OAKRIDGE, Ore. - More than rocks are popping up on trails popular with mountain bikers between Eugene and Oakridge.
Dangerous barriers made of branches and shrubs have been found on steep sections of the trails within the last couple of weeks.
Geoff Huber, a mountain bike rider from Eugene, first encountered these barriers on Hardesty Mountain Trail three weeks ago.
"The first barrier that I encountered was handlebar-height," Huber said. "They were anywhere from 2 to 8 inches in diameter."
Huber was riding with someone who was not familiar with the trail and was riding below normal speed. He said anyone riding at normal speed could have had a serious crash.
The barriers have been located in very dangerous spots for riders to get hurt.
"If you were in these areas and you were to go off the trail, if no one knew you were there, you would be there a long time by yourself," Huber said.
Huber believes the piles were put there on purpose by someone against mountain biking.
"Someone took time to do this," Huber said. "It's been talked about that they want to make it a into a wilderness area."
The incident is particularly disturbing to folks in Oakridge and Westfir, where mountain biking advocates are working to promote the towns as the mountain bike capital of the Northwest.
Benjamin Beamer, chairman for the Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards, said volunteers spend thousands of hours and dollars taking care of the trails in hopes of keeping them safe for future bikers.
"I think Oakridge has changed a lot, and people do come here specifically for their mountain biking," Beamer said. "I'm hoping that this will be an isolated incident, something that someone has only done once."
Mountain bikers are advised to be extra cautious when riding down the trails.
Authorities are still searching for the person or people responsible for putting up the barriers. If you have any information, please contact the Middle Fork Ranger District at (541) 782-2283.