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  1. #1
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    Upset West Mag Travesty....

    I'm so pissed! Yesterday I finally got a chance to revisit West Mag trails on the south end of Nederland for the first time since access restrictions were lifted. Having just rained the night before, 925 was severely rutted and exposed due to water erosion. Erosion due to clear cut. I have to tell you the clear cut that was done in the area was one of the most horrid examples I have yet to see in Colorado. Not even pre-beetle cuts near Breckenridge could ever compare. We're not talking tree thinning here, we're talking Hiroshima style clear cut. Not just whole swatches of trees, but forest floor, delicate fauna and ecosystem totally obliterated by what can only be construed as bulldozing. What about the wetlands in the area? Trashed. Not to mention that the trails, if they still exist, are trashed as well.
    As I rode through the whole area that was affected, I observed the trees on the other side of the private land fence. Yes, they were in dire need of thinning. There were choked dead trees standing among the thriving trees. Dead-fall in need of raking out, etc. None of that area on the other side of the private land fence would have needed clear cut. I saw no evidence of outright uncontrolled beetle kill.
    I want to know where Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (BMA) stood in all of this? What ecosystem studies were done prior? What idiot or set of idiots allowed this happen in the first place? What happened to all the usable timber? Was it sold to be reincorporated in the USFS future attempts to restore the area itself? As far as I'm concerned West Mag belongs to all of us. Our taxes pay USFS to maintain and protect OUR forests. It is my honest opinion they failed to do that and BMA, for all their good intentions, failed to stop them.
    I want all users of forest lands, and not just mountain bikers, to know that the forest belongs to us. The USFS or USDA are paid by us to protect and maintain OUR forests. The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance should not stand for this no matter where it is, Boulder or otherwise. Once something like this is allowed to happen, sure enough it's bound to happen again. Maybe your favorite trails are next....
    Peace out and stay cool!

  2. #2
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    Not to say the FS did the best job implementing their fuel reduction strategy or that it was good for the trail (it wasn't)...but there was was a lot of information on this prior to implementation and plenty of time and opportunities to comment.

    Big Picture Description published in 2012
    Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Pawnee National Grassland - News & Events

    Map of Proposed Fuel Treatments including "Cutting Areas" aka Clear Cuts
    https://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC...rdb5355340.pdf

    The Environmental Assessment that covers this work from 2009
    USDA Forest Service - Boulder Ranger District NEPA Projects - Lump Gulch Fuel Treatment Project
    * BTW Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance is listed as part of the working group for the EA

    Although they don't use the words "clear cut", they pretty much said it "[t]reating these parcels will create a large visible change on the landscape since same-aged lodgepole trees must be cut in groups instead of thinned. Thinning in lodgepole dominated forest results in trees extremely susceptible to blow-down." Although the term "clear cut" has a lot a negative connotations these days it is probably the management technique most similar to intense wildfire, which usually initiates lodgepole stand development, and is a widely accepted management technique to deal with MPB affected stands.

    Some reading on the ecology of lodgepole pine...
    Species: Pinus contorta var. latifolia

    My point here is mainly to inform the way the FS and other federal agencies make these kinds of decisions. There was active participation earlier this year on a proposed trail project that affects bike access to part of the Colorado Trail. Many informed comments were submitted by MTBR members and the result was a decision that included bike use on the trail. If you care about your forest you should be watching this Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Pawnee National Grassland - Alerts & Notices to see how projects on public lands might affect your use of them. It is an incredibly transparent process that requires public input.

  3. #3
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    I haven't biked in the area that the OP mentions, but honestly, I have actually been fairly impressed with the logging from what I have seen (mostly the western end of the affected area). Not saying I wanted the cutting, but I think they did a fairly good job, and assuming they get rid of the giant slash piles, the place will look pretty damn good in just a few years.

  4. #4
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by bittles View Post
    I'm so pissed! ...... blah blah blah........ Maybe your favorite trails are next....
    Now that's one of the best rants I've heard in a long time. All the requisite indignant outrage and none of the informed observation and/or opinion.

