So now I'm working in Concord and for the first time riding all the wonderful trails the East Bay has to offer... Bike access issues aside, WTF is wrong with EBRPD? Purely from an environment and non-user-type-specific enjoyment standpoint, these are certainly the worst planned/maintained "trails" I have ever seen anywhere in all my travels around the world hiking, running, and riding bikes.
I understand that a lot of the dirt roads were there from the ranching days, but I cannot fathom a reasonable explanation for why EBRPD continues to maintain so many heinous dirt roads straight up/down fall lines to full road width. It's as if they maintain them just so they can drive their trucks on them, just so they can maintain them more. I understand having one route through each park for fire fighting, but a whole network of plowed dirt roads? Really? Is there nobody in the whole organization that understands the mechanics of erosion and water flowing downhill, or the merits of routes that follow contours instead of cross them at perpendicular? Again, I'm taking biking out of this, since I hike and do a fair amount of epic trail running, I can say that these "trails" would be miserable by any means of locomotion.
I know, I know, lots of rhetorical questions, no need to actually answer them, but WTF, EBRPD?
EBRPD sucks. They are basically focused on preserving the space rather than making it usable. As you point out, it is mostly fireroad. Most parks don't even have much illegal single track.
If you are in Concord and don't want to drive far, there are better options on Mt Diablo. Feel free to hit me up. Also, Rockville isn't a bad drive.
In other news, some 'tard was ripping around Lime Ridge yesterday afternoon on a dirtbike.
if you can find the areas where they allow grazing you'll find cow paths dug into the contours. Carquinez Straits Regional Park has a pretty tame network for running.
What he said. Enterprising Bovine Recration & Pedestrian Directors.
Originally Posted by EBrider
It is very hard to find areas where they don't have grazing. They are running a network of cattle ranches disquised as parks.
Originally Posted by jrm
Welcome to the East Bay. It's enough to make me want to move back to the Peninsula - I loved having Waterdog in my back yard.
OTOH, land is cheaper: we could pool our funds and go in on this, start our own park and tell EBRPD to shove it.
Souza Realty & Development - 1,368 acres Sunol Ridge, Pasture/Ranch, Palomares Rd., Sunol, CA
I dream about this spot every time I ride past while climbing Palomares.
"You are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I have ever met."
I constantly see EBMUD guys sleeping in their trucks on roads in Oakland hills. Lazy culture. EBRPD is probably less lazy? just grading for job security? Who knows. When I read Mountain Bike action, and see all of the great trail programs that the FEDS match dollars for, it is a shame. Those guys could be the backbone of a huge tourism bonanza. I wonder how many dollars Fairfax brings in without even trying, just because cyclists like to be there?
That about sums it up.
Originally Posted by EBrider
This is no time for levity. - Oliver Hardy
The cows - they understand, and are responsible for the best singletrack that the EBRPD has to (not) offer. Nobody else though. Sorry.
Originally Posted by Menso
"i don't wanna smell your vinegary, old, pissy plastic jersey in the woods." - nativeson
good for him. glad to see someone is having fun out there
Originally Posted by Menso
"Rippin' & a Tearing"
They were out again today at Lime Ridge.
Originally Posted by Menso
I thought it was some Ranger-Danger activity.
A well funded bureaucracy. They are all rotten.
Originally Posted by Menso
I never really paid attention, until I participated in an orienteering race in Black Diamond Mines park. It involved running cross-country for several hours.
Originally Posted by fourarm
Holy, crap - all those hills are like disintegrated from cows. And then you come to some sweet trails - of course posted "no bikes", but the whole area is eroded to bits by hooves. What a bunch of idiots running all this.
Would be better when they switch to electric bikes, so they can have fun, but not be heard for miles around.
Originally Posted by yohyat
This. If nothing else, be it the will of the people (who fund the parks with their tax dollars) or otherwise, you would think that by now a light bulb would have lit up somewhere... let's see, we've got a gazillion acres of prime terrain situated in the heart of one of the world's most prosperous regions, full of outdoor recreation types who freely spend huge amounts of money on said recreation, as well as provide a steady (and substantial) tax/revenue base, and, oh yeah, invented mountain biking for all intents. Maybe, just maybe if we embraced their passion and listened to their voices & votes and actually began developing JUST A FRACTION of this prime, otherwise unused terrain for their benefit... perhaps there could be some potential monetary gain, not only for The District, but for surrounding businesses and communities as well???
