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  1. #1
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    West Mag conditions

    For some stupid reason I decided to give West Mag a try today. Bad idea.

    It actually wouldn't have been horrible if it wasn't for the remnants of the recent tree work up there. It looks like a war zone.

    Aspen Alley...gone. No longer a trail at least. Just DEEP mud.

    Many of the other trails would be in good shape in another week or two depending on how warm it stays up there, but there are also very large piles of trees across the former trails. The crews obviously did not care to move those piles 5 feet one way or the other. Real bummer.

    It's going to take A LOT of work to get things rideable again.

    Here are some pics:

    Pungy Stick:

    West Mag conditions-img_20130515_122319.jpg

    West Mag conditions-pano_20130515_122352.jpg

    West Mag conditions-img_20130515_122541.jpg

    Top of Aspen Alley:

    West Mag conditions-img_20130515_122808.jpg

    West Mag conditions-pano_20130515_122859.jpg

    Aspen Alley proper (once you get into the Apsens it turns to DEEP mud for as long as you can see):

    West Mag conditions-img_20130515_123129.jpg

    Observatory parking lot:

    West Mag conditions-pano_20130515_124402.jpg

    West Mag conditions-pano_20130515_124458.jpg

    Observatory:

    West Mag conditions-img_20130515_124821.jpg

    View from YMCA/Hobbit 3 intersection:

    West Mag conditions-pano_20130515_130606.jpg

  2. #2
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    West Mag conditions

    Very sad

  3. #3
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    Looks like a blank slate to me.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  4. #4
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    Man, you didn't post any pics of the monster clear cuts. The pics you posted do not do the injustice justice. The hobbits have been wiped out. Everything down on the flat sections of west mag is GONE! The greed of logging married to the blind eye of the forest service has created a moonscape that will take a decade to start to sort out. Did you see the 40 foot tall slash piles?
    Everyone should go up there for a look.
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  5. #5
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    sloppyart - You see my tracks from yesterday? Sounds like we had about the same adventure.

    Reroot has seen some reroute as well.

    West Mag conditions-20130513_192503.jpg

    West Mag conditions-20130513_193029.jpg

    West Mag conditions-20130513_193458.jpg

  6. #6
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    Oooooooooooooooo, nice spec'y evo you got there Thump. How is it treating you?
    ****

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    The greed of logging married to the blind eye of the forest service
    It was my understanding that there was no greed of logging involved, that it was all for fire suppression and that the wood involved isn't really worth a damn thing. Not saying that's right, just what has been said. If that isn't the case, I'd like to know more.


    Also, does anyone know if the giant slash piles are all staying? or is the contractor still coming back for more cleanup?

  8. #8
    Kaj
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    Based on these fotos and some others I've seen of west mag I'm guessing that Reynolds Ranch aka Dot trails aka boy scout trails might be about ready. They don't get as much sun in spots as west mag does.

    Anyone been around the dots yet?
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    Kaj, I haven't been, but based on my drive up to Ned 10 days ago, and given the recent weather, if they're not there they have to be pretty close.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    It was my understanding that there was no greed of logging involved, that it was all for fire suppression and that the wood involved isn't really worth a damn thing. Not saying that's right, just what has been said. If that isn't the case, I'd like to know more.


    Also, does anyone know if the giant slash piles are all staying? or is the contractor still coming back for more cleanup?
    Go there and see it for yourself, and tell me how the sight makes you feel. Ride the fire roads in a south east direction to get back to the largest clearcut, and ask yourself why that was necessary.
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  11. #11
    zrm
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    These kinds of timber sales have nothing to do with greed. The timber in cuts like these has little or no commercial value. The reasoning is firebreaks in the urban/wildland interface.

    When wildfires happen and there's a lot of property loss, people clamor and rail against the terrible bureaucracy that prevents timber cuts. When no wildfire happens but timber is cut people clamor and rail against the horrible timber cuts. It's a win-win situation for people who like to complain but are unencumbered by the thought process.

