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  1. #1
    mm9
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    Hikers and Mtn. Bikers Should be Strong Allies

    We all hear about the conflicts between organizations that represent hikers and bikers. I think this is rediculous and an example of one of the growing negatives of our culture - a kind of selfishness. "These are my trails and no one else should be able to use them"

    The needs of both groups are very similar. Both are quiet and relatively low impact forms of transportation. Both want to preserve nature and both enjoy quiet nature. I think it's important for the two groups to strengthen their ties to each other, in order to have a larger voice and more power in policy making.

    Because hiking organizations currently go against mountain biking in many ways, mountain biking starts to align more and more with motorized groups, thereby giving more strength to their voices in the policy making arena.

    I say to hiking groups, open your eyes to this powerful ally. Work in conjuntion with them, not against them. I say to mountain biking groups - work on forming these partnerships - your needs are most in line with each other.

    Lastly, I have to assume that there is a very large crossover rate - people that both hike and mountain bike. People that do both, should strongly voice their opinions within the hiking organizations and help to guide their strategies and policies to encourage them to be more helpful to mountain biking.

  2. #2
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    I think the way many advocacy groups for mtb work is by vilifying every other group, from hikers, to local governments. MTB groups would do a lot of good by not painting the opposition as some sort of evil characters, rubbing their hands together as they screw over mtb groups in some sort of conspiracy.

    Hikers, in some to many cases, are doing what's right for them, and sometimes, believe it or not, what's right for them doesn't include us, just like our angle doesn't include them sometimes.

    Mtb groups also can't leverage by basically making other groups and politicians scared of being presented in a negative light on the internet.

  3. #3
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    Let's boil it down...

    All trails should be opened up to non-motorized trail users. The big 3 user groups are hikers/runners, equestrians and mountain bikers but there are others (xc skiers, etc.)

    There will obviously be cases where some trails will be designated for segragated use but the policy should be open for all unless stated otherwise.

    This approach will open up hundreds of miles of trails for all trail users, will reduce managment and enforcement burdens on land managers and will ultimately result in better trails.

    There is very little conflict between non-motorized trail users on the trails. We all generally have the same goals and the same reasons for being on the trails. We just have different delivery methods to obtain those goals.

  4. #4
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    I would have to say that a very few of the more pristine trails should
    remain foot-traffic-only for the very reason of preserving, to the maximum
    degree possible the visual effect of walking through an undisturbed
    environment. I don't really mind so much that the MTB trails are not
    as beautiful because when riding I am distracted and not paying
    attention to every little detail. I would much rather hike the foot-only
    trails because of their enhanced beauty on those rare occasions when
    I hike. Hiking is not the same as riding or horseback, there is a closer
    bond with nature and more peaceful setting. I think there should be
    a few areas set aside for that aspect of recreation alone, without
    the distraction of horses or bikes zipping by.

  5. #5
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    MTB'ing was born w/ this conflict, and it'll likely never go away -- too many selfish NIMBY's out there w/ political recognition. We are the scrubs, the 'benevolent' outlaws who haven't grown up yet (personally, I don't want to, and I'm nearing 50!) -- and until we do, we're not to be trusted not to tear up 'God's creation' that they appointed themselves exclusive stewards of. (Never mind that they are the ones who put the noxious clouds overhead, that they only think don't reach into their precious wilderness!)

    Early freeride didn't help, as there WAS enviro damage, even other mtb'ers caught it; but now we all wear THAT label, & it puts an extra blockade on us.

    It's all the way not fair or even-handed that horses can F up a trail 20x worse than a VP-Free in the hands of a methhead, but it's what we have against us. Since horses are wildlife at their roots, and bikes are machines, they are the foreign element.

    It's a hypocrisy game, as Barbara Boxer proved to IMBA, and we're the only ones talking about playing the game by the rules -- the rest give it lip service. When it's a win-win for more than one group, THEN we might get some recognition.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  6. #6
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    I'd perfer to live in the world as it is, not as I wish it were.

