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  1. #1
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    wissahickon trail permits?

    Are the trails permits at wissahickon strictly enforced? I just found out about these trails, which are 3 miles from my gf's apartment and I'd like to get a ride in this week. Probably won't be able to get the permit for at least a week with mail time I'm guessing. How much do they charge you for it anyway?

    Where's the best place to park? We've gone for walks along the creek, off of lincoln but I'm thinking all the good stuff is more towards chestnut hill?

  2. #2
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    I can't remember how many years it's been since the permit thing started... probably ~ 10 yrs now. In all that time, I've been stopped and asked to show my permit 3 times. Suffice to say, consistent 'enforcement' has always been a bit of a problem. That said, the permits have always been free. Any money sent with the application is considered a donation to help maintain the park. Usually, the applications ask for a minimum donation of $20, but you'll get one regardless of how much (if anything) you can afford to send.

    Best place to park? If it's only 3 miles from your gf's apartment, don't drive. Just ride to the park from there. Many of the usual parking spots have had their share of break-ins and vandalism. You're far better off leaving your car elsewhere.

    The 'good stuff' is all through the park between Lincoln Drive and Bells Mill Rd on both sides of the creek, and there's a challenging little connector section between the lower W Bells Mill Rd lot and Northwestern Ave if you want to max out the miles.
    [SIZE="2"][/SIZE]"mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  3. #3
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    I've never been checked

    I've ridden the park about 15 times this summer, mainly on weekends and never been checked. I do ride with my wrist band most times and maybe that's why.

    The FOW does some nice work on the trail, so please support them if you plan to ride often. If you ride there a few times, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I rode last weekend and many of the rocks and roots are covered in fresh leaves, so be careful. What appears to be smooth trail can be fairly rough.

    Have fun!

  4. #4
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    thanks for the replies. I'm going to get the permit and send a few bucks over for sure, but I want to ride there this weekend and I am sure it wouldn't be sent to me in time.

    I'll be entering along lincoln at wissahickon, is there a map that will show me where to go from there, maybe one I can download online? I have the "rallye in the valley" map, is that my best bet?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 743power
    thanks for the replies. I'm going to get the permit and send a few bucks over for sure, but I want to ride there this weekend and I am sure it wouldn't be sent to me in time.

    I'll be entering along lincoln at wissahickon, is there a map that will show me where to go from there, maybe one I can download online? I have the "rallye in the valley" map, is that my best bet?
    The Rally in the Valley was a cool loop if you ask me. If you have that your in for a 20 mile loop. Of course you can break that off and head back depending on where your parked.
    Work Hard 2 Play Hard!!!

  6. #6
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    I've looked for maps online and there are a few and most aren't very good. REI in Conshehocken has maps and the Valley Green Inn located in the middle of the park sells a great map for about $6. You really can't get too lost because if you head down hill you'll always hit Forbiden Drive and the creek. The trails on the Valley Green side are a bit easier and you are less likely to get lost but both sides of the creek have trails that run the length of the park.

  7. #7
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    cool, i'll probably hit up the rei on friday and see if I can pick up the map. I'm not one to go messing up trails, but if it rains or snows or whatever they are calling for on saturday, is the park better off not being ridden on sunday or is there good drainage? I'll be in philly regardless, but if it's not kosher to ride, ill leave my bike home

  8. #8
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    Unless it rains a lot between now and the weekend, the trails should be in good shape.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.wilkinson@datacon.at

    The FOW does some nice work on the trail, so please support them if you plan to ride often. If you ride there a few times, I wouldn't worry about it.

    :

    Don't be misled. Although FOW does trail maintenance, they are not your advocacy group, in fact until very recently, and through the very hard and dedicated work of the PMBA, they were venomously anti-mountain bike.

    Your donation related to the permit will not go towards your interest. I donate $20 for the permit knowing this and figure it indirectly helps everyone, but the money goes into the Fairmont Park coffers for the whole system.

    You should think about joining PMBA they are IMBA affiliated and do great trail work in the park as well as advocacy for our interests. Check them out at www.phillymtb.com.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  10. #10
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    Great to know. I was considering giving the FOW a donation, but will definitly reconsider.

