Mac Forest Update + Community Message
Jan. 24, 2024
If you attended the Team Dirt movie night at The Majestic in December, you heard a message from our board member and MacDonald Forest Area Lead, Dan Coyle. We wanted to provide an update here on the current state of trail development in the Mac. We’ve also updated the description of the Mac Area trails on the Team Dirt website (link: https://teamdirt.org/Trails/McDonaldForest).
The following was written by Dan after a few community riders reached out with concerns regarding the future project of Endo trail (aka Innuendo). He wanted to provide more context to anyone that has felt frustrated by the decision making processes or wanted more information on the relationship between Team Dirt and the land manager, OSU.
I personally got involved in trail building due to my frustrations with past forest management. Being part of Team Dirt and working directly with OSU has given me a better understanding of the situation. To fully comprehend land management and trail development, it's ideal to either be a part of the process by working with Team Dirt, volunteering with OSU, and/or taking advantage of public engagement opportunities provided by the College.
Firstly, it's important to note that the College of Forestry, not Team Dirt, makes all decisions about trail establishment, construction, closures, and logging. The College assigns certain trails for Team Dirt to develop, while others are built by College staff. The College has a comprehensive plan that prioritizes different aspects of the Forest, including the input and application from all users. The plan was recently updated, and the College considered preserving certain unauthorized trails based on the feedback received. However, it should be noted that the College does not build mountain bike exclusive trails. The current standard is that no dedicated advanced trails are constructed to prevent overuse and user conflict.
Until about eight years ago, there was less collaboration between the community and OSU regarding trail development. Since then, the College has increased communication and activity. Team Dirt has been actively involved in encouraging collaboration and providing volunteer support. While some trails have been closed due to not fitting sustainability and safety standards, many unauthorized trails continue to exist. The College also added new trails, ultimately increasing the total mileage in the forest. Team Dirt regularly meets with the College to advocate for the preservation of unauthorized trails and appreciates community members who join in this advocacy.
We make progress by working with the College, understanding their overall plan, and finding creative solutions. While some changes may be seen as a loss, they are often the best possible outcome. The College aims to maintain its reputation as a best practice institution, and visitors expect trails to meet those standards. Endo, for example, falls outside the College's trail standards and will likely be closed or rebuilt under their ownership.
At Team Dirt, we consider ourselves privileged to be part of the development process in the OSU College Forests. The College has no obligation to involve us or the community, and our continued inclusion depends on our positive presence and cooperation. We hope this information provides more context, and we will strive to communicate better in the future. If this issue persists, we encourage reaching out to Matt McPharlin and Jenna Baker from the College of Forestry.