Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 20 of 197 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,407 Posts
Good find and share, thanks! I'll be sending all listed parties an email tonight and hope all others seeing this follow suit.

#****thaman
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
450 Posts
Sent.

Sidenote: can't IMBA put together a little web app that sends this stuff for us with a mouse click? How many people are going to be put off by the amount of time it takes to compose these emails? And what data weigh in favor of these public comments having any effect? I could barely overcome my skepticism and bang these out. Needs improvement, IMBA.
 

·
It's about showing up.
Joined
·
12,738 Posts
Done!

In order to match an important part of the State Parks’ mission, which is to create “opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation,” I want to see State parks to be more welcoming, consistent with other Parks policies.

Current language in the proposed code change excludes mountain bikers from trails unless "specifically opened." Restricting trail access without review is unnecessary and unwarranted. The language needs to be more inclusive.

Currently there is energy afoot to develop a policy code that indicates that unless designated by the Department, all trails are “open to pedestrians and closed to all other uses." This broadside decreases outdoor opportunities for the public just at a time when exercise is encouraged as a way to deal with the epidemic of obesity. It alienates state park supporters and an entire generation of young people that want and need to access the outdoors.

I want the wording for the Natural Resource Code that would open State Park trails to non-motorized users unless specified. This acknowledges the real-world success stories in California that demonstrate how shared trails enhance quality of life for thousands of state residents. It expects our public agencies to directly look at usage of our parks in a meaningful and comprehensive fashion.

Absent this inclusion the proposed code change directly contradicts efforts of the Parks Forward Committee that is studying ways to make State Parks more responsive to the needs of communities.

This is a new world, not the day of hob-nailed enthusiasts. With a population of Californians confounded by culture, bizarre diet marketing, isolation, and sedentary pursuits, State parks need to look at usage with a new awareness of who our park users are and what they need.

Cycling is an ever-expanding extension into health. State Parks need to embrace that and support families and friends who look to the trails in a valid two wheeled fashion for their nature experience. Please: open State Park trails to non-motorized users unless specified.
 

·
I've had a Pliny
Joined
·
400 Posts
Sent.

Sidenote: can't IMBA put together a little web app that sends this stuff for us with a mouse click? How many people are going to be put off by the amount of time it takes to compose these emails? And what data weigh in favor of these public comments having any effect? I could barely overcome my skepticism and bang these out. Needs improvement, IMBA.
Yeah, some people will be put off. But it doesn't have to be a novel:

"Hi, the new wording for your Natural Resource Code ("Unless designated by the Department, all trails are open to pedestrians and closed to all other uses.") is unacceptably limiting and contrary to other, more welcoming policies. I love my State Parks and I and my family want more access to them - specifically on mountain bikes.

Please listen to IMBA's suggestions - I back them wholeheartedly.

Sincerely,

John Smith"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
done. here is my letter - y'all are welcome to plagiarize as much or little as you like:

Dear ...

Mountain bikers are passionate about protecting and preserving the trails that afford us access to our chosen form of recreation. Therefore, the off-road cyclist user group should be considered a strong ally of the Parks system when it comes to championing, enhancing and protecting our park lands. The changes being proposed to the California State Parks code could negatively impact bike access to existing or new trail networks in our parks, and therefore would alienate an otherwise large user group that could provide revenue, trail work volunteers and advocacy for our parks.

Under existing policy, park superintendents have been reluctant to open trails to bikes. The proposed changes seem to make this situation even worse. Trail access should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis taking into account the facts about safety, environment and the combined user experience - not a blanket policy that bans large groups of users by default. One of the most effective ways for our parks to flourish is to encourage users to come to the parks, and be excited about their park experience. Creating opportunities to increase the health, happiness and fitness of Californians goes hand-in-hand with bike access to our state parks trails. Cyclists need more access to our parks, not less!

