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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings Loch Raven Trail Users --

We met with DPW, some task force members and other city representatives this afternoon. Much of the discussion was revisiting the issues and a few new items were put on table. The meeting ended with DPW providing the presentation available here and an action item for Col. Foxx to speak to the Mayor to get clarification on if the 100' buffer applies to all trail users or just mountain bikers. Col. Foxx will report back to Bob on the outcome of that meeting and then the group will meet again.

In addition, we would like to thank Mary Pat Clarke and Marc Lazerow, from Senator Brochin's office, for their participation. Mary Pat reaffirmed that there will still be a city council hearing held at some point in the future.

Meeting attendees:

Bob Compton
Rudy Chow
Luke Brackett
Dave Wassel
Dana Cooper
Kurt Kocher
Rick McClain
Ralph Cullison
Gary Nusinov
Carol Sildoff
Nate Evans
Marc Lazerow
Mary Pat Clarke
Al Foxx
Joe Traill
Marsha Collins
Clark Howells
Dave Blum
Fran Speno
Celeste Amato
Penny Troutner

Stay tuned for further updates, we will post them as soon as we know them.

Cheers,
Bob Compton and Dave Blum, MORE Trail Liaisons for Loch Raven
 

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From STR

Good evening..or morning,

Today the mountain bike task force met to discuss the recreational issues surrounding Loch Raven Reservoir. It should come as no surprise that nothing was accomplished at this meeting. Members of the community have been waiting since the end of November to hear recommendations from the DPW on MORE's DRAFT trail use plan. The plan that was submitted was basically not mentioned tonight. It was dismissed as unreasonable.

Tonight DPW gave this handout explaining a summary of the issues that have brought us to this point. This document is available at the link provided in the post above. Please note that the cyclist issues, were not written by the cyclists but by an interpretation by DPW. .

It is director Fox's opinion that everything that has happened up until now is not important and that he would like to have us maintain trails outside the 100' buffer but will not allow mountain bike use within the buffer or on any slope greater than 20%. Trails outside this spec are basically non-existent or they would have been incorporated. If we could remove ALL trails in bad areas and create all new trails we would but that is not allowed either.(minutes from 1st meeting) It was stated that the 100' buffer is a Law and can not be changed. It was AGAIN brought up by the trail users that the law SPECIFICALLY INCLUDES TRAILS AS ALLOWABLE WITHIN THE BUFFER AREAS PROVIDED THAT AN ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS IS DONE AND THAT NO FEASIBLE ALTERNATIVE EXISTS. We were told that the feasible alternative is no trails. Pardon me but no trails IS NOT a feasible alternative to trails that have existed for as long as the reservoir. Fire-roads are not a trail by definition and they are also not feasible as an alternative. We have never been asked for an alternatives analysis.

It was mentioned that besides this law, the state has to reduce its TMDL's (look it up) by a certain percent and the each reservoir has certain goals that have to be met in the future. While this is true, it is also true that sedimentation and runoff have never been measured in relation to mountain biking or any recreation.(check the bathymetric study) There is no given quantity of sediment that could be abated in relation to banning MTB's. We were told that kicking us off the trails would be a demonstration that DPW is trying to do all that they can to reduce TMDL's. WE ARE NOW PART OF A DEMONSTRATION THAT WILL HAVE ZERO QUANTIFIABLE RESULTS. DPW did not want to argue science because they said that the proof is evident in the proliferation of trails. This too is a statement not backed up by any science. Show me the proliferation of trails in the past twenty years. There is NO evidence of who created the trails, when they were created, or what sediment the trail could contribute to the TMDL. Any new trails that MORE has ever been made aware of since 1998 have been closed IMMEDIATELY. MORE has contributed more than 4000hrs of rehab labor to Loch Raven since 1998.

The largest point of contention is that DPW may or may not have the intention to close the singletrack trails to all users. I say it like this because we have asked the question more than two dozen times and we can not get any sort of strait answer. Director Fox stated that he would have to talk to his boss (mayor) to see what her take on this is. An Aide to Director Fox stated that it would be ideal to not let ANYONE in the buffer area. I overheard this statement as it was not said aloud. When asked directly Director Fox would not answer this question.

Director Fox stated that it was not his intention to stop recreation in Loch Raven, just continue with restrictions that have always been in place. He proposed that we look at connectivity of the existing trails outside the buffers and steep slopes. When he was asked for his position as to what DPW could give the bikers, he did not answer. However, within the packet of information linked above we can see that DPW's proposed expansion would include about one new mile of fireroads. This information was not shared at the meeting even though it was handed out. Had we received one mile extra each year since the plan (that called for expansion with good results) we would be up to 23 total miles of allowable fire-roads.

I think that DPW realizes that we are not going to take no for an answer so did not want to share this document openly.

Mary Pat Clarke reminded DPW that it is best to come to a conclusion BEFORE we have the hearing in City Council. She stated this will happen regardless of DPW's position.

