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.