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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For any of you that plan to ride the Happy Jack trails near Laramie, WY (or race the Laramie Enduro 111k), we could use your help. The local Medicine Bow Nordic Association (MBNA) is formulating a plan that they will present to the Forest Service this Spring. The plan as currently posted will widen much of the trail system to 14' and then smooth them (and I mean complete rock removal) so that the ski groomers can groom the trail when there is little snow. The skiers want a longer season and more terrain at the expense of MTBers, runners, etc who want at least some challenges. I don't know about you, but if I wanted a smooth, wide trail I'd go ride a road...

Here is the plan: http://www.medbownordic.org/long_range_plan.htm
Including: "1. All groomed trails will be cut to 14? wide, as skied, to allow enough width for a skate lane and classic track. The summer surface of the groomed trails will also be smoothed out as much as possible. Justification - Width: A nice trail width is 13?. This allows for a 6? buffer between the groomer and trees. In places where we have this width we have found that the grooming is much cheaper. It is possible to groom faster because no weaving in and out of the trees is needed and our equipment lasts longer because it is not constantly hitting trees. Smoothing: This allows us to groom with less snow on the ground, so our season is longer (or in some years exists at all). It also reduces damage to the grooming equipment caused by hitting barely covered obstructions."

Also... I resent being told that ONLY skiers can be on them in the winter. Not too many steps away from having MTBers excluded from some trails in the summer.

April 24th is when the MBNA will reformulate the plan based on input.
So please input away...
Please contact: Via e-mail at [email protected] (or PO Box 2251, Laramie, WY 82073).

Just gets me so agitated! :mad:
 

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I'm on the other side of this...

First off, every -- and I mean every -- member of MBNA is a cyclist, riding both road and mountain (e.g.- a true cyclist) and as a consequence are in no way exclusionary. Second, the trails at Happy Jack used for skiing only constitute a fraction of the trail system and in no way could those ski trails be considered "technical" terrain even as they exist now. Third, some of the existing ski trails are in fact closed in the summer because of erosion and wet-lands issues, not simply as a form of discrimination. And concerning trail use in the winter, do you seriously want to ride a bike on the trail in the winter? Do you need to run on those trails in the winter, post-holing your way around the groomed trails, ruining the hard work of many volunteers? Even snowshoeing on those trails makes no sense -- there's practically an infinite expanse in the Medicine Bow National Forest to ride, run and snowshoe in the winter (which, in fact, I do) -- just don't destroy the groomed nordic trails (which I also use). Note also that the proposal includes a snowshoe trail system at Happy Jack.

MBMBPer said:
I don't know about you, but if I wanted a smooth, wide trail I'd go ride a road...
Finally, the mountain biking on the Happy Jack trail system is really just a decoy for those folks coming up from the crowded trails down near Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins -- the good trails are to be found elsewhere. If I want a true mountain bike ride, I go elsewhere...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
"Do you need to run on those trails in the winter, post-holing your way around the groomed trails, ruining the hard work of many volunteers?"

Yep. The problem is that I run on certain trails in teh winter, then MBNA expands their grooming onto those trails (widening and smoothing) and yells at the people on "their trails", so I move to other trails and they expand grooming again (widening and smoothing again), displacing me and others off of their trails... so part of this IS personal. I refuse to be displaced and verbally abused by skiers who ONLY THINK OF THE TRAILS AS A SKI SYSTEM (and that is actually a paraphrase from a member of MBNA). So, as grooming expands, expect lotsa postholes... I will respect ONLY those that respect in return, and I hjave not seen any of that yet.

Sorry, but 1) widening and smoothing trails is not acceptable and 2) constantly displacing others from the trails in the winter is not acceptable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"Do you need to run on those trails in the winter, post-holing your way around the groomed trails, ruining the hard work of many volunteers?"

I can ask a similar question... Do you need to groom those trails when there is not enough snow to constitute grooming? Why not wait until there is enough snow and not smooth the trail?
 

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MBMBPer said:
"Do you need to run on those trails in the winter, post-holing your way around the groomed trails, ruining the hard work of many volunteers?"

I can ask a similar question... Do you need to groom those trails when there is not enough snow to constitute grooming? Why not wait until there is enough snow and not smooth the trail?
1.) Ignoring the oxymoron in that question, yes those trails should be managed to facilitate efficient grooming -- we're not talking wilderness here. My concern would be ruining habitat or creating erosion issues, but the Forest Service will rightfully have the final say in that. If there is snow on the ground but not enough to ski, I humbly submit that it is inappropriate to run or ride those trails due to mud and trail damage issues.

2.) There are hundreds of miles of roads and trails in the immediate vicinity of the Happy Jack trail system that should keep you happy during your winter runs. Why limit yourself to less than 25 kilometers of groomed trail? The nordic skate and classic skiers are limiting themselves to those 25 kilometers. In the winter, those trails are a ski system and if you haven't been verbally abused by me in the past and you continue to be selfish and thoughtless you'll most certainly be verbally abused by me in the future. There's more than enough room out there to keep everybody happy.

