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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good story in the NY times about a proposed rule change that could allow bikes in and around some areas of National Parks.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/us/19bikes.html?_r=1

comment on this if you want. Its RIN 1024-AD72

I find it is best to comment directly to the agency (and CC your senators) Google is your friend here folks. IMBA.com also has an easy way to comment.
 

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The proposal raised tensions between hikers and bikers, who face off against one another on dirt byways all over the country. Each group is burdened with a stereotype that is part true and part myth: thrill-seeking gear heads on one side, plodding leaf peepers on the other, each group accusing the other of not fully appreciating the great out-of-doors.
i've never heard the term plodding leaf peepers before, it's pretty funny. But this is so far from reality. i've had a few negative experiences with hikers before, but they are far outweighed by very cordial and positive experiences.

The one thing that i find interesting is that the term "thrill seeking" is somewhat true. In the sense of the technical challenge of backcountry riding, but riding also encompasses many of the aspects of hiking. It's all in the pace and intent of your ride. All the same i personally don't see the point in arguing the validity of comparing who appreciates a nature experience more or less, and that this somehow justifies your right to be there versus excluding others outright.

Yet this is an argument backcountry riders encounter often, even occasionally from fellow mountain bikers.

"The question is whether it can be managed well - whether one group doesn't deprive others of their enjoyment," said Jeff Ruch, the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit alliance of local, state and federal scientists, law enforcement officers and land managers.

In any case, Mr. Ruch added, "it's a symptom of growing user conflict in the national park system."
So from this guys perspective, it's a given that mt. bikers are a symptom of growing user conflict. Wow, nice...

"Seventy-five million Americans hike, and they want solitude and a slow-paced connection with nature," said Gregory Miller, the president of the American Hiking Society, an umbrella group of 275 local organizations. "We see this as potentially undermining and diminishing that experience."
Hmm i cannot argue that point with this guy if i can argue that a near total ban on singletrack trails completely undermines by effectively "eliminating" that experience.

It's not like we completely like the riding restrictions at Middle Fork Snoqualmie, but that is one example of how to effectively manage trails that are pretty popular. My stance better yet is provide more backcountry experience in the 90 corridor, which will provide for dispersal of users. That's why Ollalie is so important in that this will be a third riding option on the 90 corridor west of the pass. the other option being Tiger Mountain....

You could include Grand Ridge/Duthie as well, but i think the classification of a suburban park would be more appropriate considering the trails meander nearby rich peoples back yards.

"There's no good reason for this," said the spokesman, Tony Jewett, the group's senior director for the Northern Rockies region. Mr. Jewett said that bikes could have a place in the parks - 25 parks already allow some mountain biking - but that thorough review should be the watchword.
My first reaction would be comparing the ratio of hiker/horse to that of bikers. i'm curious to know what opportunity is allowed in these 25 parks, i suspect we're talking about gravel road. i think i've browsed upon some singletrack being open to mt. bike riding in the East Coast?....

At any rate there is absolutely no access to singletrack trail on National Park Land in Washington State, and it's unlikely there will be if this ruling change is upheld. Anybody know of any trails in this state, on National Park Land that would be worthy of paying a fee at a gate to access, that's not in Wilderness Designated lands?

"It would make it easier to have mountain biking in the national parks with less public scrutiny," he said. "Our position is that these types of changes should be in public sunlight."
Be careful what you ask for. My own personal feeling is that as time rolls on, the logic to undermine access to mountain bikers has evolved from a gamut of unsubstantiated attacks, to now highlighting user conflict. As time goes on the arguments expose the underlying fears, and the primary reason people have fought against mt. biker access. And that simply is not wanting to share trails.

The ratio of what trails are open versus what are not could not prove this point any better.

http://www.imba.com/news/action_alerts/12_08/12_18_nps.html
 

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Just Friday I mentioned riding my mountain bike during the summer at the hair salon to a woman who said she was 'always working out', and said I hadn't been able to do as many longer rides as I'd wanted to. Her response: "OH, you're one of those EXTREME people then!"

Holy hairballs, NO! Just because I'd like to get some 3+ hour rides in doesn't make me an X-games style hucker! And this image of mountain biking is where perhaps some of that conflict comes in...