    All that said, I agree that these cuts look awful and the contractors and FS need to accommodate trail corridors. (if they're not legal trails the FS doesn't recognize they exist from a management point of view so it shouldn't be surprising that they don't make contractors go to the extra trouble to keep the corridors clear). I'd get with the dispersed rec person at the ranger district and get them to get the trails cleared, even if it has to be done by volunteers. Here in Summit County there have been a lot of these fire break timber sales and when they were up for public comment we made sure that the subject was addressed. The contractors have actually done a pretty good job of keeping the trails clear.

    Have faith though. in the grand scheme of things, those timber cuts will regenerate and the opened up areas will get all kinds of great wildflowers that couldn't live under a dense forest canopy.
    Last edited by zrm; 05-19-2013 at 09:24 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser View Post
    Looks like a blank slate to me.
    agreed

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Have faith though. in the grand scheme of things, those timber cuts will regenerate and the opened up areas will get all kinds of great wildflowers that couldn't live under a dense forest canopy.
    +1 Agreed

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    I thought the contractor had to pull out to go to forest fires last fall, but that they weren't finished and would be back to continue the work. Maybe I heard wrong. Can't believe they would just leave it like that. Or maybe they would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    Go there and see it for yourself, and tell me how the sight makes you feel. Ride the fire roads in a south east direction to get back to the largest clearcut, and ask yourself why that was necessary.
    I don't doubt that it would elicit a very emotional response. But emotional responses, while important and valuable, aren't facts, and I was asking about facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokefork View Post
    I thought the contractor had to pull out to go to forest fires last fall, but that they weren't finished and would be back to continue the work. Maybe I heard wrong. Can't believe they would just leave it like that. Or maybe they would.
    That was my understanding too, that they were not finished.

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    The slash piles are left like that all over the wildland-urban interface west of Boulder. We have had them in our neighborhood for years now outside of Ned. The forest service was going to burn them, but after burning some on Sugarloaf (January of '11 I think) it started a fire when winds came up afterwards. They have been moving very slowly on getting rid of them ever since. As I understand it, the crews are coming back into West Mag to deal with it, but I wouldn't hold your breath on it happening so we can bike the trails. I think the thing to do now is to wait for trail build/volunteer days and ride other areas until then. There really won't be much to ride up there for awhile.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    Oooooooooooooooo, nice spec'y evo you got there Thump. How is it treating you?
    I've got no complaints. They nailed it with this one. Pedals great and feels bulletproof.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaj View Post
    Anyone been around the dots yet?
    I took them over there from my house. Boot/Reboot was in pretty good shape with minimal drift busting. I'd image they whole thing will be good to go by this weekend.

    Few more pics.. It's my understanding that the project budget includes cleanup, but I don't believe they're even fully done with the cutting yet.

    West Mag conditions-20130513_193551.jpg

    West Mag conditions-20130513_190750.jpg

    West Mag conditions-20130513_190718.jpg

  18. #18
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    From the last meeting I went to at the Ned Community Center, The FS said the following:
    1) There is more work to do at west mag--not specific of how much, but definitely not done yet. Plan to resume this summer and only close off specific work areas instead of the whole area.
    2) They will be planting 1000 trees this summer--pondo and fir
    3) They will be planting much more than that next summer of same variety
    4) Slash piles are slated to be dealt with this coming winter--they have a chipper contract and are slowing moving around the area shipping slash piles with that. may burn some in the winter also.
    5) part of the contract is possibly to "restore" the old trails--so Hobbit 1, which is gone may get for example the trees/brush moved off to the side to "open" the trail.

    That is all I have folks.

  19. #19
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    Dots= dry. I wouldn't waste your time trying West Mag.

  20. #20
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    Slightly off-topic but given the conditions in Wet Mag, does this mean that Sourdough and SSV are close to being ready to ride?

  21. #21
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    Sourdough and SSV are still pretty snowed in.
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  22. #22
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    Anyone know what elevation the snow line is at on schoolbus?

