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  1. #1
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    Back story on Ridley Creek bike ban ? Time to let MTBers back ?

    Just to give a quick background, I currently live 3 miles from Ridley Creek park. When I was growing up my family spent many a day hanging around there, I also spent quite a few days cutting school there with my friends in high school.

    Ever since I moved back to the area last summer I've been through there several times on my road bike and also to walk the trails with my wife. The thought that constantly enters my mind is how the place is literally crumbling. Theres alot of trash issues on the trails and the picnic areas, the main roads through the park are in serious need of repair, as are many of the picnic area parking lots (alot of them are being taken over by weeds and grass). There just seems to be a general feeling of lifelessness there - even on a beautiful saturday afternoon in june when I was with my wife. Compared to french creek or marsh creek the overall condition seems, for lack of a better word, ghetto. And those of you in the area know that the surrounding communities are anything but. Its seems like its being left for dead.

    So, the question is - What specifically happened that caused mountain biking to be banned there ? Could the mountain biking community offer to help improve the conditions in exchange for getting privledges back ? How does it get started ? I like to hear thoughts from anybody who has info on the situation there.

  2. #2
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    While I no longer live in the area, in Denver now, I grew up accross from the park in the 80's and learned to mtb there. The park closed with the statewide ban on mtbing in the fall of '89. The same time CA did the same thing.
    There were only a few mtbers in the park back then and we were un-organized, and a lot of us were just high school kids at the time. Fortunately, I turned 16 the next year and hooked up with a unofficial mtbing group in Philly doing races at Belmont on Thursday, or was it Wed, nights and group rides on the weekend in Wissahicken. My letters to state congressmen about Ridley Creek went unanswered.
    Unfortunately, administraion there has had a distinct bias against mtbing for some time, not sure if that has changed at all. So it nevere re-opened like other state parks did. Compounding that there is a lot of money in the equestrian groups that would also prefer to keep bikes out.
    Also, the good singletrack already is segregated from allowing the equestrians on it, so it will be an uphill battle to get mtbing back on it. However, from recent trips to see family, it seems that no one uses those trails, so you might not have that much backlash. The majority of park users seem more interested on walking the bike path 3-6 abreast than get their shoes dirty. Sorry, they renamed it a multi-use trail from being the bike trail as it once was called.
    I agree that the park looks like crap now. But parts always did. The trails are overgrown, but that is only a matter of days for some of the vegetation there. We used to ride with our parents' pruning shears just to keep the thorn bushes at bay and the trails rideable.
    It seems like most of the more remote areas of the park have become nothing more than a haven for anonymous gay sex. There are some pretty creepy dudes hanging around some of the parking areas.
    Good luck. There are some pretty good trails there and I'd love to see them re-opened to mtbing.

  3. #3
    West Chester, PA
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    Interesting, I didn't know about the statewide ban. I got my first mountain bike in 91 and I don't think I rode anywhere except Don Guanella for the first 2 years.

    Since I posted my message I put a call in to the park manager to see if i could arrange a short sit-down, just to feel him out on the issue. No return call yet.

    Funny you mention the gay sex problem. Back in June my buddy was in the park dropping off a squirell he trapped in his backyard. He walked into the woods just a few feet off of the lot and saw 2 dudes going at it.

    Thanks for the info.

  4. #4
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    What's the manager's name? I can't remember off hand but I might be able to recognize if it has changed since the early 90's.

    I know a couple of families back there that are afraid of taking their kids to the park to go hiking because of the chance of the same encounter as your friend. It seems that fear of mtn bikers coming through might get that activity to stop. I don't care if it's gay or hetero, the park is no place for that. As it is now, there realy is no trail users to be afraid of conflict.
    I'd recommend taking pictures of the ghetto-ness of the park and getting some petitions together to send in to your state reps and the state head of the park system. If the local guy doesn't want to budge, start buggin his bosses.

  5. #5
    West Chester, PA
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    Roger Mcchesney I think his name is.

  6. #6
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    There was an official response from DCNR. Attached is a copy of the letter.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    sure they allow events there, but that is a RUNNING race. I was at that race(wifey ran) It would be a great place to ride a mtn bike on the dirt.