Below is a comedic outlook of our meeting:

Hi my name is Bobo, remember me I met you at that meeting
Mountain biking can not exist in certain areas the law does not allow it
The law allows it
Oh, we mean the law but in reference to watersheds and reservoirs
Yes that law allows it
But not in watersheds
No the law allows it, the exact law you referenced, the word trail is referenced so that when people come around the table and discuss trails, the law is specific.
This will only effect bikers?
Yes
What about other users?
We cant talk about them.
So the trails will exist?
Yes.
So you are treating the bikers as a redheaded stepchild?
I will have to ask my boss.
Hi my name is Bobo, remember me I met you at that meeting.

I am showing the cyclical nature of this game. We could not get one strait answer tonight. It was stated that DPW would like to continue the conversation even after they make a decision. To me, that infers a decision is made, will not be shared and is not going to be positive for the city of Baltimore or is constituents. The argument of water quality disappeared when we say "WITH the proliferation of trails, the buffer acts as it should and has continued to reduce sediment"(check the bathymetric). The argument of the buffer and slopes come out, but the law allows us, and they will let the trails stay in place? TMDL's are a huge cost to the constituents, but we are immeasurable and only a demonstration?

I am continually critiqued because of the bluntness of this website. We continue to come to the table even though it took five months for a review of our plan (we have emails proving delivery) and nothing NOTHING was handed back to us. Come on, where are the red-lines? We were told at the end of the meeting our plan was unworkable and that all of the trails were still in the buffer. A quick response is that we minimized impact while working within the law. We continue to try and work together and as much as DPW tries, they have not produced anything that we can work with. Our plan was a DRAFT, which means it can be amended. The City has now wasted tens of thousands of dollars on meetings for this issue without sharing any recommendations of what they can work with…beyond a slope and buffer map. If our map is unacceptable, meet us in the middle. As I have always said, if we have any management it will be better than the neglect of the past. We can't wind back time and we can't go into the future. Can't we all just get along? My name is Bobo, we've met before, I am the one that cant write well;)

STR
 

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Thanks for the detailed post Balti! You explained alot more than the email sent out last night.

The trails were not too bad this morning. Everything was definetly rideable and not many mud puddles. Thought about turning around but my bicycle and clothes didn't get muddy so...WTH. Too bad it's going to monsoon the next couple of days.

The Semiary Woods Road or whatever we're calling it these days had big ruts caused by a piece of heavy equipment. What's that all about?
 

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Steel and teeth.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any updates on the negotiations with Balto City?
Nothing new to report currently, but hang tight. We are awaiting one last meeting with them, and then we will get you guys the much needed update. It should be in the next week or two.

Thanks for being so patient.
d./
 

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Any new news?

I think in a future meeting it would be helpful to bring documentation from land managers on what Mtbrs. bring to the table.

In NC, The Greensboro Fat Tire Society, Tarheel Trailblazers, and Brushy Mtn. Cycling Club (just to name a few) have stellar records with land managers. Working with US Army Corp of Engineers, NC State Parks, Greensboro Watershed Division and other entities we manage hundreds of miles of trail.

Theoretically, you could walk into the next meeting with hundreds of letters showing support. In a room full of people, it's kinda hard to ignore your peers. Pm me if you would like some contact information, and best of luck!

-Jimmy
 

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Steel and teeth.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So is there any news on this? What happens next?
Nothing concrete to update. Rangers are ticketing and we have written a formal letter to the Director of DPW, the Mayor, and the Chair and Sponsor of the bill in City Council.

Quick updates can be seen on Twitter: 'LRTrailAccess', and at Loch Raven Trail Access (although the Twitter account will be updated more rapidly).

Hope this helps!
d./
 

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And a new DPW Press Release..Pathetic

So, DPW has decided to proceed on their own without any further input from mountain bikers, or anyone else. No agreement was ever reached and they have steamrolled their own plan through and screwed all of us.

Despite over two hours of pro-MTB testimony to the city council (and no public opposition), No one within the city government/DPW seems to care enough to do anything except to essentially kick out the best trail advocates they have. The city has squandered an opportunity to partner with us, and has instead opted to continue with their failed 1998 plan, with a slightly modified trail map and a promise of tickets for riding "unauthorized", and poorly marked/unmaintained trails. Truly Pathetic Baltimore City and DPW!!!

The Mayor will be at their Dam Jam event on Sunday at Cromwell Valley Park, and the LR Dam. If anyone wants to speak to her directly about our issue...good luck. I doubt she will care about anything more than a photo op...say cheese.

Press Release below:

Public Works / Press Releases
 

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Has anyone seen the side of the hill eroding and collapsing right in front of the DPW buildings between the 2 dams? I guess they don't give a "dam" about the water quality of the Gunpowder!

Funny how erosion can occur even without mountain biking influence... hmmmmm!

**EDIT** drove by today... looks like they patched it finally! go DPW!
 
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