    Sorry man, but you need to take some time and educate yourself how actions on federal land are planned and implemented and how the public can comment.. If you pay attention and put in a little bit of work you can in the least be heard and have the process and reasoning explained to you and your comments, if they're reasoned and coherent might even make at least a little bit of difference.

    Ranting on the interwebz does very little.

    Anyway, the forest will regenerate. There will be many stages that it will go through that are actually interesting to watch if you have the long term patience and vision to see it.

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    I'm actually gonna agree with srm,

    but your a whinny little you know what

    come on back in a year or two and the crime your trying to describe will be a great place
    there are places in summit that have been obliterated, only to come back a year later and it's full of baby trees and tons and tons of flowers and all that crap that gets people excited about living in the mountains

    clear cutting, logging, and what not is the greatest thing to happen to colorado, too bad all the sierra club card carry liberal trash has been against logging for all these years has had their way and that's why we have big azz fires and the pine bettles

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripper roo View Post
    come on back in a year or two and the crime your trying to describe will be a great place
    Except the Drainbows and their trash will still be there...

    pics from another thread:



    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  7. #7
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    The FS is currently accepting input on their trails plan (which I think is basically awesome...btw). Go ahead, get involved.

    Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Pawnee National Grassland - News & Events

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    Please cut down our forests and ruin our trails!! Why are some sheep so eager to let the forest circus be their boss?? West mag didnt need clear cutting anymore that any other area along the front range. If you think it was an accident that west mag was chosen you're mistaken. It was chosen to send a message that they are in charge around here. Why will it be any different this time?? Their goal is to map and control all BoCo trails and forests. Will we all just sit by and watch them destroy Sherwood also??

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by R steve View Post
    Please cut down our forests and ruin our trails!! Why are some sheep so eager to let the forest circus be their boss?? West mag didnt need clear cutting anymore that any other area along the front range. If you think it was an accident that west mag was chosen you're mistaken. It was chosen to send a message that they are in charge around here. Why will it be any different this time?? Their goal is to map and control all BoCo trails and forests. Will we all just sit by and watch them destroy Sherwood also??

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    That's not very nice Mr bacon.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by R steve View Post
    It was chosen to send a message that they are in charge around here.
    For reals dude? So like Forest Service Mafia?

    Will you soon have a strategically placed bloody ponderosa stump beneath your sheets?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by R steve View Post
    Please cut down our forests and ruin our trails!! Why are some sheep so eager to let the forest circus be their boss?? West mag didnt need clear cutting anymore that any other area along the front range. If you think it was an accident that west mag was chosen you're mistaken. It was chosen to send a message that they are in charge around here. Why will it be any different this time?? Their goal is to map and control all BoCo trails and forests. Will we all just sit by and watch them destroy Sherwood also??
    West Mag was chosen because of its proximity to Ned, and the threat it posed to the concentration of homes there. And if yout think what happened in West Mag is "clear cutting", you haven't seen true clear cutting. They cut down wide swaths in West Mag, but left lots and lots of forest standing. Go check out a real clear cutting and be glad that didn't happen here. And here's a tip: the USFS and BCPOS are not the same organization.

    I now await another negative reputation point because I have the gall to say that all things considered, they did a good job and that it could have been a lot worse.

  13. #13
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    Glad this has been brought to our attention. Given the total lack of previous West Mag threads we may never have known otherwise.

  14. #14
    zrm
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    Otherwise I'd have never known.

    I'd say a lot of the people who post these threads ranting the horrible old FS and fuel reduction timber cuts are the same people who would post threads ranting about the horrible old FS and "tree huggers" should've "done something" to prevent a fire if one came though and took out a bunch of houses.

    Just goes to show you can't please everyone.

  15. #15
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    I knew this thread had legs.
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
    Where we should go,
    We just ride...