  9. #9
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    Urban-proximate as a reason to ban mtbing? Have they not heard of Philly's Fairmount Park system? There are more trails at Ridley than at half of the parks in the Philly area, when you include the singletrack and equestrian trails, small park my ass. That singletrack is not any more narrow than the trails within 15 minutes of Denver, maybe more overgrown but that is just a sign of the lack of maintenance. You guys have An uphill battle, but good luck. I hope you guys succeed because I'll leave an old beater bike at my parents' for when I go back to visit. This thread has gotten me reminiscing about sessioning this one rock garden, trying to clear it on my 84 Miyata.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitney.Smith
    sure they allow events there, but that is a RUNNING race. I was at that race(wifey ran) It would be a great place to ride a mtn bike on the dirt.
    Understood it is a running race... The point is that DCNR allows an event that has "impact" on the park. Not to focus on this or to single out runners and this event. This event is a good thing. In the same respect, it wouldn’t be fair to single out the equestrian community and focus on their impact on erosion.

  11. #11
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    Yes, but they don't believe that running (or horseback riding) has any "impact" on the trails at all. Totally wrong of course. We all know what a horse can do in moist soil to a trail.
    It's not the impact as much as it is a bias against mountain bikers.
    As one poster also stated, there's a ton of money behind the equestrians..

  12. #12
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    Wow. I live in AZ now but learned to mountain bike in the late 80's mostly at this park, the Wissahickon Creek trails, Belmont, etc. The park was in pretty good shape then and just a great MTB playground, but I do recall slogging through some swampy, reedy, weedy stuff. Those trails had a little bit of everything and there is some fantastic riding there! Probably my favorite place to ride back then. I only saw horses on the trails a couple of times and never had any trouble with them. I was sorry to learn only a few years ago that bikes had been banned from the trails. I can't imagine why bikes, hikers and horses couldn't coexist there now.
    Today's solid oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground. -Anonymous

  13. #13
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    My backyard borders on the park and my neighbor is a horse farm that has direct trail access to the park. They send gaggles of riders out into the park trails rain or shine mud or dry. They have absolutely no respect for the trails and do no maintenance whatsoever.If you could see the trail they use to enter the park it is a disgrace. I've watched these trails go to 5hit over the past 10 years and it's just aggravating. I really can't believe there is no advocacy for bikes in this place; the trails are, pardon the cliche, epic.

  14. #14
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    I used to live in Wayne and used to session this place weekly. I have a couple killer loops that me and some friends would hit, and we would always have to be stealth in the parking lots. We rarely ever saw anyone else using the trails and we could not figure out why MTB was banned here. That letter is a bunch of ********. The park is PLENTY big enough. Our loops were at least 10 miles, maybe more. I must have ridden here 100+ times, and only once did I encounter a ranger, becuase my buddy got a flat and we were next to the road repairing it. That was really stupid of us, and the Ranger was actually pretty cool. He asked if we were riding on the trails, and we said no. He looks and see's dirt on our legs and bikes and see our tracks leading down the trail to our current location, and he calls our bluff. We engage in a conversation and he tells us that we need to take it up with the State, and that he is just doing his job to enforce the current laws. Like I said, we were cool and professional with him and he was right back to us. So he leaves and we fix our flat and resume our ride and finish the remaining 5 miles.

    My point is that in this day and age, and with what is happening at Nockamixon SP, there is a good chance to get MTB approved in this park. But it will take a concerted effort from locals who want to ride there and who will perform trail maintenance on a regular basis. If you approach them and tell them you are ready to start a monthly VOLUNTEER trail work day, they should start listening. I know some guys who live in and around media that will help. Send me a PM and I can share some more details.

    I live in Philly now, and I ride out of my garage into the Wiss. Life doesn't get much better for my MTB addiction...
    bike = good

  15. #15
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    I agree with dirt merchant here and his last paragraph is a good starting point for you.

    The park we volunteer in, Frances Slocum, like all state parks was off limits to Mtb'ers. 4 years ago we changed that, but I will caution you, do not expect things to happen over night when working with the park or DCNR. They have their own agenda and if you plan on utilizing their park, you must have the patience to abide by their regulations and so forth. We at Slocum are on our second park manager since we have been there. The first manager was a "Go Slow..one step at a time" person, but..once we showed him that we were serious about what we were doing he opened up a little more.

