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Thread: Ban the horses

  1. #1
    Fatback
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    Ban the horses

    After a particularly great ride last monday on a firm and smooth Tour trail void of any horse tracks, I have decided it's time to ban the horses. It was soo nice not feeling like I'm riding rumble strip and dodging 40# piles of horseshit. This is the first time I can remember that I've been able to catch some fairly recent grooming without all the post holes. I think the horse crowd must call the grooming hotline to find out exactly when they can show up to ruin fresh comb. They don't care that they're shredding the trail for everyone else. We've had run ins with this crowd for years-horses galloping past toddlers, *****y riders,"My horse doesn't like skiers/bikers." Then why the hell are you on a trail groomed by the ski club used predominately by skiers, runners and cyclists? This is the one user that doesn't play well with others. It's time to revise the definition of multi-use on the TOA trail.

  2. #2
    Raubgee
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    They could give back to the community,

    By harvesting some of that horse meat for the rest of us to eat. But they always seem mortified at the mere suggestion, so f@#k em.

    I agree this is one user group that the majority does not maintain a mutual respect of trail use; and those massive piles of sh1t! Bob a tail and hang a bag you sick lazy bastards! You know who you are,too. Jesus H Christmas, you would'nt crap on the trail (or side of the road) or let your dog, so why does your horse get carte blanche?

    One word - GLUE.

  3. #3
    Raubgee
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    Don't grt me wrong…

    I LOVE unicorns.

  4. #4
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    I'm glad someone else feels the same about the jackasses sitting on top of the horses. I also had a great ride the other day around the Campbell Tract trails until the last little section by the BLM HDQS and airfield. Because of the horse holes in the trail, I ended up walking part of it 'cuz it hurt so bad even on a full suspension.

    As a user group they have zero respect for anything but themselves and do not do anything to help maintain the trails. They were the exact same way in the North Carolina MTNs where I used to live. They tear up trails more than all of the user groups combined. Plus the big piles of crap they leave around.

    I agree BAN the HORSES.

  5. #5
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    I believe this is the group of users that also

    removes obsticles from our trails. Since recently (the last two summers), I've seen a surge in horses on Llama trail and on the prospect trails. Both the llama and blue-berry hollow trails have had the major cruxes removed. At first I blamed mountain bikers for this, but I have since changed my mind about "who done it." These obsticles posed a much greater risk to horses than to humans.

    I agree.... ban them. Also, don't give them an inch on the trail. If the horse can't handle bikes or people or are difficult to control then they shouldn't be on the trail. Treat them as they treat you. If they're being *******s, be an ******* back and if they're nice be an ******* anyway.

    Regards,

    EndUser
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  6. #6
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    1984.....

    4 legs baaaaaad
    2 wheels good

    I hear horses love those whistling bottle rockets
    .....cheatin' life, and peelin' out on the lawn.........
    -Sage Francis

  7. #7
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    Remember these?

    Mountain biker needs a butt whuppin'

    Mooseberry Mesa trashed by horses

    I remember reading about these a while back and did a search. I have noticed more destruction on the trails from horses the past couple of years and reading the first topic actually makes me chuckle. The horse's a**, oh I mean lady, may have even deserved it. From my experience here and NC, horse people in general are very selfish and self centered. It would not surprise me if she was really exagerating the story and forgot to mention she did not make any attempt to share the trail or she could have just flatout been lying. I have been riding the Hillside trails for many years now and come across many trail users which I have never seen anyone with an airhorn.

    The second topic proves what we already know. They just don't care.

    Horses are great animals but the animals that sit on top and control them are mostly less than desirable people to share anything on the trail with.

  8. #8
    Mr.Secret
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    Horses = 4 legged backhoe

  9. #9
    I'm from Utah
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    Devil's Advocate

    I've been chewed out before my a woman on a horse - who I passed on a wide double-track trail and a crawling pace - for frightening her horse and risking a horrific accident. She wouldn't let it go and I left fuming. That said, I completely agree. If you're not prepared for all of the risks and annoyances of a multi-use trail, then don't use them. That goes for bikers too. I feel frustrated enough about being banned - regardless of conditions - from most frontcountry trails around Juneau in the winter because they have been commandeered by cross-country skiers who can't bear the thought of tread through their courderoy. I wouldn't mind dodging a few horsey postholes if I had a option of riding them on my bike. It's what I always tell skiers - can't we all just get along?

  10. #10
    Fatback
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    devils advocate

    Ahhh, the difference between winter cycling and horseback riding-if we're leaving a trail like a Ditchwitch, then we turn around/go somewhere else. The horseback folks could care less how they leave the trail looking ( the piles are testament to that.) That type of thinking (can't we all get along) is why horses are allowed on the Tour trail now. No, we can't all get along because no matter how you spin it ( who was here when, etc...) the horses damage the trail and are ridiculous obstacles for the majority users to have to accomodate. I have not talked to ANY other user group who is happy to have them there. Next time your out, pay attention to the tracks left by the Endomorphs. They are no worse than the tracks of the skiers. I don't mind sharing trails with skiers, skijorers, and runners. The runners/dog walkers pack most of the singletrack for us. Maybe it's time for fatbikes to be allowed on the ski trails. The Nordic Ski Club doesn't own them.

