HomeOn the summitOpen Space Use On The Summit – Trail use


Open Space Use On The Summit – Trail use — 10 Comments

  1. Excellent blog on hiking trails George! See you out there on your feet and your mountain bike! Multi-use trails rock! (pun intended) ann

  2. Just a couple quick points in response. I’ll be elaborating in my letter to the Land Trust.

    Doesn’t your formula work only if everyone is walking? Mt bikers cover a lot more distance and more quickly. Also, there have been very few people on the trails in the past because, until last year, we were trespassing on private property. I believe that as the word gets out there will be more use in the future. How much more it hard to predict but I expect that the mountain biking network will be particularly active in spreading the word. Even before the land trust took over that mountain bike trail that appeared spontaneously a couple years ago was starting to see increased use that, yes, did disrupt my experience on a trail that I had used for over 10 years. Furthermore I believe that the sudden appearance of this trail and subsequent tolerance for it’s existence reflect on a sense of entitlement at least by some in the mountain biking community which I feel like we’re seeing in many of these arguments on behalf of multi-use trails. As for revisiting the issue in the future, once that cow is out of the barn it’s going to be pretty hard to get it back in.

  3. Lorrie – My formula probably really doesn’t work for any real life condition. There are all sorts of variables involved. The point of that little exercise was to show just how much space there really is out there. In fact as you know there are actually many more trails that are out there being used by hikers and bikers and the current trail plan does not actually reflect the real distance in trails.

    Of course there will be more use in the future. Actually my 200 people out on the trails at any one time would be a very large increase in traditional use. I doubt if there were more than 20 people out on the trails at any one time before and that would have been unusual. Again, my point is that there is enough open space out there that trail interactions will probably be very brief and very occasional due to the large amount of space.

    With regard to the use by mountain bikers on “your” trail. Besides the fact that the trail is on Forest Service property and is not really under the authority of the Land Trust, your argument sounds very much like “seniority = priority” to me. I believe that the Land Trust has no intention of letting any group modify any of the trails for specialized use. And you are quite correct that there is a sense of entitlement being expressed. Entitlement is being expressed by every user group and is exactly what the multi-use trail system addresses. Not entitlement for any one group (like hiking only or biking only) but entitlement for all users. That is why I support it.

  4. Excellent points and let’s remember to say Howdy and Welcome to the most beautiful place in California!

  5. Regarding the engineered Mountain bike trail – has there been any discussion about removing it? It’s continued existence may give others the wrong idea about mountain bikers and their sense of entitlement. Furthermore, while, yes, it is on National Forest land, since it appears on Land Trust maps it contributes to the impression, already held by many, that the Land Trust is biased in favor of mountain biking. Dismantling it would be a start. I would volunteer to help.

    More important, George, please don’t put quotes around words I didn’t use. I didn’t say “my trail” I said, “my experience.” I didn’t offer the example of this trail to assert what you call seniority, unless it is in the same sense you yourself cite your years of hiking and biking at the summit to establish your credibility. I mention my experience on this trail because that’s what it seems this issue is coming down to; mountain bikers insisting that they don’t have a negative impact on the experience of hikers while hikers assert that, yes, actually, in fact, they do.

    I stopped hiking the Hole in the Ground trail to Lola Montez tens years ago precisely because of the mountain bikers. The trail was pulverized to a fine dust with pavers to prevent erosion and it’s complete degradation. Stepping aside for a steady stream of bikers, albeit polite ones, was finally too annoying. Would I ever suggest that this trail should be closed to bikes? Of course not. Call it seniority if you will but they were there first. I have found other, bikeless trails to hike and hope that there may be some to enjoy on the Royal Gorge lands as well.

    I don’t believe that mountain bikers are impolite, lycra-clad, speed demons. I think mountain biking is a fine way to enjoy the outdoors. I myself have mountain biked many times and countless trails throughout the west. What I do believe strongly is that my hiking experience is negatively impacted by mountain bikes on the trails. I am not in any way saying that mountain bikes should not have access to trails here at the summit. I am only asking that we start out with more than three miles or ten percent of the trails (by your count) dedicated to hiking. If the allocation is revisited in the future let it be because hikers have found that their quiet enjoyment of the trails just wasn’t complete without mountain bikers to share it. The other way round, if mountain bikers are first allowed on a trail and then restricted from it, doesn’t seem very likely to happen without even more turmoil than we are seeing now.

    Lastly I cannot state strongly enough my belief that basing assumptions on past usage of forbidden and unpublished trails is patently irrelevant to this discussion.

    Here’s another math problem for you… if 200 users are spaced evenly and alternating along 29 miles of trail, half of them mountain bikers averaging ten miles per hour and half hikers averaging three miles per hour, how many times will a hiker be passed by a mountain bike? Actually, that’s another red herring. The question that matters is; how do the hikers feel about it and does the Land Trust care?

  6. Lorrie – My last words on this thread which I refuse to make into a battle about one group over another. I think your comments pretty much illustrate all of the points I tried to make in this post. I always find it difficult to carry on a rational argument when strong personal biases are involved. You are OK with mountain bikes as long as you don’t see one on the trail. I take it that you are OK if you see another hiker on the trail or should we think about single person trails? Of course people are entitled to their biases. Problems always arise, however, when they try to impose them on others. If the Land Trust really had a bias for mountain bikes then there would be a lot more “mountain bike only trails” (my words)? Multi-use means exactly what it is says. The trails are for hikers, bikers, and equestrians with no supposition that any one group has priority over another (no bias). It seems a shame that people can’t see that it really means that we can all share this wonderful summit area if we are all tolerant and respectful of each other.
    And my last word on the mountain bike trail on Forest Service Ridge. The trail is not under the authority of the Land Trust and they have no power to “dismantle” it. In fact I really believe that they made a mistake on their map when they included it in the plan. I think the term “engineered” (your words) is inaccurate and somewhat loaded. It has definitely been modified specifically for mountain biking, but all materials used are native and no artificial “engineered” structures are present (which is prohibited on federal lands). I think most people reading this don’t even know what we are talking about and have no impressions of it at all. I suggest that if you want it dismantled then take your case to the owner of the land, the US Forest Service.
    Nuff said!

  7. I have had to close commenting on this post temporarily. For some reason all the spammers in the world seem to have zeroed in on it. I’m currently getting about 300 spams/day targeted on this post. I’m hoping if I rest it for a few days the spammers will move on.

  8. I live in Nevada City and enjoy all three multi-use activities. Although, I must admit, until I can retire, I don’t really have time to do much of all three. The mountain bike is the sad loser… for now. (The horse and the dog and my legs all need exercise and fresh air!)

    I will also admit that I am not active in our local trails council. I do believe they have done a very nice job of promoting and supporting multi-use trails. Since my current number one priority is getting the young dog used to trail hiking, I plan my hikes on local trails at times when I think there will be fewer bikes and horses. This way we can hopefully learn good manners without too much active distraction!

    We will soon be going up to the summit to enjoy the wonderful trails there. I am a newbie so I don’t have any sense of ownership, but I know how that feels. It may not take long for me to start feeling like that is also my backyard!

    I am really looking forward to hiking and eventually riding my horse on any trails I can find that are available. And, when I have time, I hope to bike on many trails as well.

    Thanks to everyone involved with creating and maintaining these trails for people like me to enjoy. I am feeling very lucky right now just thinking about it!


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