Friday, July 18, 2014

Trail limits are needed to protect resources [Marin IJ article July 18, 2014]
Some in the mountain biking community view the trails access issue from a scarcity model, claiming that an unfair percent of narrow ("single-track") Marin County trails are available to bikers, as compared to hikers and equestrians.
Their ongoing claim: "There are not enough places to ride!" This is defective logic on several levels.
If there is any absolute it is that Marin County offers among the best, most beautiful, most varied world-class mountain biking opportunities. But for an outspoken minority it is simply never going to be enough.
Consider this: Approximately 15 percent of Marin County is developed, with the rest dedicated to parks, open space and agriculture. Almost 50 percent of the county is open to the public for recreation, crisscrossed by 600 miles of dirt roads and trails — half the mileage open to bikes — many of them showing the signs of long-term wear and tear.
As bicycling interests continue to claim that the sport is growing and needs greater access, this is the very reason we must be even more vigilant to protect our open spaces from increasing pressures on the environment.
Unfortunately, the activist mountain biking community denies that the sport is causing environmental degradation. As an avid mountain biker myself, over the past five years I have photographed dozens of "road kills" — small slow-moving creatures ranging from snakes to voles to lizards, toads and newts.
Annually, bike tires in Marin alone are killing scores of these creatures. The cumulative impact to these populations is unknown. Along with safety and displacement of other trail users, we must adequately address these major concerns. It is the only way to keep the sport we enjoy sustainable for generations to come.
There have to be limits. Resource protection comes first.
— Larry Minikes, San Rafael

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