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  1. #1
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    What happened to the Wis???

    Rode for the first time since December yesterday. Southern part of the orange trail. Conditions were great, almost no mud. But the section of the trail that lead to the big rocky drop is closed off to be reclaimed as forest - and the rocky drainage crossing now has a wooden bridge over it. These were two of the better technical features that are now gone.

    Haven't ridden the yellow trail yet. Do the Friends of the Wis have any more surprises in store for us over there?

  2. #2
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    Wait, what are the orange and yellow trails? What side of the Valley green are these on? I know the trails well but don't know there names!
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  3. #3
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    I think the two sections he's referring to are:

    1) The end of the Rox side towards the paved biking trail parallel to Lincoln Drive. It seems they closed the section that led to the Kelpius cave.

    2) The Chestnut Hill side around Blue Bell Park where depending on how you dropped own, there was a smooth dirt on one side and a rocky section that had a little rock build up to get over the lip of the drainage section. That new bridge already got tagged up pretty good.
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  4. #4
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    Hey, if you want a technical feature, try to hop that giant tree down across the beginning of the Monster. Haha.
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  5. #5
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    I don't know the park well but there is an orange trail across the creek from the Valley Green Inn, I think. If so, it was marked closed to bikes when I was there yesterday.

  6. #6
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    there is tree coverage at the end of the trail where the gravel road begins because that section has become terrible over the years. if you go down the gravel hill a little bit and turn in where bikers are supposed to enter you can hit that section. if you get close to the cave you can see a new line being flagged.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies. I've only been riding the park by myself for the last two years, so I don't know the real names of places - I just look at the "official" map. Wish there was a legend for things like the "monster."

  8. #8
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    Yea that section down by lincoln was closed off last summer, and they just built that bridge over the gully really recently. I just saw it for the first time on Saturday myself. Wasn't there in the fall. That bridge sucks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by guswalls View Post
    if you get close to the cave you can see a new line being flagged.
    That's interesting. I wonder if the intention is to ultimately open that section to everyone or keep it flagged as hikers/equestrians only (which makes no sense to me).

    Found this, so sounds like no:

    Wissahickon restoration could close two rogue bike trails ? NewsWorks

    Jones indicated that his organization is interested in discouraging bikers from using certain trails that are designated for use by walkers and equestrians, as cyclists can have adverse effects on both unsuspecting hikers and horses, and can contribute to erosion and siltation downstream.

    I guess it's a small price to pay for the rest of trails we have available to ride at the Wiss, but hopefully that "bikes cause erosion but horses and hikers magically do not" argument doesn't gain any traction.

    That's a little disheartening to see coming from an organization that is sanctioned to do work in the park.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepoMan2112 View Post
    That's interesting. I wonder if the intention is to ultimately open that section to everyone or keep it flagged as hikers/equestrians only (which makes no sense to me).

    Found this, so sounds like no:

    Wissahickon restoration could close two rogue bike trails ? NewsWorks

    Jones indicated that his organization is interested in discouraging bikers from using certain trails that are designated for use by walkers and equestrians, as cyclists can have adverse effects on both unsuspecting hikers and horses, and can contribute to erosion and siltation downstream.

    I guess it's a small price to pay for the rest of trails we have available to ride at the Wiss, but hopefully that "bikes cause erosion but horses and hikers magically do not" argument doesn't gain any traction.

    That's a little disheartening to see coming from an organization that is sanctioned to do work in the park.
    And really, they would allow horses in that area but not mountain bikes? And they expect that the horses would do less damage?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElGreco View Post
    I don't know the real names of places - I just look at the "official" map. Wish there was a legend for things like the "monster."
    I've been toying with the idea for a while of putting together a map that would highlight all the unofficially named sections, possibly with the multiple names that different groups have for certain sections, with the most established name being the primary name. I bring it up because my girlfriend is a cartographer which makes it more likely I'd manage to actually get to this and wind up with a decent product.

  12. #12
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    That in poster format framed would make a fine gift for any Wiss mountain biker. I say go for it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    And really, they would allow horses in that area but not mountain bikes? And they expect that the horses would do less damage?
    I agree. I think it actually detracts from their cause to say that, even if they're just trying to make it sound like it's not simply an arbitrary ban on a type of trail user. Just saying they want it to be bike free, like the Wissahickon Environmental Center/Andorra trails, is better than throwing unsound science at it. The latter part of that article where they mention "unsuspecting" hikers and equestrians would appear to be the true reason. While I generally believe it's a bad idea to not be aware of your surroundings in a heavily-trafficked, multi-use urban park, I get it. And if it gives that park user who jumps out of their skin despite multiple rings of the bell and verbal announcements of your presence somewhere to do their thing and not yell at you for scaring them, I would feel a little better conceding some trail. Some.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepoMan2112 View Post
    I agree. I think it actually detracts from their cause to say that, even if they're just trying to make it sound like it's not simply an arbitrary ban on a type of trail user. Just saying they want it to be bike free, like the Wissahickon Environmental Center/Andorra trails, is better than throwing unsound science at it. The latter part of that article where they mention "unsuspecting" hikers and equestrians would appear to be the true reason. While I generally believe it's a bad idea to not be aware of your surroundings in a heavily-trafficked, multi-use urban park, I get it. And if it gives that park user who jumps out of their skin despite multiple rings of the bell and verbal announcements of your presence somewhere to do their thing and not yell at you for scaring them, I would feel a little better conceding some trail. Some.
    What is also crazy is that a horse on that trial would be murder. The would have to rip it wide open to allow a horse through there. Right now, the main people, beside the occasional MTBer, are homeless people and kids doing drugs. If anything, they should try to get more MTBers going through that area...
    Last edited by Vespasianus; 03-27-2014 at 09:32 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshhan View Post
    I think the two sections he's referring to are:

    1) The end of the Rox side towards the paved biking trail parallel to Lincoln Drive. It seems they closed the section that led to the Kelpius cave.
    that's odd, that section was open Sunday.
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  16. #16
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    You guys are way to kind on Steve Jones, the guy has no idea what he is talking about and is talking out his ass. First its not a "social or rogue trail" made by mountain bikes. Those trails have been there as long as I have been in Wiss (15 years give or take) and Vesp is correct, its mostly used by some weird MFers and kids partying. Its a fun little section to go through and pretty technical near the end by Forbidden drive.