Originally Posted by hoolie
Fruita/Grand Junction, Downieville, Ashland, even Tahoe... ever wonder why people familiar with those places look at us like we've got three eyes when we tell them we have to night-poach bandit trails between fire roads? Or why we put up w/ months, even years' worth of labor being destroyed before we get a chance to even enjoy it, just because some hiking wanker decided that 'bikes don't belong'?
At some point the cycle (pun intended) of conflict must stop. Take a lesson from Sedona: the unsanctioned (though extremely well-built for the most part) trails were proliferating, the FS was being pressed to do something by The Old Guard of hikers & equestrians, while at the same time the rapidly-expanding mtb constituents wanted more. A deal was struck, a chunk of land set aside and the bike guys mobilized. In a day. It can be done people, maybe we just need to set Troy Rarick loose at the next District meeting? It's not like he could make things worse... much worse, anyway. Then again...
I'm torn. I feel Berk Mike's call to action, but I also have grown up out here and watched this same tragic comedy play out since we first got off dirt bikes and started chasing cows on Stumpjumpers. And yeah, I'm probably directly responsible for some of the hate out there now, simply because back then we didn't have anywhere else to ride so we bombed the existing hiking trails and 50mph fire roads and scared the crap out of people in the process. Then we took to the trees and built, pouring blood, sweat, and tears into 'our' trails, only to have them destroyed without discussion or debate. And got expensive tickets if we were caught trying to enjoy them. Do that routine a few times and pretty soon you're with iheartbikes and my other East Bay brethren, resigned to the Fight Club routine.
While FC has worked for us to some degree for years, I for one am tired of it. A few of us (no names) use the parks, especially Briones, on a daily basis, for our mountain bike recreation, exercise, and general sanity maintenance. We maintain the parks as if our own (because, well, nevermind), even looking after the wildlife and cattle while we're out there. All we want is to be able to enjoy the place like other users, without encroaching on those users' experience (and vice versa). Give us some trails we can call ours, there's MORE than enough room, and crazy as it sounds maybe getting bikes on bike trails and away from horses & hikers could lessen conflict, ya think? Stop the stupid merry-go-round of building cool trails only to see them thrashed and booby-trapped, as it seems to get worse every year and sooner or later someone's going to get seriously hurt - for instance, whoever decided it was their right to drag giant tree trunks, complete with spear-tipped branches into the blind ravines of the H&F trail should be charged with attempted manslaughter.
Back to the original point, since personal freedom, common decency, and the Golden Rule in general don't seem to sway The District, maybe it's time to focus on dollars. Forget the potential for getting kids into something good, forget the will of the taxpayers, if there's one final argument to be made lets make it about money. How much do mtb'ers pay for their bikes, cars, gas, accessories, spare parts, food, beer, massage parlors, er, uh, lodging..? All of it adds up to, well, a lot. Enough to put bankrupt little mining towns back on the map, enough to justify other communities across the country and around the world investing in bike-specific trail networks and parks. What if, instead of packing up and traveling to those places us locals had reason to stay & spend locally? And here's a real bolt from the blue: what if people actually came from other places to the 'home of the mountain bike' to actually ride mountain bikes? You think maybe our local Chambers of Commerce might take notice?
Enough of the Environmental Impact Reports, lets see some Financial Impact studies. Surely someone has data from the ghost-town-turned-mtb meccas like D/ville, not to mention some of the local successes like Rockville & Skyline parks (the latter of which is an EQUESTRIAN park yet sees next to zero bike vs horse problems). Granted Skyline and Rockville aren't exactly destination parks, like something the size of Briones, P/ridge, Black Diamond, etc. could be; if nothing else, at least they demonstrate that user conflict does not have to be a given. But imagine if you owned a local bike shop and suddenly you had people coming to you for bikes, parts, clothes, directions, etc., all because you had world-class, almost year-round trails in your back yard; you think that might trigger a little economic recovery in your neighborhood?
Sorry Chuck (and remaining tight-lipped EB homies), but sooner or later we need to mobilize, I'm not saying that we have to join groups or sign petitions necessarily, but at some point we must be seen and heard as a viable demographic. Maybe it's time to find a way to leverage the local business community to lobby on our behalf and begin pressuring the District to consider the dollars they are COSTING these owners and their employees with their unacceptable attitude towards a giant customer base?
Either that or lets get our trail-building more organized and lay out some rippers - if we're going down, we might as well show our kids we went down in flames!
This sounds like an idea with potential and begs discussion. It also sounds like a huge amount of work.
