The private Post Canyon

County officials, property owners, and bikers are working toward common ground

June 11, 2005

According to Hood River County Forestry, almost all the bicycling trails at Post Canyon are on privately owned land. Over the years, bikers have built miles upon miles of trails into an extensive network of what is now considered to be the most widely used trail system in the county.

In the last five years, give or take, extreme bikers and freeriders have added to the trails bridges, gap-jumps, step-ups, teeter-totters, drops, and an array of other wooden obstacles and landscapes.

Post Canyon is now well-known as one of the best freeriding and extreme mountain biking areas in the Northwest.

Public use of private land is not without complications. According to county forestry technician Henry Buckalew, trails around Post Canyon run through property of between six and eight private landowners. Oregon law mandates that landowners can be liable for injuries occurred on their property.

Rather than eradicating bikers from the area for trespassing, landowners, cyclists, and Hood River County are working together to form an evenhanded solution.

"Our goal," Buckalew said, "is to create an official, organized system. We want to organize a safe trail system, educate the public, and formulate official landowner agreements to resolve liability issues for them."

A recently imposed trail-building ban in Post Canyon has been lifted, under the condition that anyone interested in building new trails in the area go through a process with the county.

"We need an official process," Buckalew said. "If people want to build new trails, we want them to go through a system that will ensure safety to riders and the environment, and also respects the rights of property owners."

The Gorge Freeriders Association (GFRA), started a few years ago by biking enthusiasts Douglas Johnson, Kevin Tank, and Jake Felt, is responsible for most of the new freeriding construction in Post Canyon.

"The County has been great to work with," said Felt. "We (GFRA) are really grateful for how things have turned out. The County has been really-open minded with what we're doing up there … I think they trust our intentions."

A statement on the official GFRA Web site ( reads: "Freeriding's international popularity and the divergence of many new riding styles have most riders challenged with finding legitimate places to ride. Problems regarding terrain misuse and other negative associations with freeriding have stemmed from a lack of legitimate riding areas. GFRA is a small group of freeriders and trail builders trying to organize a solution."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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