New IMBA Video Documents Oregon’s Bike-Specific Sandy Ridge Trail System
The Sandy Ridge Trail System in Oregon is one of the most innovative mountain bike trail systems on public land. Located about 45 minutes east of Portland, the trails are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and have been designed and built by IMBA's Trail Solutions, with help from AntFarm and the Northwest Trail Alliance, an IMBA chapter. The trails are optimized for mountain biking (equestrian use is prohibited) and feature a mix of machine- and hand-built features, with options for all abilities.
Sandy Ridge celebrated the grand opening of two new trails over the July 4 holiday. The newly opened trails mark the completion of the initial phase of construction and bring the total miles of bike-optimized singletrack in the Sandy Ridge system to just over 15. Follow the Leader is a double-black diamond trail 1.65 miles in length, featuring 350 feet of vertical descent and several challenging rock lines. Flow Motion is a 0.75-mile intermediate trail with tacky soil and more than a dozen berms.
The Sandy Ridge trails were built after a 2006 Wilderness expansion near Portland closed 125 miles of trails to mountain bikers on U.S. Forest Service land. Following that, the BLM worked with other agencies to figure out what role they could play in the area, and building bike-specific trails was high on the list of desired projects.
“During the development process, we got a lot of feedback from the riding community that people wanted opportunities for more advanced, technical singletrack,” said Zach Jarrett, an Outdoor Recreation Planner with the BLM. “I think the new trails are a perfect addition to the system. Sandy Ridge is emerging as a valid mountain bike destination for people outside of the region.”
The trails are already proving to be an economic driver. In June, Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs pledged $10,000 to support Sandy Ridge. The funds will be used directly for expanding the trail system, which currently draws 40,000 visitors to the area each year. “Thoughtfully-executed recreation sites such as Sandy Ridge have a profound impact not only on visitors’ experiences, but also on the economic well-being of communities and Oregonians’ quality of life,” said Jae Heidenreich, Development Lead for Clackamas County.