    Dots were great yesterday, but the rest was depressing... As Thump called out reroot has been plundered or 'rerouted' and linking up a good ride is almost impossible

  23. #23
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    I'm planning on riding the hobbits (what's left of them) to school bus till the snow hits after work today. I'll bring the garmin and note where the snow turns me around.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by edenger View Post
    Anyone know what elevation the snow line is at on schoolbus?

    Dots were great yesterday, but the rest was depressing... As Thump called out reroot has been plundered or 'rerouted' and linking up a good ride is almost impossible
    I wasn't on Bus, but did some clearing on the stuff further back today and would estimate the snow pack gets solid around 9100-9200. Eg. the top of Sweet is pure white on the northish side.

  25. #25
    Kaj
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    Ride report: I parked near the Observatory parking lot, just west of it where I would normally park for my after work spin. Rode Hobbit 1, Hobbit 2 then up School Bus and back down to Hobbit 3, and back to the car, I would usually ride Observatory but it's got a closed sign on it.

    This is my favorite after work spin, about 10 miles. I'll throw in the trails to Rollinsville if I have time (maybe total 15/16 miles) but tonight I didn't get there early enough.

    So what's changed from this ride? Basically the parking lot at Observatory and the first 60% of Hobbit one, or the first mile are clear cut. I can ride the Hobbit 1 trail because I know where it should be, but it's clear cut the first mile of it is tough to follow, but the last 1/2 mile is back in the woods. Then the next 9 miles are more or less the same as before. I know an optimists point of view, but really Hobbit 2, School Bus and Hobbit 3 are more or less untouched so far. They ride the same.

    Based on the reports so far, I'm pretty happy that at least this route is still about as fun as before. I miss that first mile of Hobbit 1 which was beyond awesome in the trees, but the trail is more or less still there.

    School Bus elevation report: I went 1/2 mile up past the bus before I turned around. Up till there-there is one mud/water spot down low and 2 or 3 snow drifts of about 5 feet long / 3 inches deep you need to ride through.

    Based on what I expected it was pretty eff'n awesome overall.
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  26. #26
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    Went back out for a few hours of night riding... basically same report as Kaj.

    Reroot - downed trees, don't bother
    Pungy - still a bit of snow, but passable
    Hobbit 1 - a clearcut mess, but passable
    Hobbit 2 - looks decimated from the very start, but same ole trail once you're in 100'
    Hobbit 3 - passable and untouched
    School Bus - mostly good-to-go until you get the planks section near the top (~9200).. then pure snow from there to 105
    Sweet / Aquaduct - 80% good to go. Snow patches on the north parts then completed snowed in for about 500 feet over the top. About half a dozen downed tree sections
    355 - clear to the very end (with some good mud pits)
    Meadows - GTG
    R&D - clear to about 9400, then complete snowblocked, few downed trees along the way
    Car wash - unknown - probably muddy and snowy in dense parts
    High Fructose Mag - cuts all around it, but clear.. still entirely and ridiculously fvcking lame.. but clear
    Dots - GTG

    Cleared a few trees today. Realized we completely forgot about clearing lower Sweet last year.. guess I figured maybe our mtb organization from down the hill would have gotten it since it's *their trails* and all? Anyway, will hopefully have a chance to come back with the chainsaw for the bigger piles one eve this week.

    Got snowed on a bit tonight at the top of Bus.. Springtime in the mountains is cool.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    High Fructose Mag - cuts all around it, but clear.. still entirely and ridiculously fvcking lame.. but clear


    Thanks for the reports, Kaj and thump. Looks like I need to fire up the weekly ride machine!

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    Okay, so I rode Hobbits 1 and 2 on Monday. A BIG kudos to those folks who must have dragged thousands of pounds of slash off the trails. My experience was:

    I followed a clear track. I just followed, I recognized nothing, except two places where I rolled over rocks that are imbedded in my memory. I instantly remembered them, and what the forest looked like around them. When I snapped back to reality, the cool serene forest was gone, replaced by a decimated landscape, devoid of all the... EVERYTHING that the forest provided. The trail had NO SOUL. My riding was an exercise in pedaling motions, until I re-entered the forest. It was sad.
    Yes, there is a trail there. Yes, 10 years from now, it will look better. Fifty years from now, it will be pretty cool. But on the short sighted point of view, right now, it looks like a crime scene. A crime committed on the owners of the national forest. I feel violated. I have been riding at West Mag for 17 years. I feel like I've been raped.
    ****

  29. #29
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    Just got up there for the first time since the cutting. Parked at the observatory lot, and rode observatory to hobbit 3, so didn't see the whole system.

