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‘Don’t Bend Prineville’ citizen group challenging proposed Ochoco National Forest trail project

(Update: Adding information and video)

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A proposed mountain bike trail project in the Ochoco Mountains northeast of Prineville is facing some opposition from a citizens group calling itself "Don't Bend Prineville."

"There are a lot of deer and elk that live there and I think it would mess with them," Tyrel Cooper told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday.

The group is leading a 'Save the Ochoco's Town Hall' on Wednesday, April 20 in opposition of the Lemon Gulch Trail System Project, about 15 miles northeast of Prineville.

The Lemon Gulch Trail System Project consists of up to 52 miles of mountain bike trails, "with primary use by mountain bikes but also open to hiking," according to the Forest Service scoping notice, issued just over a year ago.

The proposal was put together by the Central Oregon Trails Alliance and Ochoco Trails , two advocacy groups for mountain biking and horse riding.

“You have mountain bikers advocating for equestrians and equestrians advocating for mountain bike trails," Kassidy Kern told NewsChannel 21. "We are really proud of the work that they are doing.” 

"The purpose of the project is to meet the needs of the community and the desire for new mileage, multiple loops, downhill riding opportunities, and trails designed and managed for mountain bike use," the scoping notice stated.

"(The) Lemon Gulch area would meet the community’s need for an easily-accessible network of trails. The project is also expected to draw and more evenly distribute current and future mountain bike use from the high-use areas of Lookout and Round Mountain. This would minimize interactions and improve the experience and safety of equestrians and hikers in these areas," it continues.

Cooper, though, said Prineville "already has enough trails. It’s more money to the taxpayers, and cattle raising and horseback riding doesn’t co-exist with bicyclists.”

Cooper provided NewsChannel 21 with a flyer about the April 20 town hall at Carey Foster Hall, stating "Don't Bend Prineville" is "a grassroots movement to preserve and honor a rural way of life that we all enjoy in Prineville and Crook County, through sustainable and well-managed growth."

The Don't Bend Prineville public Facebook group, created in February, has 450 members.

Darlene Henderson is the chair of Ochoco Trails and helped propose the trail plan.

Without the designated trails for mountain bikers, Henderson said, “There's potential of getting into a situation with unplanned recreation -- and it’s in the exact place where we don’t want it to be."

Kassidy Kern, public affairs officer for the Ochoco National Forest, told NewsChannel 21 the Forest Service will put together preliminary trail plans in early summer for public comment before releasing a final trail plan in late summer.

Here's the info sheet from the opposing group:

Author Profile Photo

Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.



      1. Prinetucky’s reputation has been around for at least 30 years.

        But they do have a great survivalist store, Prepper Up on Third Street. Great selection and staff was very helpful and knowledgeable. And the Tastee Freeze is good. Other than that, hmm, ya got me. The courthouse looks nice.

        1. Ill have to check out the Prepper store, the bike shop is fantastic. The sandwich shop behind the bike shop is pretty good. After that, I’m at a loss.

    1. Is that because they have Horse Races and good Bourbon in Prineville? Not to mention the finest Seafood Restaurant in C.O.! I hope so, Could you imagine being like Bend; which is full of Drunks, Drug addicts and derelicts parading around shooting each other downtown! It’s truly terrifying to even go out to dinner after dusk in Bend.

      1. “It is truly terrifying going out after dusk in Bend” ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Spoken like a true trump kook snowflake!!!! Tooooooo funny!!!!!

      1. @iKnow – so your okay with the “Prinetucky” bigotry but dislike getting called out on the ” Could you imagine being like Bend; which is full of Drunks, Drug addicts, and derelicts parading around shooting each other downtown! It’s truly terrifying to even go out to dinner after dusk in Bend.” statement makes you a hypocrite.

  1. Mountain bike trails and wildlife do not mix The deer and elk that used to be West of town have been pushed and pushed and pushed it not gonna happen in the ochoco’s This has been studied in the Starkey experimental forest.

