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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
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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
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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...
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  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
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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?
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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...
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  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.
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  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...
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by iridetitus
    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...
    It has nothing to do with the above, people have tried for nearly 20 years to get mtb accepted in the park.

    Keep in mind that this is THE historicle landmark of our country, remember George Washington?

    The park really wants to have nothing to do with mtb.

    Does anybody remember this...



    That was 1976, our countys bicentenial. They had a caravan that rode from Cali to Valley Forge right down rt 30, the oldest road in our country that stills goes coast to coast. It was a big deal back then and kinda cool.

    I would like the park to keep to our roots and history, I have not been there in years to know if they are or not, but it really does not bother me if they exclude mtbs as long as they stick to our history.

  27. #27
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    well, i will say the local mtni was referring to is a national historic battle site - Kennesaw Mtn, if you want to look it up. this may be the clincher on why we haven't gotten it back. either way, best of luck.

    ride on...
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by TortugaTonta
    I would like the park to keep to our roots and history, I have not been there in years to know if they are or not, but it really does not bother me if they exclude mtbs as long as they stick to our history.
    Betzwood is the other side of the river from the main part of VFNP where all the touristy stuff like cabins, cannons, visitor center etc are. I'd be willing to bet that way less than 5% of the visitors to VF even make it over to the Betzwood side, so it's strange that they'd want to crack down so hard on riding the trails that side of the river.

    Even the stuff between the railroad tracks and the river on the park side is so far removed from the rest of the park that it's not like riders are spoiling vistors' experiences by being there. Mounts Joy and Misery I can see being valid spots for banning MTB's, but not the other stuff.

  29. #29
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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?
    ignorance is the highest form of dominace. Ignoring rules on mass eventually will get things changed.

    for instance if EVERYONE in america finally relized how dumb speed limits are on limited access highways and just decided to drive as fast as they want anyway. Police couldnt do a thing a about it. This already happen in away with alot of place around pittburgh traffic travels at 80mph safely. Sure some get pulled over. It would actually be safer to just raise the speed limit so that people dont keep looking out for cops and instead just watch the road. The driver are on the highway are perfect example of democracy in action. They are voting with thier right foot on how fast they should be driving.

    Anytime you poach a trail system that is shut to us for no good reason at all you are casting a vote for mountain bikers. IF you can do so en mass it would be much more effective.

  30. #30
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    Agreed

    I posted on another thread saying the same thing - forget the historic part and focus on Betzwoods. I think it has potential, and a much more realistic chance of opening up.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by iridetitus
    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...
    Great post.

    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA
    ignorance is the highest form of dominace. Ignoring rules on mass eventually will get things changed.

    for instance if EVERYONE in america finally relized how dumb speed limits are on limited access highways and just decided to drive as fast as they want anyway. Police couldnt do a thing a about it. This already happen in away with alot of place around pittburgh traffic travels at 80mph safely. Sure some get pulled over. It would actually be safer to just raise the speed limit so that people dont keep looking out for cops and instead just watch the road. The driver are on the highway are perfect example of democracy in action. They are voting with thier right foot on how fast they should be driving.

    Anytime you poach a trail system that is shut to us for no good reason at all you are casting a vote for mountain bikers. IF you can do so en mass it would be much more effective.
    Yup, I see you're 24 and started riding in 2006. I would have guessed younger but the time you've spent riding seems about right. You are so off-base I have no idea where to start but I will say that your thoughts on this matter are pretty f@cked up. See, you are probably to young and new to the sport to see some of the good legal spots to ride shut down because of rebels (that's sarcasm) like yourself.
    As far as this gem, "ignoring rules on mass eventually will get things changed" could you please give me one example of this. How things get changed are when people ban together, show what good stewards of the land we are, show how many hours of volunteer (read free) trail maintenance MTBs are willing to donate and how when needed we are able to stay off trails that are off limits. But hey, you just keep on driving however fast youd like and the problem will take care of itself, Darwin.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish
    Great post.



