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  1. #1
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    Boulder bikers not SECOND CLASS CITIZENS!

    Ever felt the sting of bigotry against mountain bikes in Boulder? If not you probably haven't ridden here. Boulder faces the second worst anti-bike political situation in the country (yes, you guessed it, after Marin).

    You have an opportunity to help change that this Tuesday May 9 and Thursday May 11.

    MOUNTAIN BIKERS ARE NOT SECOND CLASS CITIZENS!!!

    The city open space department is doing planning for new trails south of town across Hwy 93 from Marshall Mesa, but they're still bigoted against bikes!

    According to the City of Boulder's Visitor Master Plan, staff is supposed to use the least restrictive management option when making open space decisions. But instead they've already excluded bikes from even being considered on many of the trails we've petitioned for. This authoritative document that tells the open space department what to do is on our side - they aren't doing what city council demanded, and we need to turn up in numbers to demand they do it.

    The first trail study area also did not arbitrarily ban bicycles. The precedent set by that process is being violated now. We can't let them do this or they will walk all over us in the 9 remaining trail study area processes. Plus, they're trying to restrict bikes right now/

    We have supportive people on staff, but we need to show we can mobilize to support them and break through the treatment of mountain bikers as second class citizens.

    Go to one of the two meetings this week:

    Tuesday, May 9, 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the city of Boulder Municipal Building Lobby (SW corner of Broadway and Canyon)

    Thursday, May 11, 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the Open Space and Mountain Parks Cherryvale offices (66 South Cherryvale Road)

    We will probably need an email campaign later, but first lets see what happens this week. Twist your buddies' arms and get them out too. If you were to come out to only one meeting for bike advocacy in five years, this would probably be the most important one.

    Tell them the process stuff above and make these points if you want:

    1) We want singletrack! Riding on dirt roads is not a fun, desirable experience.

    2) We want multiuse, shared trails! The City shouldn’t arbitrarily ban bikes from singletrack trails. Most trail users can effectively, politely share trails and there are already huge opportunities to hike on trails that ban bikes.

    3) We want a remote backcountry experience, the same as hikers and equestrians. Give us loops and options so we can ‘get away’ from city traffic and crowded trailheads.

    4) Bikes belong on trails in Habitat Conservation Areas. Bikes stay on trails and have the same degree of environmental impacts as hikers, so there’s no reason to keep us out. The Visitor Master Plan allows bikes in HCAs.

    5) The Eldorado Mountain – Doudy Draw TSA is important to bikes. It holds the greatest opportunity for new, singletrack trail mileage to redress our historically under-served user group.

    6) Trails are a management tool. They may cause impacts to the environment, but their harm is less than unmanaged, unplanned, user-created trails and random wandering. The City does not have the resources to enforce complete bans on human use, so it needs well-designed, attractive trails to steer people to the “right” places.

    Hope to see all you kids there.

    Jason Vogel
    board of directors
    Boulder Mountainbike Alliance

    P.S. ask questions and I'll answer what I can...Also look at this post:

    BMA Action Alert

  2. #2
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    I want nothing more than 15 miles of new singletrack. This area has the potential to be a great destination for folks all over the front range, just like Horestooth, Hall, White, etc etc.

    Good stuff. I'm so happy BMA has asked me to go tell the city how crappy our situation is.
    I can't wait to go.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  3. #3
    Shattering Glass
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    nothing Less than 15 miles

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dash
    nothing Less than 15 miles
    Hey thanks for that. Could I hire you as a proofreader, cause my skills in that department are lacking...
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  5. #5
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    I used to work for the city, the open space mountain parks people are really a bunch of jerks.

    First they waste money like it is going out of style, they spent $100,000 on their dog permit program. Yes $100,000!!!

    But they keep buying land and keeping the people from using it. Yet for some reason we keep voting in new taxes so open space can buy more land.

    As long as we keep voting in their additional taxes they will keep buying more and more land and not listening to the citizens.

    They have this dream of keeping a city park some natural preserve... But walk on a trail these days in boulder, every 10 feet is a sign telling you to stay on the trail, leash your dog... Go on the saddle rock trail, its signs every few feet from start ot finish.


