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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I rode out there yesterday to ride the trails cause the wife wanted me out for awhile. I stayed on the marked trails but as I was riding I noticed some off-shoots and was wondering if it's legal to hit these or if I should just stay on the identified trails? Oh yeah I rode from the campbell strip trail head. Still trying to get my feet so everytime I'm able to get out needs to be a learning experience. Newborns need so much attention...lol..but it's worth it.

Mike
 

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ABC Rec Div / STA Trails
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Yes and No

AkMike said:
I rode out there yesterday to ride the trails cause the wife wanted me out for awhile. I stayed on the marked trails but as I was riding I noticed some off-shoots and was wondering if it's legal to hit these or if I should just stay on the identified trails? Oh yeah I rode from the campbell strip trail head. Still trying to get my feet so everytime I'm able to get out needs to be a learning experience. Newborns need so much attention...lol..but it's worth it.

Mike
Not all of the trails are marked currently out there; but there is a project under way to get a majority of the legal ones labeled by Fall by Multiple user groups. So I guess if it looks like tire/foot/hoove manufactored trail.. likely not.. but if it looks like it was manufactored by tool or machine it is likely safe. Though this isn't always the case. If you pick up Rose Austin's "Orange Book" of Anchorage Mtn. Biking trails it has a most of the legal and questionable ones in there.

Christopher
 

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Likely not what ? Rant

Illegal ? Please define a legal trail vs. a trail that is not.
which trails are legal ? which ones are not legal ? are they posted as such ? are there muni codes for illegal trails? just for bikes ? who does the enforcing to be sure we are on legal trails ? what are the consequences if a biker gets caught on a nonlegal trail? a horse rider ? berry picker ? bird watcher ? GPS cache hunter ?
Someone looking for a lost dog ?:madman:
Many of the trails that are in use today started as game trails and trails used by subsistence users, and military organizations ..yadda yaddda
 

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MTB aficionado
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Yes, you can ride them....

AkMike said:
I rode out there yesterday to ride the trails cause the wife wanted me out for awhile. I stayed on the marked trails but as I was riding I noticed some off-shoots and was wondering if it's legal to hit these or if I should just stay on the identified trails? Oh yeah I rode from the campbell strip trail head. Still trying to get my feet so everytime I'm able to get out needs to be a learning experience. Newborns need so much attention...lol..but it's worth it.

Mike
Social trails on Muni land are fair game. Many of these off shoots date back to the days when motorbikes were allowed. As you will discover, there are trail systems within trail systems.

Have fun and ride away.

Regards,

EndUser
 

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Nothing like a good ole political answer.

Social trails can be used by anyone. Until social trails are specifically declaired unfit for public use by local muni land management agencies, they are legal to use. End of story.

Oh, and Rose Austin's book is NOT a litmus test for "legal" (what ever that means) trail use as she's desribes many social trails to ride on (i.e., Llama Trail for one). Her book is full of contradictions.

Regards,

EndUser
 

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ABC Rec Div / STA Trails
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n I'll just keep my f'n mouth shut next time..

EndUser said:
Social trails can be used by anyone. Until social trails are specifically declaired unfit for public use by local muni land management agencies, they are legal to use. End of story.

Oh, and Rose Austin's book is NOT a litmus test for "legal" (what ever that means) trail use as she's desribes many social trails to ride on (i.e., Llama Trail for one). Her book is full of contradictions.

Regards,

EndUser
I was just trying to give a newbie someplace to start. I mentioned her book because I think she ran all of them by the Muni to make sure that they were "OK" to include. Llama for example is a recognized trail by the Muni at this point for example.

So maybe perhaps Legal is not the word.. but perhaps sticking to 'recognized' existing trail. The Muni, BLM, and State park seem to be constantly be making remarks about needing to stop the propogation of 'social trails' (yes there are many larger issues that need to be taken care of before this will be minimized).