  11. #11
    Fatback
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    summer and winter

    I just read Aksledhead's link to last years forum posts on this topic and there is one big difference between the two discussions-snow. I don't like them there in the summer either, but I stop and move over as soon as I see them. I'm even polite, cause they're not going away, and on the TOA trail, which is mostly D1 anymore (crushed rock,) they're not doing much harm. I don't think we could get them banned in the summer, but during the winter they have no business on the groomed TOA trail.

  12. #12
    Caveman
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    I was out skate skiing on the tour trail yesterday along with a few hundred other people, it was a literal freeway of people enjoying the trail's awesome conditions right now. Then, closer to service some guy passes and says there are horses ahead. I came upon 3 other women skiers waiting for these two rich women, both wearing done up hair and gold earings pass on their trail crushing beasts. I couldent believe my eyes. Here are two people that have total disregard to the damage they are doing to the trail. Out of the hundred+ people on the trail that day these two rich *****es are out there stomping 8" holes up and down it. Then came the manure piles. I couldent believe it. And Us bikers get bad rap from up tight skiers for riding fat bikes on ski trails... geeze.

    I know legally they have the right. but I agree with petitioning to ban them. The tour trail is in good shape soooo little of the time!

  13. #13
    FatBike Fiend
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    While we're at it,

    let's ban paddle track snowmachines from cross country trails. They are a flippin' epidemic out here in the valley and have been totally detrimental to the sport of winter biking, not to mention XC skiing, skijouring and dog mushing. I have lost count of the times I've been far into the backcountry enjoying a nice hard-packed trail only to be reduced to walking after a herd of paddle track snowmachines rips by, churning the trail all apart and leaving large piles of snow everywhere . I don't even think you can buy a snowmachine without a paddle track anymore. So anyway, be thankful snowmachines are largely banned in the Anchorage area. Now if we can do something about those durned moose...
    Owner, Trailwerx Trails Contracting
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  14. #14
    Fatback
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    there's one in every crowd

    Bearbaits' story is one that is repeated every week. Several times a week. Two weeks ago I was out skiing and the snow piles left from the divets the horses left made it practically impossible to skate. It was like skiing down an avalanche chute.These weren't just holes, they had tailings. This was excavation. If I were back country skiing, that'd be one thing, but the skiers pay to maintain and groom the trails. Skiers and cyclists have sometimes been at odds, though many do both sports. I think it is a different world now with fatbikes.
    As for Wildfires' problem-good luck with that one. There is no controlling the Valley sled population. I used to do all my snowmachining out there and that group and industry as a whole are only going in one direction and that's faster and further/higher. That means more power, lighter weight and deeper lugs/ longer tracks. Sounds alot like us winter mtber's. You can still buy machines without paddletracks but they are the work machines and nobody wants to work anyway. These machines have longer lugs than they used to, but not 2" like most powder sleds. The trouble you have out there is that you're riding on snowmobile trails, instead of them snowmobiling on riding trails. Have you heard any news on the Su 100 trail lately?

  15. #15
    FatBike Fiend
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    They are multi-use trails

    "The trouble you have out there is that you're riding on snowmobile trails, instead of them snowmobiling on riding trails. Have you heard any news on the Su 100 trail lately?" TW

    Not exactly, they are no more snowmachine trails then they are bike or ski trails. They are multi use trails, snowmachiners have no more inherent ownership of the trails then you or I do. The trails were there long before snowmachines came into the picture. Granted, I wouldn't be riding on a lot of them if it weren't for snowmachines packing them down but a lot of the one's I ride are groomed for non motorized sports and they are quickly tore up as well by the paddle tracks. It all comes down to the same problem as you guys are having in Anchorage, thoughtless people who don't care what their form of recreation is doing to others' or feel that they have more of a right to the trails then other people. Anyway, you're probably right there isn't much that can be done about it that doesn't involve bloodshed and violence.

    Oh, the Su100 trail is pretty soft right now, we just got another 4" last night. I've been meaning to get out that way but havn't made it yet.
    Owner, Trailwerx Trails Contracting
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  16. #16
    Fatback
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    thanks for the update

    Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side. I just know that if motorized vehicles are permited, they will totally dominate. The only place I know of where they're under control is on the military bases. There are some nice trails out there and I believe the speed limit is 25. They are never torn up, it's just that gaining access is a problem. Lets hope the Su trail gets rideable soon.

  17. #17
    FatBike Fiend
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    No problemo

    Quote Originally Posted by thirstywork
    Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side. I just know that if motorized vehicles are permited, they will totally dominate. The only place I know of where they're under control is on the military bases. There are some nice trails out there and I believe the speed limit is 25. They are never torn up, it's just that gaining access is a problem. Lets hope the Su trail gets rideable soon.
    Was just bringing up that things could be worse. Actually we've had our share of horse problems on trails built specifically by and for mountain bikers, namely the Mooseberry Mesa Tr. It wasn't three days after we got it done and buffed out that the horsey crowd hit it hard and left it full of huge craters and horse turds prompting a major rework. Our local club, Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers, teamed up with other user groups and drafted letters to the Mat-Su Borough who owns the land that horses be limited to designated trails only. The borough has so far not acted on it but I think word got out to the horse crowd that maybe they should watch their act.Then we put up a nice trailhead sign/chokepoint politely explaining that the trail was closed to equestrians due to soft soil conditions on the trail. Since then we have had very few problems. They still tear the hell out of the rest of the trails out there, particularily in the spring, but they have been staying off the designated MTB trails.

