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So last week I stopped in a bike shop in the Philly PA area and was chatting with the store manager and he mentions that he along with some of his riding buddies have been going down to Wharton State Park down in southern NJ to get their fix of MTB riding. For those of you not from this area it has been a very tough winter and although the snow is finally melting all the local trails are a muddy unrideable mess. Wharton state park is in southern NJ close to the Jersey shore where the soil is very sandy and drains very well. So I had some free time today and decided to make the 1.5 hr drive to the park to get my off road fix. I head out on the longest loop which is nearly 20 miles and about 1.5 miles into the loop I begin to smell smoke. Another 1/4 mile I see smoke and then flames. Another 1/4 mile and the trail I'm on is literally on fire. Quickly turned around and bailed out onto a fire road and debated what to do / which way to head. It was a slow moving brush fire and I decided to see if I could work my way around the burning area which I was able to do by riding the fire road for another mile or so before rejoining the trail I was on. Was very glad I was able to get my ride in and when I got back to the parking lot I went into the visitors center to make sure they were aware of the fire. As it turns out I was informed that it was a controlled burn and the fire was intentionally set. So my question is why the park would not have signs informing visitors that a control burn was taking place and not block off trails that directly head into the burn area ???? Not saying it was a blazing inferno but the potential for someone to get hurt was real. I stopped in the visitor center before my ride to use the restroom and also passed a park ranger when I headed back out into the parking lot. No mention of a controlled burn, no signs, nada. The state parks lack of safety awareness was pretty mind blowing!!
 

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So, you continued your ride first then you went to say something out of concern and you're upset they didn't tell you first....OK...
 

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100% of the time, it's your responsibility and no one else's to make sure you don't die or get hurt. They have no responsibility to rope off the woods, give you a call, or post a notice of potentially hazardous conditions.

You, however, as a good samaritan and custodian of this earth and the trails we all ride, have a responsibility to notify someone of a forest fire before playing on a bicycle.
 

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100% of the time, it's your responsibility and no one else's to make sure you don't die or get hurt. They have no responsibility to rope off the woods, give you a call, or post a notice of potentially hazardous conditions.

You, however, as a good samaritan and custodian of this earth and the trails we all ride, have a responsibility to notify someone of a forest fire before playing on a bicycle.
C'mon now, there should have been some notice or warning posted for a controlled burn in the area...how's anyone supposed to know there's gonna be a fire burning across some trails? Definitely not the rider's fault for going out on the trails...
 

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It's not his fault, I merely said it's solely one's own responsibility for safety. Obviously, he kept himself safe and everything is fine.

It's impossible to "rope off" an entire forest. It's not feasible to post notices at every possible entrance to a forest (not to mention, no one reads them anyway). Beyond that, everyone in a ten mile radius knows there is a fire, you don't need a sign to tell you it's there.

On the bright side, I bet it made for a pretty memorable ride.
 

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I stopped in the visitor center before my ride to use the restroom and also passed a park ranger when I headed back out into the parking lot. No mention of a controlled burn, no signs, nada. The state parks lack of safety awareness was pretty mind blowing!!
THIS. They DO have an obligation to get information like this to their visitors. Keeping your visitors safe is about as fundamental as it gets for state and federal entities.
 

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Although I agree it's the responsibility of the rider to keep themselves safe, I do think the park opened themselves up to some major liability issues if anything had happened or anyone had gotten hurt. It would be easy to post signs at the entrance, although you don't have to block the whole forest off. If someone had fallen or gotten stuck, a lawsuit would have been filed before the fire was out.
 

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Perhaps you are not aware of how this internet thing works.
You post your opinion. If there is any way someone can make you out to be at fault they will. The only reason there are not 50-100 more responses telling you how stupid you are is because this is a borderline case. Most rational people who rode into a controlled burn on a public trail maintained by a state agency would expect some signs about the burn or at the least a closed trail notice. This is a place not ruled by the rational but by the perfect vision of hindsight and the perfect targeting of the internet sharpshooter.
The major flaw I think you made besides voicing your opinion in the first place is not informing the hive that you did not make an immediate 911 call to report the blaze. Then attempted to put it out with your own bodily fluids while saving wildlife, because that's what they would have done. Join or die. (well, join or be ridiculed for not being perfect by people you can't see and normally don't care about).
Personally I would have thrown gasoline on the fire because I always carry some with me and then emptied my 9mm (handlebar holstered) into some wildlife, waited for the fire to cook it then added some BBQ sauce, (because I always carry some with me), and had lunch. No one's perfect though so I won't judge you.
 

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So, you continued your ride first then you went to say something out of concern and you're upset they didn't tell you first....OK...
^^^^THIS^^^^
Plus, if you're making a 20 mile loop and have ventured into an "uncontrolled burn", what the hell do you think the situation would have been when you finished up the loop and got back to where you found the fire??

Sure, they absolutely should have put up warning signs, but to ***** about it after you kept going?

Pot, meet kettle....
 

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It's not his fault, I merely said it's solely one's own responsibility for safety. Obviously, he kept himself safe and everything is fine.

It's impossible to "rope off" an entire forest. It's not feasible to post notices at every possible entrance to a forest (not to mention, no one reads them anyway). Beyond that, everyone in a ten mile radius knows there is a fire, you don't need a sign to tell you it's there.
b
On the bright side, I bet it made for a pretty memorable ride.
So everyone in a ten mile radius knows there is a fire but it was this patrons responsibility to notify authorities there was a fire? Seems no need as long as the ranger was within a 10 mile radius? IMO both parties are guilty....yes I believe the state officials should have had signs up around an area that they know people will be riding a bike. There is constantly controlled burns that get out of control......at least in my area. I also agree that if I had been the rider I would have called 911 from my cell phone. I also agree that everyone is responsible for their own safety...however if I knew you were driving towards a bridge that was washed out I would try to warn you.
 

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Wow signs would have been nice. I don't know about the state park you were in but usually most are in far out places. Usually I don't have cell service so if I had seen the fire I would have stopped my ride and frantically loaded up my bike and drove to the ranger station to alert them of the fire only to find out it was planned. THEN I would have been pissed. No one wants to be inconvenienced when they drove an hour and a half to mountain bike somewhere.
 

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Perhaps you are not aware of how this internet thing works.
You post your opinion. If there is any way someone can make you out to be at fault they will. The only reason there are not 50-100 more responses telling you how stupid you are is because this is a borderline case. Most rational people who rode into a controlled burn on a public trail maintained by a state agency would expect some signs about the burn or at the least a closed trail notice. This is a place not ruled by the rational but by the perfect vision of hindsight and the perfect targeting of the internet sharpshooter.
The major flaw I think you made besides voicing your opinion in the first place is not informing the hive that you did not make an immediate 911 call to report the blaze. Then attempted to put it out with your own bodily fluids while saving wildlife, because that's what they would have done. Join or die. (well, join or be ridiculed for not being perfect by people you can't see and normally don't care about).
Personally I would have thrown gasoline on the fire because I always carry some with me and then emptied my 9mm (handlebar holstered) into some wildlife, waited for the fire to cook it then added some BBQ sauce, (because I always carry some with me), and had lunch. No one's perfect though so I won't judge you.
Thank you, just simply, Thank you.
Some + rep headed your way, even though most Interwebs knuckleheads Just. Won't. Get. It.
 
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