Big trouble for whomever damaged Forest Park

Big trouble for whomever damaged Forest Park »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - Major damage has been done to Portland's greatest natural resource, Forest Park, and whomever is responsible faces felony charges and possibly prison time.

The city's park ranger blames mountain bikers for cutting trees, trampling ferns and disturbing fragile elk habitat.

Oregon Public Broadcasting captured a couple of mountain bikers at Forest Park on video. The two bicyclists appeared to be moving branches and creating trails but one of the men told the producer they had discovered tire ruts close to elk tracks and were trying to move the path in a different direction to protect the habitat and avoid other problems.

Rich Slingsby with River City Bicycles loves to mountain bike and says he has to travel to do so. He does not condone illegal trails but understands how badly off-road bicyclists want more options close in to town.

"I think what mountain bikers would like to be able to do is not to have to drive somewhere," he said. "It's against the principal. We'd like to ride to the trail, ride our mountain bike and ride home."

Park officials have been working with a committee to create new legitimate trails in Portland parks.

Meanwhile, police will try to identify suspects and will be looking for evidence that leads them to whoever did the damage at Forest Park. They said the report is that there is at least $80,000 in damages and there could be multiple counts.