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  1. #1
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    Minor Rant - Syncline Hidden Valley Trail Re-Routing

    With much respect to the good people that volunteer their time to maintain trails, I have to say I am soooo disappointed with the new trail routing on the hidden valley trail at Syncline this year. For starters, they have taken the eastern entrance trail from what was just an awesome steep single track to a meandering pedalfest that winds its way down the the hill with no real flow or interest whatsoever. I was ok with losing that section and then today I see that they are re-routing a bunch of trail through the trees and apparently cutting out the really cool switch back to steep slope towards the bottom.

    I suspect that this is being done under the auspices of "erosion control," but I don't buy it. The conditions have hardly changed in the 5+ years that I've been on that trail. It's just hard and rocky. It's also one of the few technical trails left in the region (especially with Coyote being closed). What is so wrong with having some technical trails (that aren't free ride) so people can actually advance their skills. We have plenty of easy smooth trail.

    Oh, well... can't keep things the same forever. Ride it while you can.

    EDIT - Did some more checking. The new recreation plan does call for re-routing some trails so that's to be expected. However, it is really the manner of the re-routing that bothers me. And its not like the full re-route map was spelled out in the recreation plan--it just says reroute to USFS standards. It could have been done to keep the quality and character of the trail.
    Last edited by thorkild; 02-10-2013 at 11:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    I haven't ridden Hidden Valley since they started rerouting it, but I do agree with your sentiment.

    It sucks to hear about the lose of another excellent trail.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  3. #3
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    I like the top re-route but it could me MUCH better. With so much real estate with both Hidden and Maui the could make those trails 3-4x longer and create the flow and length that we all would like. The worst part about the new re-route is that it runs directly through oak.... and a lot of it. By the time those plants start bearing leaves anyone who reacts to oak will not want to be on that section of trail.

    I don't know who actually maps out these reroutes for syncline, but there is so much local talent that could make these trails SO much better, just wish the FS would utilize their skills.

  4. #4
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    I agree, with the chance to do some good work, there is little flow at the top. Corners could be much better suited for bikes.

  5. #5
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    who are the folks doing the re-routes these days out there?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by donutboy View Post
    who are the folks doing the re-routes these days out there?
    Washington Trails Association (wta.org), which is a hiking group. I honestly have no issues with hiking, which is a fabulous activity and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. And I've done far more hiking than mountain biking in my life. But, I highly doubt that they are even thinking about whether their rerouting is going to be enjoyable for bikes.

    I have no ground to stand on when it comes to this because my trailwork vs. trail-use ratio is not exactly a good one. But, does anyone know how WTA got involved and whether one of the local MTB groups could participate?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    Washington Trails Association (wta.org), which is a hiking group. I honestly have no issues with hiking, which is a fabulous activity and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. And I've done far more hiking than mountain biking in my life. But, I highly doubt that they are even thinking about whether their rerouting is going to be enjoyable for bikes.

    I have no ground to stand on when it comes to this because my trailwork vs. trail-use ratio is not exactly a good one. But, does anyone know how WTA got involved and whether one of the local MTB groups could participate?
    So true as WTA is trying to the best they can to make things better and sustainable (Ryan Ojeri is the lead who I met and spoke with a couple of months ago while on the hill and he was out yesterday as well). He is however not a rider and is evident with the re-routes. I was at Syncline yesterday and was fairly disappointed they de-comissioned and carved up perfectly good trail/dirt that connects Loose Lucy/Shoestring to Hidden Canyon/lower Jeff's trail with no other alternative to connect these sections. Since Coyote has been closed, I have been adding Loose Lucy and riding back over on established trail to upper Hidden Canyon at end of new HC re-route.

    Yes, the new upper HC re-route is flow-less and not as fun as the other section they de-commisioned next to it ("Jeff's trail"). They were also working on other sections of HC with ride around to steep dirt switchback and notice all the flagged areas to be in more oak infested areas as well. I like some of the changes they made to Maui, but really hope they don't "dumb down" HC. It is some of the only tech trail riding there is in the area and always challenges bike handling at speed.
    Ride On!

  8. #8
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    The slow loss of trails is like a frog in boiling water. Frog doesn't understand it is being boiled until it is too late. HR/WS should understand the area is dependent on tourist's to bring in the cash to pay taxes, buy gunk in town, and keep the area nice. Hopefully the awesome work of the CAMBA at Post Canyon and Whoop De Doo will offset the loss of other trails in the area....

