Putting the Red Rock News Stories in Perspecitve
It is well documented that over the last two decades the public need for mountain bike trails in Sedona was not met by the USFS. The result was that the public took it upon themselves to meet their own needs.
No matter which side of the coin you are on about HOW trails are created there is no denying that demand for mountain biking infrastructure and opportunities (trails, maps, facilities, etc.) on public lands in the United States has been steadily increasing.
O.K. So, it's clear that mountain bikers are the proverbial elephant in the room, so...
How is it possible that the USFS doesn't have policy decisions that empower them to meet the growing needs of this group of tax payers?!
IMHO the adoption of ANY user created trails without securing an agreement in advance that ensures the following is completely irresponsible and tantamount to failing negotiation 101:
- Continued access by mountain bikers for the foreseeable future
- Maintaining of the intended character, intended experience, and purpose for which the trail(s)were created
I hope I'm wrong but, since our community appears to have failed negotiation 101 I have to wonder if the current trail adoptions were intended to do a little more than bring great user created trails into the system... like say, lay the groundwork for a mountain bike specific cross country travel closure?
You see, last year there were literally hundreds of miles of 'user created' trails in Sedona. Some of them were very popular mountain biking trails. If the local USFS had wanted to enact a mountain bike specific cross country closure order it would have been next to impossible to enforce... Imagine trying to ticket hundreds of mountain bikers happily recreating all over Sedona. You get the picture.
That policy decision would have been economically and socially very unpopular (DOA). However, now that many of our community have in good faith helped in the adoption of user created trails this has all changed. Notwithstanding a legal challenge, it will be much easier for the USFS to attempt to enforce a mountain bike specific cross country closure order (like the one currently being discussed in the Red Rock News)
Yes, unfortunately the stage has been set for a 'soft' closure order in February (I'm sure that all the bike shop owners are STOKED about this). As many of us know come March Sedona will be teaming with mountain bikers. If the closure order is not in place by that time it will be difficult if not impossible to implement in the future.
So, for those of you who think I am crazy, or that I am serving up some vortex spiked Koolaid... I hope you are right... Because if you are wrong 2013 is going to be a crappy ride for us all and it will suck to be you.
For those of you who would like to discuss a constructive response, time is of the essence.
I hate to bash the FS because in many ways I think they are doing the best they can wiht the limited budget they have. There are good people there working hard for the resource. That said, in the TWO DECADES between 1990 and 2010 I have a hard time thinking of any trails built by the FS in the greater Sedona area. Not necessarily for mtn bikers but in general. Correct me if I'm wrong but here's the list I come up with:
Red Rock Pathway
Scheurman Mtn bypass along 89 ( not sure what this is called)
There might be others but WTF? Just about every trail that is now a system trail was user-built. Yes, perhaps they are now part of the system with appropriate reroutes but clearly the land manager was sleeping in. How else would this happen?
TD has a spreadsheet proving how many illegal trails have been built since 1989. And he plan to present it to the FS on the 11th.
How bright is that ?
Actually, I'm almost certain that the Bell Rock Pathway used to be a single track that was 'adopted' too.
FWIW I think that bashing people or entities such as the USFS is negative and a waste of time.
Bad ideas, ridiculous lapses in judgement, hypocracy, irresposibility, self-centeredness...these things deserve scrutiny.
So where is the balance? I'll admit I am an outsider looking in on this deal. Seems to me a proper working relationship between independent builders and the Forest Service would be the best approach. There would be a possibility not as much would be built. But if these closers go into play, because of some bad blood and ignorance. I am sure many that ride the trails will be upset at all parties involved.
Originally Posted by rockman
Hey now! Let's not try to make so much sense in such a drama filled world!
Originally Posted by Cycle64
You make some great points. I'm not sure how it will all turn out, not sure why it's all a mess but the only way it can be solved is with open, honest, respectful, and considerate teamwork from all concerned. It really disturbs me to think that a few hundred miles (or however much trail was built by the residents in the 20 year period) of trail that in most cases has VERY little negative impact on anything and is only 18" wide and roughly brushed has caused such a fuss with the FS!
