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  1. #1
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    Governor Dick /Mt. Gretna Trail Alert - Please read

    Foot travel only trails to be posted in November '09:

    Hello all, the Board of Trustees at Governor Dick will be enforcing the decision made over two years ago to post certain trails at Governor Dick in Mount Gretna, PA. as "Foot Travel Only". Currently, the trails involved are: 1,12, section of 13, 14, and possibly 4. As it stands, this will involve 3.15 miles(21%) of trails.

    It is absolutely imperative that these postings be honored. There is a real chance all trails could become Foot Travel Only if not. Currently, the Trail Support Committee has several trail proposals being considered which will be very beneficial to the trail system at GD if we get approval.

    We will keep folks up to date as to when the posting does occur. As advocates of a multi-use trail system we do not agree with this decision but we do have to honor it. In the near future we will have a map available. I can also guarantee you that the defacto park ranger will be looking for folks to ticket and also has the right to take your bike. Please don't get yourself in this situation.

    Do trust that the Governor Dick Trail Support Committee is doing everything we can to make our park a great place to ride. As always, the Susquehanna Area Mountain Bike Association will continue to maintain the multi-use trails at Governor Dick.

    Last, we would appreciate if this message gets passed along to anyone who rides GD.

    Thank you,

    Desiree & Matt McElheny
    Trail Support Committee at Governor Dick

  2. #2
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    Sad, very sad to hear about the closures!

    Curiously enough, do you happen to know which limited sections will be closed? I can see how trail 1 would be closed, as hikers will have direct access to the observation tower from Pinch road. No issue there because itís an access road and that makes sense. Trail 12 is a nice route to follow and hook up with Trail 15, heading in the opposite direction. But, you have to use trail 13 or 14 to get there. If I remember correctly, trail 12 has some drainage issues in the bottom. Confused about what limited sections will be closed and how theyíll effect connecting loops. I eagerly await the updated map.

    On a side note, I met you and your husband this past summer on Trail 15. I was riding the EWR 29er and we were heading in opposite directions.

  3. #3
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    That certainly is sad news. I ride that trail system just about every weekend, and honestly hardly EVER see hikers except for on trail 1 and occasionally 3. The normal loop I take will probably be gone now 3, 10, 12, 13, 15 (clockwise) but it looks like I will be able to at least go up and down trail 15 for hours and hours. I have also met you Matt, on 2 occasions now (I am the platform guy) and must say that you have done a fantastic job with the trail system there. If you have proposals to create trails that link up with 15 with minimal affect on the riders that would be awesome. Maybe they could be designated "mountain bikes only"

  4. #4
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    Better have some new bike trails open before you shut down the existing ones...

    And further more, I'm sure bikers seriously out number the amount of hikers on the trails. Hikers use the trails to the tower and that's it... One hiker gets pissed and the whole place gets shut down!? WTF!!!

    If you can't tell, I'm pissed! I'm loosing the trails I grew up on! And to who? Maybe 2 hikers that don't know how to share... Plus one of those trails is part of the Horse Shoe Trail!

    So are these trails going to be shut down to horses too?

  5. #5
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    The reason anyone is losing access to a trail at Governor Dick is related soley to the Board of Trustees at Governor Dick. It is their expressed wish to honor the requests of the late Clarence Schock to have a foot travel only path in the park. Certain board members are more insistent than others this be enacted. They can and will do whatever they wish. No one group has complained about another group trying to eliminate their access. The decision to designate certain trails "foot travel only" was made over two years ago by a task force of which we were not part of. It has been a blessing they did not enact it sooner. Please also be aware that trail 15 was negotiated as part of the deal to appease trail users and provide access to the south side of the park.

    Yes, the equestrians are also denied access to the trails we speak of.

    Currently we have several proposals on the table that the board is considering. They are: reroute trail 6, reroute trail 11, connector trail from 8 to 4 to keep that open. I assure you if we are successful and get approval to implement our ideas, GD will be even better.

