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bonkin' clyde
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are a few state parks around my home in MD that I frequent including the Patapsco State Park as well as Morgun Run State Park. Encountered a whole group of kids (aged 15 to around 22) smoking maryjane and swigging some liqour bottles at Patapsco. They were about 10 yards away from the bike path along the banks of the river and some turned their heads towards me and murmured a few things which just simply had goosebumps poppig up all over me. Just the fact that I was a potential snitcher on some drunk and stoned kids scared the hell outta me, expecting to have some bullets follow my trail at very close range...
At Morgun Run State Park, there was this huge bunch of teenagers drinking and burning this large fire (which is ilegal if not contained with a container such as a BBQ grill, etc. I was approaching down a switchback when I saw them at the next switchback below me, next to the stream (Morgun Run). This pissed me off, to have to encounter such A-holes right on the bike trails so close to my house. What was worse, these guys were using these areas for their illegal activity for they knew it would be tough for the forest rangers and/or troopers to get to them because they'd have to go out of their way only to pick up some delinquints an ounce of weed.

I expressed my frustrations at the local DNR office and spoke to the rangers in the office. Both of them were sorry to hear it but said I was one of a couple hundred they met each year with the same story, and that their were so few natural resource officers that most of their time was spent in paperwork instead of spreading the office work among 5 for example and having another 10 patrol the surrounding areas. So basicly, it was up to bikers like me to take care of these kids. I went down a week later to Morgan Run to where I had found the kids. It would drive any wildlife admirer crazy if they saw what I did. Those guys had strewn Bud cans and bottles of everything from Old Grandad to straight vodka all over the damn place and taken some big sticks and beat the hell out of about 20 saplings growing in the area. Not to mention burning about all the pine needles and sticks in a big circle all the way up to the switchback where I first saw them and some liqour bottles ( I found about 5 in the ashes). I had to clean it up. This is so sad. The scariest thing was they were all mostly my age...

I have found an increased number of beer bottles and cans in the area around Triadelphia Reservoir over the last year or so, and no effort made on anyone's part to stop them. And its wierd listening to guys in first period Monday morning talk of the [email protected] party they had down at Triadelphia the previous weekend.

I don't believe I mentioned this previously but these incidents are two of about at least 10 or so I've seen over the last year since I began biking in earnest. The frustrating thing is that I go biking to escape everythign only to wind up with this crap right on the trail.
 

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just be happy your the one out enjoying, not boozing and partying your weekend away.

call the local police and alert them to the spots.... i can remember from my days of youth, they were always keen on catching us underage drinkers.

park rangers are not exactly something most people fear... what are they going to do sick smokey the bear on them???
 

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could you take pics w/o being noticed?.......

If you could safely take some pics (even of the aftermath when they are gone) and submit it to a local paper for publication, maybe enough people would get upset to petition the DNR to do something about it. One person complaining may not be enough, but if you get a community upset, you'd think they would have to do something about it.
 

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I had a similar situation on my local trails a couple of months ago but I handled it a little differently.

Our trail is on the shores of a small lake. It was a Wednesday night and I had been riding about an hour and had seen the usual Wednesday night riders (2 or 3 others) and one or two hikers. Earlier in my ride I had seen a spot with about three or four beer cans lying off the side of the trail. Later as I returned towards that area, I heard some voices. Soon I rode up behind a couple of teenagers and though I was making quite a bit of noise and spoke to them before I got real close, I still spooked them pretty bad. I found out part of the reason they startled was because they weren't out there just to hike.

A few hundred feet later, I come up through a ravine and around the corner (hearing more voices) smack into a party on the trail. And I mean right on the trail. I spoke to the kids as I very slowly picked my way through them. In all likelihood if I had stopped longer I would have known one or two of them or they would have known me (I have two teenagers). As I cleared their group I called back - "please clean up after yourselves so I don't have to!"

