Timber companies have limited recreational access in recent years, frequently gating off their land through much of the year and charging hunters, bikers, and hikers for entry.
Mark Plotkin, owner of Canyonview Cyclery, decided it was time to use the new paradigm to his advantage. Canyonview recently received an invitation to bid on a one-year lease for 822 acres of Weyerhaeuser property near Clark Creek. He responded with an offer of $1,000, and the deal was completed.
“With so much land getting closed down, we looked at this as a way for us to get involved and help turn the tide for local mountain bikers,” Plotkin said. “If Weyerhaeuser is happy with the way we handle things, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to renew the lease annually. Mountain biking is a growing sport, and we see this as a way to increase opportunities for people who ride trail.”
The property is unique because it is just 12 minutes from downtown Longview. Because the land is close to a number of homes, the company did not offer the lease to hunters. Camping will also be an option.
Plotkin said he had hoped to be able to open the property to all area riders, but that won’t be the case initially. Canyonview plans to select approximately 100 area riders who will be asked to sign the lease and granted access to the property. They will focus on brushing out game trails to provide ride access.
The selection will not be random.
“We’ll be inviting mountain bikers with a proven history when it comes to trail development,” said Canyonview mechanic Kevin Knorr. “These are people who understand stewardship and sustainability.” He noted that anyone whose name is not on the lease will be subject to trespassing charges.
Plotkin said the opportunity to place the bid was directly related to the example set by Growlers Gulch Racing, which has utilized Weyerhaeuser property west of Castle Rock for mountain biking for nearly 20 years.
“Weyerhaeuser made it clear that they see the Growlers riders as ‘extra eyes in the woods’ who help reduce vandalism, dumping, and illegal camping.”
For more information, call Canyonview at 360.200.5550 or stop by the shop at 1051 14th Avenue.