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A DEC contact sent this alert regarding Ninham Multi-Use Area:

"I just wanted to give you a heads up about a law enforcement action that will be happening in the future.
Nimham Mountain (in Putnam County) is going to have a significant portion closed to mountain bike use and it will be signed as closed. In addition, Forest Rangers will be ticketing users of these trails.
If you know of anyone who rides at Nimham, or who has mentioned any of the illegal trail construction on that area, feel free to let them know that their days are numbered."



I replied:

"I will spread the word.

Cyclists will be upset about what they will see as a loss of trail access, in light of the Fahnestock Master Plan that bans mtb's to existing singletrack there.

Do you have any recommendations for a process to legalize perhaps some of the trails to be closed? Is a Stewardship conceivable?"


DEC response:

"The ranger has tried talking to users down there, and the illegal trail construction continues, regardless of outreach efforts down there.
It has gotten to the point where we (myself, and the rangers) are tired of trying and the blatant disregard of possible cooperative efforts. We see the closing of access as the only alternative. Sorry."
 

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OK...more details. I had a 25 min conversation with the ranger and she was much more open than the forester. By the way...she rides. She said that the trails are not officially closed as of yet. Technically there are no legal trails on the tower side...that said, they have for the last few years turned a blind eye to them...until things started to be built. What really got her is when she tore down stuff twice and and kept getting rebuilt.

She would like to keep one or two of the tower side trails open but that is at odds with the foresters idea. She said that there will be trail closures and that they will post signs but they will probably not be all at once. The "new trails" they are after are actually a couple of years old but are still new to the DEC. Most of the trail building stopped a few years ago but apparently someone has been re-building the jumps and bridges.

She said she approached a couple of riders on the trail this past fall and was told that she can try all she wants but they would keep riding. She said that she put the logs and sticks across a few of the trails but she was understanding when I said that the local riders assumed that hunters had done that.

They are not messing around...they have additional funding to patrol Ninham this year. There will be more rangers and she said they will be watching the built stuff for riders. Building is a serious crime now...huge fines and the possibility of jail time. But you can get a ticket or be changed with a misdemeanor just for hitting (using) one of the features. Stay off the built stuff...they will be watching.

All that said...they want to meet with us. It won't be until later this spring but she will contact me to let me know when. They want someone to take over maintenance of the park and to remove structures when they pop up. They want us to self-patrol. They are willing to give us a second chance but we have to really prove that we will work with them. She was really happy to have us reach out to her and thinks this can work out good for all of us.

This is a bit south for the Fats core group and a bit north for most of WMBA. That said we, HHMTB, are a loose group of riders in southern Dutchess and northern Putnam. We have made great progress on Beacon and even in Fahnestock (east of the Taconic) and we are well positioned to work with WMBA to maintain these trails. As of now we are not all that organized but I had a conversation tonight with some people about making us an official non-profit group and trying to organize a bit more. This could be the catalyst that makes it happen.

I think we should wait a couple of weeks tohear back from the DEC (please remember that the DEC and the DEP are different). They have some big report on about the Ash trees and beetles due by the middle of March so nothing will happen until after that. Once we hear from them should will hold a meeting to try and come up with a game plan. In the meantime I suggest that we spread t he word to stay off of the tower side and to PLEASE not build anything up there...ANYTHING. If you are going to ride the tower side, keep it to Flow-rider and the older trails. If they post signs please obey they and stay off of the posted trails.

Tom
 

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I hardly did any riding in ninham last year, but some of the stunts that I remember were fun but pretty rickety and not well built anyway, and some of the newest hidden trails were super technical but had no flow, lots of dead ends, and not thought out very well in my opinion. I really hope they don't shut us out because ninham is a benchmark for technical riding around here and a really cool place, it would be a catastrophic loss. I've talked to riders from Quebec who came down here to ride there!
 

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What a coincidence!

I was just at Ninham hiking with my brother on Tuesday and happen to meet a ranger.

We talked a bit and she complained about mountain bikers building illegal trails, cutting down live trees and having no respect for the environment. This caused a GREAT desire to close the place down to all mountain bikers. Most mountain bikers are responsible recreationalists but a few bad apples can ruin it for all.

We all know who is responsible for this mess and it is US. We...who looked the other way while people had their way with the land building without permission.

I then told her I was the IMBA rep for NY and could help with the situation, though it could be too little too late.

Start a responsible group and work through the proper channels. CLIMB has a great relationship with our local DEC managers and have about 40 miles of trails on DEC land. It's not "cross-stuntry" but we are allowed a few technical trail features. Other areas in NY have more technical features due to geography and rock supply.

Contact me if you want help...I've done this before.

To read the new regulations regarding "structure" building, read this:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=557512

Excerpt:

Paragraphs (13) and (14) of subdivision 190.0(b) are renumbered paragraphs (14) and (15) and a new paragraph (13) is added to read as follows:

"Structure" shall mean any object or improvement constructed, installed or placed on State lands, including but not limited to trails, roads, bridges, ramps, buildings, sheds, lean-tos, picnic tables, monuments, memorials, permanent tree stands or permanent hunting blinds, posts, rails, handrails, steps, fences, pipelines, oil, gas and other well structures, septic systems, fuel tanks, utility lines, including but not limited to telephone, electric and cable, mobile homes, campers, trailers, signs, docks and dams, except that tents, campers, temporary blinds and other temporary objects related to authorized recreational activities shall not be considered structures for the purposes of this definition, provided that such objects are in compliance with rules and regulations governing such activities on State lands.

**********NEW FINES COULD BE UP TO $15,000 DOLLARS**************
 

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So in other words, if a bear takes a **** in the woods it's considered a structure? :p

Pity that a small group of dum dums can ruin it for everyone else. I've never even been to Ninham, but it's been on my to-do list for some time. It would be tragic if mountain bike access was shut down. Sounds like you guys are on top of it though.
 

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Boy would they be surprised to find out who some of the builders are. If my "backyard" trails get shut down I'm gonna be pretty frustrated. I've been riding there for 15 years and the thought of losing it because of people I know having done things they were asked not to will cause me to be the fink.

Good thing my favorite place to ride flies so far under everbodys radar.

$15k? Catch me...
 
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