    Thanks for the info

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.wilkinson@datacon.at
    Great to know. I was considering giving the FOW a donation, but will definitly reconsider.

    Thanks for the info

    ???

  12. #12
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    I gotta chime in here fellas. The FOW is very biker friendly these days, and have been since about 2004, when they did a huge study into mountain biking in the Wiss. All their research has led them to accept and embrace us bikers. A consultant they hired told them to hire IMBA Trail Solutions to come evaluate the trails in the park, which they did. ANd they are in the 3rd phase of a HUGE project called the Sustainable Trails Initiative, which will rework and revamp the entire trail system to make it sustainable for the future. I could go on for about 2 hours here, but the bottom line is that the FOW is a friendly organization for us bikers. They donated money and tools to the Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association, which I am President. I encourage you guys to come out and help us maintain the trails, especially if you ride them and enjoy them. We have monthly volunteer trail maintenance days every 4th Sat. The FOW sponsors us and lets us use their equipment and tools to make new trails! We are working this Saturday at Kitchens Lane. Either way, please get involved with us and all your questions will be answered and you will help out the entire biking community. Cheers! Lou Harris - President PMBA www.phillymtb.org
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt_merchant
    I gotta chime in here fellas. The FOW is very biker friendly these days, and have been since about 2004, when they did a huge study into mountain biking in the Wiss. All their research has led them to accept and embrace us bikers. A consultant they hired told them to hire IMBA Trail Solutions to come evaluate the trails in the park, which they did. ANd they are in the 3rd phase of a HUGE project called the Sustainable Trails Initiative, which will rework and revamp the entire trail system to make it sustainable for the future. I could go on for about 2 hours here, but the bottom line is that the FOW is a friendly organization for us bikers. They donated money and tools to the Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association, which I am President. I encourage you guys to come out and help us maintain the trails, especially if you ride them and enjoy them.
    Was anything I said inaccurate? Maybe not as extensive as yours, but the point to be made is that if MTBer's are going to donate their hard earned coin, they should have the information so they can chose to send it to the organization that best represents their interests, which I think you'll agree is the PMBA.

    I think you are cutting your self short on the FOW, even after the study there were many meetings of the FOW where members were still advocating the ban of MTBers. That was a very scary thing, because they are a historic organization that is well funded and politically connected. JAR began advocacy and trying to change the FOW's opinion of MTBers in the park. Then you boys at PMBA took up the cause and have done a spectacular job of public relations with the FOW and trail work. I agree the FOW is now biker friendly b/c they see that we know how and will maintain trails, which enhances the park for everyone.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  14. #14
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    No justriding, you nailed it on the head. I just wanted to chime in since I am heavily involved in the PMBA and work closely with the FOW. You are absolutely correct in stating that they WERE very anit-mtb years ago. There were some people, mostly one guy from what I hear, that was in power and hated bikers. He was obviously out of touch with reality. JAR, as well as Wissahickon Off Road Cyclists (WORC) did a hell of a job wrestling the opposition (and that guy) and we basically picked up where they left off.

    I am also a member of FOW and sit on a committee concerning the STI. The people in charge and most active at FOW now are very interetsed in aligning themselves with us. We are the ones doing most of the heavy work! They are very historic and WELL funded, but they don't have a lot of arms and legs helping out in the park. That's where we step in. And helping design the new trails is fun and in our best interest.

    To address the original issue on this post, the permits are required but rarely enforced. Fairmount Parks doesn't have the funds or people. But that is a great reason to get the permit and make a donation. I took the Director of Operations from FPC riding in Sept, and he told me straight up that any money from these permits goes directly into the Wissahickon Park. That's good to know. However there are lots of areas where money is spent in the Wiss: structures, bridges, signs, etc...

    You can be rest assured that donations to PMBA will go into actual trail work on biking trails in the Wiss. Additionally, if you join/donate to PMBA, and if your not an IMBA member, you also become a member of IMBA and they get a portion of your donation. Otherwise we keep all of it and will use it in the Wiss.