    When he transferred out we were a bit concerned that the new manager was going to take away what we had started, but fortunatly for us manager #1 told..and showed him how committed we were. Again, the new manager, and since I have used his name here in other posts I'll use it here, Rex Bradish..was the same way. IE: Show me what you are all about..and show me who does the work..how serious are you?

    Again, a little slow at first, but we proved ourselves, not only in the trail work, but also the guidelines as well. I'm sure you saw a few pics of me cutting trees in Slocum that blew down. Chaps, helmet. goggles....every bit of safety equipment mandated by the department was in force. Kinda overkill? Maybe. Why? Because the state said so, so, wear it I did. Simply, their park, their rules.

    By doing this, and following the DCNR game plan to the letter and having patience we won Rex's trust, and the department's as well. We now get anything we need for work, trucks, wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, drainage pipe. All we do is ask.

    This can also work for you if you show the park manager that you are willing to work with him. Go in with an attitude that you are going to take over on your own agenda is going to get the door slammed in your face.

    Use Frances Slocum as a reference and have your manager talk to our manager..and by all means get in touch with Frank from IMBA. Just within the past few days they have been in touch with Rex and DCNR on our behalf on a very important project that we have been working on for the park, so my advice is start a group and join IMBA. The DCNR recognizes that IMBA tag almost instantly and your credibility with DCNR will increase 100fold.

    Good luck and keep us informed.

    Kevin at WVMTBA

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt_merchant
    I used to live in Wayne and used to session this place weekly. I have a couple killer loops that me and some friends would hit, and we would always have to be stealth in the parking lots. We rarely ever saw anyone else using the trails and we could not figure out why MTB was banned here. That letter is a bunch of ********. The park is PLENTY big enough. Our loops were at least 10 miles, maybe more. I must have ridden here 100+ times, and only once did I encounter a ranger, becuase my buddy got a flat and we were next to the road repairing it. That was really stupid of us, and the Ranger was actually pretty cool. He asked if we were riding on the trails, and we said no. He looks and see's dirt on our legs and bikes and see our tracks leading down the trail to our current location, and he calls our bluff. We engage in a conversation and he tells us that we need to take it up with the State, and that he is just doing his job to enforce the current laws. Like I said, we were cool and professional with him and he was right back to us. So he leaves and we fix our flat and resume our ride and finish the remaining 5 miles.

    My point is that in this day and age, and with what is happening at Nockamixon SP, there is a good chance to get MTB approved in this park. But it will take a concerted effort from locals who want to ride there and who will perform trail maintenance on a regular basis. If you approach them and tell them you are ready to start a monthly VOLUNTEER trail work day, they should start listening. I know some guys who live in and around media that will help. Send me a PM and I can share some more details.

    I live in Philly now, and I ride out of my garage into the Wiss. Life doesn't get much better for my MTB addiction...
    What is happening in Nockamixon? Are there ridable trails now?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus
    What is happening in Nockamixon? Are there ridable trails now?
    There is a LOT happening at Nox. Long story short, about 1 year ago, the new manager came from the Pittsburgh area and asked, why are their no mountain biking trails in this park? So he approacched the Valley MTB club and they contacted us (PMBA) and now both clubs are involved as well as IMBA trail solutions. We have flagged out a few trails on numerous occasions and we are close to getting the park to sign off on the routes and trail building should begin this year. We will be holding volunteer trail build days as soon as that starts, so if you are local, PLEASE get involved. We need more locals to step up. These trails will be in your back yard! Anyway, here are some links:

    http://www.phillymtb.org/index.php?t...mid=4#msg18054

    http://groups.google.com/group/nocka...l=en&lnk=gcimv

    The state is using Nox as a "test bed" for the SP's that do not allow MTB, and Ridley is a PRIME example. When we prove ourselves (MTB community) to the state in this case, we will have a much stronger position to open up other parks.

    Bottom line is this: GET INVOLVED EVERYONE!
    bike = good

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt_merchant
    There is a LOT happening at Nox. Long story short, about 1 year ago, the new manager came from the Pittsburgh area and asked, why are their no mountain biking trails in this park? So he approacched the Valley MTB club and they contacted us (PMBA) and now both clubs are involved as well as IMBA trail solutions. We have flagged out a few trails on numerous occasions and we are close to getting the park to sign off on the routes and trail building should begin this year. We will be holding volunteer trail build days as soon as that starts, so if you are local, PLEASE get involved. We need more locals to step up. These trails will be in your back yard! Anyway, here are some links:

    http://www.phillymtb.org/index.php?t...mid=4#msg18054

    http://groups.google.com/group/nocka...l=en&lnk=gcimv

    The state is using Nox as a "test bed" for the SP's that do not allow MTB, and Ridley is a PRIME example. When we prove ourselves (MTB community) to the state in this case, we will have a much stronger position to open up other parks.