Kinda like if a trail has been in existence for hundreds of years (say Spec Ed) and no one questions weather or not it goes through an arch site, or inadvertently effects erosion, would it be a problem?
Say that said trail was an ancient pathway for early land dwellers, instead of closing the trail, how about re-route the trail around any sensitive sites, place historical info markers, and put historical information at the trail heads that also informs users of special considerations on the historic trail. I have heard and have seen the damage that has been created when trails are closed and "naturalized". Why not research such trails and fix any pressing issues and place signage at the trail points, this has got to be cheaper and less time consuming.
Well whatever the result is that we are left with I only can hope will be the best for all involved!
Personal quote: "If at first you don't succeed, critically re-think it and do."
Flagstaff is a better case-study at this point. It's more accepted up there that illegal trails will be built and maintained. Sometimes the FS will come through and knock them down (Flying Fish). Certain ones are up there have been established and used for decades, serving riding segments that don't have anywhere else to ride in the area. Supposedly trail work is going to be done up there to fix some of the trails, like Oldham and Brookbank, but it never materializes. Positive things like Supermoto did happen, but only after a huge amount of building and trail hacking by user groups.
The FS approach has been reactive. Are they really shifting to proactive? It means they have to actually do something, not just adopt trails that were already built and tell people to "stop building trails"...
"It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth
You're turning black metallic.
Your post is excellent, and perhaps others in Sedona will read it and respond POSITIVELY.
I'm continually amazed at how much petty bickering goes on among those bikers who profess to love Sedona......so why not get these folks together and work TOGETHER for the common good....before it is too late.
I hope that I read that the hatchet, sorry Nod, is buried, and that you guys and gals get it together, because Sedona is truly Paradise for bikers.
I checked out Tequila Sunrise today. It was built in the last year or so and is slated for naturalization. It was also built after the USFS had implied that there might be closures if the mtn bike community didn't stop the building. Anyhow, I can see why presence of this trail might have pushed the wrong button. It is poorly executed, doesn't flow, and has unsustainable fall line sections in an area susceptible to erosion. It's too bad that this crappy trail might be the straw that broke the camel's back.
Frankly, it's a hatchet-job. Somewhat ironic I think.
I know for a fact TD is not the builder. His work product is top notch and T. Sunrise is most assuredly not. I'm not sure what my point in posting that was except maybe if someone is still motivated to build new trail in the current political climate it had better be pretty dam good. This is just a diservice to the whole process and fostering any kind of postive relationship with the USFS.
Originally Posted by Phillbo
Outsider looking in, anyone know if TD's online and local approach is hurting or helping Sedona have more trail access or jeopardizing the current trail access?
Originally Posted by rockman
Well said TS, and frankly that really IS what's happening! It seems that most of the drama (the 3% as TD might note) is primarily aired here on MTBR. In reality, a lot of really good work (both on the trails AND amongst the local groups) really is happening. Everyone has their distinct "objectives" and ideas, but in the end, most of us really do just want to be able to ride our bikes and enjoy this area. We all know how lucky we are to get to live here, and I suspect that includes the FS employees too. While we may not agree w/GOV processes sometimes, we gotta respect that the actual FS field-level workers CHOSE a profession that honors the outdoors, though they get little pay, usually have to wear polyester and get little respect from locals as they're the face of some long-time policy.
Originally Posted by TransitionSenior
Bottom line, things are moving forward, good things are happening and hopefully a few bad apples won't tarnish an otherwise perfect past-time...MTB on dirt!
Originally Posted by Lakvoodoo
Great post, so how do you see this whole meeting playing out? Can you share some insights from your crystal ball?
How would putting together a spread sheet of all our mountain biking trails and sharing the information with the FS to give them a birds eye view of the mountain bike trail system not help the FS with the job they need to do to inventory all the trails in the Coconino National Forest?
Originally Posted by Cycle64
This trail inventory process is part of the Trails Planning Process and in 1998 they didn't do a very good job from what I can tell. Looking at their 2012 map can anyone tell me what trails we are looking at? I have been reviewing the 11X17 copy and I don't find any trail names on it.