    -Joe
    Last edited by xjoex; 05-08-2006 at 08:20 AM.

  6. #6
    DSR
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    I will do my best to make one of these for sure. All good points. One question - I would think that it would be hard to argue with the following logic...

    - Boulder and the surrounding Front Range hosts a very active/outdoor community
    - Boulder - and more so the surrounding communities - continues to grow
    - Recreational trail access is general in Boulder has not only NOT grown proportionally, but has arguably shrunk
    - Resulting in more people on less trails
    - Resulting in more crowded trails, more potential for user conflict, more erosion
    - Also, with regards to mtn biking specifically since these are the users most restricted, it only forces riders to drive elsewhere to rideable trails resulting in more traffic, greehouse gases, gas consumption and all that other sacrilegious stuff

    Thoughts on presenting that logic? I guess my (our) fear is that the Open Space folks basically don't want recreational users on their land in general, so they're like "who cares, go drive somewhere else." But then that would completely fly in the face of the VMP.

    I'm all for conservation, but OSMP boggles my mind with their cordoned-off habitat conservation areas that are within yards of roads, driveways, houses, etc. I thought that Conservation 101 says that you need large tractless areas in order to truly protect habitats and ecosystems. OSMP is trying to create pristine wilderness areas right in the midst of a urban/suburban setting. It's just ridiculous.

    Anyway, preaching to the choir here and ranting to the wrong folks. But curious to hear your thoughts and experience Jason on the logic of more users + less trails = more problems.

    And I plan on being there Tues or Thurs. Thanks, S

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSR
    It's just ridiculous.

    S
    It sounds like you've done some reading on the subject. All you wrote is great stuff.

    The OSMP folks have written, in this proposal, that some trails might be closed to bikes to create a "bike free haven."

    WTF?

    Why aren't we equals in the eyes of the city? Because of some bs ban from the 80's that's why. Which has since been updated by the Visitor Master Plan, which says cyclists are underserved, more trails need to be opened to bikes and new trails need to be open to bikes. They've contradicted themselves when they put out this proposal. We need to set them straight and hold them to their word in the VMP.

    There's zero reason to exclude bikes from any of the trails in Boulder other than flat out bigotry and prejudice.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  8. #8
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    Well put everyone. I really like what I am hearing and there is definately a lot of passion behind it. We all need to show up and represent at one of these meetings. I think one of the reason there are so many restrictions on bikes is that a lot of hikers show up to these meetings, and because of that they get their way, a bikeless trail system. Time to stand up and tell them we want trails also, that we shouldn't be excluded from trail use. They should all be multi-use.

    Time we all showed up and voiced our opinion!!

  9. #9
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    Thanks for informing me about these meetings. It's probably time I get involved.

    It's pretty easy, really, to see why this is happening. The bans from the 80s were about rebel bike riders who didn't know better, and the hikers as a constituency saw an opportunity to implement a forever bike ban on most trails. As a group, hikers are generally older, more affluent, better connected and more politically involved. It's about money, like everything in Boulder. Even on the few trails where bikes are allowed (e.g., Hall, Heil) I can see the disgust and contempt on most hikers' faces like they're just waiting to get p*issed about something I am doing on my bike. They're scared to death.

    Heck, I remember when Flagstaff and surrounding areas were actually open to bikes.

  10. #10
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    Yep, hikers are involved. Yep they're organized.

    But with BMA, we have a ton of opportunity to be more organized, to have a huge showing at the meetings, to make impressions on the OSMP staff, to make a difference. I remember getting an email saying that BMA (then BOA) members had overwhelmed the county staff with emails regarding the Heil Hall connector. Now that trail is moving forward. If we can overwhelm the city folks in person, letting them know that the VMA says that mountain bikers need more trails, and that the Doudy Draw/Eldo Mountain area is the best place for it, we can make a difference again.

    OSMP is suggesting that we're not in need of trails open to mountain bikes at the edge of Boulder. The streams of cars with bikes on their roofs heading down 93, up 36, up Boulder Canyon, up Flagstaff say different.

