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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    If only we had ONE IOTA of influence over this process on USFS lands, this might be more of a relevant discussion. But didn't this "Trail Strategy" dog and pony show teach us anything?

    On USFS lands, our best option is - as it has always been - slow, incremental change brought on by sustained pressure and support from organized groups like PAS. But the reality is, the whim of a single ranger on a single day can undo decades of progress at any time of their choosing.

    Maybe a better option is to look for opportunities on state, city/county, and private property instead.

    Edit: Oh, and National Parks. That's a Whole Nuther Story, as they say...good luck.
    ,


    I would think that mountain bikers do have some influence in WNC. Much of that area is a mountain bike destination which brings people and money. But you are right, on the national level, all steps are small whether you represent mountain bikers or the wilderness bunch. And you are right again about state and county lands. Those areas are far more open to local changes from local land managers.

  2. #27
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    yes definitely

  3. #28
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    Everybody should believe in something...I BELIEVE I'll have another BEER!!!!

  4. #29
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    Everybody should believe in something...I BELIEVE I'll have another BEER!!!!

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnmtnbkr View Post
    Pardon my ignorance but how does Big South Fork relate to this topic?

    I looked at the links you provided and it appears that in that area there are way more trails closed to mtbs than open to them.

    I'll be real honest and come right out and say I am not convinced that IMBA's Model Trails are necessarily the most outstanding trails in any given area. They say Douthat "defines this region of the Appalachian mountains." Douthat might define what IMBA wants the mtb trails in the region to look like but based on what I have seen and experienced in that area Douthat is a far cry from being representative of the experience the trails in the region offer.
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  6. #31
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    Having ridden at Douthat and many other trails in NC and VA, I'd say that for 90% of the masses, Douthat offers about as good as it gets--variety of terrain, decent elevation change, a contained, signed trail system, resources/camping, etc. For those (myself included) who like things with more features/more isolated/more rugged, you know enough to look/ride other places and you're not going to be happy with any "official" trail "system" that's going to be up for "model trail" status. Flame on.

  7. #32
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    Imba model trail ... Those are nice for my 7 year old

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstuhlman View Post
    Having ridden at Douthat and many other trails in NC and VA, I'd say that for 90% of the masses, Douthat offers about as good as it gets--variety of terrain, decent elevation change, a contained, signed trail system, resources/camping, etc. For those (myself included) who like things with more features/more isolated/more rugged, you know enough to look/ride other places and you're not going to be happy with any "official" trail "system" that's going to be up for "model trail" status. Flame on.
    I agree that Douthat is a good trail system (for what it is), but it does not define the region as IMBA claims. It defines IMBA style flow trails in the region.... A whole lot of people really like and even prefer that style of trail, I have no problem with that - diversity is a good thing.

    The Pisgah Ranger District will (hopefully) never qualify for any of IMBA's designations as the trails do not fit their criterea. But yet you will be hard pressed to find a more 'epic' trail system on the East coast as demonstrated by the number of riders who flock to it.

    I do not expect IMBA to lead any efforts for increased mountain bike access to existing trails in our region.

    I'm still curious as to the relevance of Big South Fork here...
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  9. #34
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    Clay- the relevance to Big South Fork is that the best part of the now-open trail system used to be closed to bikes. It's also totally sweet trail I really enjoyed when I, admittedly, poached it 10-plus years ago. The John Muir section, in particular, lived up to it's lofty namesake. It's also managed by the National Park Service, so it's the nearest precedent for your suggestion of doing things like looking at GSMNP.

  10. #35
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    I agree that we definitely should have more access to trails here. We should look at Oregon and Washington State as an example. The trails there are so much "nicer" as in I mean better groomed than ours. There is no reason why we should be able to plan nicer free flowing trails here in Western NC.

    Not to change the subject, but their road riding infrastructure is also far superior than ours.
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  11. #36
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    "Flow" trails are def not nicer to me. Keep that to yourself

  12. #37
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    [QUOTE=driftwood;9973426]I do not expect IMBA to lead any efforts for increased mountain bike access to existing trails in our region.QUOTE]

    Yea, I wouldn't count on that. Locals make rules . . . .

