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  1. #1
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    Complain, if you want...

    I hope that this thread can be used for some constructive thought on how to improve WNC's trail maintenance issues. I believe that this forum reaches the most eyeballs in the region, so might as well have it here.

    So far, discussions of recent trail work have focused on people's dissatisfaction with the work contracted by the FS and provided by outside contractors. While this may reduce some of the frustration felt by the individual, I believe that it does not address the root of the problem.

    Correct me if this is incorrect, but the FS opens a job for competitive bidding. They are required to take the low bid from qualified bidders. They can't just pick Woody or Todd because they know the work will be better. SO, it's a bit of a crap-shoot, eh? There's really nothing to complain about if a job is allowed to go out to bidding. And what does the FS get for finally spending some money on the trails? A load of complaints from users. They must feel like they can't win.

    The solution to this is to prevent jobs from being bid. Take the money and use it for toilets and hiring more rangers, instead.

    The only way this is going to happen is if NO funding is available or if locals step up and do the work before it needs to be given to a contractor. If you want something done right, you're going to have to do it yourselves. With some exceptions, we have failed our trails. We have to do a lot more.

    In the 5 years I've been here, I've seen serious deterioration of the best trails in Pisgah. I avoid some trails that I used to enjoy. I've done some work, but not nearly enough. I'm not proud of what I've given back.

    Thoughts? Ideas for what will make locals more likely to give back?

    Carrots? Sticks?

  2. #2
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    (Exposing my ignorance of the bidding process) Really, they're required to take the lowest bid, without any regard for the relative quality of the bids, statement of actual work to be completed, etc.? I assume the judgment of "qualified bid(der)" includes some consideration for the bidder's ability to complete the specified work. If that's true, then maybe it's a problem with the specs - perhaps they not...specific enough. Is there any way for the local community, advocacy groups (riders), to be involved in the spec process, to weigh in on the sufficiency of them?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoodbrn
    (Exposing my ignorance of the bidding process) Really, they're required to take the lowest bid, without any regard for the relative quality of the bids, statement of actual work to be completed, etc.? I assume the judgment of "qualified bid(der)" includes some consideration for the bidder's ability to complete the specified work. If that's true, then maybe it's a problem with the specs - perhaps they not...specific enough. Is there any way for the local community, advocacy groups (riders), to be involved in the spec process, to weigh in on the sufficiency of them?

    Yes they are. They already know that it will be a clusterf#*%k and prepare for it. They know it is going to happen. Qualifications are not looked at if you are cheap. The only way to do the work is to cut corners every chance the cotractor can to no lose his ass. I got my t- shirt on this one when I had to hit the performance bond on Cooper Construction when working on the Bonsai Exhibit at the NC Arboretem and couldn't get paid by them (they eventually paid paid me after the realized I was serious and wasn't rolling over for them). This is devasating the construction industry right now.

    If you work in the beauracracy of the FS then you might some influence but you can't step on anyones toes and keep a job. Incrementalism is not the best form of policy making but this is what they use. I believe they have a hiring freeze right now. Enjoy.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4000psi
    Yes they are. They already know that it will be a clusterf#*%k and prepare for it. They know it is going to happen. Qualifications are not looked at if you are cheap. The only way to do the work is to cut corners every chance the cotractor can to no lose his ass. I got my t- shirt on this one when I had to hit the performance bond on Cooper Construction when working on the Bonsai Exhibit at the NC Arboretem and couldn't get paid by them (they eventually paid paid me after the realized I was serious and wasn't rolling over for them). This is devasating the construction industry right now.

    If you work in the beauracracy of the FS then you might some influence but you can't step on anyones toes and keep a job. Incrementalism is not the best form of policy making but this is what they use. I believe they have a hiring freeze right now. Enjoy.
    OK, well that certainly paints a gloomy picture of the entire contracting process. If it's the goat rodeo you describe, then, truly, the only way to safeguard the trails is, as DFL stated, to do the work before someone 'in the system' sees the need.

  5. #5
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    Yes it does. Contracting is a wonderful way to make a living. DFL is on the right path if the world worked the way we think it should but this isn't the case. People around here will not step up and take the time, make the sacrifices to make it happen. This includes me. I have tried in the past but it is futile.

    This is not to say that i won't do trailwork but i will be doing it in Dupont since that is where I ride the most and feel that we have any influence on what should/could/needs to happen. It gives me the most satisfaction to help this place and that how it is for me.We have Woody to thank for this. David the head ranger sees that we care and have shown our abilities and his now wants to harness it in the future. I don't think the FS cares one way or the other. We haven't done a very good job of showing them what we are willing to do for them. We need to work on this one.

  6. #6
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    This is a great post, Steve. Before I go any further, I want to be clear that the following words are my opinions/ perspective and do not represent Pisgah Area SORBA as a whole.

    Carrots and sticks: I've been doing volunteer work of some kind or another since high school. I feel, strongly, that consistent volunteers do not give their time and energy either because of guilt or in order to get free socks. They come out because they "get it" and understand that being involved is the only way to make a difference. It does help if work is both fun and seems worthwhile, but unfortunately some of the work that needs doing most (i.e., deberming and cleaning drainages) isn't fun or visibly worthwhile. How to get people to shift into a more altruistic mindset is a question I do not know the answer to.

    Specifics vaguely addressed:

    In Pisgah district, there is, unfortunately in my opinion but also unavoidably, a bureaucratic process that must be followed for trail work to be "counted" towards goodwill and respect. When we follow this process, some respect and goodwill can come back- a great and most recent example is the commitment from the FS to minimize the use of machinery on Squirrel Gap. One of the reasons we were able to take such a strong stance on the work proposed for this particular trail was the investment of the hundreds of hours of trail work PAS had contributed to SG gave us a positon to advocate from.

    The local FS wants to work with organized groups only. PAS is the current group representing mtb-ers; personally, I'd welcome another group getting going if people did not want to associate with PAS for some reason or another. It's probably going to be a lot easier, however, if people choose to get more involved through PAS as many people have put countless hours into establishing how trail work is going to happen in the district moving forward.