    So I think that the horse riders are out there for pretty much the same reasons that we are, to enjoy the outdoors. I know they spend loads of money on their horses, shelter, feed, trailers, tack, cowboy hats, etc and thus feel they have a god-given right to ride them anywhere they damn well please. And they tend to be wealthy and well-connected politically so outright banning them probably won't work. It seems that the solution would involve providing an alternate trail or lane for the horse riders and posting signage/ publicity that horses are not permitted on the groomed trails. Also there are horse barrier gates/ choke points that could be erected at the entry points.The question arrises who would pay for all this and ideally it should be the equestrians. Are there any organized horse groups in Anchorage that maybe could be brought on board? If you can make it seem like it's their idea things will go much smoother.
    Owner, Trailwerx Trails Contracting
    Palmer, Alaska
    www.trailwerx.com

  18. #18
    Raubgee
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    "Bloodshed and violence"

    Now you're diggin' where there's 'taters! I got my torch pitchfork ready.

  19. #19
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    Does anyone ever visit Ruth Arcand park? When my wife and I moved in nearby we were psyched to be so close to "multiuse" trails. But it is pretty much a horse park, being connected to that equestrian center on Abbott (can't recall the name) and we hardly ever go there anymore. The trails are unusable in the winter for anything but walking - even that is hard - or treating the dogs to the tasty horsepucky. Those triangular yield-to signs are posted around to remind the serfs how to behave. But I am ok with this. Let the horsey set have their park. I don't think it gets much use otherwise anyway. But ban them from the more public trails, especially any trail that gets groomed for skiing (duh!) So, maybe the solution is to give them their own space.

    To raise a historical perspective, years ago there must have been more space and fewer trail users in Anchorage so that folks actually thought that having horses was a good idea. With the city getting built up around them, the horsey set is understandably defensive. But now I think they need to let go of any romantic visions of what the horse symbolizes and realize that they are basically trying to raise livestock within a city. There are laws in cities against raising cattle, and frequently pigs, sometimes even chickens. Horses are only slightly different. Granted, they are beautiful intelligent animals, but if you want to raise them and be around them, move to the country, which Anchorage, for better or worse, is not anymore.

    And about those horseturds, there a signs at some trailheads reminding dog owners that picking up dog turds is not just about removing them from sight and smell, it's also a disease mitigation measure. That is, the policy is that you don't just toss the turds into the woods, but that you pick them up and remove them from the environment. Now, are horses all that less likely to get diseases than dogs? Maybe, but it seems like a double standard to me.

  20. #20
    Diaskeuast
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkEv
    And about those horseturds, there a signs at some trailheads reminding dog owners that picking up dog turds is not just about removing them from sight and smell, it's also a disease mitigation measure. That is, the policy is that you don't just toss the turds into the woods, but that you pick them up and remove them from the environment. Now, are horses all that less likely to get diseases than dogs?
    I don't know about equine diseases, but horse droppings are known to spread the undigested seeds of invasive, non-native plants, and that's a great reason to not toss turds into the woods. Depending on the source of hay that it's fed, a single horse could be spreading all sorts of weeds, etc.

    I've heard of a park in the Lower 48 (I think it was Grand Teton N.P.) that doesn't allow horses within its boundaries until the owners have fed their animals a tested and pre-approved hay for something like two weeks in order to allow all non-native seeds to be passed out of their digestive tracts.

    I'm not suggesting such a rule is needed here, but I think it does pose a strong argument for requiring horse owners to use poop-catching bags so they can remove turds from the trails/park.

    Besides, doing so would be common courtesy.
    Enjoying the meaningful pursuit of meaningless fun.

  21. #21
    Bikes are good
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    Devil's pass/Resurrection

    Yeah, I don't get it. Symphony lakes trail is closed to Mtn. Bikers, yet open to horse back riders? Why? Wolverine peak trail is closed to Mtn. Bikers. Why? We can't ride trails in Spring because we'll destroythem, I respect that uninforced rule. Mtn. Bikers get a bad rap because the richy riches on horseback think that we are on bikes because we are too poor to be on horseback. Here's my point, since I've just rambled on randomly. Last fall we rode (on a beautiful day) up Devil's pass and out to Hope. Almost the entire ride up Devil's pass was un-rideable, (and a few parts almost impassable on foot) because we were following behind a group of horse backers. After riding with the horse **** and mud holes so deep it could swallow your leg for 30 miles we were pissed by these people taking their horses up the trail. I asked them when we rode up if they realized that between the post-holing and horsecrap all over the place they've made the trail miserable for anyone else. They said it's a multi-use trail and they are allowed to be on it. They missed the point, they feel entitled, and they don't use common sense.