3.) I've probably ridden as many miles on the Happy Jack trail system as anyone and steadfastly maintain that the trails that are groomed or proposed to be groomed are not now or never have been technical in nature, and removing rocks to facilitate grooming and skiing will have zero impact on the "mountain biking" experience. For goodness sake, I ride my cyclocross bike at speed on those trails -- they're already buff and wide. Are you really sure you know which trails MBNA is talking about? I honestly don't see the issue with ruining terrain.

I'll end with a final plea to be respectful of other people's efforts, people who you would most likely think to be your comrade in arms when it comes to recreation and fighting the greater evils invading our public lands. The next time you need a winter-time run, head off the other direction, down Pilot Hill road (there's great singletrack in some of those canyons to the east) and feel good about yourself for not screwing up an entirely legitimate sport. By the way, if you want a thrill, try hurtling down Lower UW or Van's Loop on well-waxed skate skis -- it will make Death Crotch on a bike seem tame in comparison.

I'm done...
 

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what an attitude

I'm with you MBMBPer, these skate skiers think the world of themselves and could careless about other users of this area. Tolerance is not a word in their vocabulary.

Hey PeT...does the attitude come with the skate skies or is that acquired over the years?
 

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lrmrider said:
I'm with you MBMBPer, these skate skiers think the world of themselves and could careless about other users of this area. Tolerance is not a word in their vocabulary.

Hey PeT...does the attitude come with the skate skies or is that acquired over the years?
I guess I'm not done...

Can one of you tell me why you need to run or ride on this very specific set of trails in the winter? What's wrong with the other 25 k of trails there? What's wrong with the other 200 miles of roads and trails that radiate out from that point? It's begining to seem like it's only fun for you if you ruin someone elses fun. You do realize that riding or running on groomed trails deystroys them for people wishing to ski on them?

Then tell me what technical aspect of the groomed ski trails will be ruined by enhancing their "groomability". Certainly not Upper or Lower UW, or Ridge or Black Jack. The nominally technical trails of Aspen, Middle Aspen, Headquarters, and Death Crotch aren't groomed. I just can't think of a trail corresponding to one of those groomed in the winter that represents a technical challenge to my 7 year-old, let alone studly bikers like you guys most certainly are.

I guess the attitude comes with the years. I know many non-skiers who wouldn't consider trashing other peoples efforts when they can get what they want or need without doing so...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
C'mon Pete,

I backcountry ski, mountainbike, road bike, run, snowshoe, etc. I see similar issues and resentment with snowmachines in the Snowy Range. The problem isn't that I don't respect your sport. I do... well, to be more accurate I used to and would like to again.

One problem is that skate sking requires major changes to trails, changes that are not needed by other forms of non-motorized recreation. What other sports need a 14' wide swath cut through the forest? A swath that takes away from other forms of recreation.

Another is the "get off of my ski trail" attitude. I respected the groomed trails and only ran on them when a loop required a quick crossing. But the grooming expanded onto trails I ran, and sure enough, I avoided them as well. It feels that out of principal I need to stop moving to other trails as the grooming expands. Also out of principal I would meet aggression with a greater response. I'm sure skate skiing is a hoot and a great workout (although 20 miles of skate skiing would be far less of a workout than some of my 20 mile "posthole" runs). But there sure seems like a resentment growing in the community against skate skiers...

We all need to work together to make sure the trails are useable and open to all non-motorized forms of rec...
 

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Expanded?

MBMBPer said:
One problem is that skate sking requires major changes to trails, changes that are not needed by other forms of non-motorized recreation. What other sports need a 14' wide swath cut through the forest? A swath that takes away from other forms of recreation. .
The trails in question were constructed many years ago specifically for skiing. As I noted previously, this isn't wilderness and the fact that many people can recreate in one confined place is actually a benefit to the surrounding forest. In the grand scheme of the trail system, widening the groomed trails will have no aesthetic impact (granted, that's the opinion of my bleeding-heart-liberal-almost-wanting-to-become-an-eco-terrorist when I retire mind) and I'm still waiting to hear how this specifically impacts mountain biking or running. Anything approaching technical in nature is untouched.

MBMBPer said:
I respected the groomed trails and only ran on them when a loop required a quick crossing. But the grooming expanded onto trails I ran, and sure enough, I avoided them as well. It feels that out of principal I need to stop moving to other trails as the grooming expands. .
I find this statement about expanded grooming to be factually incorrect. I don't know how long you have been using those trails, but new trails were cut two years ago with the consent of the USFS and -- at their insistence -- to be used only as ski trails (sensitive terrain when not covered with snow). In the 14 years I've been skiing at Happy Jack, these new trails are the only expansion of groomed trails that has occured. As a matter of fact, grooming actually contracted after UW abandoned their Division I ski program -- they use to groom the Aspen and Pole Creek trails!.

Again, what is it about these trails compels you to want to run on them in the winter? If you have respected the groomed trails, then I'm sorry someone felt obliged to verbally assault you (why they would if you weren't really on the trails, I don't understand). Why not run off into the relative serenity of the surrounding area, away from those obnoxious skiers, and the even more obnoxious traffic noise from I-80? I understand the concept of standing on "principle", but I don't understand why anyone would want to run there if they're getting in the way of a lot of other people.
 
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