    What is this process? Well, that's very complicated and, frankly, it's not my role to try and explain it here on the interwebz. Part of the problem is that there were some serious issues that started this past spring in regards to PAS and the mtb community doing trail work within Pisgah District. This recent letter from the PAS website gives the official word on where this process is at now.

    http://www.pisgahareasorba.org/?p=1620

    The important part of this letter is we are moving forward and work days will be happening soon- but people participating in those work days will have to be 1) a PAS member and 2) an "approved" volunteer by the USFS. These rules have everything to do with liability and insurance coverage and, unfortunately, nothing to do with convenience.

    Again, I'm not the person doing this liason work with the forest service- my role with PAS is as the Richmond Hill trails coordinator and to provide a knowledge base for some other board members; PAS as a group is only about 6 years old and I'm the only person who's leftover from the original board (and my role did used to be as the district contact). The people doing the liason work are not mtbr users.

    Don't know if that helps or just adds to the confusion/ frustration, but it's what I got.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    T

    The important part of this letter is we are moving forward and work days will be happening soon- but people participating in those work days will have to be 1) a PAS member and 2) an "approved" volunteer by the USFS. These rules have everything to do with liability and insurance coverage and, unfortunately, nothing to do with convenience.
    Thanks for the info. Rules like that definitely aren't going to help things. It's almost like the system is set up to discourage us from volunteering

    However, I'm willing to join PAS for the privilege to volunteer on some trails. What does it take to get "approved" as a volunteer?


    Regarding ways to get people to help out -- What if the FS could provide advance notice of trails on the hit list, and give the user groups a period of time to bring things up to code before they "fix" it for us?

    I already have an advertising idea:
    Do you want upper Black to look like this? [insert picture of little girl riding bike with training wheels down what used to be kitsuma] If not, come out and help us fix it before they do!

  8. #8
    "Ride Lots" Eddy Merckx
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    The important part of this letter is we are moving forward and work days will be happening soon- but people participating in those work days will have to be 1) a PAS member and 2) an "approved" volunteer by the USFS.
    The end of 'work days' as we know it.

    #1 would easily be solved by allowing 'one day memberships' for a nominal fee, but #2 is the killer depending on how someone is approved by the USFS.

    I can't imagine a true National Trails Day event ever happening as it stands.

    "Sorry, we'd love to have you help...but we need you to join SORBA and go through the USFS approval process before you can move those rocks."
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  9. #9
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    I for one wish it could be worked out where a couple people could go out on random days during the week to do work also (even if mandated to have at least one approved team leader of sorts).
    I have tried to make several of the Sat work days in Pisgah (Todd's work days) and in Dupont, and have yet to make the first day due to working occasional Saturdays and having weekend obligations with the family. I have a feeling I'm not the only one in this scenario also. Granted I do have to stay late at work and go back to work some nights, but there would be a better chance of me making smaller evening work dates.

    I definitely agree though, we need to step up! However it seems the USFS isn't making it easy at all. Hopefully time will change this.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkjellquist
    The end of 'work days' as we know it.

    #1 would easily be solved by allowing 'one day memberships' for a nominal fee, but #2 is the killer depending on how someone is approved by the USFS.

    I can't imagine a true National Trails Day event ever happening as it stands.

    "Sorry, we'd love to have you help...but we need you to join SORBA and go through the USFS approval process before you can move those rocks."


    both were discussed at the recent PAS club meeting:
    #1- from what I understand, it will be possible to have a planned workday with day of "walk ups" able to "join" and "be approved" at sign in

    #2 National Trails Day was started by hikers for hikers, and now the hikers want it back. Sorba/IMBA is working on another project without using the hiker's moniker.


    did I convey this correctly?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjanes
    both were discussed at the recent PAS club meeting:
    #1- from what I understand, it will be possible to have a planned workday with day of "walk ups" able to "join" and "be approved" at sign in

    #2 National Trails Day was started by hikers for hikers, and now the hikers want it back. Sorba/IMBA is working on another project without using the hiker's moniker.


    did I convey this correctly?

    Yes- essentially, days like National Trails Day that were promoted to the community would have a process for same day sign-up.

    One thing to make clear- these are the expectations for every volunteer group, be it hikers, Outward Bound, equestrians, or whoever.
    I'd also like to make it clearer that the USFS is doing it's dang best to work with us and abide by their own p&p's. They're good folk doing the best they can with limited resources.

  12. #12
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    My personal example from today:

    There's a water company that has a monopoly in the Bent Creek neighborhood. We pay expensive rates (which they want to raise again) for our in & out services. Two weeks ago, a "contracted company" did work on my street, and to access a main opening, backed a trailer in to my yard with a heavy piece of equipment.

    They left me with two fifteen foot long/8" deep tracks running through the front yard. After two calls to the out of state corporation, I finally got an inspection. It is very official - hand written on a door card. "The contractor will be here today, or at the very latest, tomorrow to repair your yard...".

    Mummm... I wonder if they were "required to take the low bid from qualified bidders"?

    Quality work by qualified trail builders (no just local) saves money! There always seems to be another equation involved when a final decision for the "qualified contractor" is made.

    Hence, I now have a gray-powder and gravel fill shoveled in the yard tracks with some weird looking weedy cover thrown on it that's blowing around the yard.

    Woody - come fix my lawn!!!!
    Now you're cast of steel and cast aside. Broken dreams maybe, but you haven't died

  13. #13
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    I actually think having some approval of volunteers is a great idea. I've seen people do incredibly dangerous and idiotic stuff during open workdays on trails (California trails, mind you, not NC, I am sure there are no idiots around here). Also, I never saw a walk-up do very much hard work.
    If SORBA takes ownership of workdays it could help strengthen volunteers' commitment. And if there are people who like doing trail work, why can't they just join? It's not like SORBA's the Freemasons or anything.

  14. #14
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    i think the main problem is people just dont like each other.