    My take? Well, maybe it's a case of diminished expectations, but I didn't think it looked that bad. Sure, the giant slash piles are ugly but I'm assuming those will eventually be hauled away. Other than that, if you keep your eyes 2 feet off the ground, it actually looks good. New views, long sightlines, and in a couple of years when the ground cover starts filling in, I think it will start looking good. And in 5 years, I think it will look really good.

    Yes, the whole thing sucked and I wish it didn't have to happen, but it isn't the end of the world up there. And the views are really sweet!

  30. #30
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    Well sure, a rider could put a bag over their head, with two tiny eye holes cut out in it, wear a huge visor on their helmet, and never look more than 6 inches in front of their wheel, and they would never notice the difference....
    Riders are expressing their opinions through attendance; the crowds are staying away, and it has nothing to do with snow on the trails.
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    "Riders are expressing their opinions through attendance". Really? That would mean that in the short time it's been open this Spring, riders have been there and decided it is awful and left, never to come back, and that's already obvious? If riders are indeed not showing up, it probably has a lot more to do with the fact that a) it was closed last year b) they may not realize it is now open or have just gotten used to riding in other spots and c) they know that it's kinda ugly right now.

    Whichever, I don't really care. I don't ride West Mag because of all the other riders up there, in fact just the opposite. I never saw "crowds" up there, but if the "crowds" stay away, that's not exactly going to upset me, quite the contrary. And I didn't expect it to look good, and it doesn't, it just looks better than I expected. And my normal ride of Hobbit 3 and up Schoolbus is pretty much untouched (for now, no idea of the future). So all in all, while I wish it didn't have to happen, it isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

    You can whine about it all you want, and not ride there yourself because it's so awful. Fine by me.

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    Dude, my post wasn't an attack on you, but you can take it anyway you want to.

    Actually, I am choosing to ride there less often because of the poor condition the school bus trail is in, not because of the ugliness.
    ****

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    Actually, I am choosing to ride there less often because of the poor condition the school bus trail is in, not because of the ugliness.
    This isn't the first time I've said this, but when I read posts about West Mag trail conditions, I sometimes feel like people must be riding in a different place than I am, that just have the same names.

  34. #34
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    I don't think we are communicating very well....
    I rode school bus on sunday; it has been becoming more of a rutted, widened out, loose trail for years, but sunday it just seemed to by all that times ten. IMO, I think sections of it need to be retired.
    ****

  35. #35
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    We rode it a couple days ago, it's the same trail it's always been, but there is a lot of loose rock in places. It doesn't need to be rerouted, it just needs to be cleaned up a bit. A little raking in a few spots would go a long way...
    .




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    Quote Originally Posted by davec113 View Post
    We rode it a couple days ago, it's the same trail it's always been, but there is a lot of loose rock in places. It doesn't need to be rerouted, it just needs to be cleaned up a bit. A little raking in a few spots would go a long way...
    I disagree with you Dave. IMO, the ruts are deeper, the steps edged by roots are taller, ingeneral it's more choppy, with more exposed rocks, and more loose rocks, Raking it will take care of the latter, yes.
    Face it, that trail has seen a lot of mileage, and the topsoil is long gone.
    ****

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    for the amount of time that trail has been in existence, and the amount of use it sees, and the amount of significant weather events it sees, and the lack of hardly any maintenance, I think the Bus is in fantastic shape. I do see a few places where there's been erosion, most notably the steps edged by roots you mention, but the rocks seem to come and go, and overall I think it's just great.