As far as penalities.. in the Chugach it is a $200 fine. BLM only has one enforcement officer and not sure what they would do if they caught someone on a social trail unless they specifically had it closed off and were trying to revegitate. They I think rather fine a dog owner for an off leash dog though.. though they definetly WILL give you a fine if they catch you riding on the Airstrip (like the name of the original post) if I understand correctly. Muni as far as I know has no enforcement or fine structure in place.

Maybe my word crafting of trying encouraging others to be responsible and knowledgable trail users is too much for here.. or the words I choose are simply wrong choices to suit everyone. I guess I just keep my fk'n mouth shut next time. Honestly though.. the fk'n politicing of the bike community has almost completely removed all enjoyment what so ever from biking for me, or at least destroyed a large part of my motivation to bike. For that reason I have been slowly withdrawing myself from it all, especially ABC. If every post about what or where to ride continues to turn into a RANT of some fk'n kind by someone; fk it. I am just going to stop participating entirely in this online community; if not it being the final straw for me to withdraw from being an advocate all together.. jesus fk'n christ people.

Go enjoy your rides before they all become D9'd ski trails or some a'hole with a lot of money gets bikes banned from parts of the park. We are already half way there.. why not encourage them.

Keep'n his mouth shut from now on.

Christopher
 

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lex iniusta non est lex

Don't let what you read here prevent you from doing what you think is right. I admire what you and STA have done, but we all need to take a reasonable man's view of what's happening in the Anchorage Bowl regarding trail usage.

People are going to approach these issues differently. Instead of playing by the rules, I prefer to question them. lex iniusta non est lex. Let's not confuse my comments with or encouraging "clearly" defined illegal activity.

Sorry, I didn't mean to twist you off.

Regards,

EndUser
 

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More important than the 'legality' question in my mind is 'SUSTAINABILITY'...the Muni among others (including MTBers, and myself given that I ride on the trails I'm gonna describe) is perpetuating UNSUSTAINABLE USE because the physical structure of most 'designated' and legal trails is constantly changing--due to lack of adequate design and improvement...we humans don't do a very good job of perceiving what happens over time, but most of the 'undesigned/improved-only-by-use', etc. trails are really more like a river...they're changing over time...mostly getting wider, de-rooted, etc. etc. but in some cases you can see that we trail users are practicing something like the rotation of agricultural fields, by moving our trails to different alignments (see Moose Meadow Trail a couple-300 ft. west of Black Bear intersection)(ATVers do it all the time all over the wetlands and other fragile terrain...ride it til its unrideable, and then move on over!)

To expect that the experience we have on a given trail anywhere will be the same in the next five or ten years is a fallacy, unless someone is working on the ground to maintain the trail tread, subbase, drainage, etc to exactly the way it is today (or it's built on Moab slickrock, or something equally erosion proof)...and that ain't happenin', especially on the Far North trails that have no hardened subbase, tread, and drainage...I'm starting to think we oughta be putting shredded bark mulch, or some other organic material onto our especially vulnerable trails, like Rovers Run, if we can't get them hardened using techniques perfected by IMBA, Daffyd Davis and the Welsh MTB centers, like stone pitching, armoring, off-cambering, sheet drains, etc. etc. (Heck, we did this on the end of the Black Bear trail where it intersects Moose Meadows 3? years ago on National Trails Day and it's held up beautifully)...

Back to the point...rather than ask whether it's legal to ride a trail, we should be asking ourselves "IS IT SUSTAINABLE?"

Keep on talking everyone!
 

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singletrack99501 said:
Back to the point...rather than ask whether it's legal to ride a trail, we should be asking ourselves "IS IT SUSTAINABLE?"
Well thought-out post. Sustainablity needs to be put in context as nothing is infinately sustainable whether you ride a bike, a horse, or you hike. So, when you walk across virgin tundra or picking mushrooms on an unspoiled forest floor do you ask yourself this same question? Now, I understand the extent that we do "harm" is largely related to modes of travel, but where do we draw the lines? Who do we include and exclude and what trails can or cannot be traveled upon?