    Bottom line is this: GET INVOLVED EVERYONE!
    \\

    FYI if the manager is OBIE DERR he is a good guy. He was the manager at Moraine state park and saw the benefit of having mountain bikers do more maintenance than any other group at the park (combined i believe). good luck on your trail building.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whambat View Post
    While I no longer live in the area, in Denver now, I grew up accross from the park in the 80's and learned to mtb there. The park closed with the statewide ban on mtbing in the fall of '89. The same time CA did the same thing.
    There were only a few mtbers in the park back then and we were un-organized, and a lot of us were just high school kids at the time. Fortunately, I turned 16 the next year and hooked up with a unofficial mtbing group in Philly doing races at Belmont on Thursday, or was it Wed, nights and group rides on the weekend in Wissahicken. My letters to state congressmen about Ridley Creek went unanswered.
    Unfortunately, administraion there has had a distinct bias against mtbing for some time, not sure if that has changed at all. So it nevere re-opened like other state parks did. Compounding that there is a lot of money in the equestrian groups that would also prefer to keep bikes out.
    Also, the good singletrack already is segregated from allowing the equestrians on it, so it will be an uphill battle to get mtbing back on it. However, from recent trips to see family, it seems that no one uses those trails, so you might not have that much backlash. The majority of park users seem more interested on walking the bike path 3-6 abreast than get their shoes dirty. Sorry, they renamed it a multi-use trail from being the bike trail as it once was called.
    I agree that the park looks like crap now. But parts always did. The trails are overgrown, but that is only a matter of days for some of the vegetation there. We used to ride with our parents' pruning shears just to keep the thorn bushes at bay and the trails rideable.
    It seems like most of the more remote areas of the park have become nothing more than a haven for anonymous gay sex. There are some pretty creepy dudes hanging around some of the parking areas.
    Good luck. There are some pretty good trails there and I'd love to see them re-opened to mtbing.
    Was so enjoying your post about Ridley Creek in the old days until I laughed out loud about the "anonymous gay sex." Not that I'm disagreeing with you, haven't been to Ridley in a long time.
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  20. #20
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    Was hiking here today. So close to home, would love for it to open up to the MTB community. Does anyone know if there have been any recent efforts in having this park open up? Any change in status since this post was made 6 years ago?

  21. #21
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    Hey, new to site. I live right near the Don Guanala(?) trails. I believe it's still off limits, at least that is what the guy at my local bike shop told me when I inquired about any trails/parks he knew of. I've been going to Brandywine State Park, actually I park right behind the Marriot on 202, right off rt. 1. That is probably the best spot I've found so far.

  22. #22
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    My wife and I walk the paved path pretty often, and sometimes the dirt trails. The "hiking" trails are very seldom used and like the older posts say I'm sure MTB folks would do nothing but improve the trail.

    I know there are like 3 separate trails (blue, white and yellow I believe), I wonder if they would open up even one of them for a test period.

  23. #23
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    Can anyone offer any insight onto who I could speak to at the DCNR or what their protocol may be in reviewing the matter of opening up their trails to us may be?

  24. #24
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    We're talking about Ridley Creek State Park on rt3, right? If so then I believe there are park rangers and even office hours.
    But on the website...

    PA*DCNR*-*Ridley Creek State Park

    It explains the rules...riding is reserved for the paved 5 mile multiuse loop, it's even open to cross country skiers! But prohibited on unpaved hiking trails.

    Alot of people ride their horses there, and a lot of people are issued hunting permits for whitetail. I can almost gaurantee you that it has something to do with those to things...

    Here's just a link to the dcnr website, there are options to contact them.
    PA*DCNR*-*Pennsylvania State Parks

  25. #25
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    I hike on the trails in the woods at Ridley frequently & have always thought how much fun it would be to bike there (much more fun than the paved loop.) Didn't know it used to be allowed. I'd love to see it reinstated! For now White Clay in DE is great.

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