Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving, A Time For Mountain Bicyclists To Give Thanks For Lax Enforcement

Thanksgiving, A Time For Mountain Bicyclists To Give Thanks For Lax Enforcement

Illegal mountain bike trips abounded on China Camp peninsula this Thanksgiving weekend. Anyone can count the nearly 20 cars parked outside of the official China Camp gate almost any given day, more on weekends and holidays. None of these mountain bike riders pays a dime to the cash strapped State Park system in China Camp. The state is probably losing somewhere between $6,000 to $8,000 dollars a month (about $70,000.00 per year) in lost revenue from one of the parks biggest users and abusers. Now add to that illegal trail riding which flourishes during holidays. I spotted two illegal bike riders riding on private property near Back Ranch , trail signs kicked down on closed trails on the Bay View trail and evidence of illegal usage, large bike outing on closed to bikes Santa Margarita Island, and a steady stream of illegal speeding down-hillers on the north slopes of San Pedro Ridge in Marin County Open Space, on their favorite illegal riding spots.

Before granting any further trail access, County officials need to give this bunch of determined trail destroyers, quadrupled fines, bike confiscations and trail closures. It’s out of control and the lawless know it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Talk About Glorification of Illegal Acts?

This type of illegal trail riding has become a major cultural thing within mountain biking. The type of glorification of illegal acts in the wilderness portrayed in this film and others extols the virtues of "speed" at any cost, a cost that is reflected in the growing number of mountain biking injuries. See post below.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Trailkillerz just received shocking data from Marin open space agencies on the past year and a half of illegal trail building and mountain biker injuries. There were a total of 67 mountain bike injuries, some of which required helicopter evac, many ambulance evac, for MCOSD, MMWD and Cal State Park Marin Dist. More data forthcoming

BOS presentation from Nov.3 OSD has already posted some background
information from previous community surveys. Go to:

Thrill Riding at Annadel State Park.

Found it! Mikes Bikes proudly displayed this video of illegal speeding at Annadel State Park, Sonoma County. Amazingly brash and idiotic! Other trail users? Forget them!

This is similar to the video removed by Mikes Bikes.
It's about one and only one type of trail user- the thrill seeking, speed loving, other trail user-be-damned, Mountain Biker!

Here's more....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Hasn't State Parks Fined These guys For Speeding?

Why haven't Nick Moreda and Eric Dimmick been cited by enforcement rangers for unsafe speeds at Annadel State Park? Clearly this video, proudly displayed by local mountain bike retailer, Mikes Bikes, displays the kind of riding that is causing more problems for trail users all over the country.

Roy McNamee

707- 769-5665 ex 226

Mike's Bikes Exclusive Video: Annadel State Park - Lawndale from Mike's Bikes on Vimeo.

Mikes Bikes deleted this video from their site, but it resides on other sites, proudly stamped with their logo!

Found it! Mikes Bikes proudly displayed this video of illegal speeding at Annadel State Park, Sonoma County. Amazingly brash and idiotic! Other trail users? Forget them!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Free Riders=Trail Death

Auburn’s Colin Magdahl catches air on the Clementine Loop trail near Foresthill Road earlier this summer. Authorities around the state are cracking down on illegal trails being built by thrill-seeking mountain bikers.

Some trails lead to trouble

Forest Service tries to put brakes on freeriders’ illegal trail blazing
By Martin Griffith & Todd Mordhorst AP Writer & Journal Sports Editor
Ben Furtado/Auburn Journal

Mountain bikers with a need for speed and thrills have made Lake Tahoe the latest front in an ongoing battle over the illegal construction of bike trails in national forests and other public lands.

The U.S. Forest Service is cracking down after renegade bikers secretly cut up to 30 miles of trails in the Tahoe backcountry over the last decade.

Agency officials said a hardcore group of bikers seeking access to steeper, more demanding terrain is to blame for bootleg trails in national forests across the country, including in California, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Utah.

“It’s a national problem,” said Garrett Villanueva, engineer for the agency’s trails program at Lake Tahoe. “Some places the problem is more pronounced than others.”

The Auburn State Recreation Area has been the site of illegal trail building in years past.

“We have had some rogue downhill mountain bike trails constructed here,” ASRA Superintendent Mike Lynch said. “In one case someone went and sprayed Round-up where they were going to build a trail. We haven’t caught anyone in the act, but when we find them, we go out with a crew and break them down.”

Forest Service officials said illegal trails cause erosion, threaten water quality and disturb vegetation and archaeological sites. The trails also pose a safety threat. They said a rider was hospitalized this summer with head and spinal injuries after crashing on a jump on an unauthorized Tahoe trail.