    "i cant be around those people....theyre reefer addicts."

    "they drink when they ride....eesh."

    "what does he know about trails? hes a serc racer."

    "hes just an *******"

    i've heard it all. people are so clicky its not even funny. its depressing. people are clicky and they are egomaniacs. people cant do trail work because they are busy "training."

    we've got this stupid ass initiative to open up the bracken mtn trail in brevard. i am all for new trails. but really...they are going to have to cut a new trail. a new trail. when the rest of the forest is going to ****. its true, upper black mtn is a disgrace.

    13 bike shops and a few thousand mtn bikers can't get **** done because no one wants to do trail work with certain people. and their reasons are validated for sure. i mean what would people do if they couldnt talk **** behind peoples backs? or on the internet? why are people always looking for something wrong with others? is it there own insecurities?

    would they just get along and ride bikes together? would people get together and do trail work?

    does anyone else think the asheville area is just a playground for selfish adults? micah dust is really fairy dust i swear.

    if you want it legit then you are going to have to get someone that everyone respects. and truthfully, i dont know anyone around that EVERYONE respects. save one...and he's moving.

  15. #15
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    "does anyone else think the asheville area is just a playground for selfish adults?"...........Poignant and possibly the truest statement I've read about what this place has become. You see it most in many of the children in local elementary schools.........reflected in attitude and ambition...........We have much bigger problems than the state of our MTB trails............but working together and setting good examples is the way to instil an attitude of community and repect for one another..........NOT "I got mine and you got yours".............Happy Friday, ya'll!
    Last edited by Smokebikes; 10-15-2010 at 04:42 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker
    we've got this stupid ass initiative to open up the bracken mtn trail in brevard. i am all for new trails. but really...they are going to have to cut a new trail. a new trail. when the rest of the forest is going to ****. its true, upper black mtn is a disgrace.

    I agree with most of what you said, except for the above quote. The Bracken Mtn trail is backed by Transylvania County and the City ( non mtn biking people) of Brevard. I see this trail project as a huge opportunity to show people groups, ie city, county, USFS what MTB'ers can do, and do well when we join together. Maybe, if they see us getting along and getting this trail done right it will create the opp for more trust between us and the USFS.

    I would not want a roofing crew that bickers, points fingers, and in general does not get along, roofing my house......I can't say that I blame the USFS for cracking down ( on all user groups).

    So, when/how do we start getting along, appreciating each other and all the aspects of our sport that make it great?

    how 'bout now?

  17. #17
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    Thanks for opening up this discussion, Steve. Here are a few of my unpopular and contrarian thoughts:

    First of all the recently contracted trail work is not about trail work at all. It is about spending money. The forest service was given money to spend and if they don't spend it they won't get more. Therefore, we aren't going to stop work like this from being done. If the trail is fine but there is money to spend the trail will be 'fixed' anyway. In the recent issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Randy Burgess says the trails picked were due to their 'readiness' not their condition. As far as who gets the contract goes I'd like to see the money go to the local economy but that is not how competitive bidding works (I'm a contractor myself and will not participate in competitive bidding).

    But that doesn't mean that the local mtb community doesn't need to step up and do more. We do. We are one of the largest and most visible user groups in the Pisgah District and do very little but have great impact on the tread itself. When was the last time PAS did anything outside of Bent Creek? Way before the whole unauthourized reroute debacle (um, really?). The heavy dead fall from the winter storms on Laurel and Squirrel, PAS trails, was cleared by random users, PAS didn't officially do anything that I know of. Clearing dead fall is pretty basic... We need people working in Pisgah.

    Here is a question: Why do we need these big 'work days'? It seems to me like what we need more is a core group of people dedicated to doing maintenance work in the Pisgah District (Bent Creek could be its own separate world). I went to a National Trails Day. I stood around and chatted with friends. Everyone once and again I tried to move some dirt or something. There were way too many people, not nearly enough work, little planning and I felt like my time was wasted. I was just another person, another six hours of work they could claim, or something. I think as few as four dedicated people could get more work done in eight hours than twenty walk up volunteers could. But I'm assuming that the goal is production and not man hours.

    Personally, I'd like to do a lot more than just carry my saw around. And I know there are others who feel the same way. I'd really wanted to attend the PAS meeting last Monday so I could hear first hand where PAS stands with the FS and so that I could volunteer to help get something going in Pisgah but unfortunately other responsibilities prevented me from doing so. I'll ask here: What can I do? I'm willing to put in hours on the ground and am also willing to help with the planning and logistics but I have no desire to 'lead' volunteer work days. If I'm leading something you probably don't want to be following me (just ask anyone who has been on one of my rides).

    Ain't no time to hate. Seasonal trails just opened, I'd better go check the condition of Coontree
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  18. #18
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    The answers to these questions (which are good ones and the discussion is great) are NOT going to come from mtbr. The people leading the efforts to resolve matters with the USFS are not mtbr users. Come to meetings and show a commitment for positive action over the course of time and you will be suprised by how much work happens that you are not even aware of.
    One question I will answer- PAS had work days scheduled all summer on Laurel, Squirrel ,etc. The issues cited in the above referenced letter forced the suspension of said work. Laurel does need some work now and hopefully a work day will be happening much sooner than later- but I am not the coordinator of that. A work day on Squirrel-would be futile right now but I will, again, say that the mtb community should consider it a semi-victory that our letters influenced the public commitment to minimize the machine work on Squirrel- and they definitely did.

    Thanks
    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 10-18-2010 at 04:41 PM.