    Hope to see you guys out there riding, and helping!
    Last edited by dirt_merchant; 11-09-2007 at 08:40 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt_merchant
    There were some people, mostly one guy from what I hear, that was in power and hated bikers. He was obviously out of touch with reality.
    That guy was kind of nutty.

    Hey, have you ever run into (and I mean that almost literally) the guy who jogs and will come right at you cursing you under his breath. He always yells at bikers saying that they are wrecking the trails or some nonsense, no matter what the conditions. He ussually had his two unleashed dogs with him that are running all over the place. I haven't seen him in a while, but the interaction with him was always amusing. He was an older guy 40's- early 50's, pretty fit, grey hair. Anybody who has ridden the south loop of the Wiss over the last few years, I am sure has seen him.

    You rock. Keep up the good work.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  16. #16
    wot no bike?
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    I'd just like to throw in my humble $0.02 about making a donation to receive your trail permit (whether or not those donations are used in the interest of MTBers):

    It's a Good Thing for the park board to see donations come in directly tied to cyclists because:

    1) It shows that cyclists are not necessarily a bunch of "rogue trail blazers" who take and don't give. This is good for public image.

    2) The park board sees these donations coming in directly from cyclists and sees the monetary value of cyclists in the park.

    3) Is it really that bad to make a donation to our city's park system even if it wasn't used to directly affect your own interests? These are our parks we're talking about here!

    -pete (PMBA member, FOW member, and trail permit holder)
    pete

  17. #17
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    i have donated for years at Wiss and have never been stopped or even seen a park ranger, grant it i am mostly a weekend rider. This year i did not get one - not cause i didnt try, i tried twice in the beginning of the season once with the app that they sent to my house and another time in person at the park where i received a 14 day pass - i never received the permit...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.wilkinson@datacon.at
    I've looked for maps online and there are a few and most aren't very good.
    here is a nice big one we did for ralley in the valley this year. (if you have access to a plotter is was made to be 24"x36")

    http://www.phillymtb.com/images/wiss...ncoursemap.pdf

    to the original poster; you should definitely just go ride. if you were to get stopped you wouldn't be the only one. i have NEVER seen a ranger enforcing the tags. it is a great spot and a really hard park to get to lost in.

  19. #19
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    I got to ride the trails this sunday. I went out around 3:30 so we had limited riding time, but I enjoyed what I rode. I could never guess at describing the parts, but I went in at walnut where the big hole is in the street with the construction tape, and went up the trail towards roxborough, then crossed the creek, and ended up along the footpath next to the creek, after a sweet descending section. Rode 10 miles according to my cpu.

    I'll definitely be sending in for the permit this week, along with a few bucks, hopefully it goes back into the trails.

  20. #20
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    Can you get these permits at the trailhead?

    I'm coming into town next Friday night and am hoping to check this place out Sat am early.

  21. #21
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    no you can't get them at the trail head. but you will not have any problems riding without one. Most people do not get them and in over 10 years of riding back there I was checked once. with that said most mountain bikers who frequent the park get them.

    Its pretty easy to find your way around the upper trails. it is essentially one large loop. If you ever feel lost, just head down and you will hit Forbidden drive (you would have to cross the creek at a bridge if you are on the Chestnut hill side) and then you can get your bearings. if you head up hill, you'll go into the neighborhoods. enjoy.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  22. #22
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    agreed just ride don't worry.

    if by some chance you do come across a ranger just say hi. i have seen a few in the last few weeks on my bike (my permit is attached to an old camelback i no longer use). they just say hi and go about there business.

    only time i have ever seen anyone checking or encouraging people to get permits was on national trails day several years back (dumb day to ride anyhow unless you like crowds). the park (the whole city actually) is so underfunded the rangers have much better things to do than try to enforce some permit rule hardly anyone follows anyway.

    that said; if your local and ride there a bit; getting a permit does help i think if for nothing else than to show our numbers "officially" and get us some respect in the user community. i get one every year (but then usually forget it just about every ride somehow).

    have fun and enjoy!

  23. #23
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    When you sign up for the permit online with Fairmount Park, you can print out your email receipt in lieu of the actual permit and map they mail later. That said, I have never once remembered to bring my permit and I have never so much as seen a park employee on the trails.

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