    Hikers and environmental groups in general have never been allies of MTB riders. Never. For every crumb they feed us with the left hand, they take away two with the right. Yes, it would be nice if we could all sing kumbaya and hit the trails in our own ways with no conflict. But that ain't gonna happen. Hikers have a very strong sense of entitlement and sharing is not on their agenda. And to be fair, they do have a legit beef with a small minority of unsafe MTB riders on multi-use trails.

    This is a conflict and I think it needs to be approached as such by the 'MTB community'. That means we have to fight and use our resources/influence to advance our case. Don't be a nutcase or a jerk, but also don't be naive and hope for some partnership with other user groups that is not coming.

    R

  7. #7
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    I recall years ago it was tried this suggestion of aligning with other user groups. It did sound like a good idea and was encouraged when other user groups like hikers said they wanted to work with us. The cold reality is that it was all smoke and mirrors, because as soon as the other user groups like hikers got what they wanted. They turned on mountain bikers and refused to work with us any further. They even fought to get us banned from places.

    So one must be wary at all times of dealing with other groups. And keep in mind at all times that they are primarily interested in supporting their members and their activity. If it wasn't they wouldn't be a specific user group.

  8. #8
    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoehn9111
    I would have to say that a very few of the more pristine trails should
    remain foot-traffic-only for the very reason of preserving, to the maximum
    degree possible the visual effect of walking through an undisturbed
    environment. I don't really mind so much that the MTB trails are not
    as beautiful because when riding I am distracted and not paying
    attention to every little detail.
    You sir are riding the wrong trails then.

    Some of the best views I've seen have been on mountain bike trails (btw have you seen the pictures on any of the passion hits?). One of the state parks has a great ride by a waterfall - one that even the park rangers didn't know was there until the 'mountain bike trail' was laid out to go by it. It's a really cool place (visually and literally).

    If local trail builders are not building trails that have awe inspiring sights - is it because the trail builders are defecient in their ability, or (much more likely) they're having to work with what they had available? If the choice of area is dictated - it makes it difficult to make a wonderful vista when the trail is built on an old slag pile.

    JmZ
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    I think the way many advocacy groups for mtb work is by vilifying every other group, from hikers, to local governments. MTB groups would do a lot of good by not painting the opposition as some sort of evil characters, rubbing their hands together as they screw over mtb groups in some sort of conspiracy...
    Do you have even a single example of this?

    Because I have not seen or experienced it in any way.

  10. #10
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    The idea is like world peace. It should be that way but fundamentals of human nature make it nearly impossible.

    Think about the conflict at different degrees.

    Moto versus mtb
    xc skiers vs snowshoers
    neighbor vs neighbor
    car vs car

    and when you even have a conflict within, XC riders vs DH riders, how in the world are you ever going to obtain the ideal with all other users too?

    Persistent advocacy with a slight tension that exists now is probably the best obtainable solution and it won't really get much better. It can certainly get worse if the advocates disappeared.

    I don't think I'm being pessimistic about this, I think I'm being realistic. The perfect peace pipe dream is just that, for wishful thinking dreamers.

  11. #11
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman
    The idea is like world peace. It should be that way but fundamentals of human nature make it nearly impossible.

    Think about the conflict at different degrees.

    Moto versus mtb
    xc skiers vs snowshoers
    neighbor vs neighbor
    car vs car

    and when you even have a conflict within, XC riders vs DH riders, how in the world are you ever going to obtain the ideal with all other users too?

    Persistent advocacy with a slight tension that exists now is probably the best obtainable solution and it won't really get much better. It can certainly get worse if the advocates disappeared.