Now the fact that they were smoking and drinking out there doesn't really bother me that much - I did the same when I was their age and they really aren't hurting anyone. I'm sure they thought they had found a nice secluded spot to party - not knowing it's right on the main bike trail. I'm sure the Wed. night group rode through there at least twice also.
I do worry about them driving home though and I don't want our trails to be a mess when they leave. When I rode through it didn't look like they were doing anything other than hanging out and having a beer.

About 15 minutes later on my return route as I rode back through the party. They were all cool and I said - "Please carry out your trash! If anyone asks just tell them you picked up trash you found on the trails." Besides - it was going to be dark by then.

As I returned to the main parking area, about 3/4 of a mile from the party, I encountered a girl walking to the party with a roll of toilet paper and a plastic grocery bag. I thought there was some hope that they wouldn't leave trash all over the place.

As I was loading up to leave I was mulling over the possible ways to handle this incident and discourage it from happening all the time. One - I thought there was a good chance they wouldn't come back to this spot of their own accord since they weren't so secluded after all - what with bikers rolling through every 10 minutes or so. Two - I could call in the incident and possibly they would all get busted. But any smart kid just wouldn't come out of the woods because I can just about guarantee that the Sheriff's deputies aren't going to go in looking for them. Only the ones who are stupid enough to come out and the ones who own the cars would get in trouble. Or three - scare them into not coming back.

I chose number three. There were five cars total in the parking lot that evening. Mine, a hiker I saw and three undetermined cars. (The Wed. night ride parks in a different lot.) The three other cars all looked like your typical teenager cars - older and in various states of disrepair. So I got out three pieces of paper and wrote a note that went something like this: "Did you clean up after yourselves? If so THANKS! Come back. If not - I've written down your license plate and if I ever see this car parked here again I will call the law - no questions asked." I wrote down their car's make, model and plate number and I put a note on all three windshields. I also told my fellow club members what the make and model cars were so they could be aware.

The next day when I went to ride I found a huge mess in the woods - evidence of an illegal campfire, shredded magazine pages and beer cans everywhere. Obviously they didn't clean up. However - I haven't seen them - or any other parties/evidence out there again in the last 3 months and I get out there 3 - 5 times a week.

Like I said earlier - I couldn't care less if people want to drink (it's prohibited in this park but the fisherman do it all the time) or party out there. As long as they aren't messing up our trails or bothering other trail users I have no problem with it and won't turn someone in. But if they leave a mess or harass other users they're going to risk getting busted if I know about it.

Is there any chance that you could do something similar? Is it obvious to you which vehicles at the trailhead(s) belong to the partiers? The only real risk involved is if they know who threatened them and want retribution. I figured that at least 4 of us had rolled through their party so they wouldn't be sure who left the notes. And mostly they just want privacy and knowing that someone knows them and what they're up to is one of the biggest deterrents.

Good luck - I hope you find a good resolution to your problem!
 

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bonkin' clyde
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
GOod idea

Dave B said:
If you could safely take some pics (even of the aftermath when they are gone) and submit it to a local paper for publication, maybe enough people would get upset to petition the DNR to do something about it. One person complaining may not be enough, but if you get a community upset, you'd think they would have to do something about it.
Considering that now I have my own digi cam I won't have to go through the whole hassle of developing etc thus giving me more of an incentive ot take the camera along on my next trip...
 

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bonkin' clyde
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks man

Scubee said:
I had a similar situation on my local trails a couple of months ago but I handled it a little differently.

Our trail is on the shores of a small lake. It was a Wednesday night and I had been riding about an hour and had seen the usual Wednesday night riders (2 or 3 others) and one or two hikers. Earlier in my ride I had seen a spot with about three or four beer cans lying off the side of the trail. Later as I returned towards that area, I heard some voices. Soon I rode up behind a couple of teenagers and though I was making quite a bit of noise and spoke to them before I got real close, I still spooked them pretty bad. I found out part of the reason they startled was because they weren't out there just to hike.

