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  1. #1
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    Busted in Betzwood

    I was riding in Betzwood Sunday morning when a forest ranger on a bike saw me from the paved path. He shouted out, "hey" but I kept riding. He went ahead of me on the path and was waiting for me at the powerlines (I was coming from the old plantation and heading in the opposite direction that most riders go). He was angry that I ran from him but gave me a warning that there was no biking on any trails other than the paved path and the gravel path by the river. He said that they were shutting the "whole place down." He said he was on a mission to inform the riders that it was illegal to ride there (yeah, he got mad when I told him there were no signs posted). The first time is a warning and the second time is a citation and a date in front of a judge.

    I am hoping that it was just my dumb luck that got me in this situation and that it is not a crackdown on the trails. Just a head's up, look out for rangers on bikes. I don't know if they patrol the trails or whether he was just doing traffic duty on the paved path and spotted me below.

  2. #2
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    Bummer, I ride there at least once a week because its so close, I think its ridiculous that they don't allow any mountain biking. Hopefully this is just a temporary deal...

  3. #3
    I'd Rather be Doping
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    Quote Originally Posted by tortfeaser
    I was riding in Betzwood Sunday morning when a forest ranger on a bike saw me from the paved path. He shouted out, "hey" but I kept riding. He went ahead of me on the path and was waiting for me at the powerlines (I was coming from the old plantation and heading in the opposite direction that most riders go). He was angry that I ran from him but gave me a warning that there was no biking on any trails other than the paved path and the gravel path by the river. He said that they were shutting the "whole place down." He said he was on a mission to inform the riders that it was illegal to ride there (yeah, he got mad when I told him there were no signs posted). The first time is a warning and the second time is a citation and a date in front of a judge.

    I am hoping that it was just my dumb luck that got me in this situation and that it is not a crackdown on the trails. Just a head's up, look out for rangers on bikes. I don't know if they patrol the trails or whether he was just doing traffic duty on the paved path and spotted me below.
    Until they post signs, the judge will side with you (in my humble, non-lawyer opinion).

  4. #4
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    In certain areas, like over by Pawlings Rd where the ridge trail starts there are signs there already, but there are no signs at the other end of the trails by the Betzwood bridge.

  5. #5
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    This is also pretty much the way I understand it. I used to work at a large land trust and we had issues with peaple partying in certian areas, so we posted them. People would often rip down the signs and the cops told us, that without a sign there is no violation. Even if you have a sign and it gets ripped down, you lose!

    Seems like this is a pretty similar case.

    All that being said, poaching the trails is only going to make the NPS or whoever post them and escalate their enforcement. At that point you pretty much bring it on yourself.

  6. #6
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    You deserved to be caught

    Riding my trails without so much as a call?!?
    Sheesh.

    I can only assume you gave him an alias. You did...didn't you?

    -C(raving a Betzwood ride)
    Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip
    Riding my trails without so much as a call?!?
    Sheesh.

    I can only assume you gave him an alias. You did...didn't you?

    -C(raving a Betzwood ride)
    Thankfully it never got to the, "what's your name?" and "I am logging the model of the bike in case I catch you again." stuff. He was pissed that I ran from him, but other than that he just wanted to let me know that he was shutting the whole place down and to "spread the word."

    Chip, I am just practicing at Betzwood until I can get up to your level. I don't want to slow you down. I'm not saying that to be cute, I really mean that. You are so much better than me. And for what it is worth, I thought you had moved on from cycling to football. Now that I know better, I'll call you before the next ride. I was thinking about going back this weekend but don't know if I am pressing my luck. The good thing is that nobody has posted a similar experience so maybe I was the exception.

  8. #8
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    son of a...

    betzwood is my after work ride as I can never make it to anywhere better (wis, french creek) in time. I will be pretty bummed if they "shut the whole place down" as the ranger you came across had mentioned.
    I wonder if this has any connection to the logs and other crap that was placed all over the SRT side of the trail earlier this summer?
    I hope this is just an isolated case.

  9. #9
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    I don't know why they really give a sh$t if we bike there or not. I bet this won't last - the rangers trying to get all the bikers out of there. What I am more worried about is the American Revolution Center. If that monster gets built alot of the trails will be gone, so it won't matter anymore.

    http://www.americanrevolutioncenter.org/

    Go look at the Land Development Plans - if this place goes we're f'd.

  10. #10
    Pull my finger
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    Quote Originally Posted by adoble
    I don't know why they really give a sh$t if we bike there or not. I bet this won't last - the rangers trying to get all the bikers out of there. What I am more worried about is the American Revolution Center. If that monster gets built alot of the trails will be gone, so it won't matter anymore.

    http://www.americanrevolutioncenter.org/

    Go look at the Land Development Plans - if this place goes we're f'd.
    Looks like it's no longer an "if"....
    http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news...ley_Forge.html

  11. #11
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    I figured it was gonna happen, if you look at the members on the board for the ARC they are lawyers and prominent local business men who have the connections to make this happen. What a damn shame, more open land claimed for greedy purposes.

  12. #12
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    well now at least if any of us get stopped, we can basically sight the new plan and ask if our two wheels toys are causing more damage than the bulldozers that will be clearing the site for the ARC.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zipp0
    Until they post signs, the judge will side with you (in my humble, non-lawyer opinion).
    This might work - except when the ranger also shows up to court and confirms you were personally told on a previous occasion not to ride there.