    Yup, I see you're 24 and started riding in 2006. I would have guessed younger but the time you've spent riding seems about right. You are so off-base I have no idea where to start but I will say that your thoughts on this matter are pretty f@cked up. See, you are probably to young and new to the sport to see some of the good legal spots to ride shut down because of rebels (that's sarcasm) like yourself.
    As far as this gem, "ignoring rules on mass eventually will get things changed" could you please give me one example of this. How things get changed are when people ban together, show what good stewards of the land we are, show how many hours of volunteer (read free) trail maintenance MTBs are willing to donate and how when needed we are able to stay off trails that are off limits. But hey, you just keep on driving however fast youd like and the problem will take care of itself, Darwin.
    I have built trails legally with IMBA sanctioned crew in western pa, and done many trail days in SLCs. I also strive to respect anyone else on the trail including hikers and even horse. The simple matter is with stuff like Dolly Sods and trails in the western USA that are getting closed to wilderness designation, there is nothing legally we can do. IF en mass we stage something where tons of biker would go out and ride these trail with media coverage I think we can show we belong there.

    As for driving for every million vehicle miles traveled the worlds fastest road is also the world's safest. The autobhan is statically the safest road in the world. We have speed limits in this country(on highways) because it raise revenues not because it any safer.
    Noone in this country works on common sense, whether its with traffic laws or trail issues.

    here in western pa, I am glad we have PTAG and would never do anything to go against what they want. at the same time though if all the sudden frick park was off limits I would be willing to bet that people would continue to ride it anyways.

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    i'm bowing out of this since i don't have a dog in this fight, but suffice it to say i completely disagree with the 'en masse' theory. that's got nothing bud bad publicity for mtnbikers written all over it. again, best of luck, folks.
    ride fast...take chances...

  34. #34
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    I've never ridden at Betzwood but I did hike a bit into that park from the Pawlings Rd access.

    I have been to Valley Forge Park and road with the kids the paved loop they have there. I would bet that none of the actual tourists of the Park ever make it over to where the scarce trails are...

    And, I think, they are about the only trails within atleast 10 miles of there.

  35. #35
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    Get people who ride together and talk to the people who run the trails and talk to them in a formal manner. There really isn't a reason to shut down any trail to mountain bikers and allow hikers/etc...

    Talk to your LBS, ask them to get riders to sign a petition, talk to local riding clubs and see if they'll back you up. You should be able to get them to open up the trails again. Just don't go all angry mob on them.
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  36. #36
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    So, did anybody ride there this past weekend? I chose rides at Swarthmore, and Brandywine instead. I am laying low until I hear some feedback.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by tortfeaser
    So, did anybody ride there this past weekend? I chose rides at Swarthmore, and Brandywine instead. I am laying low until I hear some feedback.
    I took a hike there saturday and had no issues. noticed somebody has really sanitized the VF side that borders the river though...

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    No good

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrix
    Get people who ride together and talk to the people who run the trails and talk to them in a formal manner. There really isn't a reason to shut down any trail to mountain bikers and allow hikers/etc...

    Talk to your LBS, ask them to get riders to sign a petition, talk to local riding clubs and see if they'll back you up. You should be able to get them to open up the trails again. Just don't go all angry mob on them.
    Been there, tried that, didn't work. The VF staff is not at all interested in listening. We've tried every known avenue, including commenting on park plans "en masse", offering volunteerism, engaging IMBA, and nothing. There is no rational thinking on the part of the NPS in this case. Zero. No flexibility. No recognition that there is a huge volunteer resource just begging to help out.

    In fact, the NPS has been chartered to INCREASE the amount of active recreation on park lands to help combat the obesity and inactivity trends in the USA.