The 'thrill' I seek on wheels is actually mostly the same as when I'm hiking. I can just cover a whole lot more ground on the bike, and therefore get into country otherwise totally inaccessible to working schmucks such as myself that can't take a week or two off to slowly meander in the mountains.

It will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out in another 30 years at any rate. I often get the feeling that there's an older group within all these outdoor organizations clinging to a very specific status quo that isn't necessarily shared by the generations behind them. *que all the usual "Get off my lawn!" quips*
 

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verslowrdr said:
Just Friday I mentioned riding my mountain bike during the summer at the hair salon to a woman who said she was 'always working out', and said I hadn't been able to do as many longer rides as I'd wanted to. Her response: "OH, you're one of those EXTREME people then!"
And here lies the conflict within.

Perception is not reality but it just may as well be unfortunately... Advocacy is key, and there are just so many ways a person can be empowered and make a difference.

verslowrdr said:
Holy hairballs, NO! Just because I'd like to get some 3+ hour rides in doesn't make me an X-games style hucker! And this image of mountain biking is where perhaps some of that conflict comes in...

The 'thrill' I seek on wheels is actually mostly the same as when I'm hiking. I can just cover a whole lot more ground on the bike, and therefore get into country otherwise totally inaccessible to working schmucks such as myself that can't take a week or two off to slowly meander in the mountains.
Precisely right. There ARE people that key off of the adrenaline rush but most always my motivation has been to better control the bike so i'm less apt to hurt myself in the middle of nowhere.

Regardless mountain bike opportunities have been slim for all realms of riding, which after you strip away prejudices within is THE primary reason mt. bikers have issues. i tend to think that the trend and movements of local mountain bikers have been overall positive. Any argument against that will probably just lead me back to that premise though, that limited access to trails has always been and currently still is our primary problem.

All the same the industry does nothing to help in how they hype product at the expense of any accountability. Even commercials where XC is highlighted they usually show someone skidding. It's the need to have something represented appear cool by being extreme, but hey as long as it sells goods!!! haha....

verslowrdr said:
It will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out in another 30 years at any rate. I often get the feeling that there's an older group within all these outdoor organizations clinging to a very specific status quo that isn't necessarily shared by the generations behind them. *que all the usual "Get off my lawn!" quips*
i think so too, we're currently wading through a drudgery of implemented restrictions handed down by those generations currently. To repeat my view, it makes it difficult to well establish and nurture mountain biking in a proper way, which in turn can lead to more conflict. i mean really we're talking about National Parks where recreation is supposed to be front and center...

i view this particular "possible" change as one major front in nullifying the blockades established by the old guard.

As per your points, i completely agree to pretty much all you say.:)
 

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Quote
At any rate there is absolutely no access to singletrack trail on National Park Land in Washington State, and it's unlikely there will be if this ruling change is upheld. Anybody know of any trails in this state, on National Park Land that would be worthy of paying a fee at a gate to access, that's not in Wilderness Designated lands?


We've started the conversation out here on the peninsula. We have one trail in the park that is legal, however very tame. It's the old railroad grad around Lake Crescent. The term "originally constructed for mechanized use" is what I'm working with. There is another trail that is awsome out here. It's the original road to Hurricane Ridge, aka Wolf Creek. Very little use by anyone. about 8 steady miles of climb, then descent, incredible views on the way up and of course at the top, etc. It has only been maintained because the power for the lodge goes up that way (I work for the Utilities Dept. out here). They are however changing the power route in the near future.

I've had a tiny bit of contact which was neutral at this point. Hopefully this legislation will speed things up???
 

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Huckler said:
We've started the conversation out here on the peninsula. We have one trail in the park that is legal, however very tame. It's the old railroad grad around Lake Crescent. The term "originally constructed for mechanized use" is what I'm working with. There is another trail that is awsome out here. It's the original road to Hurricane Ridge, aka Wolf Creek. Very little use by anyone. about 8 steady miles of climb, then descent, incredible views on the way up and of course at the top, etc. It has only been maintained because the power for the lodge goes up that way (I work for the Utilities Dept. out here). They are however changing the power route in the near future.