    I don't think I'm being pessimistic about this, I think I'm being realistic. The perfect peace pipe dream is just that, for wishful thinking dreamers.
    There seems like there is a very high % of sport crossover between the two sports - hiking and mountain biking. I've been asking Mtn. bikers lately and it seems almost all of them also do some hiking. If the leadership ranks of the hiking organization are made up of more people that do both, don't you think it would be more realistic to align more? My underlying suggestion is that for mtn. bikers that do both, to join the hiking organization and influence their decisions more.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9
    There seems like there is a very high % of sport crossover between the two sports - hiking and mountain biking. I've been asking Mtn. bikers lately and it seems almost all of them also do some hiking. If the leadership ranks of the hiking organization are made up of more people that do both, don't you think it would be more realistic to align more? My underlying suggestion is that for mtn. bikers that do both, to join the hiking organization and influence their decisions more.
    I would say your high percentage is a one way street. Sure, mtbr's go hiking, but how many dedicated hikers throw a leg over a mtb? probably not as many. I do like your suggestion of infiltrating and subverting their ranks though ! One final note, have you posted this suggestion on a hikers' forum? Here you're kind of preaching to the choir. I wonder what kind of responses you'd get.
    A punctured bicycle
    on a hillside desolate,
    will nature make a man of me yet...
    -Morrissey

  13. #13
    I should be out riding
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9
    We all hear about the conflicts between organizations that represent hikers and bikers. I think this is rediculous and an example of one of the growing negatives of our culture - a kind of selfishness. "These are my trails and no one else should be able to use them"

    The needs of both groups are very similar. Both are quiet and relatively low impact forms of transportation. Both want to preserve nature and both enjoy quiet nature. I think it's important for the two groups to strengthen their ties to each other, in order to have a larger voice and more power in policy making.

    Because hiking organizations currently go against mountain biking in many ways, mountain biking starts to align more and more with motorized groups, thereby giving more strength to their voices in the policy making arena.

    I say to hiking groups, open your eyes to this powerful ally. Work in conjuntion with them, not against them. I say to mountain biking groups - work on forming these partnerships - your needs are most in line with each other.

    Lastly, I have to assume that there is a very large crossover rate - people that both hike and mountain bike. People that do both, should strongly voice their opinions within the hiking organizations and help to guide their strategies and policies to encourage them to be more helpful to mountain biking.
    Yeah, in theory there should be. But in reality, one group is either actively trying to exclude the other group, ambivalent about whether the other group has access, or in rare cases where mtn bikers are for some reason needed at the table, then reluctantly in support of mtn biking in limited circumstances. I do think that most hiking groups aren't necessarily anti-mtn bike, but aren't pro-mtn bike, and see mtn bikers losing access to Wilderness (as one example) as collateral damage. Here in WA, the main hiker group is rabidly anti-moto, and wants more Wilderness to kick the moto's off the trails. Mtn bikers are just collateral damage to them, they'll work with us when they need us, but otherwise we don't matter. There does seem to be improvement though, as some of the old guard hikers die off and the newer generation comes up.

  14. #14
    I should be out riding
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    All trails should be opened up to non-motorized trail users. The big 3 user groups are hikers/runners, equestrians and mountain bikers but there are others (xc skiers, etc.)

    There will obviously be cases where some trails will be designated for segragated use but the policy should be open for all unless stated otherwise.

    This approach will open up hundreds of miles of trails for all trail users, will reduce managment and enforcement burdens on land managers and will ultimately result in better trails.

    There is very little conflict between non-motorized trail users on the trails. We all generally have the same goals and the same reasons for being on the trails. We just have different delivery methods to obtain those goals.
    That would be great. And then, in order to close a trail to a user group, the required process should be clearly documented, objective, with opportunity for public input and observation.

  15. #15
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    I truly believe in multi-use trails. I preach about multi-use... I advocate for multi-use... and it doesn't mean boring trails... and it doesn't mean user conflict... It's all about the design of your trails... It is pretty hard to take a 200 year old hiking trail and convert it to singletrack... Most hiking trails were "built" by smugglers... So who's best? The young punk or the old smuggler if you want to draw up stereotypes!

    What's great about multi-use singletrack is that it can be used by hikers and bikers alike... and by designing it correctly, you don't suddenly run into another user... design allows for clear line-sights and turns and ups-and-downs take care of the speed at which users travel. And when winter comes, these trails are great for snowshoeing and also for backcountry xc-skiing... So it's a lot easier to get fundings to build those trails if you're thinking about getting a whole community unto your trail instead of a specific user-group... as long as you talk about "human-powered" outdoor activity, we should all get along and focus on the goal of spending quality time outside enjoying the activity we love.

