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  1. #1
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    Jones Park/Bear Creek, trout and the lawsuit - PLEASE READ -

    Things appear to be moving quickly and the Trails Preservation Alliance is looking for help. While the TPA is a group that primary works to ensure single track motorized trail access I think our interests as mountain bikers are aligned on this issue. The possibility that other types of access, mtb in particular, could be impacted can't be ignored or ruled out.

    Please consider making a donation to help the TPA cover the escalating legal costs to help keep 666 & 667 open to everyone.

    FWIW I am not associated with the TPA. I am just passing along the information I have received.

    Hit me with a PM if you want further details.
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  2. #2
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    Why do you believe the interests of mountain bikers are aligned with motorized users when the lawsuit targets motorized use?
    I don't know a great deal about the area so I don't really have an opinion about it. Just curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider View Post
    Why do you believe the interests of mountain bikers are aligned with motorized users when the lawsuit targets motorized use?
    I don't know a great deal about the area so I don't really have an opinion about it. Just curious.

    Because the group who filed the lawsuit has made statements that their agenda is to move any activity they deem harmful off 666/667.

    They don't just want the moto's gone they want the trail closed.
    Last edited by UncleTrail; 11-01-2012 at 01:16 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider View Post
    Why do you believe the interests of mountain bikers are aligned with motorized users when the lawsuit targets motorized use?
    I don't know a great deal about the area so I don't really have an opinion about it. Just curious.
    Good question.

    1. First and for most I am a member of both user groups as are a lot of the regular users of the trail system
    2. Uncle Trail is correct that there have been overtures made regarding other user groups as well from the CBD
    3. I am a huge fan of multi-user where appropriate. I hate to see any user group lose access based on what appears to be a very biased approach. Without all parties being actively involved the decisions made cannot be unbiased
    4. The moto groups do the lion's share the trail maintenance in the drainage in question

    The TPA has a good reputation for a fair and balanced approach. All I want is someone in the fight, with a good reputation, ensuring all facts and points of view are weighed. At this point the moto group is as close as we are going to get to a mtb dog in the fight.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider View Post
    Why do you believe the interests of mountain bikers are aligned with motorized users when the lawsuit targets motorized use?
    I don't know a great deal about the area so I don't really have an opinion about it. Just curious.
    Once motos get banned (which they will), word will spread along the front range that Jacks is Moto free MTB use will go up exponentially! Then the tree huger dip shits will target us next saying we are a bigger threat than the motos due to trail "sustainability", chain lube and chamois butter getting in the water! Blaa, Blaa, Blaa. They want the trail closed! Do something, join in with other user groups and keep it open to all or watch it go bye bye.
    Now, lets see thirty koolaid drinking threads about how wrong I am

  6. #6
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    What lawsuit? Can I donate to the group suing the motos?
    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

  7. #7
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    We just had this discussion.
    Bear Creek Cutthroat Trout - Trail Changes might be coming

    As Waafoo said, motos are just the first, easiest target for the BCD to get momentum going. They are a Sierra Club affiliate. To not recognize that they would parlay a win here to restrict MTB access is incredibly naive.

  8. #8
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    The CBD is using very specific legal grounds to justify their lawsuit. That the forest service did not follow procedures required by the endangered species act when they made the decision to allow motorized vehicles.
    They can't parlay that into anything affecting non motorized use even if they wanted too. No naiveté necessary.

    I am not inclined to be a supporter of the CBD's position. The fact that Trout Unlimited is apparently not a supporter is a good indication the suit is without merit. Just be straight about what the stakes really are and who will be affected.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider View Post
    The CBD is using very specific legal grounds to justify their lawsuit. That the forest service did not follow procedures required by the endangered species act when they made the decision to allow motorized vehicles.
    They can't parlay that into anything affecting non motorized use even if they wanted too. No naiveté necessary.

    I am not inclined to be a supporter of the CBD's position. The fact that Trout Unlimited is apparently not a supporter is a good indication the suit is without merit. Just be straight about what the stakes really are and who will be affected.
    Ummmm...

