This year - 2017 - marks COTA’s 25th anniversary. In November we celebrated with legacy and current COTA members and enjoyed a fun evening of old stories, new developments, and a fine pint of 10 Barrel beer.
There were so many COTA folks there I’m sure we’ve unintentionally missed some, but some of the founders, past Board Chairs and members, and “old timers” that were there included Brad Chalfant, Eric Vickers, Jimmy Terhaar, Paul Hammerquist, Paul Thomasberg, Mark DeJohn, Kent Howes, Chris Kratsch, Katy Bryce, Mike Pulzone, Jade Mayer, Cinda Strauch, Brian Nelson, and Brad Boyd. Most of our current Board members and many current trail adopters and key volunteers were there, as well as key donors and our land management partners the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We are so humbled by what Central Oregon’s trail network has become and the work everyone has put in through the years to get us where we are today!
COTA’s founding goes something like this: At the very beginning the trails, all on USFS or BLM public lands, were either expanded wildlife trails, user-built trails, or old logging roads. Mountain biking was in its early adolescence and those who wanted to pursue the sport further had to go it on their own. In time, land managers took note of the growing user-built trail network. In 1992, a happy compromise was met: local trail builders and advocates – COTA’s founders – agreed not to proliferate any further user-built trails until a full inventory was taken, and the land managers agreed to add these trails to their system, necessitating signage and trailhead kiosks. This was essentially the humble beginning of the now vast trail network just west of Bend.
Check out Bob Woodward’s video of how mountain biking got started in Bend (created by Kent Howes):
And some photos from the party...
In 25 years Bend itself has seen its fair share of changes. When COTA was launched in 1992, wood-related industries were humming along, Bend’s population was a modest 26k, Deschutes Brewery was the only beer game in town, and there were no ‘official’ mountain bike trails. Fast forward to 2017 and our burgeoning population is over 91k, there are at least 16 breweries and Central Oregon has well over 500 miles of single-track heaven. As M. Conway said, ‘change is the only thing you can count on’. Yes indeed.
And so, you ask, what is COTA up to now?
Shorter and longer term projects include continued work on the Cascade Lakes Welcome Center trail system, a Sunriver connection to Wanoga, Cascade View trail network (off Hwy 126 near Eagle Crest), Cascade Crest trails west of Sisters, Lower 66 Expansion in Prineville, Ochoco trails and a demonstration project in Madras.
Plus!…the new, permanent addition of the Winter Fat Bike Trail System at Wanoga AND we’re involved in bike parks in Prineville, Bend, & Sisters. Whew, it’s been busy around here.
In the more general sense, wonder how mountain bikes have changed in 25 years? Watch GMBN’s Retro VS Modern – How Have Full Suspension Mountain Bikes Changed? 1992 VS 2016