  9. #9
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    From WTA site.
    Volunteers to Improve Trails at Coyote Wall
    If you don't like what's going on stop complaining and volunteer and be part of the process. I've been working with WTA for years, it's the only way to influence the outcome. Heavily used trails have to be gentle and smooth of they wont last. Or if somehow you could stop people from skidding.....
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_schuldt View Post
    From WTA site.
    Volunteers to Improve Trails at Coyote Wall
    If you don't like what's going on stop complaining and volunteer and be part of the process. I've been working with WTA for years, it's the only way to influence the outcome. Heavily used trails have to be gentle and smooth of they wont last. Or if somehow you could stop people from skidding.....
    Here's my problem with that. I dont want to see the trails touched at all. They were great as they were--technical, loose, and difficult to ride so you can really develop advanced skills. I fundamentally disagree with the statement "heavily used trails have to be gentle and smooth or they won't last." That's not true. Europe is far more densly poplulated than the US and the trails in the Alps, Dolomites, etc. are far more heavily used than any trails in the United States outside of the national parks. Yet, they have a very wide range of trail difficulties from well maintained paths to the extremely rugged, technical (and popular). There's a reason the Canadians and Europeans are better than we are at virtually all levels of mountain biking. They have the trails to advance their skills. Here, we chop those trails down and smooth them out in the name of "improvements." Sad in my book. I'm not sure how volunteering for a work party to reroute and likely ruin a great trail accomplishes my concern with keeping that trail in its current character and route. When I get the opportunity, I try to participate in the planning stage but that's now where we are at now.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    Here's my problem with that. I dont want to see the trails touched at all. They were great as they were--technical, loose, and difficult to ride so you can really develop advanced skills. I fundamentally disagree with the statement "heavily used trails have to be gentle and smooth or they won't last." That's not true. Europe is far more densly poplulated than the US and the trails in the Alps, Dolomites, etc. are far more heavily used than any trails in the United States outside of the national parks. Yet, they have a very wide range of trail difficulties from well maintained paths to the extremely rugged, technical (and popular). There's a reason the Canadians and Europeans are better than we are at virtually all levels of mountain biking. They have the trails to advance their skills. Here, we chop those trails down and smooth them out in the name of "improvements." Sad in my book. I'm not sure how volunteering for a work party to reroute and likely ruin a great trail accomplishes my concern with keeping that trail in its current character and route. When I get the opportunity, I try to participate in the planning stage but that's now where we are at now.
    This! Save the tech and is why Hidden Valley was cool to ride as Little Moab is just too short. I am going to have to go to the next work party to try and spare the rocky chutes.
    Ride On!

  12. #12
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    If you really care about a trail you need to get involved or just take what come your way. Behind all the changes there is the land manager, get to know them.
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_schuldt View Post
    If you really care about a trail you need to get involved or just take what come your way. Behind all the changes there is the land manager, get to know them.


    Had the pleasure of riding Syncline just a couple weeks ago after a several year hiatus. Such a great trail system, but as trails get popular and they change. Little Moab felt like a 6 lane freeway, so many options you can't tell which way you wanna go. That trail in particular had some serious impacts due to the volume of riders using it. When I was there a couple weeks ago the improvements on Hidden Valley were just starting up and I did not see them as that significant, sounds like more has been done. Something needed to be done to maintain the integrity of the trails there, difficult terrain to build and maintain in as its so wide open; users are tempted to blaze there own lines. If it was my backyard I'd be armoring existing lines and building go arounds to handle multiple levels of users. There'd be change and therefor be complaints. Trail stewardship is managing a trail for its intended use and experience. Advocating for no change is not really maintaining no change, at some point it no longer becomes a trail and just becomes a blown out road. Of course I'm not there and I'm not speaking to the specific changes, but I bet they are improvements in terms of the sustainability of the trail system we enjoy. Keep singletrack single!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    Here's my problem with that. I dont want to see the trails touched at all.
    I think most people would prefer if we didn't have to deal with trails at all, unfortunately if you just sit back and do nothing trails will become overgrown and unrideable, or maybe taken over by other trail users who decide to be proactive.

    That's exactly what WTA did. I believe the issue wasn't so much erosion but user conflict- fast descending bikes with blind corners which made for a scary if not dangerous situation with hikers. And yes the multiple lines that were getting out of hand, though were caused by both bikers and hikers. WTA brought the issue to light, got involved with land manager and submitted plans, and now they are making changes that they think will best serve all users.

    It sucks, but we are in constant competition with other user groups: hikers, equestrians, hunters, etc, so the more we sit back and do nothing, the more our trails will get taken over by others. I'm afraid its too late to just show up and try to convince WTA to leave this or that, as they were in the planning phase of this project last year. And yes they did reach out to mtn bikers, but apparently nobody bothered.

    BTW, There are multiple trail building parties happening each month in and around PDX, where you can go and help add technical features, give your input, make your presence known to the land managers, etc.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    I think most people would prefer if we didn't have to deal with trails at all, unfortunately if you just sit back and do nothing trails will become overgrown and unrideable, or maybe taken over by other trail users who decide to be proactive.

    That's exactly what WTA did. I believe the issue wasn't so much erosion but user conflict- fast descending bikes with blind corners which made for a scary if not dangerous situation with hikers. And yes the multiple lines that were getting out of hand, though were caused by both bikers and hikers. WTA brought the issue to light, got involved with land manager and submitted plans, and now they are making changes that they think will best serve all users.

    It sucks, but we are in constant competition with other user groups: hikers, equestrians, hunters, etc, so the more we sit back and do nothing, the more our trails will get taken over by others. I'm afraid its too late to just show up and try to convince WTA to leave this or that, as they were in the planning phase of this project last year. And yes they did reach out to mtn bikers, but apparently nobody bothered.

    BTW, There are multiple trail building parties happening each month in and around PDX, where you can go and help add technical features, give your input, make your presence known to the land managers, etc.
    Good point and very much the situation there as when I spoke with the WTA trail lead he was very encouraging for me to get involved and join the work party's with CAMBA. But, the fact is as you mentioned the plan for the trails is already in place and that is how it is going to go down there.
    Ride On!

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