    1. Maybe the trails are a problem but not necessarily the bikers. Many studies suggest that hikers are the most stressful to wildlife because of their prolonged presence near the animal. Bikes are moving much faster and are less likely to observe and focus on the animals.

      1. You can find a study to support any position you choose to take on anything. However personal experience, if you have any, will show you that if the animal has a chance to identify you (hiker) they will just move out of sight and come back when you are gone. If they get startled or scared (anything moving faster than them) they will run away and not stop for quite a ways, maybe miles away. Same with logging – they will move out of the work area and come back after the workers have left for the day to see what happened and to snack on their food of choice that they have not been able to reach till the loggers knocked it down.

        1. You just proved your point with the statement that all the animals just move out of the way and share the logging areas with the loggers! Wildlife is very sensitive to noise and anything out of the ordinary. They don’t hang around – they leave. The best way to preserve wildlife is to give them their territory and their migration patterns. Hikers, bikers, loggers, etc all adversely affect wildlife.

    1. Backwaydism don’t inbred our Bend? For starters Bend isn’t yours. You moved here and are part of the problem. The same problem that Prineville is having. Outsiders that think they need to change things because they left there crappie place where ever they lived and want things to be just like home was. There is no reason to put 50 miles of trais in the Ochocos. They don’t need spandex pedal pushers up in the woods chasing the deer and elk bears and cats around. They already did that with Phil’s trails above town 30 years ago. Don’t inbred Bend…that is one of the dumbest things you’ve said. Another moronic transplant

      1. “Outsiders”
        LOL. At one point everyone was an outsider. Just stop. The idea of NOT being able to move somewhere else is one of the reasons this country exists.
        Shouting at clouds would be just as effective for you at this point.

          1. Thasss right. Maybe your great grandpappy was one of the proud pioneers, who were the first civilized people to settle Prineville. After they murdered the last of the native Shoshone into extinction because God told them that land was for their cattle. What a proud heritage! How freaking laughable it is that you folk want to “save the deer and wildlife” from mountain bikers. Only so you can cosplay and hunt them.

          2. Your family were outsiders here at one time. Quit acting like pure unadultetated perfection based on something you have zero control over, like where you were born. It makes you sound much much much stupider than I’m sure you really are.

          3. – that you chose to be born here (and have done nothing else ever since) is a sure sign of your superiority – all those people who chose to be born somewhere else are such losers

      2. wow someone is super triggered! The phils trails took a fairly worthless uninteresting patch of forest and made it usable to various people in Bend. The fact remains, you are outnumbered now and Idaho is next.

        1. It’s not the idea of not moving somewhere else it’s the fact that when moving to a new town every one thinks they need to make it better or improve things or what ever. Bend and Prineville were just fine the way it was. The Phil’s trail wasn’t worthless. That was my back yard and my family’s and friends and the rest of early Bend until it was turned into a mess. You are right we are out numbered because you yuppies and tree huggers won’t stop moving here.

            1. If you mean the FS and logging roads that are already there then yeah I know about those, but I haven’t seen anything that says bike here.

            2. By “early Bend” I think most of us mean when it was a small town and everyone knew each other. Neighbors looked out for each other, our kids were free to explore the town and forest without risk of harm, no one locked their doors or took keys out of the ignition because there was no crime, there was no need for pedestrian crossings because drivers stopped and waved them across with a smile and a wave. Trust was rampant and being nice to everyone was standard. This was really the way it was until about 7 years ago. Now we have homelessness, crime, rampant drugs, and the liberal agenda trying to turn Bend into California or little Portland. No one who lived in “early Bend” wants to see it change to that.

      1. – are you the same guy who is constantly posting about how white people are being abused by every acknowledgement of racist behavior toward people of color? ‘cus, you sound like the same guy – “bigot”… you’re so funny

    2. I think people that have been here their whole life,40-50-60-70 years or more have a right to say ENOUGH! Bend is over flowing into every Crack & crevice in Central Oregon and some are sick of it.

  2. Best of luck to these groups trying to save their town and forest. With all the new transplants it will be a fight for sure they are determined to turn Oregon into the mountain bike capitol of the US.