    I suggest you think about what the patriots who gave their lives during the encampment at Valley Forge would do if they knew we were being treated by the NPS exactly like colonies were treated by the British!
    Last edited by RickBullotta; 10-15-2008 at 04:49 AM.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by TortugaTonta
    It has nothing to do with the above, people have tried for nearly 20 years to get mtb accepted in the park.

    Keep in mind that this is THE historicle landmark of our country, remember George Washington?

    The park really wants to have nothing to do with mtb.

    Does anybody remember this...

    [That was 1976, our countys bicentenial. They had a caravan that rode from Cali to Valley Forge right down rt 30, the oldest road in our country that stills goes coast to coast. It was a big deal back then and kinda cool.

    I would like the park to keep to our roots and history, I have not been there in years to know if they are or not, but it really does not bother me if they exclude mtbs as long as they stick to our history.
    Um, that was 1976. That was a long time ago...and was on a completely different side of the river from Betzwood...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickBullotta
    Been there, tried that, didn't work. The VF staff is not at all interested in listening. We've tried every known avenue, including commenting on park plans "en masse", offering volunteerism, engaging IMBA, and nothing. There is no rational thinking on the part of the NPS in this case. Zero. No flexibility. No recognition that there is a huge volunteer resource just begging to help out.

    So, in my view, f&*k 'em. It's public land (and I've paid a lot of taxes), it isn't doing any damage to "historical" areas, and it seems merely a "mall cop" attitude by a few rangers.

    In fact, the NPS has been chartered to INCREASE the amount of active recreation on park lands to help combat the obesity and inactivity trends in the USA.

    The only good thing is that the park is so short of resources that enforcement is quite a challenge. All I can recommend is to have your fake names and addresses memorized in the case that you can't ride away...and if you do get stopped, be sure to ask why mountain biking is not permitted while anonymous unsafe sex in the woods is overlooked...but that's a topic that's sure to cause a few "opinions".

    I suggest you think about what the patriots who gave their lives during the encampment at Valley Forge would do if they knew we were being treated by the NPS exactly like colonies were treated by the British!
    I like this dude.

  41. #41
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    I think the only way to get the park management to listen would be to go above their *heads* and contact the Regional National Park Manager or someone like that or to contact someone in Washington who can influence the management. They key is to find someone who knows someone on a personal level within the National Park System who can make decisions.

    We need a champion within the system.

    The arguments posted here are totally valid as to why we should be able to legally ride and build more trails there, especially on the Betzwood side. The reasons for disallowing mountain biking are weak to say the least. I am curious as to the last effort by the local mountain biking community - who did they contact at the park and did they go to a level higher? I've read the public comments to the park master plan and those letters were good but the issue needs to be made personal with someone within the system that can influence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adoble
    I think the only way to get the park management to listen would be to go above their *heads* and contact the Regional National Park Manager or someone like that or to contact someone in Washington who can influence the management. They key is to find someone who knows someone on a personal level within the National Park System who can make decisions.

    We need a champion within the system.

    The arguments posted here are totally valid as to why we should be able to legally ride and build more trails there, especially on the Betzwood side. The reasons for disallowing mountain biking are weak to say the least. I am curious as to the last effort by the local mountain biking community - who did they contact at the park and did they go to a level higher? I've read the public comments to the park master plan and those letters were good but the issue needs to be made personal with someone within the system that can influence.
    It seems very site-specific. The NPS Rivers and Trails team is very receptive to considering mountain biking on NPS land. The management at Hopewell (also an NPS historic site) is also receptive. In fact, we've even done cooperative trail work and trailbuilding training between the NPS, the State Park system, PATH, and IMBA as part of the Hopewell Big Woods project. The people we worked with in the NPS on that initiative have been really great. The challenge is that getting a "variance" to allow mountain biking is a bureaucratic, multi-year effort that requires approval from the higher-ups.