The financially strapped agency has been forced to spend $29,000 to close three miles of illicit trails at Tahoe this year.

Mark Eller, spokesman for the International Mountain Biking Association based in Boulder, Colo., attributes the problem to a demand for more challenging trails by thrill-seeking bikers known as freeriders.

Freeriders, who enjoy downhill runs with jumps, steep drops off rocks and higher speeds, don’t find the 255-mile bike trail system in national forests around Tahoe exciting enough.

The association, the leading advocacy group for the nation’s estimated 40 million mountain bikers, does not condone the illegal activity, and is working with the Forest Service to step up construction of environmentally sustainable trails for freeriders, Eller said.

“The pirate trail builders believe they have to build them under cover because they won’t get the riding experience they want if they go through the right channels,” Eller said. “We’re working hard to show that’s not the case.”

Joel Baty, an avid mountain biker and rental manager at Olympic Bike Shop in Tahoe City, said freeriders want trails like those at Whistler Mountain Bike Park in British Columbia, one of the world’s premier mountain bike parks.

“The existing trails just aren’t challenging enough for more advanced riders,” he said. “So what happens is they go out and build stunts and bigger jumps, and the Forest Service doesn’t tend to like that sort of stuff.”

ASRA Ranger Jon Brandt said altering existing trails in any way, including building jumps, is illegal. It’s also against the law to build new trails.

“The biggest thing is the environmental issues — the erosion from the construction activity,” Brandt said. “It’s also a safety issue and the liability of those dangerous activities. ”

Lynch said the ASRA does not have a budget for trail building or maintenance, but relies on volunteer groups to keep the trails maintained.

Near San Francisco, three men were ordered to pay $34,360 in restitution and to perform at least 200 hours of community service after they pleaded guilty to destroying federal property to build an illegal bike trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 2001.

One of the men was arrested again in 2008 on suspicion of building an illegal bike trail in China Camp State Park in San Rafael, Calif.

At Tahoe, the Forest Service has cited six offenders this year and urged bikers to cooperate in building sanctioned trails. Offenders risk fines up to $5,000, six months in jail and restoration costs.

On the Net:

U.S. Forest Service:

From The Pacific Crest Trail Association

Places in Need - Mountain Bike Damage

Mountain Bike Damage on the trail

The photo shown here depicts damage to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) caused by the illegal use of the trail by mountain bike riders. From the Big Bear to Tehachapi Mountains in southern California, to the Donner Summer and the Sierra Buttes north of Lake Tahoe, to Castle Crags and beyond, mountain bikes on the trail are causing damage and creating a number of “PCT Places in Need.”

Mountain bike riders represent a large (and growing) number of outdoor recreationists. For example, the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) has 32,000 individual members, more than 450 bicycle clubs members, and more than 130 corporate partners. But regardless of the number of mountain bikers looking for trails to ride on, the status of the PCT remains the same: under U.S. Government regulation, bikes are prohibited on the PCT. The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) has long had a policy supporting this prohibition and continues to press for enforcement of it. Unfortunately, however, U.S. regulations and regulators have not, thus far, been able to curb the illegal use of the PCT by mountain bikers. The resulting trail damage and user conflicts can’t be taken lightly. To complicate matters, bikes are permitted on many trails that lead to the PCT, resulting in bikers reaching the PCT on such trails and then proceeding along the PCT to pick up another feeder trail. Given land management agency staffing and budget issues, policing and enforcement is sorely lacking.

There are a number of reasons why mountain bikes represent a problem for PCT users and the trail’s future. One we often hear about is safety – the speed at which a mountain bike can travel along the trail, and especially around blind curves, make collisions with hikers or with equestrians a dangerous possibility. Additionally, stock may be easily frightened of bikes and “spook,” potentially causing injury to riders, themselves, and others. But while safety is a significant concern in regards to bikes and the PCT, in this article we’d like to focus on trail damage and trail maintenance issues.

Simply put, the PCT was not designed or constructed for mountain bikes and is thus easily and seriously degraded by mountain bike use – especially when those bikes are ridden on wet or muddy trail. Riding bikes on wet trails can cause deep furrows and erosion. It typically occurs when riders skid back tires when braking on downhill, apply heavy torque to tires when riding uphill, or simply ride through mud. The damage caused by a mountain biker is much greater than that caused by a hiker or horse because, with a bike, the soil is impacted continuously along the trail, while a hiker's or horse’s feet hit the soil only at intervals. The continuous troughs created in trail tread by bikes collect water runoff from the entire hillside above the trail and then act as drainage ditches, creating serious erosion which the PCT was not constructed to withstand. Water that might drain off the trail under pedestrian and equestrian use now runs down it in wheel ruts, eventually removing all the soil and turning the trail into a streambed. In extreme cases, no amount of “trail maintenance” can restore the trail and new trail becomes necessary.