When EBRPD people come to the California Greenways and Trails Conference and attend a workshop on sustainable trail building, they tend to disagree strongly with the person conducting the session. The collective attitude there is about 50 years old when it comes to erosion, sediment load in streams, and sustainability. Sadly, the younger ones in the organization are brainwashed or eliminated. They just continue to doze their way through with the Sweco, just like it is 1955 and the quickest way from the valley to the ridge is a straight line.
Originally Posted by Menso
So you wanna get Troy Rarick to a planning meeting, get him drunk and fire up some karaoke? Im IN!
Originally Posted by Eric.
Movement current in the EBRPD, altering attitudes and morphing long-held beliefs, is a function of the younger members of the staff. In the short term they tend to not rock the boat, just as in any company where position and seniority challenge confidence and limit influence. Over time though, as their numbers increase and the elder members age out, they will prevail. It is already happening though not nearly as fast or in the specific ways folks here would like to see.
Cattle, fireroads, blading, narrow trail maintenance...don't get me started.
Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 11-10-2012 at 09:18 AM.
I don't rattle.
Rumor has it that a grading contractor that does a lot of "trail" work for EBRPD is a family member of a high ranking official in the district...so it may partially be an issue of doing work for works sake...
And what others have said: living in the past where there's little innovative thinking about trail use or maintenance practices.
Sent from a tiny keyboard
You mean that 'thing' that turned Chabot into a series of dirt interstates, wide enough for a Winnebago? The dust and dirt that thing created made the riding / hiking / running experience pretty miserable for the last couple of months. With the recent rains, lots of trails look like brown vomit.
Originally Posted by plantdude
To think - a ranger ragged on me for 'causing erosion' when I took a shortcut up an embankment once.
I'd really like to hear their reasons for that.
Here is my take on the EBRPD:
- It's an old bureaucracy (over 75 years old), and like all old bureaucracies, it's evolved to become mostly interested in itself. Take a look at the salaries and perks at the EBRPD versus other bay area park districts, and you'll note the difference.
- the directors are pretty old (most are in their 70s and 80s) and simply don't get mountain biking.
- it truly believes that cows are a great way to prevent fires. Some cynics also believe that the district caters to ranchers because all the land it acquires is from cattle ranchers, and it would be less likely to buy more land if they kicked out the cows once the parks were acquired. The one thing that the district does really well is buying land.
- it's mired in rules, both internal and external, which slow down the bureaucracy even more. Whenever they touch a trail, they have to ask permission to a whole host of state and federal agencies, hence nothing gets done.
- it's completely immune financially. The park is well funded for the next 30 years with measure WW, so there is no incentive to cater to anybody, since they don't need any extra money. Furthermore, park fees are a few percentage points of their overall revenue, so frankly, they just don't care.
With all that being said, there are some good people in the district that actually get mountain biking. There is an effort afoot to plan a bike park in San Leandro Oyster Point, but that will require a bit more involvement from the cycling community to make it happen. More importantly, attitudes have changed quite a bit, especially in the last few years. The district is no longer completely hostile to bikes, and is actually acknowledging that we are legitimate users of the land. That being said, I don't think that I'll ever see any great MTB trail network in the EBRPD in my lifetime. For that, I either go down to SDF or up to the Sierra.
Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun
This is probably the best post I've ever seen on MTBR. Thank you sir! I think rallying businesses to support mtb acceptance is a great strategy, as they will most certainly benefit from additional recreation tourism dollars. I rarely go to Marin to ride because of the lack of legal singletrack and the negative vibe.
Originally Posted by Eric.
In this LA Times article from 1994.... 18 years ago ... about the same issues in Marin I have to agree with what Jacquie Phelan said about the old guard dying off...
".....they wonder why some other compromise on single-track access could not be struck: "If they would just throw us a bone, just give us one trail or one day, say, Tuesday, then we'd shut up and go on our way," Phelan says. "We throw out these ideas, searching for some middle ground, but we get nothing in response, nothing. So we'll just have to outlive them."
It's been almost 30 years since bikes were banned from Marin singletrack... either the haters are living exceptionally long, or they've taught their kids to continue the discrimination. I know it's only a matter of time until this nonsense (in the Bay Area and elsewhere) doesn't exist anymore, but I sure hope it happens during my lifetime.
Thank you all for your informative posts. Collectively these are some of the best I have ever seen on mtbr. As much as I want things to improve for the sake of my future children, I am left feeling absolutely unmotivated to attempt any sort of action through official channels. That is a very sad thing to say at only twenty three years old. I hope someone from EBRPD reads this thread on their deathbed and realizes how wrong and shortsighted they have been to waste such an amazing resource in so many ways.