  22. #22
    Wood chips are stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildfire
    Was just bringing up that things could be worse. Actually we've had our share of horse problems on trails built specifically by and for mountain bikers, namely the Mooseberry Mesa Tr. It wasn't three days after we got it done and buffed out that the horsey crowd hit it hard and left it full of huge craters and horse turds prompting a major rework. Our local club, Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers, teamed up with other user groups and drafted letters to the Mat-Su Borough who owns the land that horses be limited to designated trails only. The borough has so far not acted on it but I think word got out to the horse crowd that maybe they should watch their act.Then we put up a nice trailhead sign/chokepoint politely explaining that the trail was closed to equestrians due to soft soil conditions on the trail. Since then we have had very few problems. They still tear the hell out of the rest of the trails out there, particularily in the spring, but they have been staying off the designated MTB trails.

    So I think that the horse riders are out there for pretty much the same reasons that we are, to enjoy the outdoors. I know they spend loads of money on their horses, shelter, feed, trailers, tack, cowboy hats, etc and thus feel they have a god-given right to ride them anywhere they damn well please. And they tend to be wealthy and well-connected politically so outright banning them probably won't work. It seems that the solution would involve providing an alternate trail or lane for the horse riders and posting signage/ publicity that horses are not permitted on the groomed trails. Also there are horse barrier gates/ choke points that could be erected at the entry points.The question arrises who would pay for all this and ideally it should be the equestrians. Are there any organized horse groups in Anchorage that maybe could be brought on board? If you can make it seem like it's their idea things will go much smoother.

    Thanks Wildfire,
    Smartest post on this thread.

    akdeluxe
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    JT

  23. #23
    Beware of Doggerel
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    I have nothing of value to contribute but I have a funny story. A while ago I was at one of those trail meetings at the cambell science center when folks were using the term “horse people” to refer to equestrians. So, as usual, I started day dreaming on the phrase “horse people” . I imagined these really indignant centaurs in the back of the room, they were very angry about the fact that they aren’t considered hikers and runners, lots of arguing and crapping on the floor. One horse guy kept saying “...there are five of us here tonight...” and every time he said five he clomped his front leg on the ground five times.

    Anyway it seems to me that the problem is the equestrians lack basic horse sense. Here in Anchorage there are times in the summer when the horses would have little to no impact, but for some reasons the riders just ignore the trail conditions and ride when its soft. I don’t get it. If these folks gave a crap they could easily reduce their impact, but they don’t. And of course riding in winter should be right out.
    Oh well.
    Adam.
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  24. #24
    Coors, the american beer.
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    im not from alaska but the horse problem is pretty bad in northern california. Specifically lake oroville state recreation area. They try to blame the mountain bikers for all the trail problems. Like this one creek crossing that is totally all them. The best part is theres a couple of trails out here that are marked no bikes, but the rangers wont ticket for it at all because the damn equestrians pushed to put those up.

    The best part is we have an awesome guy named lyle while who i dunno exactly what he did to em, hes a huge trail advocate there and told us all anytime horse guys give us trouble, you just gotta tell em lyle says hi haha
    AZ has the best mountain bike gathering ever

  25. #25
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    Complain to BLM, not just here

    We can post complaints here until we're blue in the face, but unless the land manager - BLM - understands our concerns, there will be exactly no chance for change.

    After more than 15 years of multi-sport use of the Campbell Tract BLM trails (TOA included), I finally saw my first ever shiny badge-wearin', gun-totin', green-parka'd civil servant checking out the trails two weekends ago. His name was Ranger Jeff Duhrsen. After having just ridden through a particularly brutal set of horsetrack holes and accompanying crap, I couldn't resist stopping and giving him a piece of my mind about the inconsiderate horse owners. He was sympathetic to my complaints and understands the conflicts between skiers, bikers, horses, dogs, etc on the TOA. But, of course, his hands are tied with the trail's multisport designation. He has an ongoing relationship with the horse groups, and said they are willing to work to improve relations with other users. He said the horse people claim they provide a signigficant "trail watch" function while they are out there. I suppose, but the same could be said for the hundreds of skiers, walkers, runners and bikers as well. He has asked them to try to stay to the side of the trails when walking on them. Sure.

    If he showed any weakness in his defense of the horse people, it came when he suggested the horses should use the crap catchers similar to those worn by horse-drawn carriage owners. That would only solve a small part of the problem, but would certainly be a step in the right direction.

    Bottom line, call the BLM. Email the BLM. Write the BLM. Register formal complaints against horses. I read some great comments in this posting; send them on to the BLM. They are receptive to comments, and the louder we are as multisport trail users, the more likely we can initiate change. Doing nothing guarantees status quo.

    Jeff Duhrsen
    Law Enforcement Ranger
    Anchorage District Office
    6881 Abbot Loop Rd
    Anchorage, AK 99507
    907-267-1436 w
    907-240-5224 c
    jduhrsen@blm.gov

  26. #26
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    Email to Duhrsen

    Thanks for the heads up. I just sent the following email to him and encourage others to contact him as well:

    Jeff,

    What can be done to keep horses off of the multiuse trails in the Campbell Tract? Unlike other users, all of whom are compatible, horses destroy the trail, leave enormous piles of manure and pose a danger to anyone passing them. As a skier and cyclist I can assure you that the passage of a single horse leave a trail in ruins for all other users.