    Show up tomorrow night with a friend. Make a difference! Now's the time!
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  11. #11
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    There is definitely a bias (almost a hatred!) of bikers in Boulder county. I think that they still believe the old shpeel about bikes destroying trails, scaring wildlife away, and killing the plants. It is a very narrow-minded view, but to them it is a progressive, against the grain, open-minded view (this is the problem with most of Boulder politics). How do you convince someone like that of the contrary? That will be the biggest challenge for mountain bikers over the coming years.

    In my opinion :
    Hikers get exclusive access to 99% of all trails in Boulder County. To make it fair, one of two things needs to happen:
    1. All trails need to become shared use trails for everyone to enjoy.
    2. Make an equal amount (15-20 mi sounds like a good start) of Bikes ONLY trails to balance out the hikers only trails.

    Of course these two situations will never happen (I know it is an extreme view) and the best we can realistically hope for are a couple more shared use trails. But this doesn't mean that we should stop fighting for what is right!

  12. #12
    Team Blindspot
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    Is there an address to email our thoughts for those who can'tmake the meetings?
    Astigmatic Visionary

  13. #13
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    You can start at the top, you can email Mike Patton: pattonm@ci.boulder.co.us he is the director of Open Space Mountain Parks.

    -Joe

  14. #14
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    Great discussion everybody. Let me throw a few things out there.

    1 - Believe it or not, the mountain biking community is the best organized and most politically active in Boulder County. BMA manages to mobilize more people when it matters than any other user group, hikers/naturalists/environmentalist included. Unfortunately, staff has a legacy of bias that stacks the deck against us, so we need to mobilize even better!

    2 - DSR, your logic is good, but logic doesn't drive the process a this point. We're now well within the realm of politics. If we show up in force and make our points forcefully, but respectfully, we can make a difference. The folks at BMA are working behind the scenes to get a read on the politics of the situation and position ourselves for success.

    3 - Biker paranoia ain't gonna help. I totally understand the venting against hikers and whatnot on this string. It's totally appropriate to do it here, but do not do that at these meetings...yet. If we can paint ourselves as the reasonable user group fighting a biased bureaucracy, we might position ourselves well politically for the next step. If we look like extreme anti-nature people, we'll lose legitimacy in the eyes of decision makers and that will hurt our cause. There's a time for anger and rebellion, and that time might be soon. But for now, harness your emotion and do everything you can to sound constructive. For example, thank the open space dept for their efforts on the Marshall Mesa/Southern Grasslands TSA. They did a good job there and gave us a lot of new trail (some of which I started building yesterday). If you can thank them for that TSA and then point out how much this TSA is anti-bike, we'll gain legitimacy and seem like cooperative partners in open space management. Yes, I know politics can be distasteful, but I want more trails and I bet you all do too.

  15. #15
    DSR
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    How did tonight's meeting go? I'm going on Thurs night. Just wanted to see if there was any insight from tonight that may be helpful for Thurs. Or any point that we could help drive home. Thanks, S

  16. #16
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    nice job rallying the troops BMA

    i couldn't stay until the end, but there appeared to be a great turnout from the MTB community...

    OSMP is taking public comment for 2 more weeks on their website, for those who couldn't/can't attend the meetings.

    hopefully this is the beginning of many good things to come (though certainly not the "beginning" for all the folks who've been advocating for this for a very long time... we thank you).
    -
    .And following our will and wind . . .
    . . .We'll ride the spiral to the end
    and may just go where no one's been.

  17. #17
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    We the people ...

    Tough to tell how it went for sure and what impact mtb'ers will have in the end. I say that only because I think there have been similar sessions held and not much has changed, some folks mentioned that at the meeting. This was my first attendance at one of these meetings in Boulder (I don't live in Boulder, only work there - precisely because there is better mtb'ing in Evergreen/Jeffco and I made that point )

    I do know there were mostly (75% maybe) multi-use and mtb friendly people attending and it was certainly the most vocal group there (I even said something dorky!). There were various maps posted around the room showing the opportunities and plans for the HCA and Open Space areas. Each map had a OS representative standing there and available to answer questions. There were plenty of yellow sticky's and markers around and everyone was encouraged to post their comments by each map. From what I saw 90%+ of the posted comments were in favor of multi-use trails and supported mtb'ing.