A few hundred feet later, I come up through a ravine and around the corner (hearing more voices) smack into a party on the trail. And I mean right on the trail. I spoke to the kids as I very slowly picked my way through them. In all likelihood if I had stopped longer I would have known one or two of them or they would have known me (I have two teenagers). As I cleared their group I called back - "please clean up after yourselves so I don't have to!"

Now the fact that they were smoking and drinking out there doesn't really bother me that much - I did the same when I was their age and they really aren't hurting anyone. I'm sure they thought they had found a nice secluded spot to party - not knowing it's right on the main bike trail. I'm sure the Wed. night group rode through there at least twice also.
I do worry about them driving home though and I don't want our trails to be a mess when they leave. When I rode through it didn't look like they were doing anything other than hanging out and having a beer.

About 15 minutes later on my return route as I rode back through the party. They were all cool and I said - "Please carry out your trash! If anyone asks just tell them you picked up trash you found on the trails." Besides - it was going to be dark by then.

As I returned to the main parking area, about 3/4 of a mile from the party, I encountered a girl walking to the party with a roll of toilet paper and a plastic grocery bag. I thought there was some hope that they wouldn't leave trash all over the place.

As I was loading up to leave I was mulling over the possible ways to handle this incident and discourage it from happening all the time. One - I thought there was a good chance they wouldn't come back to this spot of their own accord since they weren't so secluded after all - what with bikers rolling through every 10 minutes or so. Two - I could call in the incident and possibly they would all get busted. But any smart kid just wouldn't come out of the woods because I can just about guarantee that the Sheriff's deputies aren't going to go in looking for them. Only the ones who are stupid enough to come out and the ones who own the cars would get in trouble. Or three - scare them into not coming back.

I chose number three. There were five cars total in the parking lot that evening. Mine, a hiker I saw and three undetermined cars. (The Wed. night ride parks in a different lot.) The three other cars all looked like your typical teenager cars - older and in various states of disrepair. So I got out three pieces of paper and wrote a note that went something like this: "Did you clean up after yourselves? If so THANKS! Come back. If not - I've written down your license plate and if I ever see this car parked here again I will call the law - no questions asked." I wrote down their car's make, model and plate number and I put a note on all three windshields. I also told my fellow club members what the make and model cars were so they could be aware.

The next day when I went to ride I found a huge mess in the woods - evidence of an illegal campfire, shredded magazine pages and beer cans everywhere. Obviously they didn't clean up. However - I haven't seen them - or any other parties/evidence out there again in the last 3 months and I get out there 3 - 5 times a week.

Like I said earlier - I couldn't care less if people want to drink (it's prohibited in this park but the fisherman do it all the time) or party out there. As long as they aren't messing up our trails or bothering other trail users I have no problem with it and won't turn someone in. But if they leave a mess or harass other users they're going to risk getting busted if I know about it.

Is there any chance that you could do something similar? Is it obvious to you which vehicles at the trailhead(s) belong to the partiers? The only real risk involved is if they know who threatened them and want retribution. I figured that at least 4 of us had rolled through their party so they wouldn't be sure who left the notes. And mostly they just want privacy and knowing that someone knows them and what they're up to is one of the biggest deterrents.

Good luck - I hope you find a good resolution to your problem!
thanks for the insights. Naw I usually saw them as people categorized under pet peeves. but yeah, I'm 18, so maybe they'd be cool with me if I actually did ride through them saying Hi etc. and politely asking them to clean up...
 

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This is why we have bike patrols

Hi Blur:

Is there a Mountain Bike patrol in your area? If not, is there a local club that
could start a bike patrol?

The reason I ask is that this is precisely one of the reason I patrol. The
rangers can't be every place. (Heck, they can't hardly be any place.)

One of the things we learn as patrollers is how *not* to get into danger.
As other replies have said, don't approach these guys. You can and
should get away from them, then call 911 or your local trail or park
police.