If you see mountain bikers on the PCT, kindly remind them that they are on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and that by U.S. Government regulation bikes are not allowed on the PCT.

Avoid confrontations. If you engage bikers in conversation try to ascertain where they are from and which trailheads they used to get into the backcountry and onto the trail, as this will help in education and signage. Ask also where they plan to get off the trail. Taking a picture and documenting the location can help agency personnel to enforce the bike closure. Forward all of this information to your local ranger district or other applicable land management unit, or to the PCTA. The concerns of thousands of hikers and equestrians who use the PCT can help to remind legislators and those in charge of backcountry regulation enforcement that PCTA members and PCT supporters continue to believe that mountain bikes do not belong on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of responsible trail users reporting illegal uses of the PCT,” says PCTA Regional Representative for N. Calif./S. Ore., Ian Nelson, “It is crucial that we hear from concerned users so that we and our agency partners can strategize as to how to curb the illegal use.”

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Bikes Belong... With Lots of Money"

"Bikes Belong is sponsored by the U.S. bicycle
industry with the goal of putting more people on
bicycles more often. We have nearly 400
members­ bicycle suppliers and retailers combining
resources to improve bicycling in America. Based
in Boulder, Colorado, we have 12 professional
staff, 18 volunteer directors, and a $2 million annual operating budget".

"Bikes Belong takes the guesswork out of
advocacy. We’re a professional, unified effort
that is powered by the $6 billion-a-year U.S.
bicycle industry. When you join, you add your
weight to the collective strength of hundreds of other bike businesses."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

255 Miles of Bike Trails Not Enough

Alarming Trend Puts Tahoe Bikers at Risk
John Demas

Lake Tahoe boasts 255 miles of mountain bike trails. These trails have been built to be fun and challenging, but were also designed to enable emergency vehicle access and protect the environment. When building these trails, the Forest Service considers environmental sustainability and the protection of historical resources. They build strong, sound features that will endure and take rider experience into account.

These trails can be a great way to explore the national forests and get out into nature. Many people who use the trails are weekend bikers, just there for the day. Others are professionals who want to practice and push themselves further. Whoever you are, these trails can be a fulfilling day of adventure. However, one wrong turn onto an illegal trail could land you in the hospital.

Officers with the U.S. Forest Service are growing concerned with the increasing number of illegal trails in the Lake Tahoe area. Officer Heck notes, “These are big trails with lots of jumps.” It would be easy for a rider to get hurt on a trail that is too difficult for them. Earlier this year a mountain biker crashed on one such trail and had to be airlifted to a local hospital with spinal cord and head injuries. These trails are sometimes very difficult to get to for emergency vehicles and riders take the risk that they will not receive medical treatment in a timely manner.

Fines for creating an illegal trail can be up to $5,000 and six months in jail. The builders will also have to pay to repair the damage done to the forest. So far this season only three illegal trails have been decommissioned. Regulation takes money and it is taxpayer dollars that are paying to take down these illegal trails.

With great increases in technology and equipment, mountain bikers yearn to push themselves and their bikes to new limits. Mountain biking has become more popular in recent years and th level of activity this year especially is significant. It makes sense that people would choose to enjoy a relatively free activity in these tough times.

Biking can be a very enjoyable pastime, but it is also dangerous and can turn into a nightmare in no time. Just remember to consider the following:

1) The forest belongs to everybody.

2) The National Forest Service is looking out for your best interest and safety.

3) Illegal trails can get you hurt, cost taxpayers a lot of money, and damage the environment.

4) If you are caught building an illegal trail you can be fined and jailed.

5) Always wear a helmet! Hopefully one that is CSPC or DOT approved.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Bike Injury a Week at China Camp

On Tuesday, July 21, I happened to be in China Camp State Park. At about 7pm I saw three State Park emergency vehicles drive up. Two of them went up into the steep terrain to rescue an injured mountain biker. I asked the ranger who was stationed at the trail entrance how often this sort of thing happened. The ranger said, "about once a week, here in China Camp". I was astonished to hear this report. When the ambulance crew arrived a few moments later, I asked them how many times they make emergency trips for injured mountain bikers here at China Camp and they said about 3 trips in 6 weeks. When I told them what the ranger said, they said that once a week was probably correct because there were two other ambulance crews who respond to injuries at China Camp. A sheriff's vehicle also pulled up to survey the scene.

Who pays for these rescues, and does the state park system keep detailed data on the number and frequency of bike injuries and accidents for other state parks in this Marin district?