  14. #14
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    It all started in the late eighties when someone got hurt quite bad on mt misery and the paramedics couldn't get medical aide to the rider, thats when the park said no to bikes. But they haven't been very commited to the effort of keeping riders off the trail. I believe about a month or two ago a rider got hurt badly on some off camber trails that run along side the river. This is what led to the renewed efforts to keep riders off the trails.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TortugaTonta
    It all started in the late eighties when someone got hurt quite bad on mt misery and the paramedics couldn't get medical aide to the rider, thats when the park said no to bikes. But they haven't been very commited to the effort of keeping riders off the trail. I believe about a month or two ago a rider got hurt badly on some off camber trails that run along side the river. This is what led to the renewed efforts to keep riders off the trails.
    closing trails because people got hurt... they are kidding right? no one has ever tripped running back there? no horseback rider has ever had an accident ( I was actually involved in a rescue 2 winters ago when a horseback rider took a spill and knocked herself out near the Arch while I was out on my road bike...) Just seems like poor logic. Guess I wont be wearing my team kit when I ride back there...

  16. #16
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    Your right, in the mid nineties a trail runner was killed by a deer. The deer was running full speed through the woods and hit the runner.

    For me, that was the only place to ride cross country in 1989 when I got my first bike, now there are enough alternatives that I don't need the hassle of trying to ride there, but I guess if you live close it would be a drag to not be able to ride there.

  17. #17
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    I know this place well and have been riding there for at least 10 years. I would not worry much, they always try to increase the pressure by the shouting buzz words "shut the whole place down" and "fines, bike possession” etc... I will NEVER stop riding there no matter how many rangers or whatever try to tell me I can’t ride there. Shoot, I will even pay a fine and tell them to put it towards trail maintenance! Also, I studied the plans for the American Revolution Center, and it barely hits ANY of the singletrack trails there. I wouldn’t worry about this at all. GO RIDE THOSE SWEET TRAILS! BTW, there has been some work done on the south side of Schuylkill River between the river and the RR tracks. They have been blazing a trail so you can ride all the way from 422 west to the next road crossing, and cross the river and then hit up Betzwood on the way back to the parking area. Go check it out! It makes the ride a sweet loop...
    bike = good

  18. #18
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    That's the loop I do all the time, its a nice fast ride. I hope you're right about the ARC not destroying the singletrack. I agree that the rangers will be out in force for a little then give up, especially over winter.

  19. #19
    Pull my finger
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    Just a suggestion, but maybe we could keep the discussion of where is still open, when/where you're planning to still ride, etc to a minimum? We never know who might be reading this forum

    Just sayin'

  20. #20
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    This thread is a excellent example of why riders have so little credibility w/ the powers that be. You were essentially poaching a trail (whether or not you knew this at the time is irrelevant), ran from the powers that be when confronted and despite his warning refuse to believe it ("I am hoping that it was just my dumb luck that got me in this situation and that it is not a crackdown on the trails.")
    Add to that, every response here basically ingoring the warning and acknowledging on a public forum that you all will continue to ride there. Let me ask, if you were the property owner confronted with this behavior would you be more or less willing to allow mtn biking on your land? If you were the ranger dealing with this would you be likely to support mtn biking? Does this make us look like good stewards of the land?
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish
    This thread is a excellent example of why riders have so little credibility w/ the powers that be. You were essentially poaching a trail (whether or not you knew this at the time is irrelevant), ran from the powers that be when confronted and despite his warning refuse to believe it ("I am hoping that it was just my dumb luck that got me in this situation and that it is not a crackdown on the trails.")
    Add to that, every response here basically ingoring the warning and acknowledging on a public forum that you all will continue to ride there. Let me ask, if you were the property owner confronted with this behavior would you be more or less willing to allow mtn biking on your land? If you were the ranger dealing with this would you be likely to support mtn biking? Does this make us look like good stewards of the land?
    Lets back track a bit. Why do many of the posters in this thread poach at Betzwood?
    1) Lack of enforcement.
    2) Lack of a logical reason for exclusion from the trail system.
    3) People honestly don't know its not allowed.

    In response to being a good steward of the land... One could make the argument that without the bikers, many of the trails in the system would die. We mend the trails when they are damaged and for me most part I would argue that we are positive trail users.

    In regards to the poaching... Riding private property that a citizen owns... I could see how that would be seen as a negative... Riding land tax dollars help support... while still illegal...well I don't feel quite as bad about that.

  22. #22
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    what if...

    Not sure if you would get busted, but it sure would be funny to get a bunch of folks and go in there and do some "trail maintenance." Clear brush, grade trails, move rocks...

    It would probably be a federal offense but if no one was on a bike, you could claim you were doing it for the hikers or the horses.

    Oh, so now they're gonna arrest anyone working to improve the trails?
    "Hey, don't pick up that litter, you'll get arrested!"

    I'm sure there's some logic in there somewhere, I just don't see it...
    "Whether it be an abrasion or a mental breakdown, everyone suffers in one way or another." ORAMM Disclaimer

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by elephant
    This might work - except when the ranger also shows up to court and confirms you were personally told on a previous occasion not to ride there.
    That wasn't him. It must have been some guy that looked like him.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_dog
    That wasn't him. It must have been some guy that looked like him.
    Yeah, you know those mountain bikers.... they all look alike. Seen one, seen 'em all.
    [SIZE="2"][/SIZE]"mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  25. #25
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    just happened across this post - i'm in GA. looks like a lot of folks want this place to stay open. i say band together, get informed and educated on the situation, offer to do work parties, etc, and fight (not literally) for your trails.

    sorba was formed down here because we lost mtnbiking at the only metro-atlanta mtn several years ago when a biker hit a runner/hiker - a well-known at-the-time retired local politician - and kept going. apparently he got hurt kinda bad. we've never regained our rights there, unfortunately, but today sorba is in several states with several chapters working, building, training, and gaining and overcoming.

    good luck, boys...
    ride fast...take chances...

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