  19. #19
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    we would have stopped work like that from being done if our "representatives" were respected mountain bikers dedicated to improving conditions, not the conditions of their resumes. yeah i said it.

    i'd like to see a fee imposed. an annual, or even a gate at the entrance for all users. if there were a gate charging every harley that comes through pisgah as little as a dollar then we could have a full time trail crew. as clay points out, as little as two people can get more done than 20 people who just show up and wait for instruction.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    Personally, I'd like to do a lot more than just carry my saw around. And I know there are others who feel the same way. I'd really wanted to attend the PAS meeting last Monday so I could hear first hand where PAS stands with the FS and so that I could volunteer to help get something going in Pisgah but unfortunately other responsibilities prevented me from doing so. I'll ask here: What can I do? I'm willing to put in hours on the ground and am also willing to help with the planning and logistics but I have no desire to 'lead' volunteer work days. If I'm leading something you probably don't want to be following me (just ask anyone who has been on one of my rides).
    +1 Were you reading my mind, and then stating it better than I ever could have?

    And now that you mention it...I helped clear Laurel this past winter, and it seems to have been a small core group of folks that did the majority of work. A couple of walk-ups cut one or two limbs and then left (it was more work than they expected). Maybe the small group idea is a really good one.

    I wanted to make it to the last PAS meeting also (and the one before that), but couldn't...It would be nice if there was a way to express interest and find out what is happening without waiting for the next bi-monthly meeting that I may or may not be able to attend.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlavC
    I wanted to make it to the last PAS meeting also (and the one before that), but couldn't...It would be nice if there was a way to express interest and find out what is happening without waiting for the next bi-monthly meeting that I may or may not be able to attend.
    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    Personally, I'd like to do a lot more than just carry my saw around. And I know there are others who feel the same way. I'd really wanted to attend the PAS meeting last Monday so I could hear first hand where PAS stands with the FS and so that I could volunteer to help get something going in Pisgah but unfortunately other responsibilities prevented me from doing so. I'll ask here: What can I do?
    Sorry, new to the area, does PAS not provide meeting minutes to members after meetings? Not even a summary?
    I didn't notice anyone really taking notes, now that I think about it. It certainly would be a good step towards increasing participation overal, since obviously interested folks can't always make it out.

  22. #22
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    Thanks everyone. I know that there are frustrations, but I hope that everybody can keep looking toward solutions.

    I've posted this before but I'll do it again. My hope would be that a greater number of 'trail leaders' could receive some sort of approval or certification from the FS to lead more frequent, likely after-work trail sessions. Work would be limited to nicks and grade reversals only, and leaders would know everything there is to know about limiting that work to the existing trail corridor. Nothing fancy or clever or overly entertaining. Nothing to upset other user groups, and nothing to enhance the trail other than getting water off of it. Yes, we'd have to fill out all the appropriate paperwork documenting the work done. If this goes well, we can aspire to reestablish bench and cut roots.

    I'd like for us to start with trail adjacent to 276 or any other open road. In the past, we have made trail work difficult by choosing trail that is difficult to reach and requires a full-day commitment from volunteers. (I don't know of a good solution to maintaining remote trail) I think we could build trust by improving the most-traveled trails and the trails that are most easily accessed by the rangers. Think North Slope or Bennet. Sycamore is done, but will definitely need maintenance.

    I can't think of any sticks...well, I can think of many sticks, none of them legal... but what about carrots? If my gig ever turns a profit, I will offer up a frame for raffle, but what is in it for local businesses to contribute? Is there any amount of reward that will get people out? Will getting folks out show them that it's kinda rewarding? Will they come back after qualifying for some prize? Is it fair to keep asking businesses to entice people to do good things? Should we petition towns to allocate money for paid 'volunteer' work?

    Part of me wants to use shame to motivate, but in Asheville, I fear people would embrace it I don't hear anybody talking about how proud they are of where they live or how much they revere the mountains. It's always the out-of-towners who are telling me how great we have it.

    They're right, but a little less every day.

  23. #23
    pronounced may-duh
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlavC
    +1 Were you reading my mind, and then stating it better than I ever could have?

    And now that you mention it...I helped clear Laurel this past winter, and it seems to have been a small core group of folks that did the majority of work. A couple of walk-ups cut one or two limbs and then left (it was more work than they expected). Maybe the small group idea is a really good one.

    I wanted to make it to the last PAS meeting also (and the one before that), but couldn't...It would be nice if there was a way to express interest and find out what is happening without waiting for the next bi-monthly meeting that I may or may not be able to attend.
    Ideally, you would report these work hours to PAS so that PAS could then report them to the USFS. Trail hours are the political currency of a volunteer group. If you don't like digging ditches consider joining the bike patrol and you could rack up some serious hours simply by riding.

    I have already sent an email to the PAS board of directors to see if we can't find an easier method for communications. The PAS website will let you know what's happening but it would be great to have an open channel for ideas and comments outside of the meetings. IMHO the meetings aren't really well suited to back and forth discussions. If there are people who want to get involved and do something productive PAS should be doing everything possible to facilitate that process.

    Lastly, lets not forget that we are all on the same side. We all want the same things. I could care less who you ride with, what god you pray to, who your voted for or what drugs your on. If you ride a bike in the woods then we are on the same team. It's just that simple.

  24. #24
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    Our current "representatives" are doing a fine job. It is our "want -to-be-representatives" that are fussy and truly weigh the process down. Blue Ridge Adventures has been leading work days in Pisgah with the FS years before SORBA came around and I can truly back up the statement that we live in an area of sayers not doers. Some of the folks on this forum...well, if you do not approve of the work the "representatives' perform you talk trash and vanish, go back to your quite home, get on MTBR and start thrashing.Action speaks louder than words! It is easy to come up with solutions, but can you execute them?


    Bracken Mountain trail has nothing to do with SORBA or mountain bikers. This trail is on city land. In fact we have started a non profit-Friends of Bracken Mountain. We will welcome mountain bikers, SORBA, hikers, horsemen or who ever wants to help build the trail. The scope of the project has been decided already by "the representatives" so pointing fingers at what' s wrong is a lost cause. The Brevard planning dept. chose these representatives while looking at their community involvement. Guess what....There were lots of people with ideas, dreams, and pointing fingers. They choose people that have taken action and have passion for what they believe in.

