April 2013

Friends of Mount Hood
April 2013 Newsletter

Proposed Mountain Bike Park at Timberline


The spark that created the Friends of Mount Hood (FOMH) in 1988 came from the passion of a woman who has spent most of her life traversing the ridges, meadows, and valleys of Mount Hood, Kate McCarthy, who will turn 96 in June.

Over three decades ago, Kate saw the need to protect our iconic mountain from abuse, commercial exploitation and from being “loved to death”. Kate reached out to friends and to anyone who would listen. Conservation-minded citizens of Oregon and Washington heard and they immediately joined with Kate to spread the message.

Kate’s message was simple. The highest and most fragile areas of this wonderful mountain are also the most desirable for outdoor recreation. But the footprint we make must be minimal, and it must be done with an underlying respect for nature. Kate knew that plans for more lodges and parking lots on those upper slopes would destroy the very alpine environment we love.

Kate and the FOMH attracted more friends to the cause, and they joined with others to stop major expansions and development planned for the east side of the mountain. A young attorney named Karl G. Anuta, along with many others, represented this coalition in some of the legal actions. The massive development proposals were stopped. Actual substantive dialog ensued, and the ground work was laid for a new approach to recreation based on sustainability and a respect for nature.

Kate’s Friends Needed Now More Than Ever

Now we are faced with a different plan for unsustainable expansion and over-development on the mountain’s fragile alpine slopes. The permit holder of Timberline Lodge desires to construct a lift-assissted commercial downhill mountain bike facility which will include a network of excavated tracks and raised wooden structures totaling 17 miles that would extend from the unstable rock fields above Timberline Lodge down into the watersheds of critical streams that flow into the Sandy River Basin. Once this is accomplished the developers have plans to construct a third lodge and more parking lots.

All this development planned for this fragile alpine environment is on land owned by you and me, the public.

The U.S. Forest Service has recently authorized the construction of this commercial mountain bike facility. As you may know already, the FOMH has joined with other conservation and mountain user groups in a campaign to stop this over-development. We have now exhausted all administrative avenues with the Forest Service, and it is time to bring our concerns before a Federal judge.


The FOMH is filing a federal lawsuit with the assistance of the Crag Law Center. This suit is more than just stopping the ill-advised commercial biking facility proposal: we are also addressing the violation of the National Environmental Policy Act laws and rules governing citizen input, long range planning and usage of publicly owned lands. The success of the lawsuit, as in past lawsuits, may very well be the catalyst for the creation of a new vision based on sustainability and respect for nature for all of Mount Hood.


The Board Members of Friends of Mount Hood, which is a 501(c)3 organization, are all volunteers. Your continued financial support keeps us viable and is greatly appreciated. Enclosed, please find an envelope to send a tax deductable donation to help defray our ongoing legal costs.

ANNUAL MEETING: Public is invited.
DATE: May 1, Wednesday, 7 – 7:30 PM
PLACE: Mazamas Mountain Center, SE 43rd and Stark, Portland
AGENDA: Pending matters and election of officers.

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