    I am really tired of hearing the "this is hallowed ground" or "these are not formal trails" BS when attempting to justify the prohibition of mountain biking. What better way to engage an expanded set of visitors to experience the historical significance of the park(s) than to provide them even more activities. The informal trail systems were largely created by deer movements, and almost all of them are quite sustainable. Very few are what I would consider problematic in terms of environmental impact, erosion risk, and user conflict.

    Some areas, such as Mount Joy and Mount Misery, do have a risk of user conflict if mountain bikers fly down the trail on the downhills. There would need to be some compromise or risk mitigation (e.g. a bike-specific or bike-focused trail on the back side Misery) to make that side of the park workable. However, the Pawlings Road/Betzwood side has no such conflicts. It could be a very workable trail system. There are a few wet spots that would need a bridge, trail armoring, or a re-route, but the effort would be minimal.

    I'm open to any suggestions, and if anyone has any "ins" with the VF park management, please share....

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    I think another way around the PROBLEM of the local land manager at VF is to contact your political reps, both in PA and in Washington. You might be surprised that Spector/Casey has some pull over NPS and or VF... But that seems a better place to focus energy than on the bureaucrats at NPS.

    Just my $.02...fwiw...
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardTail610
    I think another way around the PROBLEM of the local land manager at VF is to contact your political reps, both in PA and in Washington. You might be surprised that Spector/Casey has some pull over NPS and or VF... But that seems a better place to focus energy than on the bureaucrats at NPS.

    Just my $.02...fwiw...
    Couple of random thoughts:

    1) There are inroads being made with respect to MTB in National Parks. Mammoth Cave NP comes to mind. In that case, exisiting hiking trails needed major maintenance and the local MTB club stepped in. SOunds like these trails were never formal hiking trails and do not fit that scenario.

    There is a trend toward favoring MTB in National Park areas. This is a definite shift from past policies.

    2) Superintendents at National Parks change every 2-3 years. All you need is a new super with a different attitude. It does seem strange that that particular park has been so anti MTB through what must have been 10-12 management changes.

    I suggest someone monitor the NPS websites and other sources and get to the next super before his staff can tell him all the bad things MTBers do. Convince him otherwise before they get the change to taint his opinion. Of course, maybe the next super will be a biker and things would change drastically.

    TS

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutboy
    Couple of random thoughts:

    1) There are inroads being made with respect to MTB in National Parks. Mammoth Cave NP comes to mind. In that case, exisiting hiking trails needed major maintenance and the local MTB club stepped in. SOunds like these trails were never formal hiking trails and do not fit that scenario.

    There is a trend toward favoring MTB in National Park areas. This is a definite shift from past policies.

    2) Superintendents at National Parks change every 2-3 years. All you need is a new super with a different attitude. It does seem strange that that particular park has been so anti MTB through what must have been 10-12 management changes.

    I suggest someone monitor the NPS websites and other sources and get to the next super before his staff can tell him all the bad things MTBers do. Convince him otherwise before they get the change to taint his opinion. Of course, maybe the next super will be a biker and things would change drastically.

    TS
    The NPS interest in mountain bikes is the subject of the "Access Action" column in the latest issue of Dirt Rag. The whole interview is online here:

    http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/arti...ry=departments

    Hopefully, that indicates attitudes are changing. However, this comment by the IMBA doesn't inspire confidence:

    DR: There are only 44 Parks that allow mountain biking out of almost 400?

    JD: That's good and bad. There are so many Parks that are historic sites, or battlefields...for instance there are around 30 National Park units in Washington, DC—the Washington Monument, the National Mall, etc.—and those are places that are not appropriate for mountain biking. But there are a lot of Parks scattered throughout the country that have tons of backcountry roads, administrative roads, and singletrack trails that don't get much use. There's a lot of opportunity for us there. Plus we think there's a lot of opportunity for new, beginner trails for kids and families, to get people excited about biking. We're non-motorized, we're quiet, we're low-impact, and it's a great way to get families out of the car and into the park, really having fun and celebrating it.
    I agree with the post(s) above stating that mountain biking should not be allowed on the historic parts of the park. However, I think the Betzwood side would be an easy win for both the NPS and cycling community if we could have an objective discussion with someone at the park.

