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fyi.....some trails that are part of "Mt. Bike Bill's Palm Canyon Epic" are now closed to bikes (Indian Potrero and Vandeventer)

Here's the text of an e-mail I received from James Foote, BLM Monument Manager in Palm Springs..


Hi Osmar,


I met yesterday with staff from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to discuss the signage issue. The Tribe will be installing a new sign at the southern intersection of the Palm Canyon Trail and Indian Potrero Trail on BLM lands in section 36. It will indicate that mountain bikes should proceed on the Palm Canyon Trail northward. Should bikes continue northward on the Indian Protrero Trail, it will ultimately lead them onto a small segment of the trail on Tribal lands in section 24, thereby violating the Tribe's general prohibition of bikes on Tribal trails.


However, the Tribe will allow mountain bikes to continue on the Palm Canyon Trail in section 24 to its intersection with the Dry Wash Trail, and proceed east on the Dry Wash Trail to Dunn Road. Although the small segment of the Palm Canyon Trail south of the intersection with the Dry Wash Trail, as well as the westernmost segment of the Dry Wash Trail are on Tribal land, the Tribe has agreed to allow mountain bikes on these segments.


The Tribe will post the East Fork Loop Trail, Vandeventer Trail, and Fern Canyon Trail as closed to bicycles. Specifically: (1) The sign indicating that the East Fork Loop Trail is closed to bikes will be posted at its intersection with the Dry Wash Trail in section 25. Only about 1/8-mile of the East Fork Loop Trail occurs on non-Tribal lands. The posting at this location serves to discourage bikers from traveling this 1/8-mile segment of trail only to turn around upon encountering the Tribal segment of the trail that is closed to bikes. Cyclists can continue eastward on the Dry Wash Trail to Dunn Road. (2) The sign indicating the Fern Canyon Trail is closed to bicycles will be posted at its intersection with the Wild Horse Trail on BLM lands in section 18. Only about 1/8- to 1/4-mile of the Fern Canyon Trail occurs on BLM lands. Similar to the circumstance with the East Fork Loop Trail, the posting at this location discourages bikers from traveling this short segment of trail on BLM lands only to turn around when they get to the closed segment on Tribal lands. (3) The sign indicating the Vandeventer Trail is closed to bicycles will be posted at its intersection with the Hahn Buena Vista Trail on BLM lands in section 18. This serves to discourage bikers from traveling towards both the Vandeventer Trail on Tribal lands (closed to bikes) and the northern end of the East Fork Loop Trail on Tribal lands in section 19 (also closed to bikes), only to turn around when reaching segments of these trails on Tribal lands.


In summary, mountain bikers traveling north on the Palm Canyon Trail can continue on the Palm Canyon Trail to its intersection with the Dry Wash Trail, turn east on the Dry Wash Trail and proceed to Dunn Road, then turn north on Dunn Road to pursue a number of opportunities: (1) continue on Dunn Road to Cathedral City Cove, (2) turn east on the Art Smith Trail, or (3) turn west on the Hahn Buena Vista Trail, from which a biker can continue north and access either the Wild Horse Trail or Dunn Road Trail (note: the Tribe has agreed to allow bikers to use the Wild Horse Trail and Dunn Road Trail where it crosses Tribal lands in section 7).



The BLM works cooperatively with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to manage lands within the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The posting of signs as described above is to prevent trespass by bicyclists where bikes are prohibited on Tribal lands, and provide opportunities for mountain bikers to connect from Palm Canyon to Cathedral City Cove (via Dunn Road), Palm Springs (via the Wild Horse and Thielman Trails), or Palm Desert (via the Art Smith Trail). I believe this action provides a beneficial service to responsible riders who want to do the right thing, i.e., not trespass on lands that are closed to their particular activity. With the signing installed as I described, riders who comply with the signs can be assured they are not violating any rules.


Thank you for alerting me about the signs you encountered. It facilitated my working with the Tribe to arrive at an acceptable solution that is consistent with the rules.
 

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I have also been speaking with the BLM regarding this signage issue. As part of the proposed land swap agreement between the BLM and the Tribe (which has not taken place to date), these trails were to remain open before and after the swap. Clearly the Tribe never had any intention of honoring that agreement. Individually, and as a group, we should apply consistent pressure on the BLM to back out of this land swap. Bad on me that I did not speak up during the original comment period. I'm speaking now.
 
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