I'm sure the person who originally posted this message wouldn't have given this a thought if he was walking, running, hiking, bird watching, orienteering ect. But, the fact he feels COMPELLED to ask this question as a cyclist speaks to a larger issue... which to me is the inconsistent and unequal treatment of different user groups namely mountain cyclists and those who ride horseback.

Before I can really get into the sustainability disussion, I first need to see all user groups on equal footing.

Regards,

EndUser
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow...I don't know how to respond to this. I guess I could've chosen my words differently and made myself clearer. But my question was answered so thank you. I think I'll watch this thread and see where it goes and put my .02 in where appropriate. I'm learning from you guys and gals everyday so thanks for taking this thread in a different direction so I can see the sport and get a feel from it from different perspectives.

Mike
 

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HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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Let me know when you are going bear hunting and maybe I can tag along. I need to meet my fellow AF dude, Mike.

If you ride with rio and I and do the opposite of what we do you will become a kick ass mountain biker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Rio thanks for the offer and Dave one day I will be as kick ass as you and Rio cause you all are the coolest....hahaha.

Mike
 

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Trail sustainability = hydrologic invisibility

Before I can really get into the sustainability disussion, I first need to see all user groups on equal footing.

Ah, but here's the beauty of looking at it first from the point of sustainability--I don't care what kind of user is on a particular trail if that trail is either built for that type of mode, or the style of use conserves the trail...in this way it doesn't matter if they're on foot, horse, ATV, MTB, whatever...what does matter is whether their use contributes to the continued dynamic deterioration of the landscape...I've hung out with ATVers who have a much more dedicated attitude to trail maintenance/improvement/stabilization, and in fact find them easier to rally than the "let's not touch nature because nature knows best--but it's OK to pound in a 6 foot gully up that was once a fall-line trail on [name any peak on the Chugach front range]" greenie-wannabe. Personal biases of various folks become pretty clear (and neutralized) when the focus is on sustainability...people can jump out of their 'name, blame and shame an enemy' and focus on a common challenge...or just retreat to their corner and sue, sue, sue like is done in California.

So back to what sustainability is? To borrow from IMBA, for a trail I think it comes down to "hydrologic invisibility" on the landscape...when precipitation and/or moisture events happen, it moves right over the trail without picking up and/or moving any soil from the trail corridor (corridor includes any adjacent drainage structures like uphill ditches, etc. along with trail tread) Adjacent natural vegetation recovers and reaches an equilibrium or dynamic steady-state, just as the trail does...the alternative is that when a trail is hydrologically visible, it captures water movement, deprives the downgradient/downstream biologic receptors, and totally replaces the natural system with one that most likely is developing more volume and speed, gathering materials, and creating erosion, on an exponential basis...

Some good examples of sustainable trails include the Inca Trail in Peru, Roman roads all over Europe, especially the ones that have become models for the Welsh MTB system and re-born techniques like stone-pitching in Wales, lots of trail work done by the CCC in the 30's, and some stuff done by miners and the AK Road Commission almost a hundred years ago when all they had were their hands and horses...there are still lots of good trails out there that just need to be brushed out!

Finally, onto the walking on the virgin tundra, or cryptobiotic crust, which exists all over AK tundra, just like in the SW Lower 48...routes can be chosen that minimize impacts (ie., hiking on sidehills, or on scree/rock, rather than veg, avoiding walking in others trail, avoid fall line routes) but if ya' get up in the air you usually see that the sheep and caribou, or maybe even moose have been pounding the hell out of the tundra...a certain amount of damage is inevitable, so it pays to go with a bit of consciousness and perhaps gratitude for the cool experience the earth gives us, and maybe giving something back (like doing some trail work!! ) After all, the only way we can't have an impact on the earth is to be dead! And the most basic definition of whether something is alive is whether it eats and shits!

Ride on!
 
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