There are examples of successful shared narrow trail use in our state parks (e.g., China Camp State Park in San Rafael) - and increasing these opportunities will further enhance the experience of all trail users, in part by spreading out different user groups across multiple parks - not forcing particular groups into a limited network of trails at only one or two area parks.

Please consider revising the proposed language from:

"Unless designated by the Department, all trails are open to pedestrians and closed to all other uses."

to something more inclusive, like:

"State park trails are open to non-motorized users including hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians unless otherwise designated. Trail use designations are established based upon user needs, visitor safety and environmental sustainability. This includes access to trails in Reserves and Preserves, as defined in PRC Sections 5019.65, 5019.71 and 5019.74, where particular emphasis will be placed upon importance of public access to the area, or desirability of providing important connections to other trails, provided impacts to special resources for which the area was established will be less than significant."

Thanks for your efforts to enhance and protect our state parks.

Sincerely,
 

·
It's about showing up.
Joined
·
12,738 Posts
Nice job!

One of the great functions of MTBR is as a vehicle to developing access to advocacy for the community. We can't all go to meetings, give money, and the like but we do reach out and make ourselves heard.
 

·
I've had a Pliny
Joined
·
400 Posts
We can't all go to meetings, give money, and the like but we do reach out and make ourselves heard.
Absolutely. Currently there are over 300 people viewing the NorCal MTBR Forum. If a third of those viewers wrote an email, it would be a significant and very noticeable event for the recipients.
 

·
Custom User Title
Joined
·
7,429 Posts
They should change the proposed wording to allow "human powered" use by default. Hike, bike, ski.. Riding one-ton animals and ATVs sure should have some additional considerations before being allowed due to their documented inherent danger and high rate of trail erosion.
 

·
middle ring single track
Joined
·
4,675 Posts
I wonder about IMBA...

...at times; this topic was circulated by IMBA at chapter level at the end of last summer---a SVMTB officer sent me a link so I was able to comment during the first public comment period. Maybe IMBA was playing "nice" and hoped things would get better without having to go public with this? BTW I mentioned this NPRM previously on MTBR and got no takers:confused: I guess Facebook is the cat's meow these days:)

While the language of this second go around is more concise it still comes down hard against bikers (makes us equal with equestrians FWIW) and is this:
"§ 4360. Trail use.
Unless designated by the Department, all trails are open to pedestrians and closed to all other
uses. The Department may establish speed limits for designated trail use for units or portions thereof. If established, these speed limits will be posted."


With this language State Parks could shut out all users but hikers; who knows how long it would take for them to complete the studies to decide upon "other acceptable uses"? (Maybe never!?!?)

Interestingly on the first go around there was wording that made it sound like existing users on existing trails would not be affected ("grandfathered") but that no longer appears. This is the most worrisome part of this process. Here's that section from the DPR "Initial Statement of Reasons":
"Proposed Amendment to CCR section 4360

CCR Sections 4359 (Riding or Pack Animals) and 4360 (Bicycles. Operator
Propelled Devices) provide different guidance of how to make decisions regarding
where each use is allowed on trails within units of the California State Park System.
Generally, these regulations provide that bicycles are allowed unless an order is
posted to prohibit them and that horses are not allowed unless an order is posted to
allow them. This distinction is not supported by current practice or policy and could
erroneously be interpreted to favor one use type over the other.

Department trail use policy, regulations and statutes have evolved over a long period
of time. During this process, inconsistency between these various governing
directions has gradually occurred. Also, at the time that mountain bikes became
available and popular, the State Park System, like most agencies had no rules
regarding their use. The Department responded by creating a mountain bike policy
which provided guidance which was later amended. The Public Resources Code
does not specifically address what trail uses are allowed in Natural Preserves, State
Reserves, Cultural Preserves, and State Cultural Reserves in the State Park
System.

This amendment to CCR section 4360 would provide that all trails are open to
pedestrians and that all trails are closed to all other uses unless designated open by
the Department.