The local park folks here have just a few things they want us to let them
know about immediately, and fires are one of them. (And I'm guessing
under-age drinking/smoking in a park that could go up in smoke is another.)

If you're worried about being a snitch, get over it. (He said with a grin.)
They are ruining the trails that we all pay for and have a right to.
 

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yea don't go bothering those kids especially if there are alot of them and your not too fast on a bike. I know when I was younger and drunk ass with my buddies we'd prolly give you crap for saying something even if it was polite (this kids might to worse). Callin the police might be dangerous too if they know who you are, but if not it might be a good option. In my opion though you did your part by telling the parks people.
 

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good idea, try MAMBO

I like the suggestion of the local mountinbike club. I'd try www.mambomaryland.com. Fire off an e-mail to the group. They already have something called a courtesy patrol which has forged a relationship with the Dept of Natural Resources. Get involved. I ride Loch Raven mostly and I haven't seen that many partygoers, but many a fisherman has left trash behind. I am thrilled to hear an 18 year old with such environmentally aware views. Don't put yourself at risk but don't sit on your ass either. It's a tough balance.
 

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Old Enough to Know Better
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Another option - non-confrontational

Do these guys usually party at the same locations? If so....

Find yourself a sporting goods store that caters to hunters, particulary bowhunters. They should carry some "masking scents" - strong scents designed to hide nasty human smells. Get a couple bottles of skunk scent, and distribute it liberally in all the best party areas. No one likes to party in a skunk's backyard!
 

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Am I getting too bulky?
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NARC! Leave the kids alone, they're just having fun. Not doing anything I didn't do when I was their age. My god, what's the world coming to when kids can't go out in the woods to get high without some uptight mountainbiker reporting them to the DNR.
 

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Born of Fire
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Bikehigh said:
NARC! Leave the kids alone, they're just having fun. Not doing anything I didn't do when I was their age. My god, what's the world coming to when kids can't go out in the woods to get high without some uptight mountainbiker reporting them to the DNR.
I also don't have a problem with kids partying but they need to clean up the sh*t they leave behind. Where I live in Maine we also have problems with trash on the trails. I'm getting tired of riding over and around broken glass and burnt up camfires in the middle of the trails.
 

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Ain't ignorance beautiful?

Bikehigh said:
NARC! Leave the kids alone, they're just having fun. Not doing anything I didn't do when I was their age. My god, what's the world coming to when kids can't go out in the woods to get high without some uptight mountainbiker reporting them to the DNR.
You're joking right?

Last I checked, nowhere in the encyclopedia of common sense did it mention us Americans (or anyone for that matter) having the right to go into the woods for our personal pleasure and come out having trashed the place.

Let me just tell you that it's an enormous intellectual exercise to not judge you based on this comment. It's taking great mental effort on my part to not form an opinion that you're an ignorant a**hole who doesn't give two s**ts about the environment.

Thanks though. I haven't experienced outrage like this in a while. It feels good to vent every once in a while.

As for the original post, I applaud the author for being concerned about the trail as well as the environment as a whole (I'm presuming you are). It's encouraging to know there are other young people (I'm 21) out there who don't go into the woods to get high and trash the place. The only thing I can say is be safe. Don't do anything that could endanger your own safety out there while you're trying to save the woods from getting trashed.
 

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bonkin' clyde
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks but let me clarify

I have never approached a single gorup of kids. I just say them a ways off, marked the location, and made a detour. Usually, when I came back I found all this trash all over the place. I don't necessarily mind them too much because I know most of them are gonna grow up (I hope) and stop this, but when they do all this smack dab on the trail where there are shards of glass slicing into my tires if I don't look carefully I get pissed. Especially when they have 'small' uncontained fires in pine forests where we haven't had rain for 2 weeks, I get worried. Because most of Patuxent is in the boondocks, getting a whole fire brigade there isn't very easy, especially when the fire roads are covered with downfalls.
 
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