Is that the example of what is going to be submitted as the document of the actual trail inventory? How are we as a group going to be evaluating the individual trails on the map as to whether they need to be kept or decommissioned? How are we going to be able to address certain well built user built trails if they aren't on a map somewhere?
I believe this is a Trail Planning Process not a Guessing Game. If the FS had told the mountain biking community that they thought we had done a good job with the mountain bike trail system and we are just going to turn a blind eye to the great trails we have out there, we could all stay home on the third Thursday of each month, but none of the mountain bike club presidents or IMBA representatives have said anything to that affect so I say I am not sure the FS is on the side of mountain bikers and we need to be represented at the future meetings to express our position regarding trail adoption and new trails if that is where your interest lies.
Considering that the one sided whining always includes a FS slam, at the least, it promotes negativity.
Originally Posted by Cycle64
+1 on this. Sure, there's talks of trails getting closed down, but what have we already gained in this process? Slim Shady, Made in the Shade, Hiline, Hangover, Adobe Jack, Javelina, Grand Central, Crusty, Coyote, Chuckwagon, Gunslinger, and Mescal all have been adopted in the last 18 months or so. Thats somewhere in the ball-park of 25-30 miles (just a random guess) of trail that have already been adopted/created/rerouted, with more in the works!
Originally Posted by Lakvoodoo
If all the time and energy spent on b!tch!ng about losing a couple of trails was spent working towards new trails and/or adopting other social trails, the process would speed up a bit and the final outcome will probably be better for us all.
The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is youíll crash.
- Julie Furtado
Well Said!!!!! Couldn't agree more!!
Originally Posted by Lakvoodoo
With all due respect Freak and Woahey, let's look at what you are saying has been GAINED:
If I understand you correctly, your point is that the adoption of user created trails was important and good as we will get to KEEP trails that we might have lost?
IF... mountain bikes continue to have access to those trails, their character is not drastically changed, and if they continue to serve the need for which they were created, than you MIGHT have a point... We MIGHT have GAINED something.
That said, what environmentally, legally, and socially responsible way was the USFS going to close/decommission all of the trails which have now been adopted?
Do you truly believe that these trails would be destroyed when THOUSANDS of people all over the United States and the world were coming to Sedona to enjoy them?
If you did have information that those trails were going to be closed/decommissioned if they were not adopted...
WHY DID YOU NOT SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH THE PUBLIC?
Even if things come to pass and the trails are managed in a way that continues to provide the same experience to mountain bikers that they have up until now...
WHO MADE THE DECISION TO NEGOTIATE (HORSE TRADE) KEEPING 'SOME' TRAILS WITHOUT SECURING A GUARANTEE OR POLLING THE LOCAL MOUNTAIN BIKE COMMUNITY TO ENSURE THAT THEIR POINT OF VIEW WAS REPRESENTED?
No one is b!tching. We are discussing what some may have GIVEN-UP on behalf of everybody for what we have RECEIVED in return...
Now I'm going to go out and ride some adopted trails that most likely would have continued to be ride-able adoption or not.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: PLEASE INCLUDE THE REST OF US THE NEXT TIME YOU NEGOTIATE ON OUR BEHALF... WE MIGHT CHOOSE ANOTHER PARTY TO REPRESENT OUR INTERESTS.
Originally Posted by woahey
I think my incomplete spredsheet gives a more accurate picture of how much the mountain bike community has contributed to the addition of trails in the Cocnino National Forest surrounding Sedona. Those trails have mostly been created by the mountain bike community and I think they have contributed greatly to the recreational experience of both hikers and mountain bikers.
Mountain Bike/Hiking Trails. This Trail was Included in the Coconino Nation Forest Map in 1998 Trails Built by Mountain Bikers for Mountain Bikers & Hikers Trails Built by the FS for Mountain Bikers Trails Built by Mountain Bikers and Adopted by the FS for Mountain Bikers and Hikers
Adobe Jack No User Built Yes Adopted
Aerie No User Built No Mt. Biker Built
Airport Connector No User Built No Not Adopted
Airport Loop Combination UB/FS?? No Adopted
Anaconda No User Built No Adopted
Anaconda Bypass No User Built No Adopted
Andante ? ?
