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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Wildlife Resource Commission maintains control of several hundred thousand acres of forest and wildlife area in the state of NC. It's a wacky set up for sure. The WRC issues hunting licenses and helps "manage" the land through logging and hunting. They are almost completely against allowing any kind of access other than hunting and logging. It's really tough for us in NC to gain access from them, but we are trying. (that's another story). In a recent discussion I was privvy to, they told our club leader that mountain bikers chase all the game away. We've lost legal trail because of this very arguement. I propose that it's the hunters doing a large portion of keeping the game away.

This photo was taken last weekend at a bandit trail located on WRC land. We only ride it on Sundays so we don't get confused with the deer. The picture has six dead ones in it, but there were several others a little further down the trail. Most just had the hams cut out and the rest just left to rot.

WTF? I'm not against hunting, but it's hard to be for it when they leave dead dear on the side of the road.

Before the flames start, yes I was riding an illegal trail. My point is cyclist's don't run off the game.

Anyone else battling the long-entrenched hunting establishment to gain access? I'd be interested in hearing about successful negotiations with the WRC, specifically in NC. The WRC has a strangle hold on land in this state and I'm sick of it.
 

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We parked next to those dear last week. Freakin disgusting ! The stench that goes along with them sucks as well.

I've heard before that the WRC hates us and that we run off all the deer. I wonder if Raping the forest for timber runs off the wildlife? After the number they did on 70 yr old hardwood forest at New Light I was thinking someone would be prosecuted.

I wish I had taken a pic of the pools of hydrolic fluid and diesel fuel that they left behind. I wonder if the wildlife likes that?

Is it possible that the WRC hates us because we actually witness what they are doing 7 mi. out in the woods?

I wish they could have seen all the deer I rode up on last night on the Legal trails at Beaver dam last night. I think the deer know who the threat is. Oh crap, now I'm starting to sound like one of those crazy hunters. Several of my neighbors believe that the deer actually have thoughts. This is the mentality I think your up against Striker. Good luck!

BTW I feel better getting this off of my chest.
 

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Whew. That's terrible. In Michigan, where I'm from, the DNR (equivalent of WRC) runs a very strict Report All Poaching (RAP) program in conjunction with hunting licenses. Fines are hefty as s*** (10,000 first offense) and most land managers are very serious about it. It would be great to see something like that in NC.

I say this because, in reality, we as MTB'ers have to be able to work with the hunters, not against them. Without the land preservation efforts historically and currently done by the hunting lobby, there would be MUCH less public land. Ducks Unlimited, for example, is responsible for legislation throughout the nation that requires developers to preserve at least some of the wetlands that they buy to drain and build bigfoot houses on- this adds up to millions of acres saved- one of my best friends is a lobbyist for DU. Teddy Roosevelt probably never would have started this country's public conservation efforts without his interest in hunting.

If we make enemies with the hunters, we'll lose. They have more money, more connections, and more numbers. This may not seem to be the case based on number of licenses issued vs. bikers in the woods in WNC, but nationwide, it's definitely the case. Also, there is very little enforcement of hunting licenses around here, so most people are "poaching" rather than buying the license.

Know that I'm the furthest thing from "pro-hunting;" I've been a vegetarian for almost 14 years now.

My rambling point is that it's not hunters in general that are the problem- it's the poachers and other abusers. Hmm-wait- what other public land use community has that same problem?

Striker- this is not intended as a criticism. Just a discussion. Thanks for the post- I think it's a good one.

I'm planning on attending a lot of public meetings, etc. over the course of the next year in my role with SORBA. I will definitely be interested in seeing what, if any, communication happens with the hunting lobby.

Enough said-
Mike
 

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In Harrisonburg, VA there was a union between the local MTB club and the local bear hunters. The pair fought off the wilderness regime and helped our numbers and legitimacy when it came time to negotiate.

Unfortunately there is not a common enemy threatening forest usage here (well, it's fortunate too). I am not up on my hunting groups by any means, but I feel like there has to be another group with more substantial numbers to help us out.

How good are the trails that are illegal? How far is their reach?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No criticism taken Mike. I'm just looking for discussion on dealing with the hunting lobby and specifically the WRC.

IMO, they control the most land but are just a bunch of good ole boys that have routinely acted with denial against requests to use the land.

Are they scared and up against the wall? In this day and age, would most North Carolinians support the continued control of millions of acres?
Can I buy a hunting license, wear orange, and ride year round on all the WRC controlled land? I think you legally could. I sold a few bikes to hunters before that immediately got spray painted so they weren't so shiny.
 