  16. #16
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    Awesome thread! If you think what the fS did at West Mag looks bad, check out all the other thinning operations they've done in the few years prior. West Mag looks great compared to what they did on Taylor Mountain and Gold Ridge.

    As Bagwhan says, though, give it a couple years and it'll look great. Taylor and Gold Ridge are already rehabbing in great ways. The BRD fuels reduction plans have been around for years. Fortunately, they seem to be learning more with each run.
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  17. #17
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    Except the Drainbows and their trash will still be there...

    pics from another thread:



    Not if you pick it up.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Not if you pick it up.
    So when are you bringing up the 10 ton dumptruck? This is one small example of about 50 sites. USFS is too busy sawing trees and playing in Boulder politics to deal with even the most blatant on-the-ground violations.

    When you do bring that truck up, keep in mind the Drainbows are still here. Be on the lookout for the random attack from a mentally ill homeless dude for fvcking with his precious forest collection.

  19. #19
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    So when are you bringing up the 10 ton dumptruck? This is one small example of about 50 sites. USFS is too busy sawing trees and playing in Boulder politics to deal with even the most blatant on-the-ground violations.

    When you do bring that truck up, keep in mind the Drainbows are still here. Be on the lookout for the random attack from a mentally ill homeless dude for fvcking with his precious forest collection.
    Not quite sure what you mean by "drainbows" but it looks like you're talking about squatters. We have some issues with that, that ranges from fairly classic homeless people, people with mental health issues, people who are fairly "normal" but are choosing to save on rent and camp out for a while. Some of them keep a fairly clean camp and some of them don't.
    Often they move on on their own accord and others the FS LEO or Sheriff will occasionally chase them out. Often trash and fire rings are left behind. Fortunately, there are a lot of folks here in Summit that care enough about the land that they will volunteer to clean up squatter camps, I've done it several times. It's not pleasant, but it beats doing nothing but complaining on the interwebz.

    I've seen lots of trashed campsites - almost anywhere it's easy to drive to will have them. Litter, tire tracks everywhere to the point that nothing grows, shot up trees or trees sawed up for firewood, multiple fire rings when one will do, etc. There are a lot of people, MTBers included who don't think much about respect for the land or stewardship when they're out in the woods. People like to blame all the problems on those "other people" and never me or my tribe. Take care of your own actions and do what you can make things better (like picking up litter whether it's yours or not), but ragging on the interwebz and perpetuating stereotypes and prejudices does nothing.

    PS: If you're talking about "rainbows" the rainbow people actually go through the event permitting process when they have their gatherings on Federal lands and have to post a bond for clean up, ecological damage, etc. Like the whole rainbow family bit or not, I've heard from some agency folks that for the most part they actually do a pretty good job of cleaning up after themselves.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Not quite sure what you mean by "drainbows" but it looks like you're talking about squatters.
    Worse than squatters. They leave hazardous waste behind like coke-can meth labs.

    Urban Dictionary: drainbow


    I would just like to thank WKD for making me wonder what a "drainbow" was... because along the way I found out what a "drainal" is, and I don't think my life would have been complete without finding out this important sniglit of useless information.... of course it opens up a whole new realm of insults I can hurl at bad drivers on the way home. If i could give + rep I would....

  21. #21
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    Worse than squatters. They leave hazardous waste behind like coke-can meth labs.

    Urban Dictionary: drainbow


    I would just like to thank WKD for making me wonder what a "drainbow" was... because along the way I found out what a "drainal" is, and I don't think my life would have been complete without finding out this important sniglit of useless information.... of course it opens up a whole new realm of insults I can hurl at bad drivers on the way home. If i could give + rep I would....
    Well consider me educated. I've never heard that term before and I figured it was some sort of reference to Rainbows or "dirty hippies". We're a little sheltered up here in Summit.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Not quite sure what you mean by "drainbows".
    I'm talking about a forest half-full of bums and meth heads. This summer - 1 murder, 1 guy eviscerated from pelvis to throat, several other stabbings. I'm talking about a physical altercation with a guy that felt we were trespassing on his campsite, that he setup right on top of a trail. I'm talking about 100 hippies partying it up for a week, then leaving behind the tents, trash, everything.