    The Q&A session went well in that everyone was civil and the feedback did not get rancorous although there was some semi-heated input at some points - sounded like frustration.

    > There was feedback on some of the language used in the proposal, for example "primitive" is used to describe an area that is anything but "primitive" with working railroad tracks nearby, highway visible, etc. and it was pointed out that that was "spinning" the report to a certain extent.

    > There were questions about wildlife protection in regards to prairie dogs which appear to thrive even next to busy highways, the deer population which "seems" to have dropped but no one knows why exactly (disease, drought, etc.?) and there is a study (aren't there always!) to do a census

    > Improving trail access at TH's and availability of buses from Boulder to El Dorado was discussed. Included was the fact that people DRIVE to trailheads because cycling to area via trails is not possible and the roads are dangerous (this includes children!!).

    > Some comments were made that illegal trails are forming in the forests anyway and that is a result of poor access for mtb'ers. No surprise.

    > One person asked about how many miles of trails out of the total available are open to mtb'ing and I think it was 135 total miles w/ ~35 open to mtb'ing - pretty ridiculous really. No one asked out of that 35 miles open to mtb'ing how much was actual singletrack and not doubletrack or dirt roads, that would probably reduce the amount of fun riding by half or something.

    > Points were made about how many Boulder residents drive to other county's to enjoy great trail systems open the mtb'ing. This of course is ironic given that the "environmentalists" protecting the Boulder environment are forcing people into their cars to enjoy what should be readily available right out their doors. Then of course there are really selfish people like me who drive INTO Boulder everyday simply because I don't want to live there due to poor mtb access. I do try and bike commute halfway and work from home often

    > There was another important point made about how the proposal would preclude new trail opening to all users by default somehow but I missed the gist of it.

    I hope that helps and I'm sure someone can add to this summary. The important thing is that we are being heard in a big way but I'mnot sure what really happens behind the scenes when the dust clears and the real decisions are made. Go on Thursday if you did not go yesterday!!!

    Thanks -

    Ed E

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by edemtbs
    This was my first attendance at one of these meetings in Boulder (I don't live in Boulder, only work there - precisely because there is better mtb'ing in Evergreen/Jeffco and I made that point )

    Ed E
    Aha! One more face to match with an internet persona!

    Back to the "how did the meeting go" question...

    I tried to get my face in front of as many of OSMP people as possible, made eye contact, and then explain why I'm frustrated about our current situation (100 miles of closed trails, driving to trailheads, etc etc see points and arguments above). I was adament about all users, including bikes, being allowed on all the trails in the TSA unless there was a documented reason for excluding some user group. I listened, we'd debate a little if needed. I was respectful of each staffmember I talked to, and thanked each of them for their time.

    Lots of staff folk flat out agreed with a lot of what I had to say. Many of them told me, "that's a very good point." Many seem surprised that I was so disapointed with the status quo. Above all, they were eager to listen. And most of them were genuinely nice folks.

    I hope tomorrow's meeting is a lot like last night's meeting.

    One other thing: IMBA showed up, and spoke very clearly about how we're no worse than any other user group, citing studies and offering to share what they know with the OSMP. Thanks IMBA!
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  19. #19
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    Thanks everyone for posting this info.

    I want you all to know that BMA is focusing on 'behind the scenes' work. We keep talking with staff and making the same points you all made above both before the planning process begins and after the public sessions. If you saw those maps last night with all those yellow lines for potential new trails, you saw some of the work we did with staff behind the scenes prior to this meeting.

    But all of you coming out and making those points is absolutely critical. It's easy for staff to dismiss a couple of 'activists' as extremists. When a significant segment of the community comes out to respectfully display their displeasure it shakes staff out of their preconceived notions and makes them rethink things. That makes a huge difference on a personal level to many staffers, gives BMA more legitimacy, and shows that bikers are the most motivated, active, and concerned citizens when it comes to VMP implementation.