    In my view they are akin to snow machines in that they are fundamentally incompatible with all other users and their use should be strictly limited in town to designated “horse only” trails and arenas.

    Please let me know how to proceed to effectively change BLM’s current policies on horse usage the Campbell Tract. Thanks. Ken.

  27. #27
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    An unjust law is not true law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfbkr50
    Yeah, I don't get it. Symphony lakes trail is closed to Mtn. Bikers, yet open to horse back riders? Why? Wolverine peak trail is closed to Mtn. Bikers. Why?
    Those are good questions and I've posed them to all the "officials." I have yet to get an answers based on logic. The problem is that while trail "law" is a matter of public Alaska record, justice is an intensely personal matter as you obviouly feel. What one person regards as just may strike another as an unwarranted imposition. I generally accept that some rules must applied universally and these are obvious - but regretably this isn't the case in the MOA nor the State regarding trail usage and the different user groups.

    So, what is the appropriate response to "unjust" rules, then? Well that is up to you. All I can say is an individual who chooses to break a "rule" that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of law in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

    I've often wondered if mountain bike critical mass rides wouldn't draw meaningful attention to our inconsistent use of trail "rules."

    Regards,

    EndUser
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  28. #28
    Wood chips are stupid
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    Trend

    This thread cracks me up! It reminds me of another group of users who think their trails and rights are being violated.
    Two words to ponder... Singletrack Advocates.

    By the looks of the latest postings, STA,s next meeting should be well attended. Yes,I know,some of you have been to a couple already.

    Leonard
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    JT

  29. #29
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    BLM Response

    here is the response from Jeff Duhrsen to my email:

    Thanks for your input. I will forward your comments to our Campbell Tract recreation planner Doug Ballou. Doug is in routine contact with the equestrian user groups, and is working with them within the constraints of existing regulation to reduce their impact on other trail users. However, in a year of such heavy snowfall, it is difficult for the equestrian groups to ride to the sides of the trails, though we ask them to.

    As you know, Campbell Tract's trail system is one of the city's only trail systems to allow such a wide range of uses. As such, user groups often have competing interests. I can assure you that we receive a multitude of complaints from every user group about every other user group. It is certainly a challenge to preserve recreational opportunities for everyone. Because ours is a mulitple-use policy, the trail will never achieve the pristine condition of single-use trails, of which there are many in town. That doesn't mean that we just throw up our hands and give up. It does mean, however, that it is not just a simple matter of deciding that some user groups cannot participate.

    Again, thanks for your comments. Look for more feedback from Doug Ballou in the near future.

    Jeff Duhrsen
    Field Staff Law Enforcement Ranger
    U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Anchorage Field Office
    6881 Abbott Loop Road
    Anchorage, AK 99507-2599
    Phone: (907) 267-1436 Fax: (907) 267-1437
    jduhrsen@blm.gov

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdeluxe
    This thread cracks me up! It reminds me of another group of users who think their trails and rights are being violated.
    Two words to ponder... Singletrack Advocates.

    By the looks of the latest postings, STA,s next meeting should be well attended. Yes,I know,some of you have been to a couple already.

    Leonard
    So, what's up with STA these days?? Website seems to have some cobwebs... and I haven't recieved general e-mails for quite a while.
    My advice and $3 will buy you nothing more than a tunafish sandwich - Hobo Jim

  31. #31
    Fatback
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    sour grapes

    Here are some of the details of my conversation with John McLary of MOA Parks and Rec trails division. Since the Tour Trail was the original subject, here is a little history.The trail usually referred to as the "Tour Trail" consists of the Viewpoint trail, which leads from the creek up to Service (basically the trail to the Abbott ball fields,) and the Homestead Trail continuing to the North/East to Tudor. Back in the mid 80's, these two trails were designated a "Winter equestrian route." It was the Nordic Ski Assn. and the Tour of Anch. ski race that changed the trail system into the heavily traveled and groomed trail it is today. John's best guess was about 20-30 equestrians use the trail. They are not required to clean up their waste because it is considered biodegradeable. They have the Anch. Assembly's blessing to be there. He has been receiving more and more calls about the mess left behind and has been talking with them about creating their own task force to clean up after them and help improve their image. You be the judge.
    By the way, Akdeluxe, I never thought my rights were being violated, I just think it is foolish to pay for grooming only to have it so quickly destroyed. For me it is like the springtime trail scenario-if the trails are too soft, you're damaging them, so stay off, right? The dynamics have changed over the last 20 years and will continue to do so, even within our own group with the popularity of the fatbikes. Cyclists have not been a particularly cohesive group in Anchorage, so we don't have much (any) weight politically.
    Hopefully this discussion might bring more support of any fashion to STA.
    Enduser, STA is working on proposing a dedicated singletrack park above the Tank Trails. STA tuned.

  32. #32
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    The real issue: Trail preservation, not user group conflict

    I think there is an important distinction that should be emphasized in any discussions between BLM and user groups: trail preservation vs user conflict. That is, generally once the trails are groomed and packed, no single user including walkers, skiers, dogs, snowshoers, and even bikers leaves the trail in any substantially better or worse shape than before their passing. Sure, these users will and do have occasional conflicts, but every one of them can be solved with a bit of consideration for each other.

