SAVE WhyPass from Undesirable Alternatives.
The BLM is completing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as part of the ongoing effort to legitimize the trails out at WhyPass for mountain bike use. When BLM prepares an EA it must take a fresh look at all possible user alternatives for the proposed project. For WhyPass, that means that it must look at the potential for the trails to be used by bikers, trail-runners, hikers, equestrians and OHV.
On April 26, 2012 BLM held its first public meeting for the project. Public meetings are one part of the NEPA process that allows the public to become informed of the project, and make comments on it. At the public meeting, the BLM field manager made it clear that OHV use is not going to be a viable user alternative, but stated BLM must still acknowledge the use under NEPA as an alternative that was “considered, but not analyzed.”
Equestrian users made a large showing at the public meeting. BLM must consider their comments and concerns and analyze them as part of the NEPA process. Mountain bikers also made a strong showing at the meeting. Please remember that this was the first public meeting in an ongoing EA process that can take anywhere from six months to several years. After BLM develops its alternatives, it will present a draft EA to the public for review and comment. We need DOD’ers to be plugged into the process and continue to provide support and comments along the way until the agency gets to a final EA documenting what gets built and who can play there.
The comment form distributed by BLM at the April 26th public meeting had two parts:
1 - What are your ideas regarding the proposed trail system and parking lot along Carpenter Bypass Rd.?
2 - Please tell us any other comments or ideas you have related to the project.
We do not yet know what the potential alternatives will be, but there will likely be a mountain bike/ hike/ trail-running only alternative, and a mixed-use bike and equestrian alternative. There may be alternatives that give some trails to equestrians and some to mountain bikers, or there may be seasonal use restrictions on some trails. There may even be an exclusive equestrian use alternative, or a mixed bike and equestrian alternative that calls for equestrian amenities such as large parking areas for horse trailers that could dramatically increase equestrian use. It will be important for our community to maintain a strong presence and unified voice as BLM works through the process.
We will report back to the Forum as the project progresses. Please stay tuned and exercise your right to participate in the process. Upcoming public meetings will be announced on this website and we encourage people to attend.
If you have not already done so now is your chance to provide input. Comments can be emailed directly to the BLM project manager, Wade Judy, at email@example.com. If you care about the future of WhyPass and want to continue riding there and seeing trails being added and improved for mountain bike use then get off your ass and send in a comment!
Before I send in an uninformed comment I am wondering how much trail work, if any, this "vocal" group of equestrians puts in at Whypass. It seems that those who put in the most time and energy and resources (DOD) should have the loudest voice in the matter. I'm not against mixed use trails (though horses and bikes don't mix real well in my opinion) but to come out and demand access to something built and maintained by another group seems pretty lame.
Stephen, DOD members have done 99% of the trail building & trail maintenance at Whypass. That said, there are a couple of equestrians who live near Lorane who've been DOD's advocates & allies since the beginning. They have come out to pitch in on a few build days. We're grateful for their participation. But as I just stated, this is a couple local equestrians -- not any equestrian organizations. Personally, in spite of whatever is said to the contrary, I personally doubt any equestrian organizations had any clue that there were trails at Whypass until local equestrians recently alerted their equestrian organizations that "they" had "something to lose."
A statement was made at the BLM's meeting at Lorane last week that was incorrect. One of the local equestrians said that "those trails" had been there for 35-40 years. In truth, perhaps 2 of the 20-ish miles the BLM is looking at are that old -- these are the roadbeds (eg: the roadbeds known as Whypass, Redline, Salal, B-line). With the exception of an old off-road motorcycle track called Blue & Yellow (so named for the colored flagging ribbon lining it when DOD cleared it 15-ish years ago), all of the singletrack at Whypass was hand hewn by DOD members. This DOD-built singletrack amounts to better than 90% of the network. I simply have to set this record straight. DOD built the trails Whypass -- that's the truth.
I figured as much, just wanted to get the facts. The horse groups' risk of "losing" those trails makes me laugh. I lost a few million dollars once in much the same fashion ;)
I sent Wade some positive comments. I hope all the other riders of DOD weigh in as well.
We still need folks to take a few minutes to send the BLM their thoughts on use of Whypass trails. The BLM has acknowleged MTBrs are the dominant user group at Whypass, however there are some non-MTB users who are being dishonest and claiming historic use of Whypass when in reality they didn't know there were trails there until very recently.
Please send the BLM (firstname.lastname@example.org) support of Whypass being designated an MTB area.
Thank you for your continued support and making this year round resource sustainable AND fun.
Greetings Wade -
I would like to add my voice to those in support of designating the Whypass trail network an official mountain biking and hiking only area.
Like hundreds of other local area riders my son and I enjoy the accessibility, variety and beauty of the Whypass trail network. The area is especially important and useful in the wet months when higher elevation trails are inaccessible or too damage-prone to ride. In addition the presence of the Whypass network helps to limit illegal riding (poaching) on many other Eugene area trails.
The trail network also provides a popular and well used destination for hikers and trail runners, and has been the site of a number of organized biking and running meets over the years, bringing dozens and sometimes hundreds of participants to the area.