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This picture was taken about 30 miles south of Striker's picture in early fall at Harris Lake County Park where hunting is not allowed. This is one of about 12 pics of deer that I took while riding that day. I would venture to say that I see numerous deer about 60% of the time that I ride at Harris Lake Park and other local areas where hunting is not allowed. I have ridden with Striker at the location his picture was taken, and I don't remember seeing any live deer-coinsidence?
 

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striker said:
No criticism taken Mike. I'm just looking for discussion on dealing with the hunting lobby and specifically the WRC.

IMO, they control the most land but are just a bunch of good ole boys that have routinely acted with denial against requests to use the land.

Are they scared and up against the wall?
I don't think its the hunters so much as the state bureaucracy. In South Carolina our Department of Natural Resouces (DNR) has the same "hook 'n bullet" mentality. Hunters and fishermen first, every one else later. As a result the burden of proof is on the other users that they will not impact hunting/fishing. An assumption that other uses might not impact hunting and fishing would be far more useful from the multi-use perspective.

I also think there's a very strong element of entrenchment operating. DNR knows how to manage a forest for hunting, but they are very reluctant to learn new tricks.
 

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MTB License?

The first paragraph in this post identifies part of the problem. Mountain Biking does not produce revenue for the WRC. If the WRC required a "Biking License" to ride on the land they control, maybe we would not be viewed as chasing all the game away.
 

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I can tell you that the impact of WRC control of game lands is a much more serious problem here in the eastern part of the state than in the western part of the state where the USFS are the actual land managers of most of the game lands. If the FS says we can ride bikes, then the WRC has to live with it. In the east most of the large tracts of green space are managed by WRC directly. Specifically, up to 90% of the land around Jordan Lake and Falls Lake here in the Triangle. I am the president of the TORC chapter of SORBA, and I have first hand knowledge that WRC officials don't like us on their land. Because they told us so in a face to face meeting in their Raleigh headquarters. Only because the Corp of Engineers owns the land, has a mandate for recreational uses of its holdings, and WRC only holds an interim agreement on portions of the land they manage, do we have access to any legal trails around Falls Lake. Currently New Light and Beaverdam SP, and nothing else there or on Jordan Lake.

However, WRC doesn't prohibit bicycling on their land during non hunting days. It is illegal to build or maintain trails on their land. I've ridden the trails where the deer carcasses lie rotting, and have even asked the rangers in the parking lot if I shouldn't be riding, and it is perfectly legal to ride those existing trails (though not legally built). The WRC officials are aware bikes are there, but for now they are putting up with it. They are more concerned with the motorcycles, atvs and horses. All forbidden, and being confiscated if caught. Not the horses, just the vehicles.

Fortunately the COE has an MOU with IMBA to promote and build trail on Corp properties nationwide. It is through the COE that we stand our best chance to gain access to public land for recreational opportunities that don't involve hunting and fishing. Since they own most of the land that WRC manages here in the middle part of the state. We will involve the politicians that represent us, the Corp and the volunteers from among those of us that ride their bikes in the woods, and we will gain our rightful access to the woods of our state. I truly believe we can make this happen if enough of us are willing to take the time to make it happen.
 

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Bill C.-
THanks for the post. First, I think it's interesting how many of the people active in this forum are also active advocates for the MTB community- that's great!

Over the course of the next year, I'll be acting as the "advocacy officer" for Pisgah Area Sorba. I'll be certain to post any experiences I post re: WRC or any other land use groups we interact with.

Does anybody know if the Dark Mountain Trails had to be developed in coordination with WRC? I know that's COE land, and those trails are sweet. Would be interesting to know...

Finally, does anybody know what you have to do to create a "sticky" at the top of the forum? It would be great to see a SORBA thread at the top so that all our regional groups could post various actions and events as they come up....

Mike
 

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Mike, I am the IMBA NC IMBA rep in the Raleigh area. I am sure that you are aware of TORC (Triangle Off Road Cyclists). TORC has well over 100 members at this point and many have become active in numerous arenas with regards to putting trail on the ground. There is no doubt what we are up against with WRC (I feel kind of funny saying that, as I am also deer and bird hunter). I don't think there is real animosity with WRC, as much as just plain old niavite. I know for a fact that I see many more deer while riding my bike than I do when sitting in tree stand 20 feet off the ground with camo on and a .270 sitting in my lap!

I rode Dark Mountain the day before Thanksgiving this year. I believe that that land is COE, but not leased by WRC. I could be mistaken, you might Google "Brushy Mountain Cyclists" to find our for sure. I do know that those guys are actively putting some very nice trail down.

I look forward to meeting you in the near future, BillC, Striker, myself and others usually make 4-5 trips a year to the Ashville/ Brevard area.

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