      1. Blue Danube – Mountain bikers are the rudest people I have ever met on the trails. The Deschutes National Forest has been destroyed by them, and the Ochocos don’t need that. I’m certain the good folks of Prineville will find a way to discourage mountain bikers regardless of what Kassidy Kern, COTA, or anyone else thinks.

        1. There are already many MTB trails in the Ochocos what are you talking about? The trails have so much momentum behind them, you all have been asleep at the wheel.

    1. Errrr…it’s not anyone’s forest. It’s public land, genius. Learn how to live amongst other people. You’ll still have plenty of acres of dress up in camp once a year and feel like a man by blowing holes in herbivores.

    1. It’s not even original. “Don’t Bend Baker” has been written large on the wall of a local watering hole over there for years.

      1. No it is not and if one wishes to be educated on how this term has gained popularity, one Should read the book!
        “Don’t Bend Walla Walla: A Case Study in Corruption” (2014)

    2. Since more than likely, you moved here from California, you probably never heard the phrase, “Don’t Californicate Oregon”. I will continue to use Cancerifornia, because in my opinion, they are mainly the root cause of Oregon’s demise. People who come from there have refused to assimilate to the way of life that made Oregon so attractive. This is how unforeseen things happen. I’d love to say go back where you came from or at least respect what Oregon has to offer but I’m sure it falls on deaf ears.

      1. Unless someone’s Native, they don’t have a right to tell anyone else to go back where they came from. Everyone who isn’t Indigenousness is from somewhere else.

        1. One of the things that makes this country great is that you can pack up and move to any state you want at any time you want. Its called freedom and some people cant handle it. If you feel so strongly about preserving your way of life and the things you value then I would suggest that you take up positions within local government, school boards, or any other policy producing position. We have come to a point where the cultures within the borders of America are at odds and tolerance with respect is becoming less prevalent.

          1. Yes, and only the Natives get to say “we were here first!”. Funny how the relatively late-arriving Euro-descendants think they have the right to dictate what is the acceptable culture and traditions. What a joke.

            1. No one is dictating culture lol. Is your IQ under 70? No one gives two spits about someone else’s practicing culture? When they come in and try to change our culture then we have a problem with that.

      2. That’s a pretty broad brush to paint California with. I’m guessing the folks who live in Redding would take umbrage with you comparing them to the folks in Santa Cruz, and vice versa.

        1. Ask folks who moved here if they were trying to change it. Vast majority would deny it. Why don’t folks realize a place changes because of growth, good and bad, not because some evil intruders want to recreate what they wanted to leave behind. The cycle repeats itself, over and over. Human nature, the freedom to move and live where one wishes, etc. Blessings and…

  3. That flyer is pretty amusing. Apparently they think hikers, horseback riders, naturalists, hunters and ranchers are OK, but not mountain bikers. I guess they don’t like the sight of people in spandex (gotta say I often agree with them 🤣). The deer and elk thing is pretty lame; we have plenty around my neck of the woods and they don’t seem to be bothered by traffic wizzing by on a busy county highway; how can a few bicycles bother them. As far as not Bend’ing Prineville, too late: have you seen those new subdivisions up on the hill to the NW of town? People are going to be moving to Prineville more and more as Bend gets too expensive for them.

    1. The people who are whining about this didn’t have the foresight and resources to see it happening and capitalize on it.
      No one in Prinville who pours concrete, pounds nails, does sheetrock, plumbing etc is complaing one bit about the number of houses springing up all over Powell Butte.
      Just blah blah blah Bend blah blah Bend blah blah.

      1. No one’s getting married anyway because The jig is up men have realized that women just use them for money and get cash in prizes when they know fault divorce you and steal the kids just because they are a woman definitely raising my son not to get married or involved with a woman and my daughters their husbands are going to have to pay for their own wedding because I have nothing to do with that garbage

        1. Ouch! You should get some help for your seething anger towards women. Women are actually the glue that holds societies together. Well known fact that the best way to improve a community is to invest in the education of the women because they come home, raise families, and improve their community and the lives of those in their community. The demise of any marriage is usually the fault of both parties. Sorry for your pain but I disagree with your blanket opinion regarding women

  4. “There are a lot of deer and elk that live there and I think it would mess with them,”

    Great minds of ol’Prinetucky, ladies and gentlemen.