There was a recent attempt by IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) and other local mountain bike advocacy groups to open up a steep narrow trail in Samuel Taylor State Park called Bill's Trail, to mountain biking. The request was placed on hold while state authorities were forced to wrestle with strict CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) requirements. Bill's Trail is far more remote and difficult than China Camp, for emergency vehicles to access injured bikers. Is the state park authority not telling us something important regarding the hidden costs of mountain biking in the Marin District? As the state sinks into deepening economic turmoil, isn't it sensible and responsible to limit access to trail systems to this sport that is proving itself to be a financial burden and a drain on emergency services? Some national parks charge for rescues, shouldn't we?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ignorance is Bliss

Mountain Bikers are talking about planning a mass arrest action at Bill's Trail by riding it illegally.
Smart. Very smart. They are counting on "support for their cause" by this foolish action.

State Park Rangers, take notice:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bill’s Trail

Bill’s Trail, in a steep, remote section of Samuel Taylor State Park is under assault by IMBA, the International Mountain Bike Association, and other local mountain bike proponents. This well funded and determined lobby has managed to convince State Park staff, that opening the fragile, narrow, fern lined trail to aggressive downhill mountain biking is within the definitions of state park shared use trails. IMBA maps of the trail depict only a few hairpin turns when in fact there are up to 40 such switchbacks. The trail is accessible by an arduous climb to about the 850’ elevation of Barnaby Mountain and would provide a mostly moderately steep downhill ride (7-8% grade) for bike users.

Mountain bikers have proved on numerous occasions to be poor stewards of the trail systems in Marin and Sonoma counties. Bikers in Marin, have been arrested for building illegal trails in sensitive wildlife habitats on numerous occasions, threatened local residents who report or encounter them on illegal trails, destroy private property, cut down redwood and other trees and continue to build downhill ramps and jump courses in off limits county open spaces. Their tire tracks leave deep erosive ruts in healthy trails especially during the rain season. Recently, an injured mountain biker had to be air lifted out of nearby Annadel State Park.

Check out this mountain bike video shot at Annadel and you get the point:

Mike's Bikes Exclusive Video: Annadel State Park - Lawndale from Mike's Bikes on Vimeo.

The remoteness of Bill’s Trail poses significant problems for state park resources in both maintenance and monitoring in an economic climate that is in serious decline. Endangered Coho salmon spawn in a creek at the base of the trail. The impacts of substantial bike traffic near this creek have not been studied. When over a hundred miles of legal trails remain open to them in Sonoma and Marin, one wonders what the feverish urgency is in opening up more trails. The answer is that the mountain bike industry is a billion dollar commercial enterprise that must sell products. IMBA takes its marching orders from corporate giants. This is not care for the wilderness but yet another exploitative grab of traditional wilderness and open space for basic thrill seeking.

Voice your opposition to the plan by June 26, 2009. Demand a full CEQA review from state authorities. Call or email staff head, Roy McNamee

707- 769-5665 ex 226

Friday, April 17, 2009

Illegal Trail Building Behind Bikes n Beans

Santa Venetia’s
Illegal Bike Problems

In back of the 7-Eleven on North San Pedro, is a special wild life area with a startling array of waterfalls on the seasonal creek that runs through this steep redwood laced canyon. Marin Open Space has designated this as a “sensitive wildlife zone”. Golden eagles have been known to nest here and more than several varieties of owls use it for hunting. While hiking in this serene haven, you may also encounter extreme downhill mountain bikers. For years, this unlawful user group has been cutting down redwood trees and building jump ramps, new trails and berms as part of their intention to use this place as an amusement park and technical training zone. Last December, Open Space rangers were alerted to a rash of unlawful trail building here. The Rangers spent considerable time repairing terrain and dismantling numerous illegal bike structures.
At the base of this trail, is a new business, China Camp Bikes & Beans, run by professional mountain bike racer, Justin Schwartz. Justin is also the coach of the Terra Linda High Mountain Bike Team. The store rents out bikes, provides trail riding advice and juices up its clientèle with pounds of caffeine. I ran into Justin (he was walking) while hiking near these illegal structures. He told me he hadn’t noticed them. Earlier that week I had been informed that bike representatives were pressuring Supervisor McGlashan to “open up all” the trails on San Pedro Ridge to downhill bike usage. This would be a catastrophe if enacted.
Bikes carve long, deep channels into the soft soils of many narrow hiking trails on San Pedro Ridge. These channels erode the trails and funnel sediment into the numerous seasonal creeks that feed the Gallinas Creek river system that houses two endangered species. If you spot illegal biking on any of these narrow trails, please report this to Open Space officials.