    So yeah, it is possible to all get along... You just have to get along with responsable user-group leaders and the opportunity will grow!
    ADSVMQ :: Quebec mountain bike trail advocacy group www.ADSVMQ.org

  16. #16
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    When our club first started in 1990 the leaders immediately decided it would be wise to become friends with the local hiking club. The hikers helped us open a few trails to mountain bikes because they didn't want the mountain bikers riding their hiking trails. We have helped the hikers design a few sustainable re-routes to their old fall line hiking trails.

    It is possible to work together. People are basically good when it comes right down to face to face meetings. Going for a hike with the opposition or getting them to ride a bike on the trail helps as well.
    Michael Vitti
    CLIMB President
    www.CLIMBonline.org
    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoehn9111
    I would have to say that a very few of the more pristine trails should
    remain foot-traffic-only for the very reason of preserving, to the maximum
    degree possible the visual effect of walking through an undisturbed
    environment. I don't really mind so much that the MTB trails are not
    as beautiful because when riding I am distracted and not paying
    attention to every little detail. I would much rather hike the foot-only
    trails because of their enhanced beauty on those rare occasions when
    I hike. Hiking is not the same as riding or horseback, there is a closer
    bond with nature and more peaceful setting. I think there should be
    a few areas set aside for that aspect of recreation alone, without
    the distraction of horses or bikes zipping by.
    This is a terrible reason to deny access to mountain bikers.

    Firstly because mountain bikers when compared to hikers rarely venture off trail when compared to hikers.

    Next i don't ride like you, i take in the beauty too. If i'm riding a trail where i have to concentrate on the trail, it's likely i'll be doing the same when i'm trampling the trail in my Vasques.

    There is not a closer bond to nature with more of a peaceful setting. This is based on interpretation, as well as your perception of horses and bikes zipping by minimizing your experience.

    Your perception is a big example of the logic that leads hikers to the conclusion to be against bike access on trails.

    i think there are many reasons why you could better determine if a trail is suitable for mountain biking, but this is in my opinion is the very worst, but unfortunately the most common.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMrider
    I'd perfer to live in the world as it is, not as I wish it were.

    Hikers and environmental groups in general have never been allies of MTB riders. Never. For every crumb they feed us with the left hand, they take away two with the right. Yes, it would be nice if we could all sing kumbaya and hit the trails in our own ways with no conflict. But that ain't gonna happen. Hikers have a very strong sense of entitlement and sharing is not on their agenda. And to be fair, they do have a legit beef with a small minority of unsafe MTB riders on multi-use trails.

    This is a conflict and I think it needs to be approached as such by the 'MTB community'. That means we have to fight and use our resources/influence to advance our case. Don't be a nutcase or a jerk, but also don't be naive and hope for some partnership with other user groups that is not coming.

    R
    It's almost not fair to completely tie in the word "Hikers" to environmentalists. i think if a majority of "Hikers" studied the agendas of environmentalists more closely, understand and weigh the impact of decisions that are made by them, they would probably find themselves to be more rational conservationists.

    In this respect i feel like i can disagree with you while still agreeing with you.

    i too think the impact of advocacy groups should always be for educating as well as advocating for access. So you raise a good point, but can i be so bold as to make a counter thought to your point of "being mad at unsafe riders". Is it possible that if mountain biking advocates were not so busy and focused with access issues that perhaps these hard working volunteers could devote more time to issues of education, etiquette?

    And finally to add one more bit to the first topic. i think that the more "greedy" stance is something a "backcountry" hiker would appreciate. What do they care if deadfall/blowdown trees block the trail, or the trail itself is in disrepair and impassable. They simply hike around it, to get the solitude they seek. This includes not only other user-groups, but your run of the mill hikers themselves.

    To me a marriage between environmentalists and "backcountry" hikers is one made in heaven.

    It's not so much us and them if you define it as such. As is how i have come to see things.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sick4surf
    When our club first started in 1990 the leaders immediately decided it would be wise to become friends with the local hiking club. The hikers helped us open a few trails to mountain bikes because they didn't want the mountain bikers riding their hiking trails. We have helped the hikers design a few sustainable re-routes to their old fall line hiking trails.