    --------------
    This letter serves as official notice by the Center for Biological Diversity of its intent to
    sue Jerri Marr in her official capacity as the Supervisor of the Pike and San Isabel National
    2 Forests (“the Forest”) for violations of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) (16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-
    1544), resulting from Forest actions related to off-road vehicle (“ORV”) use in the Bear Creek
    watershed. Bear Creek contains a unique population of the greenback cutthroat trout, which is
    protected as a threatened species under the ESA. Trails designated by the Forest for motorcycle
    use are causing widespread erosion and are damaging this unique population and its habitat.

    According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Bear Creek cutthroat population declined an
    astonishing 30 percent from 2008 to 2011. If this rate of population decline continues, greenback
    cutthroat in Bear Creek could soon be completely destroyed.

    The erosion in Bear Creek that is harming the greenback cutthroat results from the
    Forest’s authorization of motorized recreation of this trail system through 1) the inclusion of
    Bear Creek trails on the Forest’s Motor Vehicle Use Map, 2) the placement of signage
    identifying routes appropriate for motorcycle use, and 3) the Forest’s repeated and on-going
    motorcycle trail maintenance projects. See Motor Vehicle Use Map, Pike National Forest, Pikes
    Peak Ranger District (2010) (“MVUM”); Biological Evaluation of Cap’n Jack’s Motorized Trail
    Reroute, Pikes Peak Ranger District (“Cap’n Jack’s BE”). To date, the Forest Service has failed
    to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure these actions do not jeopardize the
    continued existence of the greenback cutthroat trout. 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2). These actions are
    also resulting in the harm, harassment, and death of protected fish without any authorization for
    the “take” of listed species, as required by the ESA under Section 9. 16 U.S.C. § 1638(a)(1)(A);
    16 U.S.C. § 1532(19).

    By this letter the Center puts the Forest and Supervisor Marr on official notice that their
    actions permitting and facilitating motorcycle use in the Bear Creek watershed are in violation of
    ESA Section 7 consultation requirements and are resulting in unlawful take under ESA Section
    9. 16 U.S.C. §§ 1536 and 1538. This letter is provided pursuant to the 60-day notice requirement
    of the citizen suit provision of the ESA to the extent such notice is deemed necessary by a court.
    See 16 U.S.C. § 1540(g). We may commence this action sooner than 60-days as allowed by the
    Act to prevent “an emergency posing a significant risk to the well-being” of greenback cutthroat
    trout. 16 U.S.C. § 1540(g)(2)(C).
    ----------

    The entire argument is that erosion is destroying the fish population. The rest is trying to find varying technicalities to support their argument. If they are successful in establishing the primary (false) premise that "erosion is destroying the fish", then finding similar technicalities that apply to mountainbikes under the broad and profuse ESA language will be easy.. hell, they can just re-use some of these.

    Start with the easy pickings, then work your way through the user groups from there.

  10. #10
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    The lawsuit isn't really about fish and it isn't really about motorcycles. It is about the alleged failure of a government agency to follow the law. Even if they won this suit it would just mean the forest service would then have to go through the consultation requirements they supposedly failed to follow.

    Establishing that any particular user group is indeed endangering fish would be another legal action entirely and would have to follow. And since we know the premise is false in the first place, what is there to worry about?

    Moreover, the suit is based on the assertion that an action taken by the service has violated the ESA. Bicycle access is not the result of any action taken unless they were forbidden at some point.
    Were bikes ever banned there and then specifically given access? Not as far as I can tell.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider View Post
    The lawsuit isn't really about fish and it isn't really about motorcycles. It is about the alleged failure of a government agency to follow the law. Even if they won this suit it would just mean the forest service would then have to go through the consultation requirements they supposedly failed to follow.

    Establishing that any particular user group is indeed endangering fish would be another legal action entirely and would have to follow. And since we know the premise is false in the first place, what is there to worry about?