The adoption of amended section 4360 is not meant to discourage opening trails to
equestrian or bicycle uses, but provides the most effective and efficient way to
legally designate which trails are open to these uses. It also will not change which
trails are open to these uses.
A separate action by the District Superintendent after
thorough evaluation will be required to make any changes in allowable uses."


As with the first comment period, IMBA's proposed text of the law is superb:

" §4360 - Trail Use

State park trails are open to non-motorized users including hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians unless otherwise designated. Trail use designations are established based upon user needs, visitor safety and environmental sustainability. This includes access to trails in Reserves and Preserves, as defined in PRC Sections 5019.65, 5019.71 and 5019.74, where particular emphasis will be placed upon importance of public access to the area, or desirability of providing important connections to other trails, provided impacts to special resources for which the area was established will be less than significant."


The more times the folks in Sac Town get hit with this the better.

FWIW the DPR acknowledge my first comments with this:

"Dear Interested Party:

The California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has initiated a second public comment period for draft California Code of Regulations regarding trail use, structures, and tool use in select units of the State Park System These proposed regulations were included in Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published on June 28, 2013. Amendments have been made to the draft regulations based on comments received. The amended draft regulations are attached and also available on the DPR website at Statewide Trails Section. You are receiving this communication because you commented on the original draft regulations.

In summary amendments were made to Section 4351.1 to clarify that that the language regarding mechanical transport was not meant to govern the use of bicycles in preserves and that those regulations are contained in Section 4360.1. A change was also made to Section 4351.1 to make the regulations consistent with Federal Aviation Administration guidance. Two words were reinserted into text that had inadvertently been deleted in the draft. Clarification was added that signage and fencing are not considered to be permanent structures. A change was made to allow the Director to assign a designee to act on his or her behalf. An amendment was made to Section 4360 clarifying that speed limits will only be enforced if established.

Any interest person, or his or her authorized representative, may submit written comments relevant to the proposed regulatory action to DPR by email to [email protected]. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile (FAX) at (916)324-0301 or by mail to:

Alexandra Stehl, Statewide Trails Program Manager
California Department of Parks and Recreation
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296

The comment period closes at 5:00 p.m. on April 4, 2014. DPR will consider only comments received at DPR offices by that time

Inquiries may be made to Ms. Stehl at [email protected] or by
(916) 324-0322."


It was nice to see that my letter was duly received:)
 

·
Yeti SB95c
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
We need a Norcal IMBA director with fire in the belly for advocacy. We need our own Vladimir Putin :)

We also need a change of management at State Parks. That is IMBA's responsibility to make happen with our support.

I sent them the IMBA wording and asked why it isn't being used.

Jim
 

·
roadie
Joined
·
744 Posts
We need a Norcal IMBA director with fire in the belly for advocacy. We need our own Vladimir Putin :)

We also need a change of management at State Parks. That is IMBA's responsibility to make happen with our support.

I sent them the IMBA wording and asked why it isn't being used.

Jim
oh, you just want to go to meetings with a shirtless man on a horse. admit it ;)
 

·
J-Flo
Joined
·
1,740 Posts
My comment:

Re: Comment on Proposed Amendment to CCR tit. 14, section 4360

Dear Ms. Stehl:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed amended draft Department of Parks and Recreation Regulations announced on February 17, 2014.

As a mountain biker, hiker, and regular fee-paying user of the state parks and longtime financial supporter of the CSPF, I am dismayed to read the proposed new Section 4360. The proposed amended regulation would suddenly declare all trails closed to bicycles and other non-pedestrian uses, except only those trails that have been specifically designated by the DPR for bicycle or other use. My wife, two kids (daughter age 12 and son age 16, who rides on his high school cross-country mountain bike team) and I regularly ride our mountain bikes in state parks and treasure finding wonderful new trails to ride, especially in some of the less-travelled parks. We usually see no one but other mountain bikers, sometimes hikers, and on occasion an equestrian or two. Our years of experience on the trails shows that shared use works extremely well almost everywhere (the relatively rare exceptions being in those few inner-near-urban areas where one group somehow has a sense of superiority or entitlement that their rights to use the trails should trump everyone else’s rights). Shared use should be the rule, not the exception.