Ant Hill No User Built No Adopted
AZ Cypress ? ?
AZ Cypress Alternate No ? Not Adopted
Baby Bell ? ?
Baby Bell Option ? ?
Bail ? Adopted
Baldwin ? ?
Bandit User Built No Adopted
Basalt No Phil ? Yes FS New Trail
Bell No FS No ?
Big Park Loop ? ?
Bike Path No User Built No Not Adopted
Brew Pub No User Built No Not Adopted
Bogus No User Built No Not Adopted
Brewer ? ?
Broken Arrow ? ?
Cake Walk No User Built No Not Adopted
Canyon of Fools No User Built No Being Adopted
Carroll Canyon ? ?
Casner Equestrians No Prior to 1998
Cathedral ? Prior to 1998
Cat Walk No Native Americans No Decommissioned
Cedar Ridge No User Built No Not Adopted
Cenntennial No User Built No Not Adopted
Chapel ? ?
Checkpoint Charlie No User Built No Not Adopted
Christmas Wash No User Built No Not Adopted
Chuck Wagon No User Built No Adopted
Cockscomb FS/? ?
Coconino No User Built/Phil??? No Adopted
Color Cove No Equestrians No Not Adopted
Cow Pies Hikers No ?
Coyote No User Built No Adopted
Crusifixion No User Built No Not Adopted
Crusty No User Built No Adopted
Damifido No User Built No Not Adopted
Damifino No User Built No Not Adopted
Dawa ? ?
Deadmans Pass ? ?
Double D No User Built No Not Adopted
Draino No User Built No Not Adopted
Earl's Cabin No Earl No Not Adopted
Easy Brezzy No User Built No Adopted
Easy Rider No User Built No Not Adopted
Girdner ? ?
Grand Central No User Built No Adopted
Grasshopper (Allens Bend) Equestrians? ?
Gunslinger No User Built No Adopted
HT ? ?
Hangover No User Built No Adopted
Harm's Way No User Built No Not Adopted
Herkenham Hikers Prior to 1998
Hermit No Phil ? Biker Yes Built New
High on the Hog No User Built No Not Adopted
Highline No User Built No Adopted
Hog Tail No User Built No Not Adopted
Hogalicious No User Built No Not Adopted
Homee No Equestrians No Not Adopted
Hot Loop ? ?
Huckaby Hikers Built in 1998
Javelina No User Built ??? Yes ? Adopted
Jim Thompson ? Prior to 1998
Jordan ? Prior to 1998
Jump No User Built No Not Adopted
Kaibab No Phil ? Biker Yes Built New
Killer Bee No User Built No Not Adopted
Last Frontier No User Built No Not Adopted
Lavitra No User Built No Not Adopted
Ledge'n'Airy No User Built No Not Adopted
Lime Kiln ? Prior to 1998
Little Horse ? ?
Lama No User Built Adopted
Long Canyon ? ?
Lost and Found No User Built No Adopted
Lower Chimney Rock ? ?
Lower Lizardhead No User Built No Adopted
Made in the Shade No User Built No Adopted
Margaritaville No User Built No Not Adopted
Mescal No User Built No Adopted
Mescal Connector West No X No In Process
Mescal Connector East No 1960 Teenager in Truck No Not Adopted
Middle Finger No User Built No Not Adopted
Middle Tea Cup User Built No Not Adopted
Midgely Bridge ? ?
Mouse Fingers No User Built No Not Adopted
Munds Wagon Wheel Pioneers Prior to 1998
Mystic ? ?
Mystic South ? ?
New Years Wash No User Built No Not Adopted
No Name No User Built No Not Adopted
OK ? ?