    Also, Jones or the article author's implication that mountain bikes cause more damage than hikers or horses is without support. There was a study done in Montana by John Wilson and Joseph Seney, that shows mountain bikes have no more impact than a hiker's boots in dry conditions ("Erosion Impacts of Hikers, Horses, Motorcycles and off road bicycles on Mountain trails in Montana," Mountain Research and Development 1994). There are probably more recent studies than this one if you look.
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  17. #17
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    You guys have a couple of topics floating around here. The sections ElGreco is referring to are on the Mt Airy Side of the park, sandwiched between Forbidden Drive and Blue Bell Park. You access the trail from the gravel climb behind Historic Rittenhouse or drop in from Blue Bell Park.

    If you climb the fire road behind Historic Rittenhouse, follow the orange trail north, you come to the washed out ravine with all the rocks. Itís been that way for some time. The smooth climb to the side is a non-sanctioned cut that been slowly developing over the years. Iím assuming it was randomly created for those who did not want to do the technical climb when riding south on the trail. That line has been closed many times and it keeps reappearing. Iím assuming theyíre going to close the ravine (hence the pile of dirt/gravel) like they did on the golf course climb a few years ago. I personally liked the challenge that ravine presented, but itís a non-sustainable section for a multiuser trail system.

    FOW cut in a reroute around that ravine last fall. If youíre on the orange trail riding north, just before you crest the little hill that takes you to the ravine, youíll see the new trail to the left. That trail hooks around the ridge and drops you off close to the bottom of the ravine. Or, if you ride the newer trail section up and around Blue Bell Park, cross over the baseball field and drop into the single track, it will dump you back onto the orange trail at that crest I was just describing. Look immediately to your left and you will see the new reroute. Itís nice, quick and flowy, but has potential for head on collisions once the foliage comes back. You will have some blind spots that will prevent you from seeing down the trail.

    Further north on the orange trail is the stone ravine that is water drainage from Blue Bell Park. Thatís where FOW just put the foot bridge to cross over the rocks/ravine. More than likely it was put there for the equestrians to cross. Iíve heard a few riders complain about dismounting instead of finding the line through the rocks.

    The section of trail that joshhan is referring to (The end of the Rox side towards the paved biking trail parallel to Lincoln Drive. It seems they closed the section that led to the Kelpius cave. ) is on the Roxborough side of the park, right by Henry Avenue. What use to be ďThe BowlĒ is on the other side of the ridge. That drop in, off the access road, has been closed for some time (Big ass tree). Technically weíre not supposed to ride that trail at all. I find it odd because it was a sanctioned build by the now defunct PMBA. I say sanctioned, but I think the build went a little further than planned. Iíve seen the flags down by the cave but have not seen any progress for some time. It would be nice if it was legally open to us.

    That article about the WRV group is the type of media coverage that gives ammunition to the idiots who want us off the trails. Misinformation that is misinterpreted by the journalist!

    Damn that was a long reply!!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrostle View Post
    Damn that was a long reply!!
    Very helpful. Been riding there over 20 years and I still have no idea whats called what. All I know is where I always park.

  19. #19
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    That re-route you mention in paragraph 3 above is actually pretty good I thought. No issues from me on that on. Don't like that Bridge over the drainage gully though.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    And really, they would allow horses in that area but not mountain bikes? And they expect that the horses would do less damage?
    Because the guy is a complete fraud.

    Coming from the cave, where the trail ends at the paved path - no way a horse can safely climb up or down those rocks. Unless all those rocks are removed. What is this guy's end game ? Does he want to make nice smooth path so all the druggies can get to the cave easier ?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Because the guy is a complete fraud.

    Coming from the cave, where the trail ends at the paved path - no way a horse can safely climb up or down those rocks. Unless all those rocks are removed. What is this guy's end game ? Does he want to make nice smooth path so all the druggies can get to the cave easier ?
    I think the flagged reroute has something to do with the horses having access. If you ride down to the cave, that section is accesable from the access road. From there they can go back up to what use to be the bowl. The problem is with the trail at the cave. It holds water and is eroding. Hence the flagged line that's higher up and uses the terrain to navigate around that hallow.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepoMan2112 View Post
    I've been toying with the idea for a while of putting together a map that would highlight all the unofficially named sections, possibly with the multiple names that different groups have for certain sections, with the most established name being the primary name. I bring it up because my girlfriend is a cartographer which makes it more likely I'd manage to actually get to this and wind up with a decent product.
    You HAVE to do this! Make it an app. I'd pay a couple bucks to download it.

  23. #23
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    First, equestrians get preference because they're usually loaded. Lot of old Philly money in the FOW.

    Second, what happened to PMBA? I thought they changed their name but I can't find a website now.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by glorth2 View Post

    Second, what happened to PMBA? I thought they changed their name but I can't find a website now.
    They became "Southeastern Pennsylvania Trail Riders" with: www.septrmtb.org but the website seems gone, so I think they are kaput.
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  25. #25
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    Well that was quick.

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