Sales, Swaps, and Bike Parks – Change is Coming to Mt. Hood
By: JEFFREY KEENEY
For a community that has not seen a great deal of change in recent years, there are a lot of new developments happening in Mt. Hood's mountain village.
When Collins Lake Resort and the nearby Grand Lodges were built in the early 2000s, it appeared Government Camp was poised to take off and realize its full potential as a destination mountain town. Sadly, the Great Recession of the late 2000s brought development to a grinding halt. It now appears that is about to change with the following developments on the horizon:
Summit Ski Area. In July, RLK & Company, which operates Timberline Lodge and Timberline Ski Area, purchased the Summit Ski Area (which is the second oldest continuously operated ski area in the country). While Timberline only plans to make modest changes to the family-oriented Summit, the acquisition has reactivated discussion of constructing a gondola or tram connecting Government Camp to Timberline Lodge. The construction of such a connector would greatly serve to ease parking issues at the Timberline Ski Area and traffic congestion on Timberline Road. Hopefully, the gondola will be more successful than the famed Mt. Hood Skiway Aerial Tram, a sky-riding bus that connected Government Camp to Timberline in the 1950s but lasted less than five years.
Cooper Spur Land Exchange. After years of controversy and litigation, the Cooper Spur Land Exchange may finally come to fruition. In January, President Trump signed the Mt. Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act, which approved the Exchange and directed the National Forest Service to complete the necessary appraisals to complete the Exchange. Upon completion and approval of the appraisals, the Forest Service will exchange 109 acres of developable land located in Government Camp for 769 acres of private land located north of the Cooper Spur Ski Resort owned by Mt. Hood Meadows. The Exchange will open up significant new land for residential development at the north end of Government Camp.
Timberline Bike Park. In the summer of 2019, Timberline Ski Area will open the second major network of mountain bike trails on Mt. Hood. Upon completion, the Timberline Bike Park will include over 17 miles of lift-served mountain bike trails and a separate bike park.
Change often comes slowly to Mt. Hood, but all of the foregoing developments will hopefully create a more vibrant Government Camp and serve to reduce traffic congestion on Highway 26.