That bikes would be, by default, prohibited everywhere unless the DPR goes through a process to specifically allow them via a designation process is exactly the opposite of the correct approach. The DPR should strive to allow everyone — especially the growing user base of mountain bikers — to be welcome in our parks. The guiding principle of trail access should be inclusive, not exclusive. We shouldn’t be prohibited unless allowed; we should be allowed unless the DPR determines there is a good reason why we should be prohibited!

Currently, Section 4360 is an uncontroversial provision authorizing the prohibition of bikes and other “operator or gravity propelled devices” by order of the DPR. That should remain the default principle — trails may be closed to various uses where the DPR determines appropriate. Under the proposed new rule, however, given the reality of limited resources, it will be far too easy for nothing to happen with respect to trail designation, and that will mean restricting access to the second-largest user group for no good reason, unfairly depriving mountain bikers of trail access. As a matter of policy, it makes no sense for the DPR to create additional “designation" work for itself in this manner unless the true goal is to relegate us mountain bikers to a second-class status, a group to be kept out of everywhere unless the DPR goes through additional steps to invite us in. I can’t imagine that is what DPR wants, yet that is what the proposed Section 4360 will promote if adopted.

I would think that the DPR would want to be doing everything it can to increase recreational usage, especially for such a healthy activity as mountain biking. Do we really want to tell our kids that mountain bikers are not welcome in the parks absent a bureaucratic process, and that they should go back and play video games and have some more soda and chips while waiting to see if their local trails will ever be designated for bike access? Please don’t alienate our kids!

For these reasons, I respectfully urge the DPR to leave Section 4360 as is and decline to make the proposed change. Thank you for considering my comment.

Sincerely,
 

·
Air Pirate
Joined
·
2,037 Posts
One thing I see going on here is a potential for more government spending, which these days equals government waste. If they go forward with the language that excludes all users except hikers on all trails unless designated multi-use, there will be tons of money spent to establish that designation.

Pliebenberg posed the question of who knows how long it would take the DPR to conduct the studies to determine if a trail may be used by other-than-hikers. Indeed, the length of time that goes by whenever ANY state department, let alone the DPR, has to conduct a "study" or "investigate" is aggravating. But the greater aggravation is the cost for such studies, which comes out of our pockets, and for which the DPR does not have a budget for anyway (remember all the actual/threatened park closures this past year due to DPR's moronic financial mismanagement?)

It will cost for them to come up with a process to deal with trail access reviews. It will cost for them to put together their review committees. It will cost for them to hire staff to process this. It will cost for them to do this with each and every trail in the state parks! How will they pay for this increase in bureaucracy? Most of it will come from general fund most likely, until someone at the F*ck-up Factory (aka State Capitol) decides they cannot use the general fund for that process. Then they will claim they have no cash to continue trail reviews and we will be stuck with less access than we have now.

These boneheads at DPR cannot manage the state parks right now, they don't need to increase their bureaucracy and make it worse.
 

·
I've had a Pliny
Joined
·
400 Posts
One thing I see going on here is a potential for more government spending, ... Then they will claim they have no cash to continue trail reviews and we will be stuck with less access than we have now.
Did you include this verbiage in your emails to the list in the IMBA alert?
 

·
Life's a Garden, dig it!
Joined
·
4,250 Posts
Thanks for the urging guys! Letter sent!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,884 Posts
I'm just curious why Companies like Specialized, Ibis, Santa Cruz aren't "throwing" some of their weight and money around to keep this type of exclusionary language at bay.

Let's face it,
If there's nowhere to ride, they are not going to sell bikes around here.
 
1 - 20 of 197 Posts
Top