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Editor's note:

Guest Opinion: FAQs about recreational e-bike riding, RE: A Club Divided - News, 11/18

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This week's Shop Local issue marks the beginning of the season known as "all things holiday." Saturday, Nov. 27—the day after the madness that is Black Friday—is what is known as Small Business Saturday, a nationwide effort to get people to shop locally and to understand why it matters. This week's feature section focuses on some of the aspects of shopping locally, including how local businesses use direct online sales to combat shipping giants like Amazon and how dollars spent in the community benefit the local economy. Plus, we're making it extra-easy to shop local by offering you a full page of holiday bazaars, craft fairs and holiday shopping experiences happening over the next month. And don't miss our Top Shops advertising section for even more suggestions on where to shop local!

As a locally owned business whose advertisers are, for the most part, mom-and-pops themselves, it means a lot to us to be able to support this effort. Thanks for reading, and here's to a healthful and prosperous start to the holiday season.

Hosmer Lake is a chill place to take your thoughts, paddle board... and dog!? @bettybluerescue shared this shot of a paddle boarder and his loyal companion soaking up the sun out on the lake. - COURTESY @BETTYBLUERESCUE/INSTAGRAM
  • Courtesy @bettybluerescue/Instagram
  • Hosmer Lake is a chill place to take your thoughts, paddle board... and dog!? @bettybluerescue shared this shot of a paddle boarder and his loyal companion soaking up the sun out on the lake.

If there might be an e-bike under your tree this holiday season—or if there's already one in your garage—check out the answers to these common questions about recreational e-bike riding.

Where can I ride my e-bike?

Currently, two singletrack trail systems built and maintained by the Central Oregon Trail Alliance are open to e-bikes: the Radlands east of Redmond and the Madras East Hills in Madras. These trail systems are on county and city land, respectively, and therefore don't have the same usage restrictions as nonmotorized trails on federal lands (more on that in a minute).

E-bikes are also allowed on all roads and trails on federal land that are designated for motorized use.

Thousands of miles of fire roads sound a little daunting? Check out Dirty Freehub at dirtyfreehub.com. Dirty Freehub curates more than 60 mixed gravel routes in Central Oregon that are open to e-bikes. I ride Dirty Freehub routes all the time because they take me to remote and beautiful places I haven't been before that are right in my own backyard.

A few Dirty Freehub routes do include non-motorized trail segments that aren't open to e-bikes, so look for the e-bike symbol on the route description.

Who decides where e-bikes are allowed?

Each land manager determines where e-bikes are allowed on the land within their jurisdiction.

Central Oregon Trail Alliance, a nonprofit that builds and maintains mountain bike trails, does not have the authority to make policy or enforce regulations. When you see a sign with COTA's name on it on the trails, it simply means COTA is responsible for maintaining that trail under a volunteer agreement with the land manager; it does not mean that COTA determines who can use that trail.

Why aren't the trails at Phil's trailhead and other popular trails open to e-bikes?

The short answer is that these trails are designated for nonmotorized use and therefore are not open to e-bikes.

Most of the well-known trails in Central Oregon are on federal land managed by either the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. The trails west of Bend are on USFS land. These include, but are not limited to, trails out of Phil's, Wanoga, Swampy, Dutchman, Skyliner, Tumalo Falls and Green Gate. Trails at Maston, Cline Butte and Cascade View are on BLM land.

The USFS and BLM currently have two types of trail designations: motorized and nonmotorized. E-bikes fall in the motorized category and are allowed on trails and roads designated for motorized use.

Are USFS and BLM regulations going to change?

If you know one thing about federal agencies, it is likely this: change takes time. BLM recently added definitions for the three classes of e-bikes to its regulations. BLM is now moving toward granting local land managers the authority to decide whether to open nonmotorized trails to e-bikes on a trail-by-trail basis. The USFS is expected to start moving in a similar direction soon.

However, any on-the-ground changes will take time. This is due, in part, to the fact that any proposed changes to trail designations (like all federal projects) would be subject to the National Environmental Policy Act, a law that requires federal agencies to do a rigorous environmental analysis of the impacts of proposed projects. The NEPA process itself typically takes a year or more.

E-bike management on trails is a complex issue. Any changes would affect many kinds of users, including mountain bikers, runners, hikers and equestrians. Every user group deserves a place on our shared public lands to have the recreational experience they desire. To minimize user conflicts, any proposed changes regarding e-bikes will need to also continue to provide places for trail users to have a nonmotorized experience.

—Emmy Andrews is the executive director of the Central Oregon Trail Alliance

Thank you Maureen and Heather for writing about the Central Oregon Irrigation District property which is allegedly in contract with Pahlisch. Not only is this the last big open space in the city, but there is only one viable access to this property and that's via a driveway on Brookswood between Reed Market and Powers. Imagine hundreds of cars making right and left hand turns on an already busy street.

I agree with Heather, let's get together as a community, engage Bend Parks & Rec and the City, and save this land from becoming yet another housing development. 

—Mary Verbeck

Bentz represents the GOP, not his constituents. Only 13 house Republicans had the guts to do the right thing for the country.

—Colleen O'Brien via bendsource.com

As members of BFCT we didn't fill out the survey, never even saw it. We would have given Tara top ratings. She built the current club, acquired the amazing new turf fields and as far as we know received high performance reviews except for this past spring. Regardless of the club's reasons for firing Tara, we were shocked that they would let all of the coaches quit and fire several others. The coaches were clear after backing off initial demands about representation on the board they just wanted an elected board. The current BFCT board is comprised solely of appointed board members. None have been elected by the membership. Why not step down and allow an election? They aren't paid, typically they are thankless volunteer jobs. Instead they let the club fracture. Losing coaches and entire teams. So now, they are trying to stop a competitive team from forming by publicly disparaging the executive director. BFCT have lost excellent coaches, not something easy to recruit to Bend, with coach pay and local housing costs. For what? Seems like the answer is board members egos. Their egos are also driving the need to destroy Tara, her life in Bend and her reputation. We will be moving our kids from BFCT once the current season ends.

—Walter Sobchak via bendsource.com

Thanks for your insight from the perspective of a parent in the club, Walter. Come on by for your gift card to Palate!

—Nicole Vulcan

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