    Appreciate the righteous sanctimony though. You want to become the weekly volunteer trash service for these folks then please be my guest.

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    Which agency could step in and root some of these squatters out, or is there a lack of manpower or everyone just passes the buck. Shame those forests are being used like that. Spent quite a bit of time up there in the 70's when it was really rocking, but don't remember the hippies doing that much damage to the area.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokefork View Post
    Which agency could step in and root some of these squatters out, or is there a lack of manpower or..
    ^ I believe it's this. I can't imagine that USFS is happy about it, but a full-time LEO ranger costs $$.. and I'd imagine they'd need to start with the craziness at Lefthand before they got around to WM. Other problem is that you can't stop the legal "camping" part as long as they move around.

    Although one could argue that the Ranger costs peanuts compared to the budget being spent on mitigation work.

  25. #25
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    we rode the dots to re-root and the hobbits and back on Saturday (only rained on us a little) and I have to say the landscape is recovering swiftly. Ignoring the slash piles, which I'm told will disappear, the wildflowers up there are going to be epic in a year or two in those open meadows. There are already a bunch of flowers growing/blooming in the open areas.

    The trails themselves were in fantastic shape.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonefrontranger View Post
    we rode the dots to re-root and the hobbits and back on Saturday (only rained on us a little) and I have to say the landscape is recovering swiftly. Ignoring the slash piles, which I'm told will disappear, the wildflowers up there are going to be epic in a year or two in those open meadows. There are already a bunch of flowers growing/blooming in the open areas.
    Bumping this thread because the slash piles are gone or mostly gone, and the wildflowers are going off. The land is still obviously scarred, but it's easier to choose to not see that now, and it's easier to imagine what things will look like in a handful of years.

    it is amazing how different the landscape is from pre-cutting days. I am blown away every time I ride the Observatory Trail and pop out on the 355 (I used to pop out there from Sugar Mag, but High Fructose Mag still makes me too sad to ride it). This spot that I knew like the back of my hand is just so utterly and completely different looking. Not bad, just different. A wooded spot with the intersection of 2 roads and a trail now has these sweeping views in an open "meadow", so strange. But I'm totally embracing it for what it is now.

    I'm not trying to pick the scab off old wounds, I'm trying to spread a little positivity, so I hope this thread doesn't dredge up hurt feelings.

  27. #27
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    I agree. There has been much forest clearing in all of the Boulder RD, not just West Mag. Now that the slashpiles are going away, things are growing in, flowers are popping, big views are opened up and Aspens are thriving. I think it'll be ok in the long term
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  28. #28
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    I think that some of these huge clearcuts should provide opportunities for some new trails.

  29. #29
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    No new trails needed, just a little maintenance here and there. Trails for the most part are riding pretty nicely.

    West Mag Travesty....-west-mag.jpg

  30. #30
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    Agreed. I haven't ridden many of the lower trails like Hobbit 1 & 2, but what I have ridden (Observatory, Lookout, Hobbit 3, Bus) are all fine with no new trails needed.

    That said, I'm not against new trail.

  31. #31
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    rode the west mag trails last saturday---pretty fun and lots of flowers.

  32. #32
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by bipolarbear View Post
    I think that some of these huge clearcuts should provide opportunities for some new trails.
    The time for that would have been when the NEPA for the cuts was being done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    The time for that would have been when the NEPA for the cuts was being done.
    Since you know the area, some of the clear-cuts around Summit, especially near the aqueduct, would be a great spot for a new trail that climbed then descended towards the ranch. Breck seems to be all about building new trails and turning old ones into flow trails. Elsewhere in the county, not so much. I'm not looking for high density, braided trail networks, but I do see opportunities for a few purpose built trails in our area specifically, that could benefit from expansion, especially when there is no trees in the way to inhibit the course of a trail build.

