Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who Really Is Building Rogue Trails?

Mark Prado of the MarinIJ recently published this skewered account of "who" is building rogue trails in the Mount Tam Watershed [photo:MarinIJ]

Prado quotes MWWD's Mike Swezy as saying "hikers" and bikers built the trails. Abundant evidence from elsewhere would seem to point to "mountain biker" culprits. The trail damage is so far costing $50,000.00

Our response:

I found this post on a local mountain biker forum MTBR Forums from
Feb 13, 2011:

“I ride illegal all the time. It is slightly less enjoyable than
legal but my poor attitude on this one area is because I rode Hoo Koo E
Koo, Rock Springs, and Tenderfoot with BMX (ashtabula equiped) as a kid.
RIDE TAM. Be respectful to hikers, Take in an earfull and eat crow, pay
$225 tickets, and Ride at night.”

In his recent report “Crews Battle Rogue Trails”, I find it rather
astonishing that Mark Prado would not mention the word “mountain
biker” once but for the odd quote from district watershed manager Mike
Swazy implicating both hikers and bikers. It is misleading to accuse
hikers of building rogue trails when most of the evidence for rogue
trail building has pointed the eyes of the courts and forest managers at
illegal mountain bike trail builders. I cite the IJ’s own story of
convicted illegal trail builder Michael More, , the
recent rash of costly illegal mountain bike trails at Annadel State Park
where rangers state that illegal bike trails,
"are becoming so common
that they just about double the number of legitimate ones at 5,000-acre
Annadel, " and this from Lake Tahoe forest service managers
"It's a national problem," said
Garrett Villanueva, engineer for the agency's trails program at Lake

To implicate hikers in this type of trail building is laughable.
Mountain bike tire tracks can be found on every off limits trail in the
Tam watershed. What is painfully missing from the IJ report is the true
cost of illegal mountain bike trail building and riding. This can be
ascertained by making a California Public Records Act request of MMWD,
the State and Marin County Open Space District.