in Bend.
Thank you for your incredible support!