    Moreover, the suit is based on the assertion that an action taken by the service has violated the ESA. Bicycle access is not the result of any action taken unless they were forbidden at some point.
    Were bikes ever banned there and then specifically given access? Not as far as I can tell.
    You are correct that when the issue is boiled down it revolves around the USFS not adhering to the T&E requirements and regulations. That said, the final result very likely would result in the loss of the trail system to motorized use. It is easier to close the trail to specific users than to comply with the ESA requirements (e.g moving the trail and associated costs). As TPA has pointed out to only target the moto group is to continue to ignore the other possible T&E impacts from other user groups. Without a comprehensive T&E study all options are still on the table.
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  12. #12
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    I saw some fancy signs today when I was coming down from the top. I was going to stop and take a picture but it only said I could not camp and shoot for a distance I felt was pretty short. Strange it didnt say anything about fishing.....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32x18 View Post
    You are correct that when the issue is boiled down it revolves around the USFS not adhering to the T&E requirements and regulations. That said, the final result very likely would result in the loss of the trail system to motorized use. It is easier to close the trail to specific users than to comply with the ESA requirements (e.g moving the trail and associated costs). As TPA has pointed out to only target the moto group is to continue to ignore the other possible T&E impacts from other user groups. Without a comprehensive T&E study all options are still on the table.
    That sounds like a fair assessment. I am inclined to support your position of keeping it open to all users, I just think any suggested threat to bike access is highly speculative at this point.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider View Post
    The lawsuit isn't really about fish and it isn't really about motorcycles. It is about the alleged failure of a government agency to follow the law. Even if they won this suit it would just mean the forest service would then have to go through the consultation requirements they supposedly failed to follow.

    Establishing that any particular user group is indeed endangering fish would be another legal action entirely and would have to follow. And since we know the premise is false in the first place, what is there to worry about?

    Moreover, the suit is based on the assertion that an action taken by the service has violated the ESA. Bicycle access is not the result of any action taken unless they were forbidden at some point.
    Were bikes ever banned there and then specifically given access? Not as far as I can tell.
    Buying the CBD hype? The "action" argument is a red herring itself and has the most potential broad impact to MTBs. Like most USFS trails, this was always open to moto use, it was the 2005 Travel Management Rule (further clarified in 2009) that required the USFS districts to inventory and specifically designate routes open to OHV. Implementation of this rule did not open new routes, but instead closed all the routes that were not specifically designated by being listed on an MVUM. It's a perversion by the CBD to now say that "not closing" a trail is the same as "opening", as though it was previously closed.

    Again, this is another precedent they would love to set. If they are successful with defining this "action" then the same rationale can be parlayed to to apply to all USFS areas where mountainbiking is also restricted to designated routes now or in the future (which is another agenda the enviro groups are aggressively pursuing. E.g. Grand Mesa: http://www.fs.fed.us/outernet/r2/gmu...ch_Scoping.pdf)

    In most cases I agree that MTBs should clearly differentiate themselves from moto. But groups like CBD are pursuing a national agenda to kill off both forms of use and are perverting the interpretations of the ESA a little further with each win. A win for the CBD here is a loss for mountainking as well.

    Do a little research on the CBD.. and especially on it's current use of the ESA. Sure thrilling to see how $21 million of our tax dollars have now gone to lining their attorney's pockets.
    http://www.esablawg.com/esalaw/ESBla...=ESA%20musings

    Big picture man.

  15. #15
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    The lawsuit is an interesting and scary read, and they sure seem to draw a lot of unsubstantiated conclusions? Lot's of lawyer speak and mumbo jumbo.

    I ride through Jones Park several times a month during the week when it's rideable, and I rarely see mtb bikes (maybe a weekend thing?), but I always see at least 2-6 moto's and several hikers. Although they mention illegal use of 666 by moto's, I have never seen one on it nor any telltale signs of there passage. I have seen occasional moto traffic on Buckhorn.

    This statement caught my eye...The Pikes Peak District Ranger recently referred to the larger Bear Creek trail system and attempts to address erosion problems as “challenging because of the high volume of motorcycle and mountain bike use, decomposed granite soils, steep grades and sensitivity to the watershed.”

    I have ridden on the weekend and weekday on the trail system, and I wouldn't call it high volume? Go spend sometime up at the Rampart Range OHV Area by Salida if you want high volume.