    The same CANNOT be said for even a single horseback rider. Irrespective of any user conflicts, there is a fundamental difference between horses and ALL other user-groups combined, except for possibly the clandestine red-necks in 4WD trucks that occasionally destroy the trails. I'd venture to say the 4WD and horse people could be one and the same user-group, or at least inbred cousins! The fundamental difference horseback users impart is their destruction of the trails even after a single passing. Is it right (though legal) that a single user should be able to impart such destruction to the trail? I'd be curious to see actual user numbers for the horse people, compared to the other groups. I will continue to emphasize these points to BLM in all my discussions, and I urge others to do the same.

    Thoughts from STA? Skiers have their representative group (NSAA); who speaks for the bikers?

  33. #33
    What Penguin???
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    Caution: Flaming Rant

    Since STA was mentioned in previous posts I guess I'll have to chime in. All of you are going to hate what I have to say, but hey--when have I ever shied away from conflict. So after you read this, go ahead--give it to me! I'm ready fer ya!!! Sting or bee stinged (or is that stung)?

    STA has been involved in this discussion since August 2004 when the first shots were fired. STA was created because mt. bikers had their heads in the dirt and weren't paying attention to things going on around them. You guys are just getting on the band wagon because, as Thirstywork points out, cyclists have not been a particularly cohesive group in Anchorage.

    Jeff from BLM and John McCleary are historically correct. Horses ruled the hillside long before skinny skiers began pushing them off. Judging from the animosity that other organized groups have voiced against mt. bikers in public meetings, if they had a choice, they'd kick the tires off the trails before they slay hooves.

    The Hillside's an ecosystem. You've got a burgeoning population of species all competing for the same resource. The food chain goes something like this (in descending order):

    Nordic Skiers (they eat everything, including themselves. Monitor the Cross Country Alaska Forum and you'll see why)
    Skijorers (basically nordic skiers with fast dogs on a leash)
    Walkers/Runners/Hikers (arguably the among the largest of the user groups but among the least intrusive on multiuse trails--not many people seem to complain about foot prints in the snow on multiuse trails)
    Orienteerers (they don't like trails, unless they're beginning orienteerers in which case they like trails, and they don't object to trails being made where they don't orienteer)
    Horse People (few in numbers, but never, ever underestimate this user group--they are politically very powerful)
    Mt. Bikers (essentially universally disliked by anyone who doesn't mt. bike)

    The nordic community gets the meat and everyone else has to clammor for what's left over. That leaves everyone else fighting among ourselves for the bones and sinew. I used to get pissed off by the horses till I realized that the only thing that skiers hate more than mt. bikes is horse crap and post holes. So now I just let a little more air out of the tires and roll right over the stuff. I am a mt. biker. I'm supposed to like obstacles.

    STA has "made nice" for 2 1/2 years, trying to bring something constructive to the table. Trail work days, building Brown Bear, getting money for the Hillside signage project that is ongoing--hoping that such things will pay dividends in the form of permission to build the first singletrack trail system in Anchorage designed and constructed primarily for mt. biking. The Powers That Be realize that singletrack trails are needed to ease user conflict. STA has gained credibility and respect through hard work and relationship building. When the user conflicts broke lose we were in negative territory. We have to get around some bureaucratic red tape and do some fundraising to make trail construction happen. But it's not going to happen if we call for limiting the use of another user group when we ourselves are vulnerable. If we play our cards right we might be able to get the new trails we build restricted to horses. For now I'm willing to tolerate them on groomed multi-use trails if it means that I can get something big that I want later on.

    Don't get me wrong--I think there's a lot of things the horse people can do to make things better-- many great ideas are already posted on this thread. Looks like BLM and the Muni are trying to bring them around.

    Look for allies in strange places. If you're up against Goliath, it's good to have friends. The last STA Update went out on December 4th. I don't get paid enough to write a biweekly newsletter. I'll paste it below and ask the 50% of you on this forum who are not members to join STA and contribute your money and your time. Get involved.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    * Summer work on Brown Bear continued, fixing a couple of troublespots. Brown Bear still needs to be refined, a line adjusted here or there, to make it more durable.
    * The Far North Bicentennial Park Signage and Kiosk Project is underway. We got about $22,000 from a Recreational Trails Grant, $18,000 from the Anchorage Park Foundation, $3,000 from REI/Mighty Bikes, and $500 from the Arctic Bicycle Club to fund the project. The rest is coming from volunteer labor from all of the major user groups in the park. Volunteers have contributed over 200 hours to this project thus far. You may have seen those big lunker sign posts out on the trail system that will soon have maps, trail names, directions to trailheads and other helpful information tacked to their faces. Once the signs have been made we could use some help screwing them into the posts.
    * We'd like to see more sustainable singletrack built on the Anchorage hillside. We've identified an area that has a potential for 8 to 10 miles of mountain bike trails. The trail system would be professionally designed with stacked loops suitable for beginning, intermediate and advanced mountain bikers. It would be constructed by an expert trail builder using mini-mechanized equipment (which is good news to those of us who dug Brown Bear by hand) with a goal of 18" to 24" treadwidth. We estimate that we would need to raise $75,000 through private and corporate donations. This money would in turn leverage other grant funds. We have already raised $10,000, so we're 13 percent of the way there! This would be a great opportunity for a private business, corporation or private trust to become involved. If you have any ideas for fundraising, please let me know.

