So Cal Trail Access TONIGHT (and beyond)
Sorry about the last minute nature of this alert but we've been waiting for details from US Forest Service. Even if you can't make it to Idyllwild TONIGHT, this is critical info. Spread the word.
Dear Southern California Mountain Biker:
As you may know, last month the US Forest Service published the final Forest Management Plans for the four Southern California National Forests (Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland). These areas represent some of the best mountain biking opportunities in the area, in the state and in the world.
While IMBA has been supportive of the Forest planning process, and is generally supportive of the final plans, there remain areas of deep concern. Extensive riding opportunities may be lost. We are asking you to get involved. Here’s the background and here’s what you can do about it.
The Forest Management Plans state, in part:
“Motorized and non-motorized vehicle travel is restricted to National Forest System roads and trails…”
While this concept is reasonable, the problem revolves around the definition of “System” roads and trails. While the Forest Management Plans are now final (although still subject to formal appeal through December 20th), the process to identify, inventory, map and analyze “System” trails has barely begun in many areas. That process isn’t scheduled to conclude until September of 2008.
What that all means is that many trails and even roads where we may currently be enjoying access may not be considered as “System” trails and therefore may be closed to bicycle use. And, of course, there is no guarantee that they will be successfully identified as “System” trails or that they ultimately will be designated for shared use. In making those final decisions, USFS must consider a range of legitimate criteria including recreational, environmental and other resource considerations.
Meanwhile, it is IMBA’s position that existing uses should continue until the inventory of trails is complete. Just as is the case for hikers and equestrians, all trails we are currently enjoying should remain open until the inventory, mapping and designation process is complete. And that process must include extensive public involvement and input. We are urging mountain bikers to express their support for that approach and to involve themselves in this important process.
An immediate opportunity to have your voice heard is Nov 9th, 2005 when the San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest will be hosting a meeting to discuss these critical issues. The Herkey Creek area is located within this District. The meeting will take place at the Idyllwild Town Hall from 7pm-9pm. The last minute nature of this meeting is regrettable but the District has hurriedly put this schedule together to address the concerns of cyclists and IMBA is encouraging your involvement.
1. Mountain bikes will be allowed on "System” trails only.
2. USFS need to identify non-system trails we ride so that decisions can be made about bringing those trails into the system, rerouting, or closing.
3. No trails should be closed until after the trails inventory and assessment have been completed.
4. Let's help USFS with this process. If we don't, trails will close.
San Jacinto District
November 9, 2005 7-9- p.m.
Idyllwild Town Hall
Welcome: Laurie Rosenthal
Background/Why We’re Here: Fran Colwell
Identify System Trails: Melinda Lyon
Identify Non-system Trails to be evaluated – Group Discussion
Resource surveys/known resource issues
Wildlife: Anne Poopatanapong
Botany : Kate Kramer
Archeology: Daniel McCarthy
Develop Action Plans: Small Groups (by area)
Report out to large group: Group Spokespersons
International Mountain Bicycling Association
California State Representative - Southern Region
we were there for the meeting. it was well attended, many riders and shop owners.
the forest service is asking the bikers to declare which trails we ride. GPS data and or aerial photographs were discussed. they plan to take this information and designate as many trails as possible (key wording) for our use until the environmental freaks can figure out what the impact of having bikes riding through the area has on the flora/fauna/etc. there are archeological considerations and others. basically the trails that have little to no environmental impact will be left as is(i doubt many trails fall into this category as it seems even the slightest noise in endangered species habitat is considered major bad but piles of horse dung and stomping of hooves is ok). some re-routing was discussed. some locals were pissed and started saying that they don't want to declare any trails, the rangers can come after them if they like, that the forest service doesn't have the manpower to enforce the legislation anyway blah blah. i asked a few questions about what we can do, what communications channels will be available, who will be doing the organizing of effort etc. it seems they have one guy designated as liason between us and them. he has been in contact with IMBA. he said email would be the primary form of communication.
i don't think the timeline for this stuff is very quick. it seems that it takes a couple of years for them to figure out what they are supposed to do. it seems that closures might take place in some areas. some areas such as Hurkey Creek trails should probably remain mostly in tact due to their high profile nature. other trails will get poached i am sure.
the whole thing is a crappy situation and it appears that the equestrians have a lot more lobbying power than bikers, but we knew that. we should still have some trails to ride on after these non-californian liberal biotches that took over the state get done. but i'm not bitter.
Originally Posted by mechmann_mtb
Yes it is a bad situation and will only get worse. See my recent posts under the Save our Trails thead concerning this very issue.
I think it is time to get a little more militant about the situation, vs being nice and politically correct and what not. Just donating to IMBA and showing up at a few meetings might make one feel good inside but when push comes to shove it doesn't keep trails from being closed and is certainly not going to get many new ones built or opened to mountain bikers.
I would like to force the County of San Diego to come clean on the Volcan Mountain Preserve and the Santa Ysabel Creek area. Who decides when it is open to the public and who the users are going to be? These environmental studies, CEQA rules and regulations and arch studies are just plain stupid and in most cases are just excuses to exclude users from taxpayer owned land.
Private groups and organizations get the county to buy these lands with taxpayer monies but the taxpayers have no say on usage. When was the last time you were asked to vote on usage?? Who are these people who ultimately make the rules??
I think bikers should show up in force at some of these areas and ride them and see just what happens. If they started arresting people it would get in the paper and then their cover would be blown. You know the average citizen is going to say, "what no access, no bikes allowed, what is that all about???"
I am for preservation but you can have both preservation and recreation.
Originally Posted by treadheadted
Not really equestrian related at all because one of the specific areas I talk about is closed to horses too. More like hiking groups or people who want to be remembered for "saving the planet"
Most people who I know have horses (and we are one of them) are generally no better off than my other mountain biking buddies.
I was encouraged with how the meeting went. I went in thinking that we were going to have to fight to the death to keep hurkey creek, so I was glad to see some hope.
I really wanted to get in there talking back at the archeologist and botanist/whatever, but there is no point in doing so. They are bound to the law, no matter how silly it is. Nothing we can do about that. Hard to believe that they had no problem cutting the road through the archeo site with a Dozer, but a passing mountain bike compacts the ground too much.........
Anyway, it seems like we are making some progress here.
Good humor last night too.
Bound by law?? Perhaps they should be bound and gagged!
Originally Posted by mattsteve
Its not about access..
Its about having civilains near harvesting operations.....