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawnstar View Post
    I agree that we definitely should have more access to trails here. We should look at Oregon and Washington State as an example. The trails there are so much "nicer" as in I mean better groomed than ours. There is no reason why we should be able to plan nicer free flowing trails here in Western NC.

    Not to change the subject, but their road riding infrastructure is also far superior than ours.
    "Groomed" and "flow" trails aren't really what a lot of us are after here. What you described sounds a lot like road riding. While you may align yourself with the IMBA agenda, I do not and what you describe is exactly what I don't want.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Clay- the relevance to Big South Fork is that the best part of the now-open trail system used to be closed to bikes. It's also totally sweet trail I really enjoyed when I, admittedly, poached it 10-plus years ago. The John Muir section, in particular, lived up to it's lofty namesake. It's also managed by the National Park Service, so it's the nearest precedent for your suggestion of doing things like looking at GSMNP.
    Thanks for the answer . It is good to know there is contemporary precedent for changing the designations of existing trails.

    If we were to try to increase access in our area the Grandfather and Appalachian Districts would be the perfect place to start. Then we could move on to GSMNP. There are lots of opportunities in our region.

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnstar
    I agree that we definitely should have more access to trails here. We should look at Oregon and Washington State as an example. The trails there are so much "nicer" as in I mean better groomed than ours. There is no reason why we should be able to plan nicer free flowing trails here in Western NC.
    We already have many very well groomed and free flowing trails in our region. Building new trails like that doesn't really relate to gaining access to already existing trails. Most of those existing trails are not 'flow' trails so riders who are seeking that sort of riding probably would have no interest riding the Buncombe Horse Range. Planning new trails is fine but why not also look at increasing access to existing trails?
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  15. #40
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    "[QUOTE=driftwood;9976005]Thanks for the answer . It is good to know there is contemporary precedent for changing the designations of existing trails. "

    More important perhaps than the precedent is the Trail Assessment done at Big South Fork by Dr. Jeff Marion. In his work, he found that mountain bikes have similar (no greater) impacts on trails as compared to hiking uses:

    Tennessee Mountain Biking Alliance Resources

    http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/1324/f...rion&olive.pdf

    Dr. Jeff is the most respected recreation ecologist and researcher in the US, he has many published papers on all types of outdoor recreation impacts. His research has helped establish mtn biking as low impact. I will be working on a trails related book with Jeff and 3 other respected experts in 2013.


    "If we were to try to increase access in our area the Grandfather and Appalachian Districts would be the perfect place to start. Then we could move on to GSMNP. There are lots of opportunities in our region."

    Agreed. The hope was that the trail review process started by the FS last year would be a good opportunity to gain additional access to existing trails. The upcoming LRMP (Land and Resource Management Plan) will be another opportunity.


    "We already have many very well groomed and free flowing trails in our region. Building new trails like that doesn't really relate to gaining access to already existing trails. Most of those existing trails are not 'flow' trails so riders who are seeking that sort of riding probably would have no interest riding the Buncombe Horse Range. Planning new trails is fine but why not also look at increasing access to existing trails?"

    I assume you are referring to Bumcombe Horse Trail coming off of Mitchell? Maybe a good example of a trail possible to gain access to.

    Looking at the regions (western NC) inventory trails, there are actually way more heritage trails than "well groomed and free flowing trails". The largest source of heritage trails is past and previous corridor uses, mainly timber extraction. My guess is logging is the source of 80% of all "trails" currently in the various land managers inventory. There are really very few " purpose built trails" in the region (for any use group), there are of course some examples.

    Put yourself in a land managers shoes for a moment. Ask the question: Why would I want to add additional traffic to trails I know are not properly designed"? That is the question that comes into play for the most part in wanting to gain access to existing trails on any given public land base (different USFS districts or Great Smokies NP). If the mountain bike community can convince land managers they are collectively bringing something to the table, maybe there is some chance of additional trail access. That something to the table could be significant contributions to maintenance efforts on any given trail segment. If asking for access does not bring this to the table, then why would a land manager be in favor of adding traffic. For many of these heritage trails, not having high traffic counts is about the only thing holding them together as their design elements (to be physically sustainable) are non-existent.

