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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've actually never ridden on the Stowe Trail and I know the Marines started a "permit" process. We were looking to ride from the Poway side of Sycamore Canyon down and over to Mel Brooks but that looks like it would require us to take the Stowe Trail. None of us have the permit because we don't live close and don't ride it often enough to jump thru the hoops.

Are the Marines actually enforcing the ban/permit process? I haven't heard about any enforcement since the permit process took effect. I know about them taking bikes in the past and would prefer to avoid that scenario.

Feel free to send me a PM if you'd rather not respond on here. TIA...
 

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Single(Pivot)and Happy
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The "permit process" that allows the privilege to access the segment of the Stowe Trail is the result of the Marines, the County, the community and a developer all working together to find a solution. This solution is based upon the honor system.

If one is only concerned with how their actions may affect only them and cannot look or cannot care enough to see how their actions can affect others then we all need to step back and seriously look at the reasons why trail access for mountain bikers in SD County is being threatened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The "permit process" that allows the privilege to access the segment of the Stowe Trail is the result of the Marines, the County, the community and a developer all working together to find a solution. This solution is based upon the honor system.

If one is only concerned with how their actions may affect only them and cannot look or cannot care enough to see how their actions can affect others then we all need to step back and seriously look at the reasons why trail access for mountain bikers in SD County is being threatened.
So is that a YES or a NO?
 

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You can ride down Martha's, climb Cardiac, and then take the ridgeline south past Slaughterhouse. After a few short steep climbs and descents you'll turn right and be at the top of No Flow. To get back, climb Candygram and High Anxiety, and up the No Flow switchbacks, then re-trace your route. This is as legal as you're going to get out there without getting a Stowe permit.

I've heard they have made the permit process easier. I'm not a US citizen so I can't get one, and haven't ridden Stowe since before ticketing became an issue. I haven't heard of anyone being ticketed. Personally I wouldn't chance it - it is something like a $400 ticket and mandatory appearance in Federal Court. And you would make the whole community look bad.
 

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Get the permit or don't ride it. Pretty sure he's alluding to how mountain bikers themselves are threatening their own trail access by constantly breaking the rules and just riding what we want instead of becoming a part of the long process of legitimizing some of the trails and trail networks we love. Last thing we want is someone pissing off the Marines again by not following the rules and then jeopardizing access of this trail to everyone following the rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Evan. I know we were going to ride down Martha's but our "guide" wasn't sure after that as he normally starts over by Santee Lakes so that's what we're going to do and avoid the Stowe Trail altogether from what I understand.

I actually support the Marines authority to close the Stowe Trail if that's what they wanted to do but trying to argue that riding it w/o a "permit" makes all mountain bikers look bad is quite a stretch.
 

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I've heard they have made the permit process easier.
This is the MCAS website for getting the permit: https://www.miramar.marines.mil/Resources/StoweTrail/

This looks like the same 2-trip process as when they first started issuing permits. I was reading in another thread it is much easier, like 1 trip and less than an hour. Anyone have an updated link?

I agree, don't risk riding without it.
 

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trying to argue that riding it w/o a "permit" makes all mountain bikers look bad is quite a stretch.
Disagree. A lot of people fought for a long time to restore access to that trail. Dianne Jacob even went to DC and met with the head of the Corps and DOD. The base commander eventually agreed to allow access under this permit system after being convinced by advocates that mountain bikers would follow the system if allowed back on Stowe. If they start catching people without permits, or even worse if people are seen riding up behind the rifle range when it is active, that just proves that we can't be trusted as a group. If issues persist they can and will shut it back down. It doesn't really matter if it is just a few irresponsible users if it all gets shut down again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Disagree. A lot of people fought for a long time to restore access to that trail. Dianne Jacob even went to DC and met with the head of the Corps and DOD. The base commander eventually agreed to allow access under this permit system after being convinced by advocates that mountain bikers would follow the system if allowed back on Stowe. If they start catching people without permits, or even worse if people are seen riding up behind the rifle range when it is active, that just proves that we can't be trusted as a group. If issues persist they can and will shut it back down. It doesn't really matter if it is just a few irresponsible users if it all gets shut down again.
That's fine. We don't have to agree on everything. :thumbsup: Some people even think HAB sections are an enjoyable part of a ride :p
 

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Single(Pivot)and Happy
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The privilege to access the trail segment on the Marine base was earned, not given. Part of the deal was to provide information to the mountain biking community that one needs a no cost permit to legally ride within MCAS Miramar boundaries. Of course there is no way to ensure all riders understand the need for a permit nor is there any way that mountain bikers can ensure that all mountain bikers will honor the permit process.

It's one thing to not know about something. It's an entirely different situation when one knows of the efforts of some to ensure a privilege for all and then chooses to ignore a simple process for whatever reasons.