    You all kick a$$! I'll be out there Thursday representing the BMA board with others. If you want to know the kind of stuff BMA does behind the scenes to leverage your efforts at these meetings, just ask - I'm a white boy, 6'1", bearded, 28 years old.

    We've done a good job so far, now lets seal the deal by making another good showing Thursday. If you missed Tuesday's meeting, know that Thursday's is just as important. Those staffers we hit with a shock and awe strategy will have had a couple of days to think things over and discuss options. We need to be out again in force to show how important this is to us and to keep the momentum going in our direction.

    Kick a$$!!

  20. #20
    DSR
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    Good stuff! Glad to hear the turnout was good. I'll be there tomorrow night. Close up shop at 6, so I'll be there more like 615-630 unfortunately. Maybe I'll close up early and be there on time.

    Anyway... One thought on the singletrack issue - compare it to hikers. How many hikers do you see out hiking on dirt roads? Not many. Mountain biking is like hiking, we just cover a little more ground. I think that part of the problem is that non-mtb staffers just think that we like riding our bikes and it doesn't matter what the surface or terrain is. That thinking or mentality is the equivalent to saying "hikers just like to walk, so let's make sure we have plenty of sidewalks!"

    See you on Thurs. S

  21. #21
    Just go ride!
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    Dirt roads? Doubletrack? I'll take 'em!

    I attended last night, and was quite surprised by the number of mtb'ers. Wahoooo! Good showing everyone! I'm a climber and trail runner too, and there were far fewer climbers, and only a handful of trail runners in attendence.

    I noticed that there was a huge emphasis in all of the post-it comments that we want singletrack and fun/technical trails. i.e. dirt roads are NOT fun to ride. I agree completely, but I think we have to be careful here and be sure the OSMP staff understands that we would like "access" in any form - old roads, new roads, or new singletrack. From chatting with one staff member in particular, I got the impression that she thought it wouldn't make sense to open the Mesa Trail (or other similar trails) to bikes because most of it is just a boring road, and that's not what mountain bikers want!!! I politely voiced my opinion right away when I heard that! Dirt roads? Doubletrack? Singletrack? I'll take 'em all! Multi-use = happy users.

    I know fun singletrack is a huge priority, but I think we also need to emphasize that making *any* form of trail a multi-use trail is a good idea.

  22. #22
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    Stefan,

    We tailor our message to the situation at hand. The draft alternatives document for Eldorado Moutnain/Doudy Draw gave bikes access to roads but not trails, hence the emphasis. When we do the Shananhan Ridge Trail Study Area, our message will probably change to 'we want an off road route from Baseline to Eldorado.'

    Still, it's good to realize the message can be taken the wrong way. Something I had not considered (and I don't think anyone else on the board either). Keep the feedback coming. We can learn as much from you all as staff can learn from us...well...maybe not that much!

  23. #23
    DSR
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    Jason - Sorry to keep popping up here, but is there a link to any publicly available info on these studies or is it all just available at the meetings at this point? Would love to check out what's on the table. Thanks, S

  24. #24
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    For more info, check this stuff out...

    BMA EMDD TSA recommendations:

    http://www.bouldermountainbike.org/g...mendations.pdf

    OSMP EMDD TSA webpage:

    http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index...71&Itemid=1179

  25. #25
    DSR
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    Thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogelman!
    Ok, so a quick read through this brought me to the Bicycling and Horseback Riding sections of the Activity Management Alternatives and under horseback riding the first proposal (or alternative?) reads "Allow on-trail horseback riding on any new trails in the HCA, with off-trail access opportunities through the HCA off-trail permit program." Now I'm not anti-horse in any sense, but my understanding on this is that it is at least a POSSIBILITY that horses are 1) allowed in the HCA (habitat conservation area) and 2) are allowed OFF-TRAIL in the HCA (albeit with a permit I guess). Is that right? If so, that seems pretty unbalanced for bikes not allowed in the HCA while horses are potentially allowed off-trail. I didn't think anyone or anything was allowed off-trail. Again, I'm not meaning to start some anti-horse rant. Good for them. But it seems kind of crazy for there to potentially be such a large discrepancy between user group. I knew that horsies got better treatment, but jeesh. S

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