    1. Give me a break Blue ******. You think that one person represents the other 10,000 individuals that live in Prineville? Based on your logic and previous moronic comments, one can say that Bend is full of virtue signaling snobs that think they are smarter than the rest of the world by choosing to live in Bend.

  5. Bizzare how people move from a place they are sick of because of local governmanent, politics, high cost of living and the community then move to a place completly opposite then try to change it to the place they came from.

  6. “There are a lot of deer and elk that live there and I think it would mess with them,” in the same sort of way that hunting doesn’t.

    1. harvesting game is how healthy ecosystems are maintained. Mountain Biking, like hunting only maintains healthy ecosystems thorough careful planning and access. ODW uses fees, restrictions and enforcement to ensure the ecosystems are maintained. Looking forward to seeing the plans for the Lemon Gulch trail system!

    1. The city of Prineville has grown by at least 5% a year for the last 2 decades, regardless of the economy. Home prices are up over 10% YoY, along with some of the best Graduation rates in the State. How exactly, is the town dying? in fact, every time a local industry wanes the leaders in Crook County find another way to grow. This outpaces most if not all OR counties. Maybe this is what happens when the folks voted into office work together to improve the lives and environment of everyone, unlike other counties in OR where controlling others is most important. That typed, exactly why do you think Prineville is dying?

    2. Heaven forbid that Prineville becomes a city where you could raise kids with some hope that they’d could remain in their hometown and be prosperous. As it stands now, a graduating senior has the choice of poverty or moving

        1. Actually, the bicycle industry offers excellent opportunities to prosper and it certainly beats the alternative of being a security guard at FB

    3. You obviously have not been to Prineville lately. Bumper to bumper from the bottom of the hill all the way to Taco Bell. I think they are plenty “alive”

    4. Take your “tourist dollars” and give them to some other community willing to ruin everything they love about where they live for your filthy money. I’m sure you have never considered that some things have value beyond money to buy crap nobody needs in the first place. Thankfully some of us do. I’d burn my house to the damn ground and eat dirt before I sold it out to someone like you that thinks your money is worth the disgust of having to watch you ruin everything the community holds dear. Choke on your money.

      1. Prineville is a meth cookers training ground. The town is dying! I’ll keep my traveling through dollars as I’m driving through your rundown town with no hope of a future.

        1. What an offensive, off base statement from someone who is obviously very ignorant about Prineville. Please don’t stop and spend your traveling nickels in P-ville

  7. People live in Prineville for a reason. Old Town farm feel. People in Prineville don’t want to change and they shouldn’t have to. People move places for change, don’t move someplace and make people conform to your ways, that’s just idiotic. Same as coming to America where you can embrace your heritage but, don’t make others embrace it. You moved here, we didn’t move there. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    1. You’re a minority now. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. You are literally crying on a news sites’ comment section about nothing to nobody. Not only that, more people move here every day to displace people like you. But tell them here, I’m sure they’ll stop moving.

      1. Don’t know if minority is the right word. To busy working to be out playing might describe 2/3 of most people in Bend is a better description

    2. One of the key things I learned in all the years in the business world is “embrace change or die”. Life is all about change. Accept that reality or get run over. That’s just the way life is. Prineville is only a few minutes away from one of the fastest-growing locations on the West Coast. You can choose to capitalize and profit from it, or not. Either way, change is inevitable. I guess property in Millican is cheap and it’s still in Deschutes County so folks can always move there if they’re so opposed to “change”. They should make a big profit when they sell their place in Prineville.