    If you know me I do not get on this forum often. This subject has circled many times and will continue to circle. I have a unique position dealing with the FS two fold-promoting events as well as being a professional trail builder. There are ideas discussed here that just will never happen as a complete understanding of the structure is not there. People question BRA's events all the time. Too much $, too many racers on the course, trash, 400people x $100 (ORAMM)and $100 x 150 people (SWANK) and 55 people x $650(Stage Race).....he's getting rich, lets get together and band the race until another race promoter puts the race on, etc,etc!!! The point is I have people tell me what I am doing wrong several times a year. It is easy to point fingers.They are the low fruit on the tree and remind me of a buzzing fly in my face. They do not understand my permit with the FS or my operation plan. I am happy and they folks I am working with are happy and satisfied. The bottom line is some people do not understand the system nor are they going to make any change. The races sell out and the wheel keeps turning! Patience, tolerance, and rules are to be expected. If it is too much to handle step away from idea.

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    Passion-you can not buy it!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by epicrides
    If you know me I do not get on this forum often. This subject has circled many times and will continue to circle. I have a unique position dealing with the FS two fold-promoting events as well as being a professional trail builder. There are ideas discussed here that just will never happen as a complete understanding of the structure is not there. People question BRA's events all the time. Too much $, too many racers on the course, trash, 400people x $100 (ORAMM)and $100 x 150 people (SWANK) and 55 people x $650(Stage Race).....he's getting rich, lets get together and band the race until another race promoter puts the race on, etc,etc!!! The point is I have people tell me what I am doing wrong several times a year. It is easy to point fingers.They are the low fruit on the tree and remind me of a buzzing fly in my face. They do not understand my permit with the FS or my operation plan. I am happy and they folks I am working with are happy and satisfied. The bottom line is some people do not understand the system nor are they going to make any change. The races sell out and the wheel keeps turning! Patience, tolerance, and rules are to be expected. If it is too much to handle step away from idea.
    How is this really relevant to this thread? Because you have people telling you that you are wrong? Feeling a little defensive about your races? Personally I'm a big fan of your brand of trail work, I like it a lot, your races? Well, they aren't for me but that has nothing to do with this thread.
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    In my 17 years of riding in this wonderful area, Todd Branham is in my opinion, is the most passionate person I've met when it comes to mountain biking in Pisgah. I've had this same conversation with him many times. He's a "can do kinda guy" and alot of fun to have around as a friend. He showed me around Pisgah when I was in college and what he showed me made me move here and start my life as I know it today. Keep it up Todd.

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    EmB -

    I was the initial Secretary, then treasurer and repeated my secretarial role after that. The old PAS site did have a link to the minuets. I believe there will be a section for meeting notes coming soon to the current site.

    Chuck Ramsey is the acting Secretary and was at the meeting taking it all in. (I usually sit next to him and know he writes fast and small - could even be considered "stealth". Glad no one ever wanted to see my code-writing scribbles prior to official publication!) I was unable to attend Monday and look forward to his rendering.

    Edit: I'll be darned, already done:

    http://www.pisgahareasorba.org/?p=1633
    Last edited by M-U-M; 10-15-2010 at 03:11 PM.
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  29. #29
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    So, the answer is in order to be involved with PAS trail work in Pisgah I should go to the next meeting, two months from now, voice an interest and then show a commitment over the course of time and I can then see what gets done? Sounds like I'd be ready to do some work in February or so if I'm lucky. That seems to be about the speed PAS operates at (rumors have been flying since early Spring about the 'mistake' and just now, what four months later, we get the first official word from PAS)... I'd probably get more done by just continuing to carry my saw around instead. Probably less headaches as well.

    I could have attended the August meeting but I actually saw the published agenda and there was no mention of trail work or the Forest Service on it. If PAS wants people to be more involved there has to be better means of public communication other than a bi monthly social gathering....
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    How is this really relevant to this thread? Because you have people telling you that you are wrong? Feeling a little defensive about your races? Personally I'm a big fan of your brand of trail work, I like it a lot, your races? Well, they aren't for me but that has nothing to do with this thread.

    Totally relevant to the topic and the other topics that are currently floating around on MTBR. Way to much *****ing and no commitment to volunteering. I have been defending Todd on ORAMM and the perceived damage that folks say happen to HB and Kitsuma. Maybe there is a little residual damage but what about all the weekend riders and weekday locals that use the trails with no step up in wanting to fix the issues they create. Way easier to blame ORAMM and make someone else fix it. Same thing in the Ranger district. Todd does more work in the Ranger district than most can imagine. He gives back 100% for his use of Pisgah. Yet locals ride the trails day in and day and blame all the out of town people for the damage. What is up with that? We all selflessly volunteer in our own ways. I get that. I cleared all of Pilot Rock and 95% of Laurel connector trail. So what. I invested 3 full days of work to do this. I loved every minute of it, would do it again next year, and still show up for any and all organized trail work day in BC and Pisgah proper. I am so grateful every time I have the opportunity to ride and work in Pisgah. So whenever I can give back I do. Like Maida said we all have the same goal, great sustainable trail networks for all to enjoy.

    I moved here from central NC a year ago and have meet some of the nicest folks in the world up here. I also have meet some the most stuck up snobby mtb folks I could ever care to associate with. This extends to some of the folks with all this attitude dripping out of their a** here on MTBR. I get who the haters are and who the passionate respectful Pisgah trail users are. WNC does not need localism or attitude in regards to our trails. These trails belong to everyone and everyone should have the love and respect to give back to them. Like this or not PAS is one of the few groups that can deal with the USFS and be given a chair at their table. PAS has taken its lumps from the learning processes with the USFS so I feel like they are in a better position than most to deal or make deals with the powers that be. Does that mean there is no more room at the table, heck no. I am happy with what the folks at PAS have been doing. Until someone else steps up by throwing down some legitimate blood, sweat, commitment and gets the USFS blessing I will continue to support PAS.