OK Alternate No User Built No Not Adopted
Old Post Pony Express Prior to 1998
Old Ridge No User Built No Not Adopted
Phone No FS Built Yes FS Built
Pig Tail No Biker Built- FS OK No Mt. Bike Built
Plumber's Crack No User Built No Not Adopted
Power Station No User Built No Not Adopted
Power Station Plundge No User Built No Adopted
Pyramid No Native Americans No Not Adopted
Ramshead No User Built No Adopted
Red Aguave Connector No User Built No Adopted
Red Rock Crossing No Hikers No Not Adopted
Red Rock Loop FS ?
Ridge FS Yes ?
Rupp ? ?
S ? ?
Scheurman ? ?
Second Coming No User Built No Not Adopted
Secret Slickrock No User Built No Adopted
Shorty No User Built No Adopted
Sketch No User Built No Not Adopted
Slim Shady No User Built No Adopted
Snake No User Built No Adopted
Soldier Pass Hikers Hiker Built in ?
Soldier Pass Jeep Rd. The 60's Teenagersin P/U Trucks FS Built
Special Ed No User Built No Not Adopted
Stay High No User Built No Not Adopted
Steamboat Bypass No User Built No Not Adopted
Submarine Rock ? ?
Sugar Loaf West ? No ?
Sugar Loaf Loop ? ?
Sugar Loaf Short Cut No User Built No ?
Sunset No User Built No Not Adopted
Table Top ? ?
Tea Cup ? ?
Templeton ? ?
Tequila Sunrise No User Built No Not Adopted
Thunder Mt. ? ?
Tim's Wash No User Built No Not Adopted
Tomahawk No User Built No Being Decommissioned
Touron No User Built No Adopted
Transcept No Hiker No Not Adopted
Turkey Creek ? ?
Two Fences ? ?
Under the Radar No User Built No Not Adopted
Under Under the Radar No User Built No Not Adopted
Under Under Under the Radar No User Built No Not Adopted
Unknown Bandit No User Built No Not Adopted
Upper Ramshead No User Built No Not Adopted
Upper Tea Cup No ? No Not Adopted
Viewpoint No Hikers No Not Adopted
VOC Loop ? ?
Western Civilization No User Built No Not Adopted
Wilson Canyon ? Prior to 1998
Windsurfer No User Built No Not Adopted
Witch Doctor No Native Americans No Not Adopted
Yavapai Vista No Phil? Biker Yes Built New
Originally Posted by CANADIANBACON
Personal quote: "If at first you don't succeed, critically re-think it and do."
First of all, great seeing so many of you (many from this forum) out on the trails today!! A positive to all this ongoing rhetoric is that all the folks that chime in here on MTBR w/their strong opinions really DO have a vested interest in our local trails...proof in being out there riding! Yay!
I'm going to chime back in re this particular post to try to clarify something. I could be off-base and reading into a few of the recent comments, but since I KNOW most of you guys personally and have chatted about most of these issues from time to time, I just want to make sure you all know that, from my lens, you're basically all already on the same page: you're all good guys and who I truly consider my friends, you/we all want continued access to current trails, new trails, sustainable trails, fair (and equal) access to those trails (why ban only MTBers, potentially), etc.. No one is out to undermine anyone else. No one is hiding anything. Most folks are simply taking what steps they can to make things happen...in a forward-direction (more on that below).
From my optic, I simply see a little bit of competitiveness/machisimo stirring every so often, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It's what makes things happen! Might even be a lil' guilty of that myself from time to time (no, girls are not perfect 24/7 but don't quote me on that! We become a lil possessive about the area because we love it so much. A lot of you shredders take great pride in being able to ride some kick-arse trails...either FS built or user built (legal or illegal). I don't blame you for wanting to hold on to what you have nor being condemned from being creative in the future.
TD...uses way too many words and instigates a lot of drama, but man oh man, he's got some passion for the dirt and I wish we could figure out how to help him channel into making things happen!!
CB...brings up great points, has great ideas and articulates his ideas/questions well;
FZ...taking on a significant role in the community (no pay) w/a lot of balls to juggle, pressures from various subgroups and the face for the users AND uncle sam.