The main reason for the new trails being built now in SD County is due to the relationships built over 8-10 + years ago, relationships built upon trust, honor and respect. Where there is no respect you will find problems.

It's tough advocating in this County. There is an organized, motivated and well funded movement to reduce trail access. Is it asking too much that when we have the opportunity to protect our reputation as a responsible trail using group that we choose to do so?

I'm not directing any of this at any one person. I just hope we all can understand that our actions can have an affect countywide.
 

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You can ride down Martha's, climb Cardiac, and then take the ridgeline south past Slaughterhouse. After a few short steep climbs and descents you'll turn right and be at the top of No Flow. To get back, climb Candygram and High Anxiety, and up the No Flow switchbacks, then re-trace your route. This is as legal as you're going to get out there without getting a Stowe permit.

I've heard they have made the permit process easier. I'm not a US citizen so I can't get one, and haven't ridden Stowe since before ticketing became an issue. I haven't heard of anyone being ticketed. Personally I wouldn't chance it - it is something like a $400 ticket and mandatory appearance in Federal Court. And you would make the whole community look bad.
I ride this area 1-3 times a month, absolutely love it. However, all four paths (well really six, see below) between the Ranger station and either Princess Joanne on the Magnolia side or Strathmore Drive on the Fanita side are off limits. Every path is technically off limits except for the Stowe Trail with a permit. Just saying. Personally I don't care what you do, and in my opinion the Marines are really caring about the area near the rifle range and not on the outskirts of their domain. But some bikers push it and ride near the range and then we all get in trouble. If we all were forced to ride in 110% legal areas, mountain biking would be a very miserable sport, let's just admit that and get it out of the way first. It would be more like gravel biking than real mountain biking. YUCK.

Looking South, from left to right: six trails from the Sycamore Canyon preserve to North Santee. 1st on the left is the aforementioned ridge trail (three ridges total). That trail has a fence about one mile South of the dirt parking lot at the top of cardiac hill that says no trespassing. It's also going to be very unpleasant to ride this fire road, because it's chock full of huge rocks all over the place. One down, five to go. Second from the left is a very bushy shortcut down from the dirt parking lot to Clark Canyon, the canyon to the East of Sycamore. No trespassing and violators will be prosecuted. This one is a real no-no. Third one from left is the 2nd (middle) ridge that falls off into the meadow between the two canyons, on Strava it's called a few things including D-Hill Down. This is on both public and military property, with signs from both that say no trespassing. Someone recently bent one of the military signs down to the ground. Jeez, people. This is why they get upset! I will not comment on how extremely fun this trail is...OK? Fourth is the Stowe Trail. There is also a trail on the East side, about 50 feet East of Stowe that's more fun than the fire road. West of this, the 5th way, on the 3rd ridge going over just to the left of the lakes, starts to 'really' get to be military property and I don't ride that anymore. To the west of that is a fire road at the bottom, #6, that eventually leads to the new housing complex and on the North side that's even closer to the range. West of that will lead to Mission Trails North of I-52, never dared to try that connecting dirt road. Don't ride 2, 5, or 6, or West of 6. On Mission Trails North of I-52, there are relatively new, big signs that say turn back and that's exactly what I did.
 

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So, riding the trail without a permit is terrible for the community and incredibly selfish.

However, building miles of trails without permission or permits is perfectly legal?

Give me a break guys.
 

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Single(Pivot)and Happy
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So, riding the trail without a permit is terrible for the community and incredibly selfish.

However, building miles of trails without permission or permits is perfectly legal?

Give me a break guys.
You are slacking. If you substitute "acceptable" for the word "legal" then your response would be in context with the conversation. I expect better from you.
 

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You are slacking. If you substitute "acceptable" for the word "legal" then your response would be in context with the conversation. I expect better from you.
I was just a bit taken back.

I mean, if you ride a trail with a combination of T. C. and P. in any order and then you're online lecturing about community trust and confidence and all.

That's B-A-N-A-N-A-S and I will leave it at that.
 

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Single(Pivot)and Happy
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I was just a bit taken back.

I mean, if you ride a trail with a combination of T. C. and P. in any order and then you're online lecturing about community trust and confidence and all.

That's B-A-N-A-N-A-S and I will leave it at that.
I hear you. That's why I don't lecture. We need to figure out what to do about your backyard, a shame what happened there.
 

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I hear you. That's why I don't lecture. We need to figure out what to do about your backyard, a shame what happened there.
there is nothing that can be done. I've made all the phone calls, written all the emails, had all the face to face conversations which can be had, despite many saying "you only complain, you don't show up, you don't come to the pizza parties... blah blah blah".