Local mountain bikers and runners have collectively logged thousands of volunteer hours maintaing and repairing the trail network throughout the years at virtually no cost to the land managers, and will continue to do so.
It has come to my attention and to the attention of other riders that in the past few weeks since the question of area designation for Whypass has arisen a concerted effort on the part of equestrians has been undertaken to demand horse access to the trail network. Equestrians with no previous interest in or knowledge of the network have suddenly begun riding on the trails, often coming into conflict with bikers unused to their presence there, damaging and circumventing existing trails, and even flagging new unapproved routes through the network. This is being done solely to give the false impression that equestrians have an historic presence on the trail network and is disingenuous. While a few Lorane residents have ridden their horses on the established roadbeds within the network, these routes comprise only about three miles of the nearly 30 miles of trails within the network, all of which have been built and maintained solely by bikers and hikers/runners within the past fifteen or so years. There are other local areas for the equestrians; MTB trails are harder to find in the Eugene area.
For these reasons I support MTB and pedestrian use only on the Whypass trail network. Thanks for your time.
Michael Jay Warren
This is an awesome letter. You nailed it!
(you did also send it to Wade, right?)
This is an awesome letter. You nailed it!
Agreed! Thanks to all who have written to the BLM in support of Whypass being open to wheels & human feet only. Wouldn't we hate to see trails that local mountain bikers worked hard to build & maintain for nearly 20 years suddenly be destroyed by thousand pound animals and their uninvested riders? Or have to dumb down our riding style so we don't spook said animals? If you haven't written to the BLM to tell them that Whypass should be for mountain bikers and trail runners only, please do so today. Public comment period ends soon. Thanks.
You folks are awesome, thank you. I've seen several of the letters going out since Saturday and grateful for your time & efforts. We have a good MTB community here. You should all be proud.
Just sent my comments to Wade in support of the designation as a MTB/hiker area.
I would like to encourage others to do so before it's too late.
We just added our two cents, but I have no idea if the public comment period has ended.
Thanks Dan! It’s definitely not too late to send in your comments.
As of last week, the BLM had received an equal amount of letters from equestrians as they had from mountain bikers regarding the future of Carpenter Bypass. Since to our knowledge there are only a couple of equestrians who occasionally ride at WhyPass, it seems clear that people have been recruited to write in from all over the state (and possibly nationwide). These are people who not only have never ridden the WhyPass trails but who had likely never even heard of the area until a few weeks ago. As others have said, this is completely disingenuous and could cause a decision in their favor that would change everything for us at WhyPass.
If WhyPass is officially designated an area for equestrian as well as mountain bike use, trails will have to be straightened and widened for better sight lines and safety of all users and we will need to ride assuming there may be an easily spooked horse around every corner. The new proposed parking lot will also have to be redesigned to accommodate large horse trailers. We'll be cleaning horse shit out of our drive trains and tire treads all year round ... and are you ready for all of the extra trail work that will need to be done to mitigate the damage caused by these animals?
There are many other places locally for equestrians to ride ... not to mention the 2 million acres plus of wilderness (in Oregon alone) that they have access to, which mountain bikers do not. I believe that it is neither necessary nor is it appropriate for the WhyPass Trails to be designated for equestrian use. If you haven’t yet spoken up, please take a few minutes and email Wade at email@example.com
Sent in my 2¢.
FWIW, when I lived in L.A., most of the trails we rode were designated multi-use for bikes & horses. And it absolutely sucked. I can't tell you how many heated arguments we had with those on horseback. I would say they despised us mountain bikers - even though we always dismounted and tried to be friendly. Heck, they even went so far as to place fake "no bikes allowed" signs at the trailheads (I think Greg S. has one of them in his barn). We eventually started riding as early as 5:30am just to avoid them.
I really don't want to see the same thing happen here.
Disingenuous is putting it lightly. That sure is some lowdown, shady behavior. As my four year old would say, "I'm steaming mad!!" I am sure that our comments are much more positive, constructive, and most importantly, truthful.
Just sent my email. Saw some piles of horse turds in the middle of trails when we rode at Whypass on Sunday. Crappy legacy to leave behind.
Equestrains should be required to pick up after their horses, now wouldn't that be something to see.
I'll keep saying it: Thank You.
You folks are all awesome. There's still opportunity to weigh in according to the BLM.
Sent email! Let me know what we need to do next to help his process along!
Just sent a follow up email specifically on horse issue.
Believe me if you need testimony about the damage horses do to trails I'm your man. Berry Creek at Cape Mt. looks like a war zone after the horses have been on it, not to mention every water crossing in the trail system ruined. We've been trying to effect repairs but the darn horses ruin it faster than we can fix it. I know it's their trail system, but I never see them working to fix their damage.
Horses at Whypass! Might as well invite the moto's too.
Not feeling all that Jolly about the possibility of horses at Whypass.
The draft EA should be ready within one week. That is when we will see what BLMs preferred alternative is. We will have 30 days to comment on the draft and then BLM will issue the final EA.
It will be important for people to comment on the draft. When it is ready we will post a pdf copy to this website. Thanks for everyones continued support.