    One whopper rain storm by Mother Nature tosses a ton more erosion into the stream than any trail user?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastajet View Post
    I ride through Jones Park several times a month during the week when it's rideable, and I rarely see mtb bikes (maybe a weekend thing?), but I always see at least 2-6 moto's and several hikers. Although they mention illegal use of 666 by moto's, I have never seen one on it nor any telltale signs of there passage. I have seen occasional moto traffic on Buckhorn.

    This statement caught my eye...The Pikes Peak District Ranger recently referred to the larger Bear Creek trail system and attempts to address erosion problems as “challenging because of the high volume of motorcycle and mountain bike use, decomposed granite soils, steep grades and sensitivity to the watershed.”

    I have ridden on the weekend and weekday on the trail system, and I wouldn't call it high volume? Go spend sometime up at the Rampart Range OHV Area by Salida if you want high volume.
    I am with you on this Pastajet. I have been using the trails in questions for 25+ years. Weekday or weekend, once above 666, I rarely have any interaction with other users especially mtb. You and I know the illegal use of 666 by motos is no more of a problem than motos on the Chutes but once it has been uttered someone will continue to beat that drum. Without any further definition the term high volume is meaningless. What is medium volume for the given trail system?

    My main motivation in starting this thread was to pass along the TPA's info and let people decide about supporting the TPA for themselves.

    My secondary motivation is to help ensure the trail system stays open to all users because I am all users. I ride 13+ hours a week mostly on the westside trails. I hike my dog everyday on the westside trails. I ride my moto 5-10 times a year on the trails. I am part of every user group excluding equestrians but only because I don't have a horse.

    I live in COS because of what I can do right outside my door.

    Start to chip away at those options and COS becomes far less attractive.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32x18 View Post
    I
    B]I live in COS because of what I can do right outside my door.[/B]

    Start to chip away at those options and COS becomes far less attractive.
    Bingo. There's a reason I live, not only in COS, but specifically on the west side--having access to this trail network without having to get in a car is a huge QOL issue. Maybe the wildlife appreciates me riding my bike without burning any fossilb fuels to get there?
    All other things are rarely equal . . .

  18. #18
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    I apologize if this is inaccurate or previously stated, but are not bicycles classified as motor vehicles by the department of the interior? More interestingly, wasn't this same classification used in the early ages of mountain biking to restrict/prohibit off-road or trail riding in national parks?
    I ride mountain bike avidly, and also snowmobile, and have seen many seemingly 'good intentioned' lawsuits such as this used solely for the purpose of getting a foot in the door. 'Oh, look at how much we helped the poor (insert your cause here), imagine how much MORE we can do if we could just keep out the (insert your favorite pariah here). Next thing you know, the (insert cause) is the ONLY authorized user of the trail system, and it was all done for your own good. You might have gotten yourself hurt up there, you know.
    I also live in the springs, westside, and moved here BY CHOICE because of the easy access to outdoor recreation. Sadly, some folks seem to have moved here to 'repair the injustice of it all'.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by switchie View Post
    I apologize if this is inaccurate or previously stated, but are not bicycles classified as motor vehicles by the department of the interior?
    You're thinking of "mechanized". It's that classification that keeps bikes out of wilderness areas.

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    Looking throught he U.S. code, the DoI legal definitions, and the mighty wiki, I become easily confused.

    DoI states:
    Mechanical transport means any vehicle, device, or contrivance for moving people or material in or over land, water, snow, or air that has moving parts. This includes, but is not limited to, sailboats, sailboards, hang gliders, parachutes, bicycles, game carriers, carts, and wagons. The term does not include wheelchairs, nor does it include horses or other pack stock, skis, snowshoes, non-motorized river craft including, but not limited to, drift boats, rafts, and canoes, or sleds, travois, or similar devices without moving parts.

    But also states:

    Motor vehicle means any vehicle that is self-propelled.

    Motorized equipment means any machine that uses or is activated by a motor, engine, or other power source. This includes, but is not limited to, chainsaws, power drills, aircraft, generators, motorboats, motor vehicles, snowmobiles, tracked snow vehicles, snow blowers or other snow removal equipment, and all other snow machines.