    That's about it for now. If you'd like to participate in any of these projects, sit on the Steering Committee, share ideas for funding, or provide some feedback, please let me know. Also, please consider making a contribution to Singletrack Advocates. We sure could use some help! (See attached membership form).
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Queen Bee; 01-31-2007 at 03:27 AM.
    Meanwhile, back at the hive....

  34. #34
    Wood chips are stupid
    Reputation: akdeluxe's Avatar
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    Thank goodness

    Quote Originally Posted by Queen Bee
    Since STA was mentioned in previous posts I guess I'll have to chime in. All of you are going to hate what I have to say, but hey--when have I ever shied away from conflict. So after you read this, go ahead--give it to me! I'm ready fer ya!!! Sting or bee stinged (or is that stung)?

    STA has been involved in this discussion since August 2004 when the first shots were fired. STA was created because mt. bikers had their heads in the dirt and weren't paying attention to things going on around them. You guys are just getting on the band wagon because, as Thirstywork points out, cyclists have not been a particularly cohesive group in Anchorage.

    Jeff from BLM and John McCleary are historically correct. Horses ruled the hillside long before skinny skiers began pushing them off. Judging from the animosity that other organized groups have voiced against mt. bikers in public meetings, if they had a choice, they'd kick the tires off the trails before they slay hooves.

    The Hillside's an ecosystem. You've got a burgeoning population of species all competing for the same resource. The food chain goes something like this (in descending order):

    Nordic Skiers (they eat everything, including themselves. Monitor the Cross Country Alaska Forum and you'll see why)
    Skijorers (basically nordic skiers with fast dogs on a leash)
    Walkers/Runners/Hikers (arguably the among the largest of the user groups but among the least intrusive on multiuse trails--not many people seem to complain about foot prints in the snow on multiuse trails)
    Orienteerers (they don't like trails, unless they're beginning orienteerers in which case they like trails, and they don't object to trails being made where they don't orienteer)
    Horse People (few in numbers, but never, ever underestimate this user group--they are politically very powerful)
    Mt. Bikers (essentially universally disliked by anyone who doesn't mt. bike)

    The nordic community gets the meat and everyone else has to clammor for what's left over. That leaves everyone else fighting among ourselves for the bones and sinew. I used to get pissed off by the horses till I realized that the only thing that skiers hate more than mt. bikes is horse crap and post holes. So now I just let a little more air out of the tires and roll right over the stuff. I am a mt. biker. I'm supposed to like obstacles.

    STA has "made nice" for 2 1/2 years, trying to bring something constructive to the table. Trail work days, building Brown Bear, getting money for the Hillside signage project that is ongoing--hoping that such things will pay dividends in the form of permission to build the first singletrack trail system in Anchorage designed and constructed primarily for mt. biking. The Powers That Be realize that singletrack trails are needed to ease user conflict. STA has gained credibility and respect through hard work and relationship building. When the user conflicts broke lose we were in negative territory. We have to get around some bureaucratic red tape and do some fundraising to make trail construction happen. But it's not going to happen if we call for limiting the use of another user group when we ourselves are vulnerable. If we play our cards right we might be able to get the new trails we build restricted to horses. For now I'm willing to tolerate them on groomed multi-use trails if it means that I can get something big that I want later on.

    Don't get me wrong--I think there's a lot of things the horse people can do to make things better-- many great ideas are already posted on this thread. Looks like BLM and the Muni are trying to bring them around.

    Look for allies in strange places. If you're up against Goliath, it's good to have friends. The last STA Update went out on December 4th. I don't get paid enough to write a biweekly newsletter. I'll paste it below and ask the 50% of you on this forum who are not members to join STA and contribute your money and your time. Get involved.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    * Summer work on Brown Bear continued, fixing a couple of troublespots. Brown Bear still needs to be refined, a line adjusted here or there, to make it more durable.
    * The Far North Bicentennial Park Signage and Kiosk Project is underway. We got about $22,000 from a Recreational Trails Grant, $18,000 from the Anchorage Park Foundation, $3,000 from REI/Mighty Bikes, and $500 from the Arctic Bicycle Club to fund the project. The rest is coming from volunteer labor from all of the major user groups in the park. Volunteers have contributed over 200 hours to this project thus far. You may have seen those big lunker sign posts out on the trail system that will soon have maps, trail names, directions to trailheads and other helpful information tacked to their faces. Once the signs have been made we could use some help screwing them into the posts.
    * We'd like to see more sustainable singletrack built on the Anchorage hillside. We've identified an area that has a potential for 8 to 10 miles of mountain bike trails. The trail system would be professionally designed with stacked loops suitable for beginning, intermediate and advanced mountain bikers. It would be constructed by an expert trail builder using mini-mechanized equipment (which is good news to those of us who dug Brown Bear by hand) with a goal of 18" to 24" treadwidth. We estimate that we would need to raise $75,000 through private and corporate donations. This money would in turn leverage other grant funds. We have already raised $10,000, so we're 13 percent of the way there! This would be a great opportunity for a private business, corporation or private trust to become involved. If you have any ideas for fundraising, please let me know.