    But once again, I am guilty of thread drift.

  34. #34
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by bipolarbear View Post
    Since you know the area, some of the clear-cuts around Summit, especially near the aqueduct, would be a great spot for a new trail that climbed then descended towards the ranch. Breck seems to be all about building new trails and turning old ones into flow trails. Elsewhere in the county, not so much. I'm not looking for high density, braided trail networks, but I do see opportunities for a few purpose built trails in our area specifically, that could benefit from expansion, especially when there is no trees in the way to inhibit the course of a trail build.

    But once again, I am guilty of thread drift.
    Well, like I said, the time for proposing new trails would have been during the NEPA that was done for the cuts and that was 5+ years ago. Regardless, the Ranger District has made it pretty clear that they are not entertaining any new trail proposals on the forest until they get caught up on the maintenance backlog on existing trails and that is many years worth of work.

    The town of Breck's trail building program is all on town & county open space land and plays by a very different set of rules than federal agencies. Some of the trails do cross FS land, but they are within the Golden Horseshoe special management area that is a cooperative between town & county open space, the Forest Service and private land owners and a much higher density of trails are allowed.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    The time for that would have been when the NEPA for the cuts was being done.
    I'm not sure. The NEPA process was for a large area, of which W. Mag is a part. IIRC (memory is hazy) there is some flexibility to add trails to the area, but any movement towards that got slowed down by the fact that there was disagreement as to how/what/where.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    I'm not sure. The NEPA process was for a large area, of which W. Mag is a part. IIRC (memory is hazy) there is some flexibility to add trails to the area, but any movement towards that got slowed down by the fact that there was disagreement as to how/what/where.
    Not familiar enough with the NEPA on the cuts in question to comment on what was discussed or included in the ROD. If there is some language in the document regarding future trails then I would think the local group would have been in on the planning so someone should know what the scoop is. You could also talk with someone at the Ranger District to delve into it.

  37. #37
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    Speaking of EPA in Denver.

    Make sure you wash your hands after meeting them. They could secretly be the "poop bandit".

    EPA Workers Leaving Feces in Office Hallway | The Colorado Observer

  38. #38
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    who said anything about the EPA?

  39. #39
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    NEPA
    National Environmental Policy Act

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    NEPA
    National Environmental Policy Act
    which is a procedural statute that is followed by all federal agencies and has no relation to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency. Yes, they look similar but are not connected.

  41. #41
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    who said anything about the EPA?
    That's a little strange even by Uncle Trail's standards.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    which is a procedural statute that is followed by all federal agencies and has no relation to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency. Yes, they look similar but are not connected.
    If it's a Federal project with an EIS then yes they are involved in the review

    .not that it really matters since I was just making a joke..

  43. #43
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    If it's a Federal project with an EIS then yes they are involved in the review

    .not that it really matters since I was just making a joke..
    Well, even the best of 'em throw out a stinker once and a while.

    I seriously doubt the EPA had much of anything to do with the analysis/review of the NEPA in question nor would they if trails are involved.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Well, even the best of 'em throw out a stinker once and a while.

    I seriously doubt the EPA had much of anything to do with the analysis/review of the NEPA in question nor would they if trails are involved.
    EPA may not have been involved, but man, i do not recall riding trails with more (horse) pooh on them, ever.

    And as for the clear cut, just look WAY beyond what u see.

  45. #45
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    Sunday I rode some of the trails surrounding West Mag proper, like Meadow trails and Forest Traverse, and up to Five Points and the 105, then up the Bus to Toilet Bowl, and down the Carwash, everything was riding really well. But the Carwash could use some love, it's way too overgrown right now.

    Edit: no horse poop encountered
    Last edited by Bagwhan; 07-01-2014 at 11:13 AM.