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    I've ridden the bus several times this year (as a favorite after work ride) and think it's wearing just fine. Compared to 6-7 years ago, yes it's way rougher... but it's just as much fun as it ever was and I don't think it's drastically different -- except for the damn cheater lines that are starting to emerge.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    I disagree with you Dave. IMO, the ruts are deeper, the steps edged by roots are taller, ingeneral it's more choppy, with more exposed rocks, and more loose rocks, Raking it will take care of the latter, yes.
    Face it, that trail has seen a lot of mileage, and the topsoil is long gone.
    Yeah, there are steps that are a little bigger and more loose rock. But it's not that much different...

    However, it wasn't trail users that caused a great majority of the erosion, it was incredibly heavy rain.

    It's still a fun trail and the erosion isn't a big deal IMO.
    .




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  40. #40
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    Eh, it's all good. I went there today and stayed on the more obscure, other side of the land. Saw no one, rode different trails, had a good time. I like it when there is no one there, like it use to be, years ago.
    Bagwhan, you rode observatory to get to hobbit 3, but didn't ride hobbit 1 and 2? I suggest you check out those two trails when you're there next time. I think you might have a different experience than your last ride there....
    ****

  41. #41
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    perhaps, but I like to ride up to go down.

  42. #42
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    Is there a map somewhere with all the trails? I think the hobbits, school bus, and reroute were the only trails on the official trail map. I have some favorite routes up there, but i have no idea what the trail names are.

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    West Mag conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by dthomp325 View Post
    Is there a map somewhere with all the trails? I think the hobbits, school bus, and reroute were the only trails on the official trail map. I have some favorite routes up there, but i have no idea what the trail names are.
    Edited.

    Apparently my post at being helpful upsets the Ned locals who feel nobody bar the locals should be able to find their way around.
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 06-12-2013 at 08:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dthomp325 View Post
    Is there a map somewhere with all the trails? I think the hobbits, school bus, and reroute were the only trails on the official trail map. I have some favorite routes up there, but i have no idea what the trail names are.
    The Lat 40 Nederland/Boulder map is the best for the local area.

    Some trails are not mapped b/c they're not official.. and it's better for the all of us riders and the trails if they stay that way. Not that that'll stop the Stravatards who evidentially haven't figured out we're not the only user group that knows how to look up trails on websites.

  45. #45
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    I thought the Sky Terrain map was pretty good.

    Truth is, I have been riding there regularly (ie a lot) for a dozen years, and have a pretty good grasp of the trail system, but as Thump says, many are not official and hence not officially mapped. Plus, I don't have a freaking clue as to the names (and most of the lesser known ones probably have more than one name, because they're not officially mapped). One trail I recall seeing on one of those maps and it had a qualitative notation next to it, "sweet". So we call it the Sweet Trail. Who the hell knows if it really has a name? I'm sure some other group of riders calls it something different.

    The "outer" trails at west mag just need to be explored and learned, not sure there's any way around that. Too many unsigned intersections, even if you had a map, because not all the intersections would be on your map and you'd have no way of knowing which was which.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNormsk View Post
    Edited.

    Apparently my post at being helpful upsets the Ned locals who feel the nobody bar the locals should be able to find their way around.
    Not upset man.. just stating reality. I've already run into non-local motos on the back trails that I stopped to talk with and they found their way back there via Strava. There's always been motos on these trails (it's how they were created), but most used to learn via other local riders that trust them to ride with respect and only showed those that have the skill level (aka clutch control) and mentality not to roost, dig ruts and tear sh1t up.

    So many guys seem to be on a crusade to post all "social trails" online for some public good. Evidentially not realizing the "public" includes hunters, horses, shooters, partying hippies, bum camps, motos, quads, side-by-sides and a LOT of folks that will destroy crap without a second thought.. and these guys know how to type in strava.com as well as anybody (many moto guys bike too). Once this stuff gets popular then the USFS and local land owners start dropping trees and stringing fences. Really a very simple concept.

    So yeah.. either go explore and have fun in the adventure, like all the rest of us did.. or just ask anyone that knows the area... but putting all that stuff online is the absolute fastest way to lose it for all.

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