    3. “People live in Prineville for a reason” 10-4 on that, however for some it’s that they’re on the lam and for others it’s that they want the pecking order to be the same as it was in 1950

      1. Wrong. We don’t want your pot shops, druggie and transients here. Why do people have to ruin everything they touch. People live in Prineville because they don’t want your greedy minds changing everything for a dollar

    4. The cat’s already out of the bag, Denny. When Facebook and Amazon moved in the old times were over. The change is coming and this little trail resistance club is not going to win out. They can either put guide rails up for the changes like this which is apparently been in the works for several years now or you can shut it down and see how the growing population imparts its unrestrained use of land in the future. The choice is Prineville’s.

  8. The Ochocos are one of the last few places I can go and not run into a large amount of people, and I’m sure there are a lot of other people that feel the same way. Keep your bike trails closer to Bend and leave the Ochocos sacred.

    1. The Ochocos already have I lot of mtb trails. Are you proving you dont actually know THAT much about what already exists in the Ochocos?

  9. iKnow says:
    …for what they have done to our once nice small town.
    Who is “they?” You mean criminal coddling Communists? Yeah… that’s not a real thing.

  10. Good for Prineville, why would any town given the choice want duplicate what Bend has become. We’ve been overtaken by development, wealth, greed, hyper liberalism, and where the middle class is in the process of being run out.

  11. Mountain bikers are bar none the most selfish, self-righteous, disrespectful, and thoughtless “user group” to ever plague wildlife and anyone seeking to go out and quietly experience the outdoors. They routinely toss their bikes over gates meant to protect mule deer and elk fawning/calving areas, they build unauthorized trials anywhere they want with no regard to what impacts it will have, and no amount of trails is ever enough. Give them an inch and next thing you know they’ll turn a once beautiful forest full of life into a spandex fest with 200 miles of trails 30’ apart and a 10 acre parking lot with buses full of Instagram heroes geo-tagging and hash-tagging to draw in more parasites just like them until it becomes “too popular” and crowded and they want to destroy another place to show off their new $6k bicycle. Kiss the wildlife goodbye and bring on the mindless hoards that treat nature like it’s their own personal gym to manipulate at their pleasure. 52 miles will NEVER be enough and the spineless hacks running the FS will NEVER stand up to protect the resource if it means telling them “no” (and forget actually enforcing anything). Don’t let it happen Prineville. Enough is enough of this crap. Don’t let the pseudo-environmental hypocrites destroy another ecosystem and community. Build it and they will come.

    1. The rudest people I’ve ever met in the mountains were astride horses. I’ll put entitled equestrians up against any hunter, hiker, mountain biker, or cattle rancher.

  12. Nothing has changed in 25 thousand years. People claim land air people and animals. Destroyed all and turn the land into sand. Keep buying gas for your cars and see the damage for yourselves. Nobody cares for a person dreaming of peace in a car less world surrounded by food plants. people who claim land feed pets and watch people die of starvation and ridicule them for being homeless. Time for all to grow up. Put seed in ground add water and shut up. This world belongs to nobody. Including the people on bikes.

  13. Anyone want to bet when these 450 people meet it looks and sounds a lot like a KKK meeting? I think the message here is they don’t want people who don’t look like them in “their” National forest.

    1. that’s quite a jump. You must be a “progressive”. At the beginning of the meeting should they all verbally acknowledge their fabricated “inherent white racism” too? You’re a joke

  14. If the rig has a bicycle plate on it, it will either be in the way, texting while driving or on the phone. More times than not there will only be one person in the rig, and if it has a bike rack or kayak rack on it, you can double down on there being issues with them. They seem to think because they get to run traffic controls on their bicycles, they get to run them always.

  15. Fighting change and growth is a losing battle. Every town I’ve ever visited or lived in longs for “how things used to be.” Breaking news- it’s not how it used to be anywhere. Actually, people new to an area are usually the best to be around, trying unusually hard to fit in, and so happy to be somewhere new and nice. The resentment, frustration, and anger seems to come form locals unwilling to accept and adapt to the inevitable.