  46. #46
    little mad riding hood
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    Sunday I rode some of the trails surrounding West Mag proper, like Meadow trails and Forest Traverse, and up to Five Points and the 105, then up the Bus to Toilet Bowl, and down the Carwash, everything was riding really well. But the Carwash could use some love, it's way too overgrown right now.

    Edit: no horse poop encountered
    the horse crap was beyond out of control on the main west mag loops (hobbits, pungy stick / observatory / sugar mag / aspen alley) yesterday but I guess that's what we get for going up on a holiday weekend. It was too damned hot to ride down low, though. Thankfully it looks like they got some rain to wash it all out.

    oh and the wildflowers in the clear cuts are super excellent right now if you haven't been.

    and I may get a lot of flak for this but I haven't started from the high school and ridden sugar mag in years and years (we usually start on the east end via Boot/Reboot which are closed due to logging now) and I will admit I like the new trail which does have some decent chunk and rock riding, and it is at least better looking than the old jeep-road wide blown-out fall line track which I'm remembering from oh, about four years ago now I'd guess. So shoot me, but it was a nice ride and provided a decent challenge to my admittedly puny skillset.

  47. #47
    Agent of tang
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    High Fructose Mag is a fine trail on its own if it didn't have any history, but I'll always be annoyed that the crux of the old Sugar Mag was taken away.

  48. #48
    little mad riding hood
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    High Fructose Mag is a fine trail on its own if it didn't have any history, but I'll always be annoyed that the crux of the old Sugar Mag was taken away.
    sure, and I see where you're coming from, but there's like literally a half dozen other identically blown-out drops in the West Mag trails complex with similar if not identical characteristics.

    feel free to disagree with me, too. I ride hardtails and short travel XC bikes so bedded in rocks on singletrack requiring finesse and flow to ride are always my preference over a blown out, rutted mess one can point-and-shoot on a Reign or whatever.

    also IMO and as best as I can recall, the new alignment is quite a bit longer which is never a bad thing.

  49. #49
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    But for some reason, people keep coming up to ride those "blown out" trails and drive right past dozens of miles of buffed out IMBA style flow trails on the way up. Instead of trying to change the trails to match the kind of bike you have, get a bike to match the trails you like to ride.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonefrontranger View Post
    sure, and I see where you're coming from, but there's like literally a half dozen other identically blown-out drops in the West Mag trails complex with similar if not identical characteristics.

    feel free to disagree with me, too. I ride hardtails and short travel XC bikes so bedded in rocks on singletrack requiring finesse and flow to ride are always my preference over a blown out, rutted mess one can point-and-shoot on a Reign or whatever.

    also IMO and as best as I can recall, the new alignment is quite a bit longer which is never a bad thing.
    I disagree with you. My issue isn't with the style of trail you like, my issue has always been the fact that an existing well-loved trail that was of one style, was changed to a different style. My bike is probably somewhere between yours and a Reign -- I have a 575 -- and I'm a total hack, but on downhills I am more of a point and shoot type in terms of riding style/preference, and that trail was fantastic. Now, not so much. And no, longer isn't better, because it changed what was a super fast and flowy trail (to me) into something that may be called "flow" but requires pedaling and slower speeds. I used to end my ride with a huge rush on that trail, and with the change and slower speeds, it doesn't do that anymore.

    Again, that type of trail is fine as a theoretical matter. There's nothing truly wrong with HF Mag, if it was a purely new trail. But an existing trail that was loved by many was changed to appeal to a different type of user. Without any input or notice to the people who rode actually the trail. I used to ride it at least once a week, every week of the summer. Then suddenly, poof, the trail I knew and loved was gone, replaced by something completely different, by people who took the attitude that they know better than me what people want and what that trail should look like. The fact that there may be similar trails in West Mag that weren't changed has no bearing on this, and in fact as skogorbet points out, it may weigh in the other direction. If you want different types of trails, build them, don't take a pre-existing trail and change it so it suits your riding style (by "you", I don't mean to imply that you had anything to do with the change).

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