    I haven't ridden there in a while since I don't like poaching - I can't enjoy a ride while I'm constantly looking over my shoulder. However, I remember it having a lot of potential for a nice little trail system.
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson

  46. #46
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    Some places are inappropriate for mtn bike use, sorry simply a fact. As far as poaching it and giving a fake name, two thoughts. One, I hope you don't have a lot invested in your rig because it'll probably get impounded. Two, giving fake names to any type of law enforcement officer... well, I'm not sure of what type of trouble that'll land you in but I'm sure it's more than simply poaching.

    As far as poaching, then posting it on a internet site . Good job keeping the stereotype alive!
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish
    Some places are inappropriate for mtn bike use, sorry simply a fact. As far as poaching it and giving a fake name, two thoughts. One, I hope you don't have a lot invested in your rig because it'll probably get impounded. Two, giving fake names to any type of law enforcement officer... well, I'm not sure of what type of trouble that'll land you in but I'm sure it's more than simply poaching.

    As far as poaching, then posting it on a internet site . Good job keeping the stereotype alive!
    You would what our forefathers would refer to as a Tory, in this case. ;-)

    Dude, you have a very different scenario living in CO. Sorry, but you really don't have much comparison to our situation here. Many of your National Parks allow mountain biking. Some of ours are considered "National Historic Parks", which is a different designation, though not always an appropriate one for the entirety of the facility, as is the case here. We're not asking to ride through Independence Hall, just on a perfectly reasonable part of Valley Forge park.

    We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by adoble
    I think the only way to get the park management to listen would be to go above their *heads* and contact the Regional National Park Manager or someone like that or to contact someone in Washington who can influence the management. They key is to find someone who knows someone on a personal level within the National Park System who can make decisions.

    We need a champion within the system.

    The arguments posted here are totally valid as to why we should be able to legally ride and build more trails there, especially on the Betzwood side. The reasons for disallowing mountain biking are weak to say the least. I am curious as to the last effort by the local mountain biking community - who did they contact at the park and did they go to a level higher? I've read the public comments to the park master plan and those letters were good but the issue needs to be made personal with someone within the system that can influence.
    Obviously I think you're all sensing some frustration from us regarding the lack of progress and willingness to collaborate/compromise over the years. That said, it is definitely still best, if possible, to try to resolve things peacefully. I've reached out again to IMBA (national and state level) as well as to the guy who organized the "Take Your Kid Mountain Biking" session at Valley Forge. Hopefully they have established some better contacts/relationships with the park that we can build upon.

    In the end, it is really in the park's best interest to find ways to attract funding, volunteerism, and visitors in a way that still preserves the historical significance of the park. This is precisely what we're trying to achieve.

    The poaching comments are borne of years of frustration (at least 10 years this has been going on) and the fact that we have been told "off the record" by some more bike friendly rangers over the years that they just don't have the enforcement resources to bother with mountain bikers, and some are very supportive of mountain bike usage.

  49. #49
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    Rick, who has been contacted at the Park, has it been just Mike Caldwell or other members of the Park? Was anyone receptive to the public comments made on the Park Master Plan?

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by adoble
    Rick, who has been contacted at the Park, has it been just Mike Caldwell or other members of the Park? Was anyone receptive to the public comments made on the Park Master Plan?
    The public comments were completely ignored in the final report/recommendation. It was clear that it the outcome had already been predetermined.

    I don't know specifically who the last round of communications with the park was with (I'm trying to find that out now via IMBA and other sources). I will be drafting letters to Senators Specter and Casey as well.

    Does anyone trolling this thread have any relationship/connection with Mr. Caldwell or other leadership at the park?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

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