  16. Popcorn…. This being Federal land and the successful joint partnerships all over the United States between MTB user groups and national Forest Service, this is going to happen…. Horses and Cattleman’s associations don’t have exclusive rights. Time’s are changing and watching you spew self righteousness knowing you will be disappointed with the new trails makes it all the sweeter. Enjoy your day and the new mountain bike trail system in the Ochocos

  17. No one that lives in the Lemon Gulch area wants this. No businesses in Prineville want this besides the bike shop. The forest service tried to sneak this in and they were caught. If they do this it will displace elk, deer and bear. Seen any elk up at Phil’s trail lately? Lol of course not. They leave when there are fast quiet things flying down the trail. Bikes or cougars.
    The people against this have nothing against mountain biking. They just don’t want it in this particular area. Why sacrifice all that wildlife for mountain bikes? Plus who is going to want to go biking in a place here there are like 100 Prineville rednecks living in that valley that don’t want them there?

  18. If the proposal was for an OHV trail system that dude would have no problems with opening up that land for reaction use. I’m sure they are just another conservative group looking to keep their local culture in the 1950s.

    1. That’s false. Too many OHV trails in the Ochocos that chased the elk away already. One of the biggest gripes about the Ochocos is the fact that Prineville natives don’t want them in the Ochocos either. That’s a fact!

  19. @ El Guapo- The forest service tried that too and it was shot down. Because Lemon Gulch is a pristine Pine forest full of animals. No one wants to ruin the forest like in Bend. People in Prineville use this forest for hunting, fishing, hiking here riding etc. and at the moment it is very balanced. If you introduce this stupid trail system it will be way out of balance. Animal will leave and the forest service most likely will be sued. These. trail systems spread like cancer. That is why they are trying to stop it. You have 400 miles of mountain bike trails in the dead forests of Bend. Keep it there.

  20. Quatermass says:
    Will “Don’t Bend Prineville” be as successful as “Don’t Ashland Bend?”
    I reckon the ‘Don’t Don’t my Don’t’ movement is destine to failure no matter what people are resisting. As much as I think Bend is already overpopulated, it’s futile trying to tell people to stay away. It’s a little hypocritical for the person that arrived first in a place to tell someone else who has just arrived that they aren’t welcome because people have got to go somewhere. Not In My Backyardism is on the rise across America.

  21. There are many young and growing families moving to Bend. The babies born a week after mom n dad move here from wherever are then native Oregonians, born and raised in Bend, Bend local etc. Makes the argument about being a native/ local etc. diluted and toothless for claiming extra opinions points.

  22. “Fragile, core area for deer and elk” followed by “the trail complex will be at the expense of cattle grazing”? I mean, I know these are rural bumpkins but they need to try a little harder.

  23. If the trail is made it will end up being restricted like the other trails around Central Oregon. The pay here is low because the trails are advertised as a perk. Now it’s left to those who apply and are approved for hiking permits. The Ochocos are the last forest in this area to not require permits, but that will change if locals can’t prevent the development. It starts with a project here and there, then it gets taken over.

  24. I really like the public comments on this project:
    “Dear Sir:
    Last fall (Sept. 2020) we purchased the Mahogany Butte and Polly Creek Ranches from Mr. and Mrs. Mark Copeland. The combined acreage of the two ranches (they adjoin) is approximately 7,000 acres and the combined frontage on N.E. Mill Creek Road is about two and on-half miles, making us (I believe) the largest land-owner on Mill Creek Road.
    It was not until last June that we heard anything pertaining to the proposed Lemon Gulch System, and that was by “word of mouth” from a neighbor. When I asked Mark Copeland (the former owner) what he knew he told me he had heard nothing.
    Upon further investigation I was appalled to learn that the Ochoco Forest leadership had been involved with a very extensive planning program with the Central Oregon Trails Alliance (COTA) since sometime in 2017 and NOBODY in the Mill Creek area became aware until mid-April of 2021.”

    Boo-hoo. You own 7,000 acres of ranch land and you’re upset about some mountain bikers interfering with an area of PUBLIC land that is less than half of your holdings? Pound sand.

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