    That's about it for now. If you'd like to participate in any of these projects, sit on the Steering Committee, share ideas for funding, or provide some feedback, please let me know. Also, please consider making a contribution to Singletrack Advocates. We sure could use some help! (See attached membership form).

    I am so glad someone who shares the same as me opinion on this issue on can rite.

    akdeluxe
    "Trust me,you don't want a big baby."

    JT

  35. #35
    Diaskeuast
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    60 seconds on my soapbox

    Queen Bee nailed a number of key points, but possibly none more important than the need for more people to get involved in STA. For anyone asking "What's up with STA?" or "Who speaks for the bikers," the answer is you need to speak for bikers! Don't wait for someone else to do it.

    I know mountain bikers are typically non-joiners. I resisted it for years, and becoming involved in the public process hasn't been painless for me, either. I'd prefer to never attend a public meeting or read an agenda, but that's simply not realistic. It's very clear that bicyclists get screwed when they stand alone. And not just here. It happens everywhere.

    Look at the membership and budget numbers of other user groups. Then come to a STA meeting and see how a tiny group of people is working with scant resources to "speak for the bikers." Queen Bee alone has devoted immeasurable time and energy to this cause over the past couple of years, and anyone who rides a trail in this town owes her a huge debt of gratitude.

    If STA is going to be influential in coming years, we're going to need bigger numbers and more action. More people need to help carry the weight. Mountain bikers can continue to be outnumbered and outgunned, or we can get off our asses and use the system to fight back.
    Enjoying the meaningful pursuit of meaningless fun.

  36. #36
    Fatback
    Reputation: thirstywork's Avatar
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    productive dialogue

    Thanks to all who have posted and especially to those who did a bit (or more) of research on this subject. It will always be an issue any place we ride. I know some of you have attended many meetings on our behalf-meetings that would make most of us internally combust. It was news to me that we are the bottom of the multi-use food chain. I'm not sure where I thought we were, but it wasn't on the bottom. We only have ourselves to blame. We are a large user group with many different opinions, but if this thread shows us anything, it is the need to band together. Not all of us have extra cash to donate, but you can always find extra time. Make it a priority to show up for volunteer work. Everyone says they're in when drinking around the BBQ, but then 3 people show up. How about we start a Frigid Bits summertime trail night once a month which includes a ride, some trail maintenence and some cold ones afterwards. Anybody in?

  37. #37
    rio
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    Toasty Bits

    We will make it so ....... I am sure that most of the core folk from this winters Frigid Bits posse will be pleased to contribute fun, time, shovels, knowledge, strong backs and BBQ skills and cold beeeerrrrrrrrrrr !

  38. #38
    What Penguin???
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    And thanks to Rio

    for already having staged a STA fundraiser during one of last year's Frigid Bits rides! As Bearbait once said, "I have a pulaski and I'm not afraid to swing it!" You should see this guy--a one-man trail building machine! Heck. Who needs to rent mechanized equipment when we have Bearbait?!
    Meanwhile, back at the hive....

  39. #39
    Wood chips are stupid
    Reputation: akdeluxe's Avatar
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    Bearbait goes to town

    On night on Brown Bear,when Bearbait broke his pulaski,he dropped to his knees and started tearing out devils clubs with his teeth! Really.


    akdeluxe
    "Trust me,you don't want a big baby."

    JT

  40. #40
    mtbr member
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    if you ask me horses are the worst, they really dont make holes around here cuz in florida its all hard rock trails and packed soil, but the riders are jerks, they all yell at you if you pass them, but they are doing like 2 miles an hour. the horses S**t everywhere even in you driveway at your house, but what pisses me off the most is that around here, dirtbike riding, quad riding, mtbing, bmx, skateboarding, rollerskating, and anything else the moves is a crime, but those damn horses are allowed to go everywhere.

  41. #41
    Caveman
    Reputation: Bearbait's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'm Flattered... Give me 15 minutes and a field of Devils Club, I'll make a salad out of it.

    No really not to get the wrong idea, My destructive talents are only pro-bono for STA projects, I charge a fee for house calls.

    nobody has seen my new 3' machette have they? pure colombian steel, bought it in Bolivia, it should serve us well.

  42. #42
    ThisseatmakemyA$$lookfat?
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    don't ban the horse's... ban the people that ride them... horse's don't know any better...
    LOL!!!
    aka: akfreeridemtber; brian_404
    Just get out and, RIDE!!!
    www.facebook.com/shagwn007

  43. #43
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Quote Originally Posted by raubgee
    By harvesting some of that horse meat for the rest of us to eat. But they always seem mortified at the mere suggestion, so f@#k em.
    I ate horse a few times in Italy. It's pretty tasty.

  44. #44
    Fatback
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    Tour trail clean and smooth

    The Tour trail is clean and smooth and free of recycled hay. I could get REALLY used to that.
    Last edited by thirstywork; 02-11-2007 at 11:15 AM.

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