    What we all need to do is just step back and take a breather. The decision of the past cannot be changed. Trust me we have tried. Now we are asking for support from all who advocate multi-use (shared use) at Governor Dick. Negative comments or press will indeed hurt our cause and could ultimately lead to all trails being foot travel only.

    Please feel free to support the Trail Support Committee by joining our group, attending meetings, and participating in trail work days. We need help and really do understand the frustration this brings to the biking and equestrian community. Getting angry and lashing out just makes things worse. In the near future we hope to post trail work days on the SAMBA website.

  6. #6
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    I ride there multiple times a week, this is gonna suck. I really enjoy all the trails there. I have no problem with following rules, but I hope they post the trails well so we know where we can go and where we can't.

    This also pisses me off because 2 weeks ago I got bit HARD by a dog off a leash, its still not healed. Maybe they should do something about that instead of closing down trails that never see hikers anyway.

  7. #7
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    I for one will obey the trail closures.
    This is not public property, and they can and would close all of it to biking if good cause is given, like " I was walking along 13 with my daughter and this biker hit her".

    SAMBA has spent many, many hours "being involved" and working to make the best out of a bad situation, and continues to do so at Gretna. Not to mention Swatara, and Camp Mack trail systems.

    If this is the first time you have seen SAMBA or the trail closures surprise you, I urge you to join SAMBA and add your voice to the cause. Joining SAMBA is a small donation, that allows the purchase of tools to build trails and support the local trail systems.


    Matt Myers
    SAMBA -Trail coordinator
    J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation

  8. #8
    HopHeads, Unite!
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    wow, desiree, you're being unusually highly diplomatic.
    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  9. #9
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    You know, I think it's pretty funny that the Board of Trustees at Governor Dick are so hard core about having "foot travel only" paths, but at any given time, you can "walk" on them and find big roost marks and berms that have been put in from a certain Trustees quad...

    If they're going to all this trouble to make it "foot travel only" then the rule should apply equally to EVERYONE.

  10. #10
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    The deed does make allowance for the caretaker to use mechanized means to navigate the park. The board has even extended that to Matt & Desiree (Governor Dick Support Committee members and SAMBA Trail Coordinators) who have used their personal bush hog to install and maintain the trail signs. This allowed them to get in and get the job done quickly and easily (the sign installation tools are heavy and cumbersome). Yes, I know youíre probably just venting, but I just wanted to give a different perspective.
    As mentioned part of the trail closure deal was getting the approval to build trail 15 (the best trail out there). I know it does not make up completely for the trails that will be lost, but it does help. Also mentioned was there are several proposals that may aid in taking the sting out of the ones that will be lost. I canít say what would have happened had we (SAMBA) not been involved but, I can almost guarantee that trail 15 would not have been built. This is a good reason why we still need to be organized and support the many hours that people like Matt and Desiree put into keeping the trails legal and open. I look back over the past eight years and many miles of trails have been lost. On the flip side new trails have been created.
    On a side note; there may be some other opportunities for new trails in the area coming up, but it is going to take the support of more people.

    After all what good is a mountain bike without trails to ride?

    Brian Arnold
    SAMBA President

  11. #11
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    The trail closings make no sense

    The thought process makes no sense here....you close 13-14-4-1-12....but leave open 2 which is the main trail up to the tower...3 which crosses over 1...(so do we stay off 3 also) now if 4 stays open...how do you access it,this is a down hill trail only which you can only come from 1 to access...now if they close the wrong section of 13 and 14...15 is useless....now 10 is still open and again well traveled by foot. Now i believe...if you have to close trails....(which i think is pretty stupid to start with) it should have been 1-2-10-12-11 and i guess 4 since it would be useless at this point......now the m.t. biker's could use 15-13-14-5 and have a completed loop and then maybe build something from 9-to go back on 5 somewhere or link into 6 somewhere....you could park at pinch rd.and ride hard road to where you enter in the woods that will go up to 15..do 13-14-5 to 9 or 6 back on 5 then to pinch parking lot....A COMPLETED LOOP THAT MAKES SENSE...plus you give the hiker's all access to the tower without m.t.bike issues

  12. #12
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    Trail 4 is an old DH coarse made by bikers... I ride that trail almost everyday. You're going to have a hard time keeping riders off it...