    It is possible to work together. People are basically good when it comes right down to face to face meetings. Going for a hike with the opposition or getting them to ride a bike on the trail helps as well.
    i tossed this idea to Evergreen MTB Alliance formerly known as BBTC, to find a volunteer to document history. It would be interesting to note how bad mountain bikers in different areas had it, in comparison to other areas, and more importantly to today.

    i do think things are getting better as time progresses. While i don't think cooperation is something that should be avoided, i think it's in the best interests of mountain bike advocacy groups to always do what's best for mountain bikers ultimately. You present an example of success and that's great, but our local history is muddled with way more examples of failure, and compromise created from an unfair weak position.

    Me personally i don't think an "us vs. them" is appropriate, but that's what get's propagated by other groups. And these have created many tough decisions and difficult positions mountain bikers still find themselves in today. Too many times i hear mountain bikers say we should be in more agreement with "hikers" because they are so many, we'll never be in a position of strength. i don't think of it in those terms. i think of it as defining what is true and fair, and moving forward in a civil assertive manner for what's best for everybody.

    Times are a changing for the better in my view. i think our worst enemy is ourselves, and i think the area we can suffer from the future here on out, is issues of divisivness. Particularly the played out Jets vs. Sharks aka XC vs. FR (aka DH)
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair
    Do you have even a single example of this?

    Because I have not seen or experienced it in any way.
    So it doesn't exist, I take it.

  21. #21
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    So it doesn't exist, I take it.
    Apparently not. I guess it's just your perception and not reality.

  22. #22
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    ^ typical self-righteous bike advocate that thinks our side is always right and the big bad hikers are just a bunch of meanies!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    ^ typical self-righteous bike advocate that thinks our side is always right and the big bad hikers are just a bunch of meanies!
    ^typical broad sweeping generalization from a person who would be better served to brush up on their comprehension skills.

    Again i attack the issues, not the person, unlike you. Which if you step back, makes you more guilty of what you project advocates of doing.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    I think the way many advocacy groups for mtb work is by vilifying every other group, from hikers, to local governments. MTB groups would do a lot of good by not painting the opposition as some sort of evil characters, rubbing their hands together as they screw over mtb groups in some sort of conspiracy....
    Quote Originally Posted by radair
    Do you have even a single example of this?

    Because I have not seen or experienced it in any way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    So it doesn't exist, I take it.
    J_C, Present some examples to support your statement.

  25. #25
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    As a rider of both bikes and equines, I don't mind sharing the trail with hikers, bikers or equestrians. Providing the trail conditions make it safe for such activity and the users act responsible. This means riders must stay alert for others on the trail and give a safe right of way to hikers or equestrians.

    Look at it this way. Your speeding down a hill and come around a corner and here a horse in front of you. The horses reaction is you are attacking it. You cause the horse to panic and the horse rider get dumped and biker runs into or crashes. It would be the bikers fault for not using common sense. This usually ends up the equine rider gets hurt and the horse or mule becomes fearful of bikers.

    Now lets reverse the situtation. Your riding down the trail and come around the corner and here's a 1000 to 1500 lbs of horse galloping down the trail. Now you may run into the horse, which as well goes to take evasive action to avoid you, dumping its rider, and or defend itself (kick). It would be the horse rider fault for not using common sense. Both horse rider and biker can get hurt or killed.

    Common sense prevails in all cases with riding at safe speed, being aware at all times, wearing helmets that allow you to hear people who are trying to get your attend. Don't wear a IPOD listening to music in which prevent you from hearing. I have nearly had crashes with people both hikers and bikers wearing IPODs that are in their own world unware until the run into another person or horse.

    Be respectful of equistrians by giving them space. Don't ride right up to the horse, front or rear. Ask the rider what they would like you to do. Talk to the riders as you approach. This helps the equine realize that it a human, not a alien approaching. Remember that horses, mule and donkeys are animals minds of their own and have self-preservation reactions.

    We all can share trails if we are courteous, respectful and friendly.

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