Woahey...gotta love Woahey...always the voice of reason!
I don't think necessarily that any specifics have been "negotiated" as was mentioned. I see this more as being a pivotal time....brought on by several issues, not to exclude TD getting in trouble, continued illegal trails being built, pressure by other user-groups, etc.. Sometimes ya just get to a fork in the road and it's either "you're with us" or "you're against us" (from the FS). I think we're doing a good job of working w/the FS to show that we can be "with" them, while still lobbying to mover forward w/any of our other interests (new trails, etc.). In dealing with anything w/the government or businesses (or even in our social lives....pick your battles...somethings you'll win, some you'll lose, some ya better figure out a decent compromise). I think we're lucky to have the FS crew we do here now. Could it be better? Maybe. Could it be worse? Heck yeah! So...
We have one long-standing cycling org here...the VVCC...which did seem a little stagnant and non-MTB-oriented for a while. We also have the SMBC...many of the same members...good intentions steered directly for MTB in Sed...not sure where it stands right now...but a group of locals just trying to make good things happen. Re the VVCC specifically...how cool is it though now that it is now helping to advocate on the MTB stuff (Sedona AND throughout the VV)?!! Very cool! An all-inclusive org that can do a lot for all sorts of cyclists here.
A lot of stuff is happening fast. I think this makes some folks a little nervous, understandably so. But take a step back. Most of it is really really good stuff right?! I'd encourage everyone to be more active. If ya like stuff that's happening, let the VVCC know. If you don't, let em know that too. But...include some alternative solutions w/any complaints. No member, board member, non-member is the most creative, articulate, available, etc...but together...man oh man...we're such a cool and unique herd when thrown together! Don't forget that! We're lucky!! Yes, I occasionally get on MTBR to see what's going on 'round here, especially when I'm overseas traveling (missing home). It's a great/entertaining/annoying/timekiller forum, but what about going right to the source, better yet, BE the source. Reach out to the clubs, reach out to each other (socially..in person, email, a phone call). MTBR seems to splinter you guys up too much. Bottom line on complaints..."MAN UP, you guys! Put those big bustling egos to good use and make this place the MTB mecca you do/don't want it to be! :-)
One of the strengths that none of us has shown much lately is to get together (over a beer or COFFEE!) and get back on the same page. We don't have to talk about trails, heck, talk about football or snowbirds or even how Lakvoodoo doesn't know what the flip she's talking about...but back to knowing each other better OFF the online chat forums. Not quite annoyed w/this post yet? How about this one: "One team, one fight!"
Go get your dirt on... :-)
You know that you have my respect and friendship. I hear what you are saying and many of your points are well said.
Ego's and macho-ness aside, this forum is the ONLY place right now (on the web and in the analog world) where members of our community can discuss issues that are important to us with a very small chance of being censored.
It is clear that the Red Rock News has no intention of telling both sides of this story... As for our local advocacy groups different tone and approach... IMHO is a good thing. It allows different members of our community to be represented in the way that they choose. More importantly it keeps both groups honest, striving to do better and become MORE relevant.
It's true that we have a lot to be thankful for. However, I believe that the core issue we are grappling with is that the MAJORITY of ALL of the trails that we and the public now enjoy we're created by LOCAL MOUNTAIN BIKERS...
YET LOCAL MOUNTAIN BIKERS ARE NOT BEING RESPECTED.
If our local land managers are really seeking to change the status quo it must start with a change in how they engage with our community...
A MOUNTAIN BIKE SPECIFIC CROSS COUNTRY CLOSURE ORDER AND USFS PRESS RELEASES/ NEWS STORIES THAT DEFAME AND LIBEL ALL MOUNTAIN BIKERS IS A HUGE STEP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.
It's true members of our community have done things that they shouldn't have. So has every other user group, be it home owner, dog walker, hiker, equestrian, trail runner, bird watcher etc...
The question I am asking is: What justifications does the USFS have for taking actions that will harm the entire Sedona Mountain Biking ecosystem (riders, trails, shops, other businesses) for the actions of a few individuals?