    And I haven't seen a single hiker on it all summer...
    Last edited by ToddN; 10-13-2009 at 09:00 AM.

  13. #13
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    what is Bill's

    take on all of this ?

  14. #14
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    Basically whatever I've said...

    We've been hard at work building trails behind his house on weekends to be prepared for when Mt. Biking becomes illegal at GD...

  15. #15
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    i know

    i just about killed myself (Sunday) on that new down hiller trail....and my buddy went over the bridge....BIG mistake,but i got a kick out of it....but real cool trail...typical good trail made by Bill and his crew

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by crhelm300h
    i just about killed myself (Sunday) on that new down hiller trail....and my buddy went over the bridge....BIG mistake,but i got a kick out of it....but real cool trail...typical good trail made by Bill and his crew
    I also wrecked really hard on a steep section of trail #4 on Sunday morning, but fortunately did not get hurt too bad, and made it the rest of the way through 15 and 13, then to 5, then to the parking lot at Pinch without crashing again thank god. We saw whole bunch of other riders on 15 too and actually met a guy on the trail and ended up riding with him for a while. Hopefully whatever decisions are made work out for everyone with minimal impact if other trails can be created to link up. I will say that out of all the trail systems I ride, this one has made me a much better overall rider and is the most fun. I have also attached a few shots from Sundays ride on trail 15. Long live Gretna!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by crhelm300h
    i just about killed myself (Sunday) on that new down hiller trail....and my buddy went over the bridge....BIG mistake,but i got a kick out of it....but real cool trail...typical good trail made by Bill and his crew
    So you were one of the guys in Clyde's group... I was the guy riding the green Knolly with the white full face helmet.

    Glad you enjoyed the trail!

  18. #18
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    yeah...

    with the clyde group...i didn't see much of your helmet or that bike when you went past...way more speed then i will ever carry down that hill....but it was fun watching you guys.

  19. #19
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    Trail 13 is not to be completely foot travel only. A 0.5 mile section of trail that parallels old 72 will be. Bikes and horses will be forced to take a small trail to old 72 and ride up it to trail 5 or visa versa. Therefore, trail 15 will still be readily accessible off of 13.

    We are lobbying very hard to keep trail 4 open. That is part of a proposal that is currently on the table with the board members.

    Also, we have two additional proposals for creating additional access to trails to provide more options with the ultimate goal of preventing user conflict amongst the groups of trail users. Yes, the hikers have no restrictions. No it is not fair.

    The decision to enact the foot travel only trails was made by a task force over two years ago. Now that trail 15 is well established they are anxious to complete their foot travel only project. Attempts to try to get them to change their mind have resulted in greater animosity towards the mtn biking community. But.....let it be known, not all the board members are in favor. I willl and cannot say who they are but folks who know Governor Dick can figure out who is the most insistent the trail closures occur by this November.

    Your support is greatly appreciated. Our greatest fear is bikers and equestrians riding the foot travel only trails which will likely result in total closure.

    The Duchess

  20. #20
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    i agree

    with the fact of making sure once these trails are closed....that we as mountain bikers must stay off the foot travel trail....first,i certainly don't like it,but i won't take a chance of being closed out of there for good.....it would be nice duchess if 4 is open,but there will have to be a trail from 2 or 3 cut up to 1 to access 4....as it stands now you can only access 4 from 1

  21. #21
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    I assure you much thought and consideration has gone into the contemplation of trail access to 4 if it remains shared access. Part of our proposal is to build a 0.3 mile connector trail off of trail 8 to trail 4. This will keep bikes off of trail 1 entirely allowing access to 4. Also in the works is a proposal for trail 11. As trail 11 descends down we have proposed to construct a 0.7 mile trail that follows the ridge line down to trail 5 almost where the junction of 5, 13,14. Once again, that will increase access for everyone and I can guarantee this would be more sustainable than trail 12 and more challenging. Last, trail 6 will be completely rerouted once the fences are in place.