    I had been spoiled when working with the Greensboro Fat Tire Society(which by the way has one of most active and dedicated volunteer groups anywhere) and the land managers in the area. Those land managers are begging folks to cut and maintain trails. Not the case here and I(we) need to get used to that. But I totally agree that there needs to be a change in a lot of things. Especially if we want to prevent another Kitsuma debacle.

    Driftwood this in not directed at you. Every time I read your blog I know you are one of the most passionate Pisgah trail users out there and you would be extremely valuable to what ever cause in Pisgah you choose to dedicate your energy to. This is to all the other MTBR users that feel like vinegar attracts more bees than honey. Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmilyB
    Sorry, new to the area, does PAS not provide meeting minutes to members after meetings? Not even a summary?
    I didn't notice anyone really taking notes, now that I think about it. It certainly would be a good step towards increasing participation overal, since obviously interested folks can't always make it out.
    Presto!

    Minutes are here http://www.pisgahareasorba.org/?p=1633

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    So, the answer is in order to be involved with PAS trail work in Pisgah I should go to the next meeting, two months from now, voice an interest and then show a commitment over the course of time and I can then see what gets done? Sounds like I'd be ready to do some work in February or so if I'm lucky. That seems to be about the speed PAS operates at (rumors have been flying since early Spring about the 'mistake' and just now, what four months later, we get the first official word from PAS)... I'd probably get more done by just continuing to carry my saw around instead. Probably less headaches as well.

    I could have attended the August meeting but I actually saw the published agenda and there was no mention of trail work or the Forest Service on it. If PAS wants people to be more involved there has to be better means of public communication other than a bi monthly social gathering....
    Use this contact form on the PAS website. http://www.pisgahareasorba.org/?page_id=570 This sends your message to entire Board of Directors. If you want to do something, I'd suggest starting here.

    Also, you can contact many of our Board directly. The emails are listed here http://pasorg.fatcow.com/wppasorg2/?page_id=810

    You say things are happening too slow. I agree. But for things to work better and faster PAS needs more people to get involved at the organizational levels. PAS will only be what we make it.

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    drfitwood: Bent Creek could be its own separate world

    Dude, it already is a separated world. There's three houses for sale near the forest.

    Join us.... you'll really like it here... become one with the community.

    Now you're cast of steel and cast aside. Broken dreams maybe, but you haven't died

  34. #34
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    Great Post, DFL!

    D.F.L.--Thanks for a thought-provoking (and comment-promoting) post. Your OP has pulled many well-considered responses (as well as some shallow, smart-arsed posts)...

    My additions (which hopefully will not be seen as shallow or smart-arsed):

    1. "Pay-to-Play" venues are becoming more common on our public lands, yet make no guarantee that their trails will be better maintained. Consider Tsali, which has been P2P for years, yet has no designated USFS trail crew (and not much in the way of a volunteer maintenance program). Indeed, Tsali is getting contract work right now. P2P also gives some users the attitude that "I paid you to fix the stuff I screw up, so I don't have to give back to these trails"...

    2. Recent trail contracts HAVE NOT been simply awarded to the lowest bidder. Instead, these contracts have been awarded based on "best value" as determined by the USFS. The info pasted below was pulled from pages 36 and 37 of Section C of a bid package available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportun...fa46e798e2712e

    AWARD DETERMINATION: This solicitation will result in a firm, fixed price contract. The
    Government will offer a contract to the Offeror whose proposal results in the best value as determined by the Forest Service.

    EVALUATION FACTORS:
    (a) The Government will award a contract resulting from this solicitation to the responsible Offeror whose offer conforming to the solicitation will be most advantageous to the Government, price and other factors considered.
    Cost to the Government is not expected to be the controlling factor in the selection of a contractor for this solicitation. The degree of importance of price as a factor could become greater depending upon the quality of the offers for the other factors evaluated. The following factors, listed in descending order of importance, will be used for evaluation of the proposal:
    Experience that is related to this project
    Past Performance
    Technical Capabilities
    Project Management Approach
    Price
    Non-price factors, when combined, are more important than price.


    3. Finally, most trail maintenance crews on the Pisgah District are made up of retirees who can work regular, scheduled sessions. Carolina Mountain Club, for example, has crews that work every Friday, pretty much through-out the year. As a generally younger demographic, MTBers would be hard-pressed to field even a small crew on the District on a weekly basis, but USFS land managers have been very receptive to our proposal that MTBer work sessions could be held ANY TIME via prior notice to the USFS. So our work sessions don't have to be weekly or monthly, but do have to be led by a trained crew leader and scheduled with the District. We can do this!

    TZ
    Last edited by TrailZen; 10-16-2010 at 08:22 AM.
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    Good Point TZ!

    I have been following this thread and have been thinking about my past involvement with volunteer trail work with USFS, NPS, & NCSP (it was a long time ago & involved MTS trail construction) and what TZ is saying about retired folks & the Carolina Mountain Club is so true. The CMC volunteer trail maint. & construction model of operation is based on the involvement of retirees that work effectively as trail crews and as small groups or individuals that adopt sections of trails for maintenance. These are the folks that have the time and resources available to give back to the trail systems. Everyone should go over to the CMC's website and look at how they have the trail maint. & trail crew reporting & scheduling organized.

    Hopefully, as those of us that have been involved in mtbing since the beginning, are aging up to retirement , there will be a population of folks that will be willing and able to give back to the sport in the same way the aging hikers have done.

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    I'm not from the area and don't have a dog in the fight but I've ridden up there a fair amount and I've been following these threads closely for well over a year; I also volunteer a ton where I ride.

    I'll put it into perspective for you:
    I've driven 2' hours each way every weekend for the last 6 weeks to ride stuff like what you guys have.

    Outsider's perspective:
    Waaaaaay too much B&M'ing, far too little action.
    I'm 100% convinced based on posts from some of you and from my own experience that had each person who rides on a weekly basis given just a bit of their time over the last few years, you probably wouldn't be complaining about the work that was done b/c you'd have done it yourself - or at least had a big voice in it.
    My wife is from Staunton and I ride up there a bit too and follow what's going on up that way - the Shenandoah boys seem to have it going on.

