Coffee Talk Tuesday - "Mountain Biking Encroachment"

From

In recent months there has been an upsurge of organized mountain biking groups attempting to gain access to sections of National Scenic Trails where they are currently prohibited. These trails - or in some cases, sections of these trails - were not designed nor built to be shared with mountain bikes. Additionally, fast-moving bicyclists have the potential to disturb an otherwise tranquil hiking experience and a hiker’s connection with the natural environment. In worst case scenarios, mountain bike traffic may even drive hikers off the trail, forcing them to go elsewhere to enjoy the outdoors.

Part of this drive is to keep cyclists out of the national parks but the wording of "sudden surge in attacks on hiking trails" makes me worry that a push may go beyond if successful. My personal thoughts are, why not. Why not have hiking only trails. Hikers don't liked being buzzed by on the trails, I get it, just like how we don't like getting buzzed by on the roads. A little different in that a car could kill where a mountain biker might just break a few bones if an accident may happen... either way, not a desired outcome.

There are so many options out there for new trails that I find no reason there can't be ones for hiking and some for cyclists when popularity, or design do not fit well for sharing. I believe Hall Ranch in Boulder has a hiking only section and does it bother the cyclists? I don't believe so, at least not me.

The key here is new trail construction.

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7 Comments

Mountain Biking

"The key here is new trail construction." Not really! This discussion leaves out the wildlife. Trail construction destroys habitat, and not just within the tread. Animals are inhibited from using a wide swath on both sides of the trail, due to the frequent presence of humans. Wildlife have lost FAR too much habitat already. That's exactly why so many species are endangered. There is only one solution: restrict bikes to paved roads, where they belong, and where they can't do much harm. That is also safer for everyone. Serious injuries and even deaths are commonplace in mountain biking..

New trails are not equal to new home and road construction

I would have to agree that a new trail might have an impact on wildlife but so does human growth like urban sprawl. Relative to other land destruction like urban sprawl a second trail in a tiny drop in the bucket. What is worse, Hwy 36 construction or a second trail at Walker Ranch? Plus pushing cyclists off the trail will just push them to trails that are illegal or not maintained leaving the overall picture of saving wildlife under greater danger than if a second trail was just made.

OK, no more new trails as

OK, no more new trails as long as all new home construction is in the existing infrastructure. If there was not already a house there, then you cannot build a new one. You either have to scrape off thge existing home or build on top of it. Sounds fair to me.

Mike is trying to provoke

Mike is trying to provoke mountain bikers. He will then reference the more emotional and inarticulate responses as evidence that they're ALL dim-witted, risk-taking goons, unfit for comprimise and legitimacy in their choice of recreation.

It works well, and he needs some fresh material after losing his cool a few years ago. Don't bite.

Have a nice day, Mike.

There are plenty of non-bike

There are plenty of non-bike trails in wilderness areas and National parks. Outside of these we need to be forced to share the trails and learn to get along. That means respecting the rights of others, staying in control, and yielding to others. The more we push for separate trails, the less trails we have to share. Self policing, and education should be paramount to these efforts. But we must stay vigilant and use organizations like IMBA to stand up for our rights, or the organized hikers will take away our right to use public lands. IMHO horses cause the most damage to trails, and bikers give the most back in maintence. The public needs to understand this.

The strange thing about the

The strange thing about the American Hiking Society's push to prohibit bikes from all National Scenic and National Park Service trails is that organized mountain bike groups are *not* advocating for blanket allowance. And no group is pushing for blanket access to all hiking trails. IMBA very specifically states that there are plenty of trails out there not suitable or appropriate for biking.

A very small number of National Parks are allowing biking---by the decision of their superintendents and *only* after extensive environmental assessments---for various reasons, such as an attempt to increase visitor numbers, and thus revenue, and to have a new and very productive cadre of volunteers to call upon in these difficult economic times.

But no one reasonably expects that places like Rocky Mountian NP are suddenly going to allow bikes on the most popular hiking trails. Heck, I don't even like hiking in most places in RMNP because of the tour-bus sized groups of loud, obnoxious hikers who are not at all interested in a tranquil experience. I would hate to ride those trails.

Overcrowding on the Front Range is a different issue than what's being addressed here. If we want to talk about that, we should be talking about alternate-use days, directional trails, new trails with good sight lines, and better education and cooperation.

Two of my favorite area trails, Centennial Cone and Betasso/Benjamin, have no-bikes days. I personally think that's great! I can trail run peacefully on the no-bike days and enjoy the ride a little more on bike-allowed days because there are fewer hikers/runners than there might otherwise be.