    I am hopeful everyone who has suggestions is willing to come out and help if our proposals are guaranteed. Work days will be posted on www.sambabiker.com and this mtbr forum.

    Understand this....we can only do the work we proposed if given permission. For almost 5 months this has been on the table with the board members. The best thing folks can do for us is provide nonconfrontational support of our ideas by attending meetings every third Thursday of the month at 7:15. Now is the time to help out because just the few of us who are constant appendages to the trail support committee are tiring of the lack of support and complaints.

    Thank you and we will keep you all informed. A map will soon be provided to help out with what trails are to remain shared access and FTO.

    The Duchess

  22. #22
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    Well Said Duchess

    Like you said, this decision is a done deal, but it does present some other opportunities. One of them has resulted in trail 15, which is a world class piece of singletrack!
    I don't agree with the decision, but I will not ride on the non-shared trails either. Clarence Schock designated the land as a natural outdoor playground, which is exactly why so many mountain bikers frequent the park. The few board members who want the "foot travel only" have wrongly interpreted Schock's intent IMO.

    here's my rant....

    Being part of the problem means thinking of only yourself and riding the closed trails, threatening access for ALL riders to the park.

    Being part of the solution means following the rules, taking steps you outlined by positively supporting the SAMBA, attending GD trail support and board meeting, and getting involved in whatever capacity you can. There is room for more trails and many improvements within the GD park.

    I have a more-than full time job, 2 children, and little time to ride anymore....but I make time to give back a few times a year by doing those things I listed as "solution".
    It baffles me to see so many guys with no kids or other big commitments not doing anything but biatching and whining about this issue. Losing access to SGL trails was a wake up call for some of us to get organized, which we did, which is why we still have access to GD, why we have secured access to Camp Mack, and why we have almost 10 miles of new singletrack at Swatara SP.
    Maybe a few trail closures at GD will make more people think.....what could I have done to prevent this? What could I do to prevent this from happening again? Can I to be an advocate for mountain bikers land access rights?

    Where do you stand? are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Do I support IMBA, and my local club?

    rant over...

  23. #23
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    Wow this is sad news but we deal with this type of crap in Philly all the time. It all comes down to unhappy people who see us riding our bikes and having fun and them not understanding us and deciding to "ban" us, or try to. There are unhappy people who have nothing else to do... However, I go out of my way to be polite to any hiker I see, and I am sure there are some bikers who don't and that makes for these type of situations. But we can't have a few bad apples ruin it for everyone. I just rode here yesterday by coincidence and this place is awesome! (I almost got to ride with Todd but missed his email, DAMN!) Some really techinical stuff and big drops with nice transitions. I did come across a few hikers on the wide fire road trails and they were really nice and friendly. Then I come upon an old guy on trail 4, and I was going real fast, but I grabbed my disc brakes with 8" rotors and came almost to a stop and made a greeting and he was like "wow, that was cool." Well he didn't say it but it looked like that was what he was thinking. If he was startled or pissed, I killed him with kindness... Anyway,you all need to get together and make a stand, in a politically correct method. It sounds like SMABA is doing a great job so far, but be strong! Tell them that mountain bikers bring money into the town. I stopped and ate snacks and bought some stuff at a local shop there in Mt. Gretna. I know a group of people who travel there from Philly regularly and ride and spend money there. Stay positive and tell that board that they are turning people, TOURISTS, away by banning user groups on those trails.... Good luck everyone. And I will call you soon Todd when I hit your area and we will session that ****!
    bike = good

  24. #24
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    So is this Saturday going to be the last official day of riding with no restrictions???

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    Hi Lugi....we will notify folks on this forum and the SAMBA website when the specified trails are posted officially. The time frame we were given was "sometime in November". Personally, no trail support committee members are participating in the process of marking the trails FTO. It is a contradiction to our belief of having a shared-use trail system. The Defacto park ranger will be completing the task on his own.

    Promise to keep you updated.

    The Duchess

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