    I don't really get it either: pretty much an abundance of world class stuff to ride and only a small percentage of a large user population willing to work.....yet tons of folks B&M'ing.
    I guess cliques, personal grudges, and an abundance of biases based on who rides what, with whom and if they 'partake' is more important than having a positive impact on the trails you are fortunate to have; is more important than protecting what you have; is more important than being the voices that shape the flavor of what's built.

    On a personal level it's even deeper: I guess all that b.s. is more important than YOUR legacy you are leaving to trail users in the future.

    Think things are moving too slow? So what - at least they are moving. At least you don't have to drive your ass off to ride quality stuff. At least you have an opportunity to work on world class trails and make them better.
    It sure would be nice for the trails I work on to be featured in magazines and spoken of with so much reverance.

    Anyway, mucho thanks to those that do the work and make the difference.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailZen
    So our work sessions don't have to be weekly or monthly, but do have to be led by a trained crew leader and scheduled with the District. We can do this!

    TZ
    TZ- So does this mean that as long as we have a trained crew leader and things are scheduled that we can possibly have some "after work" evening work days?
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

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    Thanks TZ, for the clarification on bidding. I imagined that they had a way to exclude lousy contractors, at least.

    The thing with the hiking club volunteers is that many do not have the physical ability to lift heavy crap and spend lots of time stooped over, moving dirt. They have not been doing more extensive tread work. This is where we, with our semi-decent physiques can really pick up the slack. I applaud those guys for everything they do, really.

    Trails may be sponsored by certain groups, and some may not want to share responsibilities with another user group, but I was told by someone important within the FS (don't want to out anybody) that they would welcome our contributions. If the sponsor can't do some aspect of the needed work, we could help out with that. And, honestly, other groups have been somewhat slow to adopt the latest in grade-reversal and nick technology. If you can call it technology We can help the others to make the work they do even better. It certainly couldn't hurt to mingle with the hikers and horse folks, to help put a human face on each other.

  39. #39
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    Evening Work Sessions are Possible...

    Quote Originally Posted by nitrousjunky
    TZ- So does this mean that as long as we have a trained crew leader and things are scheduled that we can possibly have some "after work" evening work days?
    Junky--If the crew leader is trained, the crew members have valid Volunteer Agreements in place, and the work session was scheduled through the USFS contact, we can have evening work sessions. PAS is working to get Volunteer Agreement forms distributed and signed. As previously noted, the new agreement form details the work restrictions and expectations for ALL groups. So, while we're not quite where we want to be, we're on our way...
    TZ
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  40. #40
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    Thanks for the Reality Check...

    Quote Originally Posted by gsomtb
    I'll put it into perspective for you:
    I've driven 2' hours each way every weekend for the last 6 weeks to ride stuff like what you guys have.

    Outsider's perspective:
    Waaaaaay too much B&M'ing, far too little action.
    I'm 100% convinced based on posts from some of you and from my own experience that had each person who rides on a weekly basis given just a bit of their time over the last few years, you probably wouldn't be complaining about the work that was done b/c you'd have done it yourself - or at least had a big voice in it.

    Anyway, mucho thanks to those that do the work and make the difference.
    GSOMTB--You're right--our trails would be in better shape if keyboard time could be transformed into tread work! Not everyone in the area let issues with the Forest Service interfere with their work--I can introduce you to a respectable number of volunteers who have each accrued 100+ hours of volunteer time already this year... And I can probably document a fair number of folks who have cranked out 100+ 'B&M' posts this year...

    TZ
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    TZ, I am glad you are the go to guy in the Ranger District now! With your knowledge and energy you are the one person that can work with all the different groups. Let us know how we can help you!

    Rodney

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    is there an upcoming crew leader training in the works?

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snototter
    Totally relevant to the topic and the other topics that are currently floating around on MTBR. Way to much *****ing and no commitment to volunteering. I have been defending Todd on ORAMM and the perceived damage that folks say happen to HB and Kitsuma. Maybe there is a little residual damage but what about all the weekend riders and weekday locals that use the trails with no step up in wanting to fix the issues they create. Way easier to blame ORAMM and make someone else fix it. Same thing in the Ranger district. Todd does more work in the Ranger district than most can imagine. He gives back 100% for his use of Pisgah. Yet locals ride the trails day in and day and blame all the out of town people for the damage. What is up with that? We all selflessly volunteer in our own ways. I get that. I cleared all of Pilot Rock and 95% of Laurel connector trail. So what. I invested 3 full days of work to do this. I loved every minute of it, would do it again next year, and still show up for any and all organized trail work day in BC and Pisgah proper. I am so grateful every time I have the opportunity to ride and work in Pisgah. So whenever I can give back I do. Like Maida said we all have the same goal, great sustainable trail networks for all to enjoy.
    I disagree. People telling Todd he is wrong about the way he runs his races has nothing to to with this thread. It has to do with Todd feeling a little sensitive or something. (which I don't understand. His races are successful, why would he care what people say? Ego check?)

    But here is an important point with BRA and trail work. The trail work BRA does is directly linked to the races they promote. If my understanding is correct BRA is required to help maintain Heartbreak Ridge as part of the special use permit for ORAMM. The trail work done by BRA on that trail though might be technically 'volunteer' it helps BRA bring in money at ORAMM. Furthermore, the work done by BRA in the Pisgah District leading up to last year's stage race although technically once again 'volunteer' I feel was part of Todd's brilliant business plan and PR campaign. He knew people would ***** about the race and doing trail work leading up to it would only help his business as well as enhance the racers' enjoyment of the trails (wouldn't want to make it too hard for them, lol). The same thing can be said for the 'donation' he gave PAS (he likely would have had to hire people to do that work regardless). Todd is a great business man. I wish I had his business sense. But as far as trail work goes in Pisgah he has a different agenda than the rest of us.
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  44. #44
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    The next PAS meeting is in February. I guess I have plenty of time to relax before worrying about doing any official trail work with them... What I would like to see/start/be a part of is a regular trail work crew, much like CMC and other groups use. I'm out in the woods a lot. I could easily spend some of that time doing official trail work. I like the CMC. They do a lot. Maybe I should join.