    There are new trails being built all over NC/NC specifically for mtn biking. Mtn bike clubs are having great success in getting approval to build purpose built trail for bikes that use sustainable design principles. Those who want to see that should join in on the efforts for such. I have seen this group working hard and have great success.

    Folks who want to gain access to existing "heritage" trails should formally start such efforts (posting on MTBR does not count as mtn bike advocacy). My personal opinion is that there are very few riders being effective in this area currently.

    In addition to the physical sustainability issues of adding bikes to poorly designed trails (more traffic= faster erosion), there is the issue of social sustainability and possible user conflict. Trails that have been hiker only for a long time are hard to gain access to in many situations. That is why clubs often focus energy and efforts into new trails that will not have to fight that battle.

    Many riders state: " I am not going to join my local mtn bike advocacy group because they are not advocating for what I want (or are doing things I don't like)". You should instead be asking " why don't we get involved and then we can advocate for what we want, build what we want to ride, and influence the policy and direction of the club".
    Last edited by Woodman; 12-17-2012 at 01:28 PM.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    "Groomed" and "flow" trails aren't really what a lot of us are after here. What you described sounds a lot like road riding. While you may align yourself with the IMBA agenda, I do not and what you describe is exactly what I don't want.
    65,

    Take a look at this video:
    Lookout December! on Vimeo

    Would you enjoy this trail?

  17. #42
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    Many riders state: " I am not going to join my local mtn bike advocacy group because they are not advocating for what I want (or are doing things I don't like)". You should instead be asking " why don't we get involved and then we can advocate for what we want, build what we want to ride, and influence the policy and direction of the club".[/QUOTE]

    No joke. But its easier to whine about it rather than work for it.

    Make some thing better happen on the trails.
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    In regards to the GSMNP, I think most of the reason is tradition.
    I've been told by a ranger that it was written into the charter for GSMNP that a certain percentage of the trails in the park must allow horse access.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by humanpackmule View Post
    I've been told by a ranger that it was written into the charter for GSMNP that a certain percentage of the trails in the park must allow horse access.

    That explains why the AT running through GSMNP has horses on it, the only section north to south that allows such.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    65,

    Take a look at this video:
    Lookout December! on Vimeo

    Would you enjoy this trail?
    NICE! I would enjoy!

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstuhlman View Post
    Having ridden at Douthat and many other trails in NC and VA, I'd say that for 90% of the masses, Douthat offers about as good as it gets--variety of terrain, decent elevation change, a contained, signed trail system, resources/camping, etc. For those (myself included) who like things with more features/more isolated/more rugged, you know enough to look/ride other places and you're not going to be happy with any "official" trail "system" that's going to be up for "model trail" status. Flame on.
    Douthat is good for those that need a trail system with good signage, etc. Sort of like NF light. IMO the best riding in that area is outside the park in the GWNF. Aside from the race and some of the Stokesville-Douthat rides those trails see little use.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    That explains why the AT running through GSMNP has horses on it, the only section north to south that allows such.
    Yep, that's exactly it. There are a couple of trails in the park that I just don't think are suitable for horses. They just seemed too tight for a horse to get through, loose broken treadway and just seemed frankly dangerous to take a horse up there. I talked to the backcountry ranger out at twentymile a few years back and I asked him about it.

    His response was they didn't have a choice but to keep some existing but unsuitable trail open to horses due to the percentage quota. Mostly because there wasn't budget for new trail or reworking existing trail. GSMNP can't really maintain the 900 miles of trail that they have right now. So they have to meet the quota with what they currently have.

  23. #48
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    So tired of people using "smooth" and "flow" as if they mean the same thing. Way to prove you know nothing about mountain bike trails.

  24. #49
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    These make me think of Trout Lake in Blowing Rock. A one mile trail around a beautiful lake, but the trail is covered in horse poop most of the time. Horse poop that washes into the lake every time it rains then through the spillway into a beautiful mountain stream. Nothing against horses, but why do they get "special privileges"?

  25. #50
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    Fun Sponges. Welcome to *****ville.

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