I've had a tiny bit of contact which was neutral at this point. Hopefully this legislation will speed things up???
Lake Crescent sounds like a nice family gig. Wolf Creek sounds pretty interesting, especially considering it's a destination trail too.

It's just amazing to think how easy it is for hiking trails to be "grandfathered" in or just show up under the radar. And the hoops that have to jumped through for mt. bikes, it really is crazy....
 

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When I was hiking up the Hoh River trail back in September I sure wished I had my bike. I could have ridden it back about 8 miles or so until the trail got rough and steep then hiked farther up. Still it was a great hike. The Elwa River trail looks like it would be a good ride/ hike too.
 

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I have to say I'm a mountain biker first and a hiker second , yet I don't feel that mountain biking has it's place in a national park. I wouldn't want riders flying by me as I try to enjoy a quiet trail. I think it's disruptive. Just my opinion.

Last Labor Day we saw some tools mountain biking on the Hoh River trail and it really ticked me off. The last thing I wanted to hear was their bikes clanking down a rocky trail. They were also very rude. We reported them at the ranger station but I doubt they were ever caught.
 

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Up in Canada you can ride in the National Parks. I've ridden in Jasper National Park and it was a good experience (with or without hikers on the trails).

If everyone was friendly and had a good attitude there wouldn't be any problems. Sure, there's going to be conflicts but as a mountain biker there's no way I would go against this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There are certainly some trails where bikes and horses belong and some trails where they do not belong. Lets hope the public process allows bikes and horses where they do belong.
 

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drtgirl said:
I have to say I'm a mountain biker first and a hiker second , yet I don't feel that mountain biking has it's place in a national park. I wouldn't want riders flying by me as I try to enjoy a quiet trail. I think it's disruptive. Just my opinion.

Last Labor Day we saw some tools mountain biking on the Hoh River trail and it really ticked me off. The last thing I wanted to hear was their bikes clanking down a rocky trail. They were also very rude. We reported them at the ranger station but I doubt they were ever caught.
Sucks about the morons riding the Hoh, how could they be that stupid? They would have had to ride right past the visitors center.
Judgment will have to be used, say off season or weekdays only or trails that don't have lots of tourist gapers on them.
 

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I kinda agree

I wouldn't want to ride on trails with hikers on them either. I just think they
should look at opening up certain trails that are very seldom used by anyone, of which there are plenty. I would not like to see someone ripping the Wonderland trail, or the Hoh for that matter. But there should be something for us.
Tip- Not too many people hiking at night....
 

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drtgirl said:
I have to say I'm a mountain biker first and a hiker second , yet I don't feel that mountain biking has it's place in a national park. I wouldn't want riders flying by me as I try to enjoy a quiet trail. I think it's disruptive. Just my opinion.
Thanks for speaking up, as a mountain biker you are not alone. You raise a couple points i would like to share my own initial opinions toward.

What do you feel about multi-user trail in general. Like the trails in Greenwater. Besides an imaginary boundary/designation what differences are there that makes a "National Park" different than a trail like Cutthroat Ridge, or Palisades.
The reason i ask is that what i percieve you saying is that bikes are disruptive, and any place worthy of solitude, bikes should be banned (slippery slope). Also note that Mt. St. Helens is being proposed as becoming a National Park, so this has future repurcussions.

Me personally i enjoy seeing "freindly" people on horses, bikes, hiking, dirt biking, if they're out there enjoying the great outdoors like me. To me it's all about attitude, and perception. Do other trails users disrupt the cadence of my ride, yes. Do other trail users disrupt a feeling of solitude with their presence, yes. Does that really bother me to the point of it screwing up my experience, no way.

i am curious though what you and other people who choose to be sensitive to sharing the trail with bikes feel about the Middle Fork Snoqualmie restrictions. Where the trail is closed to bikes on even days. (it's also seasonally closed) But there you have an option as a hiker to have the trail all to yourself on half the days of the month (or 3/4 of the year if you include winter bike closure with Middle Fork).

drtgirl said:
Last Labor Day we saw some tools mountain biking on the Hoh River trail and it really ticked me off. The last thing I wanted to hear was their bikes clanking down a rocky trail. They were also very rude. We reported them at the ranger station but I doubt they were ever caught.
Was mountain biking and stopped a party of moto dirt bikers on Preston RR Trail at Tiger Mountain. Since i'm a big guy they didn't really give me attitude, but i didn't really yell at them. Just told them they were poaching, and that mountain bikers spend a massive amount of time and labor fixing the trail, and that the trail will not hold up to dirt bikes. They gave me a song and dance that they were lost and trying to get somewhere. But everyone knows that Tiger has no moto opportunities...