    But let's not worry about that. Here is a big question:

    Why is it expected that every mountain biker in the area do trail work? I don't get it. I'm always hearing about 'trail karma' or that 'if you weren't at the trail work day don't say anything'. Who is anyone to say what others' should do with their free time? Just because you ride a bike on a trail you should go to a work day and stand around with a shovel? That doesn't make sense to me. Those people might be out volunteering with Hospice or Meals on Wheels or might have to much other stuff going on in their lives to spend that Saturday in a show of force or they just might not want to deal with the BS. Nevermind that these big work days are highly inefficient. I have a good friend who has never done any organized trail work that I know of. It would be easy to point a finger at him (and people have) but if it wasn't for him Turkey Pen Gap would still be covered in dead fall from last winter's storms

    What would help more than everyone doing trail work would be if locals did a better job of leading by example. Much of the horrible condition of our trails is caused by bikes. What I mean by this is if you can't ride Black Mtn. from Turkey Pen to Pressley without staying on the line don't try. Get off and walk.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    The next PAS meeting is in February. I guess I have plenty of time to relax before worrying about doing any official trail work with them... What I would like to see/start/be a part of is a regular trail work crew, much like CMC and other groups use. I'm out in the woods a lot. I could easily spend some of that time doing official trail work. I like the CMC. They do a lot. Maybe I should join.

    But let's not worry about that. Here is a big question:

    Why is it expected that every mountain biker in the area do trail work? I don't get it. I'm always hearing about 'trail karma' or that 'if you weren't at the trail work day don't say anything'. Who is anyone to say what others' should do with their free time? Just because you ride a bike on a trail you should go to a work day and stand around with a shovel? That doesn't make sense to me. Those people might be out volunteering with Hospice or Meals on Wheels or might have to much other stuff going on in their lives to spend that Saturday in a show of force or they just might not want to deal with the BS. Nevermind that these big work days are highly inefficient. I have a good friend who has never done any organized trail work that I know of. It would be easy to point a finger at him (and people have) but if it wasn't for him Turkey Pen Gap would still be covered in dead fall from last winter's storms

    What would help more than everyone doing trail work would be if locals did a better job of leading by example. Much of the horrible condition of our trails is caused by bikes. What I mean by this is if you can't ride Black Mtn. from Turkey Pen to Pressley without staying on the line don't try. Get off and walk.
    PAS has been pretty much a wash this year. I am as upset as any about this. Over the winter I hope we will have everything in place so we can address all of your(and others) issues with SORBA and still satisfy the requirements of the USFS. Props to you if you decide to give the CMC a hand. Maybe you can be that bridge between the two user groups and convince them to let us help on some of the shared trails.

    I think everyone is jumping to conclusions about the route the USFS and PAS is heading. The very thing you want to happen is in the works. Unfortunately it is not going to happen this year. That is why we all need patience.

    We can agree to disagree on the need to get out and give back to the forest. The comment you made is like saying I use this freeway everyday but the hell if I should pay taxes to keep them up. We all have other things going on in our lives. I just HATE folks who b*tch about trails behind their computer screen but have NEVER showed up for an organized trail day. Kicking sticks off the trail does not count. Clearing an entire length of trail from dead fall does count and hopefully he reported it to the FS. USFS tracks all the hours each group puts in that is why organized days matter even if all you choose to do is lean on a shovel. Not sure which work days you had attend in the last year. Was it with BRA, PAS, Upstate, or one of Woodys work days in Dupont? All the work days I have been to have been super productive with 5 people or 30 people. Just look at the quality work we did on Sidehill connector.

  46. #46
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    Please feel free to start another thread if anyone wants to discuss Todd's races or why we SHOULDN'T be doing trail work. This thread just isn't about those topics. PLEASE, try to keep this on on-track.

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    I love all avenues of forum input! Serious/goofy - whatever. Hijacking threads on MTBr is a traditional rite of passage. Dormant hormones kick in and it is especially good for me when someone (new to the area) posts their personal passionate view about trails. It is even more thrilling when it is a POV I haven't seen 99 times in 19 years.

    FYI: We are a legitimate access site for the USFS, Don't tell me they aren't scanning the Women's Forum too...

    Now you're cast of steel and cast aside. Broken dreams maybe, but you haven't died

  48. #48
    mtbr member
    Reputation: TrailZen's Avatar
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    It's Not Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Along For The Ride
    TZ, I am glad you are the go to guy in the Ranger District now! With your knowledge and energy you are the one person that can work with all the different groups. Let us know how we can help you!

    Rodney
    Rodney, Van is actually the District coordinator--I'm trying to help in the Brevard area. Remember the comment you made at the last PAS meeting about the Pisgah Stage Race--"It takes a community to put the race on..."? Well, it takes a community to do trail maintenance, too...
    TZ/Chuck
    Geriatric mountain biker and trail maintainer... ...with digital braking!

  49. #49
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    TZ, I was referring to the Brevard area. This is the area that everyone is sensitive about doing work. Just saying with your back ground and working with other trail groups through the years you are the best fit. Van and I were talking a couple months ago and he was talking about you for this area.

  50. #50
    drunken pirate
    Reputation: driftwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    Please feel free to start another thread if anyone wants to discuss Todd's races or why we SHOULDN'T be doing trail work. This thread just isn't about those topics. PLEASE, try to keep this on on-track.
    Sorry, Steve. Todd mentioned his races himself. I was simply pointing out they have nothing to do with the topic.

    I think my question as to why everyone is expected to do trail work is relevant, on topic and worthy of discussion. Personally I don't understand why everyone should be expected to do trail work. It is not the same thing as a highway tax or even a user fee. I agree that more users should do more but there is no reason why every user should be expected to attend trail work days.
    More Trails, Not Less

    Adventures in Pisgah

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