    The U.S. code is even more vague, and states:

    (6) Motor vehicle. - The term "motor vehicle" means every
    description of carriage or other contrivance propelled or drawn
    by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the
    highways in the transportation of passengers, passengers and
    property, or property or cargo.

    I don't speak 'legalize' but can easily see how either of these will supply precedent to include bicycles as motorized vehicles.

    I thought I might have been onto something with the BLM, but reading their stance on bicycles, specifically Mountain Bikes, requires wading through 10 pounds of crap to find the one kernel of corn, if you smell what I am putting down, and my evening is drawing to a close. Suffice it to say, whether classified as a mechanized or a motorized vehicle, you can bet mountain bikes will be next on the target list.

    I think we all agree on that.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by switchie View Post

    I don't speak 'legalize' but can easily see how either of these will supply precedent to include bicycles as motorized vehicles.
    .
    Suffice it to say, whether classified as a mechanized or a motorized vehicle, you can bet mountain bikes will be next on the target list.

    I think we all agree on that.
    The Dept of Interior has used both mechanized and non-motorized vehicles to categorize normal bikes, the latter being an unfortunate terminology. It can get into a gray area with electric bikes, depending on the watts of the motor and max speed which the helper motor can propel the bike to be considered motorized.

  22. #22
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    So as I'm ridding down 666 today, looking at all the new signs about the new highly coveted fish I roll onto High drive. Following the same EXTREMELY delicate and rare waters that is home to this mutant fish I realize that this dirt road I am on (High drive) is criss crossing the river all the way down to the dog park at 21st street.
    So whats a bigger threat to the one off fish that lives here, 10 motos a week that have to cross a bridge on every bear creek crossing or a road with 50 cars a day on it, trash, tampons, condoms, beer cans, bottles, camp fires,BBQ grills, transmission fluid and auto parts all things I have seen in the creek!
    Sounds like a pretty hardy fish...must be to have survived for the last 100 years.
    So are they going to close high drive as well??

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waafoo View Post
    So as I'm ridding down 666 today, looking at all the new signs about the new highly coveted fish I roll onto High drive. Following the same EXTREMELY delicate and rare waters that is home to this mutant fish I realize that this dirt road I am on (High drive) is criss crossing the river all the way down to the dog park at 21st street.
    So whats a bigger threat to the one off fish that lives here, 10 motos a week that have to cross a bridge on every bear creek crossing or a road with 50 cars a day on it, trash, tampons, condoms, beer cans, bottles, camp fires,BBQ grills, transmission fluid and auto parts all things I have seen in the creek!
    Sounds like a pretty hardy fish...must be to have survived for the last 100 years.
    So are they going to close high drive as well??
    I bet that will be pretty imminent. That would also keep the party crowd and casual hiker and picnic types out of there since it's a walk up from the parking lot at the bottom.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waafoo View Post
    trash, tampons, condoms, beer cans, bottles, camp fires,BBQ grills, transmission fluid and auto parts all things I have seen in the creek!
    Obviously you don't understand.... that's ^^^ creating habitat/protection for the fish. It's only the sediment from those pesky knobby tires that kill fish.

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    Here you go. So much for moving the trail.
    FS caves to litigation.
    Motos banned from Bear Creek Trail.

    Forest Service settles with environmental group, agrees to ban dirt bikes - OutThereColorado.com


    "Under the terms of the agreement filed in federal court today in Denver, the Forest Service is required to prohibit off-road vehicles on nearly all of the five trails that run through the Bear Creek watershed. Before any part of those closed trails can be reopened, the Forest Service will have to consult, as required by the Endangered Species Act, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that trail use would not harm the threatened fish."


    "The Forest Service also plans to complete a comprehensive assessment of the watershed that could result in additional changes to protect the fragile stream."
    Anyone want to bet MTB's are next?

    Agreement Will Protect Colorado's Rare Greenback Cutthroat Trout

    One last edit.

    You really need to look at the map!
    668 (PIPELINE) is closed too!

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/s...r_Creek_PR.pdf
    Last edited by UncleTrail; 11-21-2012 at 02:48 PM.

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