The last conversation with city folk ended with this exact quote: "The area is primarily set aside for environmental protection." I was told the deal was inked and it was in the past... 3 days prior to it even going to council.

Want to shake your head. Go look at the 6.5 million dollar monstrosity being built where we had kids on a mini bike park in the past. Then ride around to CMB, where the gate has been closed for almost 6 months now. Head ranger says "a drunk driver hit it, I don't have 5k to fix it, not in the budget, we have to wait for loss recovery".

Wasn't trying to ruffle any feathers, just thought it was funny to read some of these things. Sucks about permits but surely out of town-ers should be able to ride without being lambasted.
 

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I've actually never ridden on the Stowe Trail and I know the Marines started a "permit" process. We were looking to ride from the Poway side of Sycamore Canyon down and over to Mel Brooks but that looks like it would require us to take the Stowe Trail. None of us have the permit because we don't live close and don't ride it often enough to jump thru the hoops.

Are the Marines actually enforcing the ban/permit process? I haven't heard about any enforcement since the permit process took effect. I know about them taking bikes in the past and would prefer to avoid that scenario.

Feel free to send me a PM if you'd rather not respond on here. TIA...
I live in Santee and ride and also hike all those trails in the north Santee hills/sycamore regularly, including the Stowe trail. I renewed my Stowe trail permit a couple weeks ago. I was quite impressed the Marines have streamlined the permit process to 1 visit. I was in and out with permit in hand in under 30 minutes so there's really no excuse now, in my opinion, to not get one if you plan to ride or hike the Stowe trail.

On the other hand, I've ridden the Stowe trail numerous times and have never seen any kind of patrol out there. How rigorously they enforce the trail permit is anybody's best guess. I'm not going to push my luck given the past history of the trail. You're more likely to get into hot water if you're riding up into other areas of the base.

As far as riding between Poway and Santee without riding the Stowe trail, I used to ride up Candygram, hike-a-bike that really steep hill at the top of high anxiety and then follow the ridge lines to the sycamore preserve and Poway. It's not a very fun ride. Lots of climbing and descending in loose cobble stones on a fire break road, it's completely exposed and, yeah, it can get miserably hot. You could also ride down high anxiety, make a right and climb out onto the next ridge if you're really a glutton for punishment. There's also another trail up the next canyon east of the Stow Trail that goes into the Sycamore canyon preserve but the County put fencing across the trail and put up signs. That and the last section climbing up to the Sycamore canyon Lakeside parking area wasn't much fun.

Officially, none of those trails in the north Santee hills/sycamore canyon are legal although that doesn't seem to stop anybody. So far, the developer that owns much of that property, various other land owners with smaller holdings and city/County officials have all been looking the other way but things could change as we've seen in other areas of the County where trails we all love suddenly get shut down and enforcement stepped up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I live in Santee and ride and also hike all those trails in the north Santee hills/sycamore regularly, including the Stowe trail. I renewed my Stowe trail permit a couple weeks ago. I was quite impressed the Marines have streamlined the permit process to 1 visit. I was in and out with permit in hand in under 30 minutes so there's really no excuse now, in my opinion, to not get one if you plan to ride or hike the Stowe trail.

On the other hand, I've ridden the Stowe trail numerous times and have never seen any kind of patrol out there. How rigorously they enforce the trail permit is anybody's best guess. I'm not going to push my luck given the past history of the trail. You're more likely to get into hot water if you're riding up into other areas of the base.

As far as riding between Poway and Santee without riding the Stowe trail, I used to ride up Candygram, hike-a-bike that really steep hill at the top of high anxiety and then follow the ridge lines to the sycamore preserve and Poway. It's not a very fun ride. Lots of climbing and descending in loose cobble stones on a fire break road, it's completely exposed and, yeah, it can get miserably hot. You could also ride down high anxiety, make a right and climb out onto the next ridge if you're really a glutton for punishment. There's also another trail up the next canyon east of the Stow Trail that goes into the Sycamore canyon preserve but the County put fencing across the trail and put up signs. That and the last section climbing up to the Sycamore canyon Lakeside parking area wasn't much fun.

Officially, none of those trails in the north Santee hills/sycamore canyon are legal although that doesn't seem to stop anybody. So far, the developer that owns much of that property, various other land owners with smaller holdings and city/County officials have all been looking the other way but things could change as we've seen in other areas of the County where trails we all love suddenly get shut down and enforcement stepped up.
Thank you for your response as this is the information I was originally looking for...if we had bothered to try and get from Poway to Santee. We ended up driving to Santee and riding from there. As I previously mentioned, it was our first time and we had a great time. I couldn't imagine that during the Summer heat though. Yikes!! Living where we do, I can't see us going thru the permit process but that's okay, we can stay off the Stowe Trail if that's what it takes.
 
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