Anyways it is frustrating when you encounter poachers. i mean really if you're poaching the trail at least lie, like these guys, and play dumb and not be a dick....

But how do you recruit young riders into a fold of advocacy if there is a perception of nothing getting done and no riding opportunities being presented.

On the West end of the Olympics there are 2 riding opportunities to be had that i know of, Humptulips, and Mt. Muller. Humptulips is very primitive and barely rideable, and Muller is a steep climb and steep decent. You may see this as simply an excuse, or a justification to the dikkhedds who poached Hoh, but where else are the opportunities to ride? What are the symptoms to the problem, why are these guys poaching?

Anyways Hoh is in Wilderness Designation i believe, so it's NOT going to be effected by the National Parks decision. So that's why i say in an above post it's not going to have much of an impact at all in Washington State. Unless they decide to convert Mt. St. Helens area into Park.
 

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About trail sharing: I trained and rode horses for years besides hiking, backpacking, mountain biking. Hard to say what's harder on trail, them or motos, although I don't mind encountering either on the trail. Just keep any dogs WAY away from mules!!!

As you all know I also XC ski and have a little dog team, which is where trail-sharing also comes in. There are more lightly used snowmobile trails like Taneum and Teanaway that I run dogs on and ski on without undue fear (in fact the snomo folk in these pockets are REALLY REALLY REALLY nice), and there are places like Salmon la Sac that have been completely dominated by insane motorheads to the point that the place simply cannot be safely enjoyed by anyone without a giant engine on the weekend.

And Skooks, if you think what you're facing is bad, try the XC skier vs snowmo wars for a while.... overall I don't think I've met a crankier user group than XCers (and I say this as a skier- meet one on the trail and say "hi", I've often been met with nothing more than a stuck-up sniff), and the snowmo tribe is heavily weighted towards hard-drinking ********. The combination stuffed into crowded snow parks is often like juggling dynamite.

Stepping back from the whole thing, I think lessons from kindergarten are the most applicable: there IS room for everyone IF WE ALL PLAY NICE TOGETHER. Some trails should probably be limited to one type of user or another, but if people would just be kind and sensible I think at least 80% of shared-use conflicts would vaporize.
 

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verslowrdr said:
Stepping back from the whole thing, I think lessons from kindergarten are the most applicable: there IS room for everyone IF WE ALL PLAY NICE TOGETHER. Some trails should probably be limited to one type of user or another, but if people would just be kind and sensible I think at least 80% of shared-use conflicts would vaporize.
i think you could not have summarized better.

The reason i get on the soapbox about mountain biking is that when you break out the maps and take a look at the mileage of trail open to hiking and horses on Federal lands there is a huge disparity in opportunity. And it's not to say that there aren't valid concerns and reasons why you shouldn't have mountain biking on certain trails. But the blanket policies that currently hogtie any reasonable effort to gain access where appropriate still exist.

i think people should examine the core reasoning that underlies the issues. For instance if mt. bikes are banned on even days at Middle Fork Snoqualmie trails, why are not hikers banned on odd days.

By following the rules of etiquette, i must dismount my bike which disrupts my aerobic cadence, and also in some instances reduces my capability for resuming my ride without walking my bike for some distance if i'm on a hill or technical section. These are real tangible reasons that disrupt my ride, but you don't hear this argument weighed by mt. bikers.

The deck is completely stacked, and this particular old rule which may change is part of the established movement for not sharing. To me it's frustrating as a rider who does not poach, who spends time advocating, and does trail work. If i didn't like riding, and believe in it's positive impacts, i would so not bother....
 
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